A question often asked by my Triability Coach athletes is how often one should use the scale. A highly regarded nutritionist once said to me the main reason athletes participate in the sport is so “they look good naked”. One could therefore conclude that athletes are an egocentric bunch spending too much time in front of the mirror: naked. I think many athletes participate in the sport for less vain reasons, such as competition, health benefits, and the comradeship, to name only a few. Regardless the reason, all are concerned with arriving and maintaining a healthy weight.
So, back to the question; how often should you weigh yourself — daily, weekly, or not at all? Lance Armstrong said once the bathroom scale is the most important tool for weight management — he uses it daily. Not to compare myself to Mr. Armstrong, I to weight myself daily, first thing each morning. Weight Watchers suggests to its members once a week, or less. Many studies have been conducted by various groups and I can report the results are all over the map: inconclusive. So, this leaves us back to the proverbial drawing board.
Regardless how often you use the scale remember a few things. First, weight yourself first thing in the morning, after visiting the toilet. Second, your weight will fluctuate from day-to-day: sometimes by a little — sometimes by a lot. Therefore don’t let get too excited or depressed by any one day result. Use the average from three sessions on the scale to get a more accurate result. Third, look in the mirror — are your clothes tight or loose — your perception is often the best indicator of your weight health.
To conclude, there really is no best answer; however as a triathlete you likely use the scale less during the off-season or transition phases of training, and more during the racing season, when weight is more relevant. I recommend my athletes use the scale daily when race training and twice weekly during transition phases of training — on Monday and Thursday.