The road to a healthy and fit body has many paths. Just like any well-planned road trip it is encouraging to see signs that you’re going the right way. The bad news is that some of these “signs” might go right passed you. The good news is that most of these signs are easy to spot, if you know what you’re looking for.


#1 Sleeping Better

You should notice this right away. Eating a well balanced diet along with rigorous physical activity should enhance your sleep. That’s not to say you’ll sleep longer (although that should be a side effect) but you should have deeper sleep and feel well rested in the morning. Why? A healthy diet, which ever it may be, helps create balance with you endocrine system (mostly cortisol, our stress hormone). When your endocrine system is balanced then everything functions properly allowing you to think better, feel better, perform better, and sleep better. Rigorous physical activity (i.e. exercise) puts your body into a catabolic (muscle and fat destroying) state. A by-product of putting yourself into a catabolic state is the requirement for your body to rest. In our deepest sleep our bodies become anabolic (muscle building, cell healing). Better sleep equals better bodies.


#2 Clothes Feeling Loose (or Tight….shocker!)



Assuming you’re not wearing clothes 3 sizes too big you should begin to notice, within a few weeks, that your clothes don’t fit the same any more. The most important area everyone wants to see shrink (cue hands patting your belly) is his or her waistline. For the vast majority of us this should be the easiest thing to notice in our clothing, as long as you’re not wearing sweatpants or yoga pants (use fitted pants people!). However, if you train with heavy weights your abdominal muscles will grow which can translate to your waistline not changing. That does NOT mean you haven’t lost body fat. It simply means your rate of abdominal muscle growth and abdominal fat loss are equated. In time, the muscle won’t grow as much and the fat will continue to shrink.


Now, there are 2 areas you might notice becoming tighter on your clothing: arms (men) and butt (men and women, mostly women). I haven’t met too many men who would complain about having a bigger set of arms. If you do, I don’t want to know you. As for the ladies, your butts will grow! You said you wanted a nicer butt and that usually entails growing the glute muscles. It doesn’t mean your butt got fatter (especially if you notice your waistline going down). Typically, strength training the lower body results in more developed glute muscles. Now, some of you might naturally have a bigger bottom and you don’t want it to get bigger. Depending on how you look at it you were dealt a great hand or bad hand by your parents. Nothing can change that. However, keep building the glutes. As your diet improves and your body fat drops your bottom will works its way back down a bit. If you’re going to have a big butt you might as well have a nice, round one. Embrace the booty ladies!


#3 You’re Making Better Food Choices



This one might not seem so obvious because most people naturally go through this process over weeks and months. Your food choices will gradually adjust. You’ll eat more foods that fill you up without over consuming the calories. You’ll eat more foods that fuel your workouts and help you heal. You’ll eat foods that make you feel better. Besides, you’re training hard and all those hours in the gym will account for nothing if you’re not eating the right number of calories, macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs), and micronutrients (vitamin A, B-12, zinc, magnesium, etc.). When you go out with friends you’ll get the steak salad instead of the pasta salad. If you have kids, you’ll be less tempted by the foods they eat (assuming you haven’t been improving their diet as well). You’ll be the person to “wow!” everyone at potluck parties with something delicious and healthy you read about on Pinterest®. This process will be enjoyable, not tortuous. The only frustrating part will be deciding which recipe to make tonight!


#4 You’ll Push Yourself HARDER In Your Workouts



The scale will not always measure progress. Remember how those 10 reps of 135lbs felt on the bench press? Yeah, it’s going to get easier. Remember swinging that 53lb kettlebell for 15 reps? Yeah, now you can do 20. You will make progress in your training. You’ll find you have the energy to push through one more rep, one more set. Training harder is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of progress, but one of the most important. It shows your body’s strength, agility, VO2max, etc. are improving every day. Yes, you will reach a plateau and that’s where a good program can help you continue making progress (peaks and valleys, remember?). Most of you are not near the point of plateauing but, once you are, be ready to “deload” for a week or so. You’ll get right back to it and see more gains.


#5 You Won’t Feel Like You’re on a Diet or Working Out Any More



This is arguably the last sign most people notice when building a healthier, stronger body. In some circumstances individuals never even notice it. Why? You’ve spent years working on your diet that it’s no longer a diet, it’s what you eat. You’ve spent years working out that it’s no longer a workout, it’s part of your daily routine. The less you begin to think of your diet as a diet and your workouts as workouts the better your long-term results. You’ll be happier, you’ll be healthier, and you’ll be better.



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