You are barely 4 weeks into your fitness journey and you already feel you are losing interest or not sure why your motivation to hit the gym regularly is declining? There may be a straightforward reason behind that.
Let me ask you a question first. What are your fitness goals? Would you like to lose some weight? Maybe you'd want to achieve toned muscles to show off on the beach in the summer or to be able to do things you always wanted but never dared to imagine you could like performing a strict pull-up or a handstand without a wall.
Set a Specific Fitness Goal
Without specific targets though, it's hard to know if you are progressing towards your goal or not. So my first advice to you would be to make your goals specific. If it's about losing weight, set a target. 5lbs, 10lbs or 15? With toned muscles, it's a bit harder, but finding an idol who already has the type of look you aspire to achieve will also help you to understand how far you need to go.
Performance goals are probably the easiest to track. You can either pull up yourself on a bar or not, but if you'd like to experience small wins, you are better breaking down that goal into smaller targets. For example, it is being able to do an assisted pull-up, or assisted pull-ups for reps.
5 Tips to Monitor Your Fitness Progress
Now that you have identified specific fitness goals, you can start creating your strategy to work towards them. My online coaching clients agree that seeing results reasonably quickly is the best motivation.
The easiest way to make that happen is by tracking your progress. Here are five ways you can ensure you are heading in the right direction.
1. The Dreaded Scale
If weight loss is your goal, you need to make friends with the scale. The good thing is that it won't lie. However, understanding what contributes to your weight is an important aspect. Especially for women, the number on the scale can fluctuate based on their cycle, the time of the day, how much water their body is retaining and so on.
The best approach I found working for clients was to take it as collecting data for an experiment. Logging your weight parallel to a food log and exercise and sleep log can help you understand how your body reacts to certain foods, sleep deprivation and a certain type of training.
Some even step on the scale every day when they get out of bed; not because they are obsessed, but because they gain more data. They experience ups and downs but so long the tendency is going in the right direction, they are happy.
2. Circumference Measurements
People who fear they may get too hooked on the scale can use this method to see how their body changes. Depending on where you'd like to see the more change, you will be able to do this yourself or ask your significant other or family member to do it for you.
The key is to always measure at the same spot. These are the areas you might want to log regularly: hips, thighs, waist, chest, upper arms. It's not too invasive and gives you an excellent idea of how your fitness plan is working.
3. Your Clothes and Pictures
Another good way of measuring weight loss progress without having to step on the scale is by checking in with your body either in the mirror, through a camera lens or by judging how tight or loose your clothes feel. Especially for those who aim to build toned muscles, taking pictures of your body will be the best visual monitoring method.
Week by week you will feel better about yourself as you notice small changes in your body. You don't have to share your progress pictures with anybody, but one day once you achieved your goal, it will feel empowering to see what you have accomplished.
4. Writing a Diary
Your journal can include as much or as little details as you like. Starting with food logging, through recording your workouts to taking notes of how you feel, how well and long you sleep or how much stressed you are.
The better you become at adhering your plan, the more positive these notes will become. Besides, when you have to log your food, you will less likely overeat or binge on crap.
5. Video Logs
This option is best for tracking your performance and checking your form on exercises. If you are into lifting and would like to be able to look back and see how much your technique has improved, how much more you can lift or generally would want a visual memory of where you started, how you progressed and what barriers you pushed through, videos will be an excellent choice for you.
Do you have a monitoring method to add or have questions on how to achieve your fitness goals?
P.S Whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you get happier, healthier, fitter and stronger in only 120 days!
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