Progress and Form Photos

So I understand that “selfie”-taking has actually been officially declared a disorder (all I can say is, I am SUPER thankful Facebook wasn’t around when I was in my more-than-currently-dorky stage.  Geezuz!)

Because I am an athlete and a lifter, however, many of my friends take progress photos.  Much like a video at a Ballroom or skating competition, progress photos can be used to gauge, to learn, to tweak, to… p r o g r e s s.  They are absolutely, no question, a tool for anyone looking to improve – and for each person, that “improvement” or goal is different.  The individual may be…

  • A figure competitor who needs to lean out while building some mass.
  • A  bodybuilder looking to increase size or definition in a specific muscle group for better symmetry.
  • An athlete who needs to recoup after surgical atrophy or injury.
  • Or perhaps it is just someone wanting to lose weight overall and lean out.  

Photos can, in any of these cases, offer incredible inspiration…especially for the days we just don’t feel like it!  They can help us push ourselves out of our comfort zone to reach our goals.  It feels AMAZING when we do.

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I was searching like MAD for a photo of my abdominals after completing months of training for, and the actual nearly-300 mile bike ride I did for ALS in 2013.  Everyone was so quick to say “you will burn all the calories,” “nothing will stick,” “you will be fine!”  


I don’t normally eat processed carbohydrates, nor do I take in a substantial amount of sugar.  Well…I had to have BOTH to sustain the level of activity I was doing.  The first 109 miles ended up being in 110 degrees – as a non-endurance athlete, I wasn’t taking any chances!  BUT…I suffered because of what I needed to eat.  My body didn’t feel well internally at ALL…and I looked puffier externally as well.  It added weight, and NOT in a good way.

After more than a month of nutritional tweaks and a new workout routine, I was on my way to being leaner…but you better believe I took a photo of my abs as a benchmark…of what I DIDN’T want!  And…it helped.  

As I progressed, I took more photos – photos DON’T LIE!  It’s harsh, but it proved to me that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing, and that I needed a change.  I reminded myself that everyone starts somewhere and while it was for a great cause, I was off the track I wanted.  But if I could accomplish a distance event…I sure as heck could get back in shape!

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This image isn’t from that time, but it is under a year ago…


I wasn’t out of shape here, but there was more around the area than I wanted. Mind you…I realize that with age, and natural changes, we won’t always be in peak condition.  As a woman, we also have fluctuations…and I can accept that (I’m still annoyed about it though! 😉 )

The below is just about four weeks ago – I feel less “puffiness” and more definition, and I’m thankful because I’ve put a lot of effort into tweaking what wasn’t working (that part is different for all of us.) 

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Photos are also a GREAT tool for form.  My Grandmaster is going to be 76 in August and his form is still impeccable.

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For me, it’s about making sure I am generally in the right place for what I am aiming to do.  A photo will tell me what I need to adjust to target the muscle I intend to better, to get my foot positioned better…whatever it may be…

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So whether selfie-taking is indeed a disorder…and in a way, I actually think it IS...I personally think progress photos are great.  They can help you see what you may not be able to otherwise, and they can help you stick to your plan (I’ve heard many success stories of posting pictures on fridges, bathroom mirrors, in the car…)  WHATEVER WORKS, right!?!  

You can achieve whatever you set your heart on…and you deserve the tools to make that happen.  Fortunately, this one is something you can easily do. 🙂  (Many photo apps have self timers, ps!  I use Camera + if a friend isn’t around!)

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