The scales alone are not a good measure for tracking your progress.
The time of the month, time of day, whether you have fasted, how much total food volume you ate, the water you consumed or salt you had along with how hard you trained the day before if your scales were on an uneven surface or even just the configuration will all affect the number on the scales.
However, if you have set some goal and are following a diet plan and strength training program and workout frequently then it is essential to monitor your progress.
There are several ways of doing this.
This is the biggest one! No matter what the measurements or scales say, your photos will tell you the true story of your journey. I suggest taking photos weekly, first thing in the morning, front back and side in the same underwear or bikini every time, where possible a white wall for background and natural light in the room. You will be able to clearly see muscle growth, definition and weight loss results.
I like to take measurements from the hips (Circumference of the butt), waist (narrowest point of the waist) and belly button. Always make sure your feet are together side by side if your feet are wide it will add centimetres to your measurements and won’t be consistent. The measurements are important because with weight and strength training you will see losses and gains in different areas. Your booty may gain some new strength and muscle while your stomach and abs will tighten.
Jumping on the scales combined with other forms of measuring progress is great, along with as you don’t get hung up on the numbers. Make sure you use the same scales every time and are tracking multiple days in the week to take the weekly average. If your measurements are coming down and your body is changing in your photos but the scales are saying you've put on a 1kg, don’t get upset by this. If your goal was to fit into a certain dress size and you have achieved that then, I think that’s a win! If your goal is muscle growth, then guess what, that number on the scale is going to increase.
A DEXA scan is a more expensive but very accurate measure of bone density, fat mass and muscle mass. As a personal trainer, I get a Dexa scan every 3-6 months depending if I’m competing. They are about as accurate as it’s going to get in terms of monitoring your body composition. Your results will be affected if you are dehydrated, depleted or post-training so make sure the circumstances are always the same when you do get one.
I like to combine, photos, measurements and the scales weekly to check my personal fitness and muscle gain progress. Pick a day of the week that works for you to spend 5 minutes in the morning going through this and monitor your progress week by week. Taking photos is one thing I am so glad I did and encourage all my personal training clients to do. Initially, it may be a little confronting, but to look back on how far you have come is something else.