The Power of Progress Pictures.

There are so many methods that competitors, athletes and exercisers use to measure progress. In the gym, one of the most common questions I get in regards to progress is body fat testing. There are a lot of people who like to “brag” about how low there body fat is or how much body fat they have lost recently. I am certainly not opposed to weight and body fat measurements as I think they can be valuable measures of progress however, don’t look too deep into these number. I have never been to a competition, athletic event or any other event where body fat was measured and used as a deciding factor for winning or losing. Even in the body transformation challenges that I run, I use body fat as a very small indicator of success. The best way you can measure your progress is though progress pictures.

Progress pictures actually measure what everyone is really looking to accomplish, look better! I have seen plenty of people who are still discouraged after a great weight or body fat reading just because they still are not “looking” the way that they want to look. There are a few things to remember when taking progress pictures.

Always use the same camera. For most this is a cell phone camera and that is fine. If you end up using different cameras/phones the difference in quality can really skew what you want to see.
Always use the same location/lighting. If you are constantly taking pictures with different lighting you will end up really confused and often discouraged when looking at progress pictures. This can play a huge roll in what you are seeing.
Always take your progress pictures at the same time of day. What I mean here is that you wouldn't want to take a pictures when you are flat first thing in the morning and then compare it to a post workout picture that you snapped in the evening when you are full of food, water and blood from the workout.
Always use the same distance away from the camera. If you are a little too close or a little too far from when you took the last picture, you can really end up throwing off what you are trying to measure. Often times, I see pictures that are not at the same distance and it is really hard to gauge progress.

The wrap it up, use progress pictures as a primary method. Some may call it selfish or narcissistic to have 100’s of pictures of yourself on your phone but this can really come in handy when you are learning how your body reacts best. I will go back to previous pictures when I am getting ready for a show and it is helpful to learn whether or not I am on track and how much progress I have made.

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