After a year of regular workouts, I’ve still got no idea how to measure my success.
I seem to have come quite a way – some days I can even run for 10 minutes straight without getting a stitch. Some days.
I certainly haven’t started lifting heavier weights, but I can do a few more of them and still be able to hoist myself out of bed the next morning.
And while my significant other never fails to shower me with positive reinforcement every time I go to the gym, I still wonder how much my workouts are actually doing.
Some people are happy enough to work out when they can and get a fitness buzz afterwards, but others are totally driven and set on weight loss and fitness goals that end in calories, kilos or centimetres.
It just sounds like a bad word, like you should feel guilty even thinking about how many you’ve consumed today.
In reality, a calorie is the amount of energy used to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree celcius- hence “burning” calories.
I personally don’t see the benefit in calorie counting, as it doesn’t take into account important parts of the diet such as fibre or salt.
However many people think a workout is useless unless you’re burning a particular amount of calories, so I gave it a try.
My ten minute run on the treadmill? I could choose to have burnt off one cider, a single serve of Greek yoghurt or 5 pieces of red liquorice – a thought I found pretty depressing.
Another goal that people constantly fixate over is weight – for 99% of women it’s losing it and for most guys at the gym, it’s gaining.
When you want to lose weight, thinking about it in terms of kilos is a pretty natural progression – but is it healthy?
Of course everyone doesn’t have the same goal weight, because how much you weigh also depends on things like your height, amount of muscle and overall build.
That’s why they invented the BMI (Body Mass Index) – a measure to try and take these factors into account and give you a healthy weight goal to work towards.
Unfortunately, in the end BMI was heartily disproved by nutritionists/medical professionals/people who know what they’re talking about, so unfortunately there’s no magic calculator to tell you your ideal weight.
Bummer. So you can pick whatever number sounds good to you, but without consulting a professional, you leave both your chances of success and your health up to a guess.
This one has personally always stumped me; using your dress size as a measure of how in shape you are.
I guess it makes sense, if you suddenly go from a size 14 to a size 8, you’ve probably been hitting the gym pretty hard.
Then again, dropping dress sizes can be a totally unrealistic goal because how fit you are has nothing to do with whether or not your curvy hips fit into a size 12 or a size 10 pencil skirt.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) for a lot of us, regardless of what we eat or how many sit ups we do, there isn’t a lot we can do to change our body shape, which is a key determinant of dress size.
Think about the measurements tailors use – bust, waist and hips – and you’ll quickly realise that centimetres probably isn’t the way to go either.
I personally haven’t lost hope – it makes me feel much more comfortable to measure the success of my workouts by how sweaty I get, how quickly I recover and how confident I feel in a bikini.