Let’s be honest now. Most people exercise for an emotional reason. It’s never really about getting fit or reaching the pinnacle of human endeavor.
Nope. Most of us do it for purely ‘selfish’ reasons… and that’s perfectly fine. We either want a body that looks great at the beach, or you want to fit in a slinky dress and look like a million dollars at your upcoming high school reunion.
Or you want to have muscles that turns head… or you want to be healthy enough to be around to see your kids grow up. It’s almost always an emotional reason.
Since it’s emotional, you’ll always be looking for feedback to see if you’re improving and progressing in your journey. Are your muscles getting bigger? Is your stamina going up? Have you lost any weight?
These are all questions that will pop up in your head when you become a part of a fitness program. This article will show you how you can keep track of your progress.
On the first day of your program, it’s ideal to take 3 photos of yourself showing your body as it is. Take a photo from the front, one from the side and one of your back.
Photos do not lie. Take photos every 3 weeks. This will give your body enough time to show a visible difference.
You’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come when you look back on your photos. Since the changes in your body are very gradual, relying on the mirror will not cut it. You won’t notice any difference and will lose motivation.
Photos, however, will be proof that you’ve made lots of progress and will inspire you to keep going.
* Measuring tape
Use measuring tape to take measurements around your waist, belly, bicep and thighs. Every 2 weeks, you may measure yourself at the same spots and you’ll notice how many inches you’ve lost. This will be a more reliable indicator than using a weighing scale.
* Weighing scale
Most people use weighing scales to track their progress – and this is the most unreliable way to go about it. For starters, you should never weigh yourself every day because your weight fluctuates on a daily basis.
Secondly, the weighing scale only reflects weight and not body composition. If you lost 2 pounds of fat and gained 2 pounds of muscle, there would be no change in scale weight.
You’d think that what you’re doing is not working, when in reality it is. You’ve lost fat and gained muscle. That’s excellent.
Use a weighing scale only to get a general idea if you’re progressing. Weigh yourself once every two weeks or so.
A fitness journal is great for recording down your reps, sets, how you feel after a workout and so on. It’s also a good way to track your food intake.
Over time, you’ll notice that the workouts in your fitness programs are getting easier because instead of writing down that you feel drained and wiped out, you’ll be saying that the workout broke a good sweat and left you feeling energized.
Now you know you’re progressing.
* Small improvements
Use the journal to record down your personal bests and strive to improve on them. Make small improvements daily to take yourself to the next level.
Start with your diet and training. Then try and improve other parts of your life. Nothing exists in isolation. Try to get sufficient sleep. Become more productive at work. Make time for the family.
So many areas you can make small improvements on. In 90 days, you’d be stunned at how much better your life is. You’ll notice that your health and workouts are better when other areas in your life are great too.
* Fit tests
A fit test is a test that you use to see if you’re progressing in strength and/or stamina. Since fitness programs are dynamic in nature, it’s difficult to tell if you’re getting stronger. So, by using a fit test you’ll be able to track your progress.
For example, seeing the maximum number of pull ups you can do is a fit test. If you could only do 2 when you first started on your fitness program, but after a month you can do 8 – you definitely have improved.
Alternatively, you may time yourself running 1.6 miles. Note down the timing. One month later, try it again. Has your timing gotten better? Did you complete it faster?
You have? Excellent. You’re fitter now.
The pointers above are very effective ways to track your progress when you’re on a fitness program. Just remember to follow the program consistently and stay the course even if results are slow to come. They will come in time.