Sunday, March 01, 2009

Scale Perspective

After reading Lia's post referencing the Figure Athlete article about throwing out your scales and a few other random posts about "how the scale should be thrown away", I was saddened that this poor old measurement tool is being so maligned.

Here are my thoughts....

When the scale isn't useful -
-when you're taking a one off reading or sporadic readings eg this can include the "once a week" weigh in.
- when you're not using it in conjunction with other measurements
- if you're at a healthy level of leanness (plus you're happy with that, and you're maintaining happily without food issues ) and the sports you play don't require a weight/class or division.

When the scale is useful-

As a means of data collection and you are taking consistent readings - eg daily, same conditions etc - the more data points you can collect, the more statistical significance you will create.
- as an adjunct to other measurements. I'm always amused when I hear that others may just use caliper measures only and throw out their scales. In the physique transformation world which I'm very familiar with, there's a fairly consistent correlation between weight and caliper readings. Unless you're using your local pharmacy, skin folds usually drop as weight does. Sometimes, there's a lag between skin fold drops and weight, but if you've collected enough data, you should be able to see where things start to meet. In other words, I've never seen, nor prepared a competitor who dropped bodyfat, but not weight to get to the stage.
- keeps you on the straight and narrow if you're in maintenance - if you're a weight fighter like myself, keeping tabs of things on the scales helps me to keep my body in check rather than me stick my head in the sand in denial.
- you can also use a weight range as a "control" in the study of your own personal data.
-much easier and more accurate for everyday people who may not have access to a skilled operator in taking % BF measurements
- cheap :)

I'm going to happily keep weighing myself on a daily basis - even when the scale doesn't reflect what you want it to see, you can use the number as a learning process or reminder as to where you want to be physique wise. I'm also going to keep combining this statistic with how good I look in my clothes - my own experience has told me I don't go wrong when I keep up this practice!


Anonymous said...

I use my scales every day and have no issues with them either Liz. They're a great tool, but unfortuantely we're a minority amongst a lot of our health and fitness peers so I thought this article would appeal to those that don't agree with us.

I'm open to posting a lot of different things on my blog whether I agree with it or not sometimes. I like to think I keep a very open mind and that I don't conform to the theory "it's my way or the highway". There's no right or wrong answer, it's about finding what works for an individual and accepting their decision.

Lia xxx

LizN said...

Thanks Lia - really appreciate your perspective. Actually you have just given me some inspiration for my next post (if I remember lol!)


Kek said...

Hear, hear! Thanks to you guiding me towards daily weighing, I'm on very good terms with my scales, after years of either avoiding them, or allowing a stray weight spike to derail me completely.

Understanding the reasons WHY my weight goes up and down has helped in a major way. Of course, there are the odd days/weeks where you do everything right and the numbers don't seem to add up - but they always fall into line eventually if you persevere.

I promise you'll never see me blogging about the scales doing my head in. ;o) You can smack me if you catch me out.

Andrea said...

I agree Liz - I too weigh daily but use it as a feedback mechanism rather than anything else.

Splice said...

Hey Liz,
I like to weigh in once a week when i'm prepping, it gives me an idea of where i'm at and in conjunction with skinfolds it ties in well.

When i'm off season I just can't cope with using the scales, so I don't :-) They sit and collect dust until prep time :-)