If there’s one thing a runner loves it’s statistics. Distance covered, at what pace, and what’s my current best time for my weekly long run?! Well there’s good news!….
This love of statistics can be applied to running for weight loss too! Let’s take a look at the things you can measure and use to track your progress…
BMI is ok to use as a broad measure of where you are in terms of weight but it’s a little arbitrary. It doesn’t allow for build or body fat. For example the upper end of the ‘healthy’ range is 25. But, if your BMI is 25.5 you’re suddenly overweight! It can also make someone who has a lot of lean muscle mass ‘overweight’ when in fact they are perfectly healthy! However, it is still useful as a guide.
The overall aim of your running is to lose weight. An easy trap to fall into is getting on the scales every day. Be disciplined and weigh yourself once a week. Ideally do this at the weekend or a non-working day but try to do it at regular intervals. Weighing yourself daily can be de-motivating as you won’t see much change it at all. When weighing yourself try to do it before you’ve had anything to eat, when you get up.
Probably the most vital statistic is your waist measurement. After all it’s the one that really matters – your waist measurement will give you the clearest possible indicator of your progress and it’s the one that will tell you when you’re ready to put that pair of jeans you haven’t worn for a while back on!
Another measurement you can take is the upper arm and upper thigh as these are areas where fat is commonly stored. It’s your choice but at the very least keep a weekly record of your waist measurement.
To get even more information about your overall health and weight loss you could add body fat measurements. Probably the easiest way to do this at home is by using a set of callipers that measure the amount of fat on your waist. These are affordable and available from sites like accumeasurefitness.com. You can buy scales which supposedly measure body fat as well as your weight but callipers are probably more accurate.
Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
Not directly related to weight loss but this will give you an indicator of how your overall fitness is improving. Again, try to do this at regular intervals and under the same circumstances. As we’re looking for your resting heart rate make sure you do this when you’re relaxed and do it before exercising. Try taking your RHR first thing in the morning on the same day you weigh yourself. As your fitness improves your RHR should gradually get lower. Note this can be affected by other health factors including stress.
These statistics are a suggestion only. You can use some or all of them depending on what feels like a good fit for your needs. At the very minimum, measure your waist and weigh yourself on a weekly basis.