Health: Simon Says. . .

Simon Goswell - owner and Head Coach of Full Circle Fitness in Dry Drayton, and a hands-on Dad to two children and a dog – warns of the pitfalls of judging weight loss purely by the scales


During my PT career, I have been involved in my fair share of short-term transformation projects. A typical program like this will last around four to eight weeks and whilst the methods vary, they mostly involve an exercise program and nutrition plan, along with some goal-setting and measurement-taking at the start and the end of the program as a comparison.

They may also include some other components such as a supplement plan or daily stretches.

Don't get hung up on what the scales show (29311947)
Don't get hung up on what the scales show (29311947)

All good so far!

Whilst these programs have a massive benefit to those who have decided to kick-start their health and wellbeing, they also carry some pitfalls. . .

It stands to reason that anyone embarking on a project like this wants to see results. The problem is that the way we measure our progress can sometimes be flawed. For example, one of the most obvious ways we might gauge how well we are doing is by how much weight we are losing – often encouraged with weekly weigh ins.

The problem with looking at weight alone is that it simply doesn’t give you enough information. If someone is trying hard to shift body fat and is doing a fabulous job at training hard and eating well, they may actually be putting on muscle whilst losing body fat at the same time.

Simon Goswell (29311944)
Simon Goswell (29311944)

There are other considerations too such as how well hydrated a person is.

At Full Circle Fitness, we put a huge emphasis on hydration as it is so important to health. Without optimal hydration, we are far more likely to experience lower energy levels, and longer recovery times as well as making it harder for our body to shift fat.

This is an issue for someone trying to lose ‘weight’ when tracking progress. Water weighs 1kg per litre and given it is not uncommon for a new trainee to be under hydrated, introducing more water results in a fluctuation in body weight.

So you’re better hydrated, you’ve put on some muscle and you’ve lost some body fat. These are all amazing outcomes. Ones which can be lost in disappointment when the number on the scales hasn’t dropped by 2 or 4lbs since last week.

So what else can we look at?

Assuming you do not have access to equipment that measures body fat and loss, there are other ways to track progress. These include taking circumference measurements and checking them over a four to eight week timeframe. We often also ask clients to record energy levels, sleep quality and anxiety levels and compare the start to the completion of a project.

There are however other considerations when tackling a short-term project that usually centre around the timeframe involved. The honest truth is that weight and size fluctuate due to hormonal cycles, illness or even eating something your body disagrees with. Even going to the toilet can have an impact! All of this can play havoc on your sanity if you’re following a weekly weigh in.

I am always happy for our clients when they see fabulous results. At the same time, I am never concerned or worried if they aren’t seeing results in the short term.

Here is my advice if you are starting your health and fitness journey and tracking ‘results’. . .

Be calm, have a focus but try not to get obsessed with the numbers. If things aren’t going as you would expect simply reassess, reflect and adjust accordingly.

If you aren’t seeing results, go back to basics.

Are you eating clean enough for long enough?

Are you eating too many carbs and / or too many of the wrong types of carbs?

Are you exercising enough?

Are you drinking enough water?

Mostly, enjoy the process! Being fit and well is not a chore when it feels so good!

My biggest advice is to use the short-term as part of the big picture. One of the reasons many of us find ourselves following a short-term transformation plan is because we have lost touch with what it feels like to be in good health. We may have put on a few pounds (or more!) and feel panicked into doing something about it.

Consistency is key. Setting frequent health and fitness goals can help you stay on track in the long-term as well as giving you short-term focus and determination.

If you’d like help making your health and fitness stick, drop me a line!

Full Circle Fitness is at Unit 29, Dry Drayton Industries, Scotland Road, Dry Drayton, CB23 8AT. Find out more at or email

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