Want to Lose Weight? Then Throw Away Your Scale 13. September 2015 Xavier Pacheco 0 comments No, this isn’t the same thing as putting tape over the engine warning light in your car. This is about shifting your focus to something that actually works. When it comes to fitness, we as a society have made some good strides, particularly in the area of nutrition. But for the most part, we are still fixated on the notion that being fit has something to do with losing weight and being skinny. Now I am not suggesting that being overweight is something that can be ignored. What I am suggesting is that making weight-loss the focus or goal of one’s fitness program can easily be misguided and will more often than not, fail. Unfortunately, the majority of emphasis within the fitness industry is still all about weight loss. With so much emphasis on getting skinny, one wonders why, within the United States, over one-third of our population is still obese. I’m not including those that are overweight (25-29.9 pounds over the recommended weight). I’m talking about the more than one-third of Americans who have surpassed the obesity scale (30+ pounds over recommended weight) according to the CDC. We are literally killing ourselves and it doesn’t seem as if the fitness industry with its umpteen gazillion fitness programs and weight loss diets is really helping us much. So what exactly does work? Recently, we conducted a small survey of about 40 people and asked what their fitness goals were. Over 60% responded with something having to do with losing weight. The majority had something to do with how they looked while a small minority said something about performance. I’m going to go out on a limb here but I believe I have plenty of anecdotal evidence to support my hypothesis. I would bet that if we gave these people the same fitness program and asked them to do it voluntarily, those that have a greater chance at succeeding and sticking with the program are those that had performance goals. The people having weight loss goals have a much greater chance of dropping the program and there are several reasons why this is so: Weight loss takes a long timeOne does not see results when he/she is looking in the mirror every day; this is discouragingIt takes an extreme level of will-power to stick to a slow-moving plan, most simply don’t have itSetbacks can be psychologically devastatingThese are simply the psychological factors. Even worse are the physiological factors like improper dieting which kills one’s metabolism that will make it literally impossible to lose weight and over-training to injury because, of course, the more you work out the more you’ll lose, right? But consider the athlete. The basketball player must be quick in order to dodge his opponents. He must exert power to make that dunk shot. The power-lifter requires incredible strength to lift unbelievable amounts of weight. Swimmers require cardio-vascular and muscular endurance, not to mention mobility. For most athletes, weight is important but it is not the focus of their fitness regimen. Athletes focus on how they will perform in the game. It’s about performance. If you want to lose weight, then you need to think like an athlete. Stop focusing on scale-weight, the six-pack abs and the thin waistline and start focusing on your game. By game, I mean some form of athletic activity that encompasses some key performance factors that you can measure, track and work-towards improving. You can call it a challenge or goal if you like. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to have a game, nor do you need to be involved in an organized sport. I like challenges. I like them because they usually focus on some aspect of fitness like strength or endurance and this helps me to focus. Some challenges require you to do something every day like doing 20 pushups a day. Others increase the repetitions (20-50 pushups) over time. A better challenge is one that requires you to improve your performance within a certain period. Here’s an example: First, determine your maximum pushups by doing them to failure. Now, you will work to increase your pushups by 33%. Let’s say you are at 20 max pushups. The challenge is to increase your pushups to 30 over a 21 day period. A well-written challenge wouldn’t just require you to increase your pushup count every day. Rather, it will provide you with a series of workouts that exercise not only your prime mover muscles but also the stabilizers along with giving you adequate recovery. Now, you’ve got something to focus on that will take your mind off your weight. Increase the scope and do a broader challenge that focuses on more fitness areas like endurance, agility and so on and now you have a comprehensive program designed to improve your overall fitness performance. Here’s why this is so much better than a weight loss exercise program: Performance improvement happens with small, achievable gains. It is so much easier to pump out five more pushups than to lose and keep off 5 pounds.There is so much more variety in what you can do to improve performance. Forget the dreadmill and the same workout videos over and over again. You’ll stay engaged. You’ll feel that you’ve accomplished something by succeeding frequently. This is incredibly addicting. You will start to feel stronger, more agile than before. Weight will stop being your focus and you’ll start to feel better about yourself. Finally, the loss of fat you were hoping for will happen naturally while at the same time you’d have gained muscular endurance and toneSo, if you want to lose weight, throw away your scale, or at least stick it in the closet while you make some real progress. Need a challenge. Follow us on Facebook – we’ll be posting free challenges frequently. Get FIT!