Data Data Data!

I fumbled with my belt for a few seconds before noticing that the buckle had slid about an inch and a half beyond the last hole. WTF? This didn’t seem right. My weight hadn’t changed in several weeks. I turned to the mirror and realised that slim fit jeans that I had bought just a few months ago had become loose at the waist and thighs.

Wow.

With my weight static at 86 Kg for several weeks, I had begun to lose hope in my exercise regimen Waking up at 3.45 AM to work out with kettlebells before going to work at 6 AM didn’t seem to be paying off. This, however, was a surprise. I tried on several pairs of jeans and trousers, and they all told the same tale. I had lost atleast two inches off my waist.

I stripped down to my boxers and stood in front of the mirror – my shoulders looked bigger and arms firmer; my torso definitely looked more defined.

That was it, my workout was working! While I was getting results, the weight scale was misleading. I needed more data!

After that, I started tracking my progress in waist reduction. I got a tape measure and tracked my waist from 42.5 inches in March 2011 to 35.0 in Feb 2012. Over this period, my weight dropped a meagre 6 Kg. When my waist got stuck at 37 inches, I started tracking body-fat percentage, and saw a drop from 27% to 24%, and is now 22% at 35 inches.

I think lots of people who diet and exercise are easily disillusioned because they fail to see progress. To this, I just say data, data data!

If you are embarking on a fitness regimen, take ‘before’ pictures. get a tape measure and take waist and hip measurements to track inch loss. Here are some pointers on measuring.

1) Take all measurements at the same time of the day/week.

I take all my measurements on Friday morning, because it is farthest from any excesses that I may have committed over the weekend.

2) Use the same scale:

Use the same weight scale/tape measure always. Weight scales may have a significant error, and ones in public places may be even more so. Using the same scale will ensure that you can track your progress relative to it.

3) Body Fat Monitors:

If you’re using an electronic Body Fat Monitor, make sure you’re well hydrated before taking your reading. Tim Ferriss, in his book ‘The Four Hour Body’ (http://fourhourbody.com/) lays out a protocol that has worked very well for me so far – I drink a large amount of water, and take my reading soon after I urinate.

4) Review Your Data:

Review your data frequently, and make notes. Keep track of vacations, binges, diet changes, illness, or anything that changes over time. Sometimes, in reviewing this data, you will find patterns that you least expect!

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