Our regulars may have noticed something. The scale. It's been noticeably absent. In fact, we have done any fitness assessments in months.
For new members? Yes. I use an initial screening for some students who have a history of injuries or have been inactive for a prolonged period. It helps me to identify leaks in their strength so I can offer them appropriate modifications. Would they be fine to come to class before meeting me? Absolutely! All our coaches are leading warm-ups that test participants' mobility and give a window into where everyone is in their body that day.
Having worked in settings where trainers were expected -- nay required -- to perform assessments with new clients, I'd figured I was doing good by my students to regular assessments. On a quarterly basis? Even better.
Until it wasn't. It wasn't better at all.
See, bodyweight shifts. And despite my knowing as much, I kept weighing students as part of their assessment. If perfectly fit students registered any amount of weight gain, I would have to give the lecture about how meaningless this metric was to overall fitness and how it was normal for someone's weight to fluctuate. In the end, all this weighing did was create needless anxiety. It wasn't helping them. At all.
And you know what? Our regulars are just as fit and bad ass as ever. Their clothes fit them. They are living perfectly active lives. They are happier when they are not fixated on some doofy bathroom scale.
There are some gyms or trainers that will offer 30-day or 6-week transformation challenges. I have seen the before and after pictures of excited students who are proudly displaying their results. Hell, at a point in my life and career, I was one of those smiling faces. Until I wasn't.
What happens when a student puts those 10 or 15 pounds back on? Are they as pathetic as that schmuck in the before picture? No longer worthy of celebration?
This is precisely why the bathroom scale has no place in our assessments any more. This is precisely the reason it has been noticeably absent.
In its stead?
We are watching the frequency with which students are engaging in sweat-inducing, heart rate-elevating, grunt-producing activity. When they are new, this may only be once a week. After a month, that number increases to two times a week. Over time, those students who truly get and stay fit, are coming in or logging at-home workouts at least four times a week and engaging in regular exercise daily. They are gardening, cycling, running, participating in 5Ks and obstacle runs. They are moving way more than they were before they started working with us.
It's amazing. When this frequency increases, they are prepared for all sorts of inevitabilities. Heavy lifting around the house? No problem! Kid treating their body like a jungle gym? They got it! Accident or injury? They bounce back quickly! What's more? Their clothes fit, they are happy, and all the while, they aren't fixated on some arbitrary number any more.
The lesson? Move frequently and everything just falls into place. It's great. You should try it!
Disclaimer: Fit Club is not a medical doctor and the information contained herein should not be taken as medical advice. These are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem. Recommendations by Fit Club are not intended to replace the advice of a physician or health professional. Please consult your physician or a health professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.