So I’ve been doing some reflecting on an Olympic lifting competition I did a week ago. For those of you who may not know, typically speaking in weightlifting competitions, competitors are broken up into different weight classes. Based off where my weight typically falls, I registered for the 63 kilo weight class (128-138.6lb weight range).
Now most lifters want to be in the upper tier of their weight class in order to be more competitive (this is because usually the more mass you have, the more you can lift). So I kept my weight at about 140-142lbs, and at around four weeks out tightened up my food so that by the time the competition came around my weight would be about where it needed to be.
Now according to my scale 4 weeks out I was at around 140lbs; each week I was dropping weight and at around a week out my scale said I was 138lbs (perfect! Right where I needed to be). Hitting my weight at weight-ins was EXTREMELY important. According to the rules, if you don’t make weight, you don’t compete (talk about a bad day). So I borrowed Geoff’s scale in order to feel completely confident that I would make weight.
Now here is the reason scales are horrible evil inventions that should be burned at the stake. Monday morning, 6 days out from my competition, I stepped on my scale and it read 137lbs (yay!). I then stepped onto the scale I borrowed from Geoff…and it read 141lbs…yes, I completely freaked the f*** out.
So what is the point that I’m trying to make? SCALES ARE NOT ACCURATE. Therefore basing any fitness goals (unless you plan on competing in a sport where weight matters) on seeing a specific number pop up on a scale is completely ridiculous (to put it bluntly) especially since in everyday life your weight means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I had to battle with three different scales (my scale, Geoff’s scale and my roommate’s scale) for a week leading up to my competition and they all gave me different numbers.
The moral of the story is that if you are looking to change your body and you want to lean down than you should be looking to lose fat not looking to lose weight. I lost two pounds the week of my weigh-in and it wasn’t fat that I lost it was water (temporary weight loss method used by athletes to make weight). The scale will not tell you what you are losing and what you are gaining, and this is why when it comes to aesthetic goals, a number on the scale should not be of concern. Before and after pictures are, in my opinion, the best measures of progress when you are trying to change your body. Measurements and how clothing fits are also good indicators. When I competed in a figure show I barely if ever even looked at the scale because it didn’t matter; all that mattered was how LOOKED on stage.
Still not convinced? Let me put it this way, let’s say I told you could look like a bikini model or fitness model (or picture your ideal body in your mind) but the only catch was that scales would say you weighed 200lbs; would you and your six pack abs really care what that scale said? Hopefully your answer is no because in everyday life no one sees your weight; they just see you. So unless you plan on wearing T-shirts with your weight on it, scales don’t mean shit. You can go ahead and throw yours away now.
Written by Natasha Shamloufard
National USA Weightlifting Competitor