I’m a photographer for a reason. I belong BEHIND the camera, not in front of it. Once in awhile, I’ll feel a little sassy and snap a photo of myself with my phone or something, but it’s a rare occasion.
However, I’m a strong advocate for the “Photos are the best thing for tracking your progress” movement. Over the years I’ve seen people monitor their progress with weights and measures. Wrapping that measuring tape around their limbs, jumping on that scale and watching it move one way or another… I once upon a time used to track progress that same way.
Until I saw a photo of me from my senior year of high school. Which was now, 11 years ago. For about six years of my life I was stuck at 4′ 11″ and about 70-pounds. When I finally did grow, I stopped at 5′ 5″ and stayed around 100-pounds. I played sports all the way through grade school and until high school, but never once did I flirt with the idea of weights. I was a soccer player, so I focused on running, endurance, agility. So there I was, at the age of 18, a bean pole. A pencil. Virtually zero shape. I had just had a group photo taken at a friends wedding a few weeks before seeing that photo of me, so I set the two side by side and compared. And it clicked.
I’d been measuring my progress with tape. I’d been calculating my mass-gain by the scale. But when I looked in the mirrors that are completely unavoidable at my mirrored gym, I saw that skinny, bean pole of a girl. I didn’t think anything was changing. I was 26 when the realization hit me, that I was wrong. Since then, once a month, I take a dorky photo of myself be it at the gym, at home or out with friends and add it to my pile of progress photos.
The past three years have been an eye opener for me. Watching just how much my body changes with each workout program I do. Which ones I see the most progress in, which ones I see almost none with. I’ve seen my muscles come to life, shape and grow over those years in a more gradual way than the instant way I saw it change looking at a photo of me age 18 compared to a photo of me age 26.
Sure, you can keep tracking your progress with tapes and scales. But take a photo every week, every few weeks or at least once a month. Line them up next to one another when you’re feeling like you’re doing all of this for “nothing”, and you’ll see that you are wrong. You’ll see just how much you’ve changed.