Sunday, February 10, 2008

Throw Away the Bathroom Scale!

A colleague of mine in the fitness industry, Tony Gentilcore
(, wrote
an interesting mini-article on the importance of ditching the
bathroom scale. I think EVERYONE that's trying to lose weight
(particularly fat) should adopt.

Please see Tony's mini-article below.

I’ve been working as a strength coach and personal trainer for
close to six years now, and I have trained a wide variety of women.
In my experience, most tend to have a certain “look” they’re after.

To achieve this look, women need to do three simple things: lift
weights, eat more protein, and more importantly, throw away their

While the scale can be an indicator of progress (especially for
those women who need to lose 20+ lbs for health reasons), I do feel
that many women tend to put too much emphasis on it and are
neglecting the big picture.

The majority of women can understand why it’s important to lift
weights, and eat more protein from a body composition standpoint.
However, when it comes to suggesting they throw away their scale,
it’s as if you were saying they should dump their best friend.
Considering that most women have a love/hate (emphasis on hate)
relationship with the scale, I’m surprised more women don’t just
chuck it out the window and be done with it forever.

Many women make the mistake of equating progress with the number on
the scale going down. If they don’t see the number going down on a
weekly basis, they feel they’re failing. Let me make this simple.
The scale can be very misleading and in a lot of ways, invalid. How
do you know the weight you’re losing is fat and not valuable
muscle? You should be more concerned with what the mirror is
telling you. Are you losing inches around the body? Do your clothes
fit better? Perhaps these results are less quantifiable and harder
to notice, however, the sooner you realize that these are better
indicators of progress, the better off you will be.

Without getting overly technical, muscle weighs more than fat yet
takes up 25% less space. This is why you will often see contestants
on the television show “The Biggest Loser” weigh the same as many
professional athletes, despite being twice the size. Following
a resistance training program helps build muscle which increases
strength and firmness. Aside from that, muscle is also
metabolically active tissue which will also help you burn more fat.
In essence, someone might see very little overall weight loss or
even GAIN weight in order to achieve “the look.” The latter is
especially true for petite women.

As an example, a 5′4″, 140 lb woman with 25% body fat wants to look
leaner and achieve that “toned” look. She wants those flabby arms
to go away and she wants to fit into those pair of jeans that she
used to wear back in college. To do so, this particular woman feels
she should lose weight and get down to 110-115 lbs. If she takes
that course, she may look thinner, but at the expense of looking
older, emaciated, frail, and weak. In other words, she could
totally pass for an Olsen twin.

Let’s take the right course instead. Six months later the same 5’4”
woman has followed a resistance training program (which is also
great for strengthening bones and preventing osteoporosis), changed
her diet to include more protein (ie: chicken breast, lean beef,
eggs, cottage cheese, whey protein shakes) and less refined
carbohydrates (ie: cereal bars, bagels, 100 calorie snack foods),
and most importantly, she threw away her scale. Now she’s 135 lbs
with 18% body fat. She lost eleven lbs of fat and gained six lbs of
lean muscle, for a net loss of only five lbs. But she looks like
she lost 15 lbs. She’s not “skinny-fat.” She’s stronger and
healthier. And she can fit into those jeans no less!

In a nutshell there are a lot of things that have to fall into
place in order to attain “the look” that you’re after. Nonetheless,
I do feel that if more women would put less emphasis on the scale
to gauge progress and focus their attention on other indicators
such as losing inches, the better off they will be. What are you
waiting for? Throw away that scale!

Want help in knowing what to do to get that lean, "toned", firm
body? Check out Turbulence Training.

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