Speaking with a new member during the week they said they were “only down 2Kg” since working on their diet. I suggested that it’s better than being up 2Kg in the same period, which had been the case for x amount of years while their weight crept up. So really it was a 4Kg swing 🙂

Another conversation resolved around recovery, and how it took them longer to get their breath back after a workout, so in their words they “weren’t recovering as well.” A little research between us discovered that it was a very subjective measure of breath and there was no other factors being measured (sessions per week, heart rate, strength gains, extra work, nutrition.) They felt out of breath, therefore they were recovering worse, therefore they were less fit. When we stepped back we could see the wood from the trees and not get bogged down in just one observation.

All this highlights the very human tendency to boil things down to just one number, and if that isn’t moving then EVERYTHING is going to pot!

Reducing everything to one number is really comforting, and it can at times really help us focus in on what’s important. The problem arises when this one marker of progress, which is a symptom of our larger goal, becomes the goal.

We want to get stronger, so we focus on our back squat 1RM. But what about 3RM/5RM/10RM, our deadlift, snatch, clean, pull ups, d-ball carry, sled pull, push ups, pull ups…

We want to be healthier and lose weight, so the number on the scales is our measure. What about energy levels during the day, waist measurement, bodyfat percentage, skin condition, mental health…

One number is a great tool, just keep in mind it’s a measurement, not the goal itself.