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If you can measure it, you can manage it. And that is why tracking fitness progress is so important. It enables you to see when you are taking the right steps forward towards your goals, and when you are not. The problem with progress is that sometimes it’s so incremental, it’s hard to see with the naked eye. Progress can be only matter of a few ounces a day or maybe a pound a week, and if you don’t see or notice these small changes it can get quite discouraging.
When you have a SuPeRSMART goal, tracking fitness progress, successes, and failures can have a large impact on how successful you are with reaching your end goal. For example, if you don’t track your workouts and healthy eating, how do you know what works and what doesn’t for you? Tracking goals and having a way to analyze your successes and failures provides you with useful data to analyze and adjust so you can succeed.
When it comes to measuring success and tracking fitness progress, there is not one perfect way to do it. Rather, there are several measurements that you can combine to view the whole picture. These measurements could include; bodyweight tracking, body measurements, food tracking, and a fitness journal. The combination of these measurements creates a recipe for success.
Tracking Your Bodyweight
With weight loss or muscle gain, tracking your start weight and repeatedly measuring each week or every few weeks can help you track your fitness progress, discover what is working, and discover what may need adjusted. Scales may provide different body weight readings at different times of the day, but that doesn’t point to inaccuracy. Scale weight will fluctuate day to day, and throughout each day.
Here are a few common reasons for overnight weight gain:
- Foods/beverages consumed
- Hydration status
- Type/duration of training
- Duration/quality of sleep
- Menstrual cycle
- Bowel regularity
Often times our body image of ourselves is skewed, tracking your body measurements with tape can bring clarity to the actual changes in your body. For example, your overall weight on the scale is the same number but over the past 6-months you’ve gained 10 pounds of muscle and lost 10 pounds of fat. Using tape to measure, you would be able to see a visible change in circumference around the body. It would visually explain why your clothes are fitting better despite the same number on the scale. Losing inches without losing weight on the scale is a general indicator you’re losing fat and gaining muscle.
The measuring of body parts can be tricky when wanting to record the precise size and measurements of specific muscles. To ensure accuracy when tracking fitness progress, measure in exactly the same place and under the same conditions each time.
Below are a few tips to help you take accurate measurements:
- Stay completely relaxed and still during measurements. By performing measurements in a relaxed state, this guarantees instant and correct results rather than having to judge from flexed or full muscles.
- Avoid exercising before taking measurements. Exercising before measuring body parts can cause uneven measurements due to certain muscles being fuller and distorting the overall result of the readings.
- Measure both sides. It is important to measure both sides of the body to make sure that all measurements are in perfect symmetry and that there is a balance between your body parts.
- Do not tighten the tape. Tightening the tape during measurements can tighten the muscles as well as stretch the tape thus giving false readings.
- Keep track of your measurements. It is important to record and keep track of all measurements and readings to see the progress and growth in your muscles from workouts.
A food diary can be a useful tool in tracking fitness progress. It can help you understand your eating habits and patterns, and help you identify the good and not-so-good foods that you eat on a regular basis. In order to be successful in food journaling, you must be accurate and consist.
A food journal should include:
- What you are eating?
- How much you are eating?
- When you are eating?
- Where you are eating?
- What else are you doing while eating?
- Who are you eating with?
- How are you feeling as you are eating?
Here are a few tips to help you be successful in tracking fitness progress and maintaining a food diary:
- Write down the food or beverage immediately after consuming it. Don’t wait until the end of the day because your recollection is likely to be less accurate.
- Be as specific about the size, type, and weight as you can with the food or beverage.
- Be sure to include any alcoholic beverages you consume.
- To simplify this process, use an online app to help you track.
Staying on track with your workouts and nutrition can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Whether your goal is to build muscle, decrease your body fat percentage, or simply trying to keep track of your workouts, there are plenty of benefits of keeping a fitness journal. There are many benefits of recording your workouts to not only move forward towards your goal, but also to reflect while tracking fitness progress.
Maintaining a fitness journal will enable you to always know what you did the previous session, the session before that, and so on. Recording your workouts means that a Personal Trainer can properly plan your next session in a way that further improves your progress on a consistent basis, as opposed to just throwing together a random workout. Ultimately, it removes the guesswork out of your workout program to get you actual results.
If you had a long stressful day at work, it can be easy to skip your workout you had planned. This is why using a fitness journal to track fitness progress can help keep you stick to your workout program. By having to keep track of everything, it holds you accountable for all your workout sessions.
Focuses Your Attention
People are more likely to stay on track stay because they are paying attention to their behavior. When you track fitness progress, it may seem like a bit of chore at first, but that’s kind of the point to build a healthier habit. It forces you to pay attention to the behavior you’re trying to change. It forces you to keep it at the top of your mind and doesn’t allow you to push it down on your list of priorities. Similar to developing any new habit, over time, tracking consistently does get easier, and soon you will be spending less time thinking about it and more time just naturally doing it.
A fitness journal can be motivational by showing you your fitness progress and how far you have come. It can also enhance your confidence and determination to keep going and maintain focus on your fitness goals.
A fitness journal can provide you with valuable insight into your past training sessions which is fundamental in evaluating after you track fitness progress. By keeping track of your workouts, you will be able to see what has worked best for you and what needs improvement. It will also help segment each area for analysis. This way you can maintain consistent progress across your entire body and muscle groups.
Another important factor that a fitness journal can assist with is determining how your lifestyle and other external factors affect your sessions. This is something that is not typically given much thought but it can play a significant role in your progress. A key to fitness success is having consistently good workouts. There may be some days where you do not get enough sleep the night before, or you may have longer work hours on specific days because it is the peak period. By recording this information, you can adjust your program to accommodate to this. It may mean doing a lighter session these days and then making up for it on other days where you have more energy.
Unfortunately, injuries do happen but there are ways to minimize this risk. If you experience nagging signs of an injury, you can review your workouts recorded in your fitness journal to identify which workout may have caused it.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many ways to accurately track fitness progress in your fitness journey. However, you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of developing your own workout program, nutrition plan, and use several methods to track your progress. For this reason, collaborating with a Personal Trainer is an excellent option.
A Personal Trainer can help you to see and evaluate progress by tracking and logging your workouts to see where you currently are, and what you need to do moving forward in order to reach your goals. Both the mental and physical benefits to be made from this simple act are too great to ignore.
Since there are no shortcuts to losing weight, gaining muscle in a very short amount of time, working with a Personal Trainer to help track your progress over time is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you reach your health and fitness goals.