The health and fitness industry is slowly becoming more and more predicated on instant gratifications. Every corner we turn, it's a rapid transformation story, a get-fit-quick fad diet, or someone trying to convince us to drink a tea that will magically help us lose weight quicker.
I'm a fitness professional, and I've noticed that it's only gotten worse since we became highly connected with our various social media outlets. It's tempting to compare ourselves to someone who lost 10 pounds in three weeks and wonder why that didn't happen for us.
You start to compare your fitness journey with their journey and that can lead to you making less-than-ideal choices with your health since you're acting more on emotion than logic. Focusing solely on the scale throughout your fitness journey is going to stress you out and potentially prevent you from enjoying the journey of transforming into a new and stronger you.
Sometimes the scale won't go down as quickly as you'd like, but this doesn't equate to you not doing a good job. If the number on the scale isn't changing, how do you know if you're making progress or not?
Simple: Look for the intangibles of fitness. The intangibles are small and often overlooked indicators of progress in the early stages of your fitness journey. The intangibles provide momentum, confidence, and clarity that you're on the right track in your fitness journey. Before the external results manifest, your intangibles will show up. Here are four signs that you're making progress despite what the scale says.
1. Your daily energy level has improved.
Have you noticed that you have a little more pep in your step during the day? How is your endurance during your workouts? Have you improved on your rest time since starting?
This is far from being a physical metric, but energy is one of the most important metrics to monitor. Improved energy leads to a better focus on tasks and motivation to carry forth with activities throughout the day. Improving your energy levels leads to better productivity and quality of work in your professional life.
2. Your mood has improved.
Ever noticed that some of the grumpiest individuals are the ones who don't have great energy levels and aren't as active? This isn't a coincidence. Exercising releases endorphins, which are regarded as the happy chemicals in our brain.
Going throughout the day with an improved mood allows you to have a more positive outlook on life in addition to better health and relationships.
3. Your quality of sleep has improved.
We live in a sleep-deprived society that is getting less and less quality sleep as the years go along. However, exercising for as little as 10 minutes can pay huge dividends to the quality of your sleep. Exercise helps reduce your stress levels and thus helps with those nagging endless thoughts that often prevents people from sleeping at night.
4. Your libido has improved.
When you exercise, chemicals are released that stimulate the release of sex hormones. This helps lower your stress levels and in turn relaxes you and increases the opportunity for more intimacy in your life.
For example, strength training increases growth hormone, which contributes to testosterone (the hormone of arousal), and yoga helps to relax your mind. These types of intangibles will appear before a dramatic reduction on the scale. Another cause for the increase in libido is how exercising improves our self-esteem and thus makes us feel more confident, which is attractive to potential partners.
At the end of the day, remember the intangibles and look for them first, and once they are a part of your life, then you can focus on the external aspects of health and wellness.