by Tony Gjokaj February 24, 2021 4 min read

Everyone uses the scale to track progress, but I’d argue it’s one of the least important methods to track progress in the long-term.

At first, it’s nice to see weight loss drops that are typically a result of water weight… but then this slows down.

We want to cut more and cut more calories because we want to lose weight at the same pace… but this is not sustainable in the long-term.

When we get to this point, it’s never consistent… due to a variety of factors: sodium intake, water intake, stress, hormones, poor sleep, and more.

As a result, people quit because it becomes too difficult to maintain physical and mentally... your desire to lose weight dwindles.

Let's not have this happen.

So today, I wanted to talk about all of the Body Performance Indicators you can utilize to measure progress BEFORE YOU CUT CALORIES!

Let’s dive in!

Body Performance Indicators: The Rundown

Body Performance Indicators are the indicators you should consider that go beyond JUST weight on the scale.

If you find yourself not losing weight for a period of time, you need to make sure these are in check before attempting to restrict more calories or do anything crazy in your diet.

The deeper we go into our calorie restriction, the more difficult it is to keep our diets in check.

So ensure that you are monitoring all of these indicators before you get deeper in the diet.

Indicator I: Exercise Performance

When you diet for fat loss, it is possible that your workouts get a little more difficult to perform your best. Sometimes, you will miss a rep or two in the weight room. Other times, exercises may seem a little more challenging.

It’s also possible that you could get stronger in your workouts.

This is a good sign.

However, if your workouts have completely suffered to the point where you have to drop a lot of weight on your exercises… chances are you should not decrease your calories until your body adapts to your current calorie intake.

In fact, if it gets worse and fatigue is unbearable, consider increasing calories slightly (by 50-100 calories) and assess.

Indicator II: Visual Assessments

The most important indicator (in my opinion) are visual assessments. If you’re just getting started with dieting and exercise, scale weight may not be an accurate measurement of progress at all.

This is because you might be building lean body mass while losing weight.

This is why the visual is everything in my opinion.

What I recommend is taking progress pictures (front & back) every two weeks. You may see that if your weekly scale weight process hasn’t budged but you look a lot leaner, then you might just be making some fat loss process.

Hell, take a video if you have to. It allows you to see your body in your entirety.

Indicator III: Hormonal & Emotional Responses

Do you have ravenous hunger? You might need to increase calories slightly instead of decrease them (add 50-100 calories).

Do you feel stress constantly? You might need to increase calories slightly instead of decreasing them (add 50-100 calories).

These factors play a huge part in dieting the deeper you get into the diet.

I’ve had times where I was extremely stressed or super hungry and I let myself eat up to maintenance calories (doing two refeed days in a row).

This allowed me to be less stressful and satisfied for a time, and helped me on my diets.

Indicator IV: Sleep Responses

Simply put, poor sleep is an indicator that your diet might be a little off. If you’re getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep, you need to get more sleep.

If you find yourself waking up before your alarm with only about 5 hours of sleep, you might just be in a deep part of your diet. Either give yourself time for your body to adapt to the calorie deficit, or increase calories.

When I’ve had poor sleep, I stuck to the same caloric intake or increased it.

What happened was my sleep quality improved dramatically.

When It’s Time To Cut More Calories

Cutting calories some more should be a last resort, because of the severity of calorie restriction.You need to make sure all of your body performance indicators (EVEN YOUR SLEEP AND HUNGER) are in check before you cut calories.

If you are ravenously hungry, I would not recommend more calorie cutting. You might need to focus on utilizing the following strategies:

  • Increasing your calories by 50-100.
  • Focus on having a refeed day or a diet break (more on this later).

If everything is in check, then give yourself at least 1-2 weeks before you cut calories.

Again, cutting calories is a last resort because of the negative effects you get from a calorie deficit from dieting. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you here - you are in control of your diet.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us on, or message us on Instagram.

Until next time, Reforged Legion!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.

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