It would be safe to say that the vast majority of people around the planet have a problem with their fitness level. Regardless of your ultimate goal, which can be weight loss, muscle mass gain, or keeping your current fitness level intact, all that exercising, proper nutrition and dieting is very had to pull off in the long run.
Why is that the case? Well, the problem is within ourselves. We start off great, and then we progressively put in less and less effort. Maybe you do one rep less than you did last time, or shorten your workout by 15 minutes, or even drop it altogether for whatever reason.
Why It’s Not Working For You
According to the study that was conducted a few years back, feedback and monitoring of the results can be extremely beneficial to one’s progress. During the study, an experiment was conducted, where one group of therapy patients were provided with feedback, while the other was not given any feedback.
Those who were given feedback every step of the way were less likely to resort to therapy again over the course of 6 months, while those without feedback checked back in more frequently.
Now, this may seem irrelevant, since we are talking about fitness here, but what would happen if you were to apply the same principle of feedback and monitoring to your fitness progress? In theory, it would have a positive effect on your fitness goals, and you would be less likely to return to your old habits.
For instance, let’s imagine you have just started a 60-day fitness challenge with the goal of getting in shape again. You get off to a great start. On your very first day, you are highly motivated, you lift weights, run, and you push yourself hard.
This pattern likely to repeat for the next few days, maybe even an entire week. You don’t adhere to any particular workout program. You simply run, lift weights, and take everything as it comes.
One week later, it is most likely that you have given up on that program completely. This is because you can’t evaluate your progress, and as a consequence, you stop pushing yourself like you used to. Knowing where you started, what you have done, and where you are now is the key, otherwise you are just wasting your time.
So what can you do? A good idea would be to keep a record or a journal of your fitness program. If you are monitoring your progress closely and regularly, you would be more likely to reach a goal you have set for yourself.
Once you have your progress in writing, you will be able to see how much you have done, and how much more you still have to do.
Stuff That Should Be in Your Fitness Journal
Here is a shortlist of parameters that should find their way into your fitness journal.
According to American Journal of Preventative Medicine, those who keep track of what and how much they eat are able to lose twice as much weight when compared to those which didn’t monitor their food intake through a journal. You should write down the number of calories you intake each day, as well as a list of food items you have consumed. Even better, you can do all of this on your computer, tablet or smartphone, thank to software like FitDay or MyFitnessPal.
You can easily keep track of your muscle growth, as well. Write down the weight you started with. As your build more muscle, you will be capable of handling bigger weights and a larger number of repetitions. You should also write down the weight and the number of reps in your fitness journal, as well, and then compare those results with the results you had when you first started.
If you run on a regular basis, you will develop better stamina that will allow you to do more cardio exercises. Keep in mind to write both the distance you ran, and the time you it took you to run it. Compare the two, and see how much you’ve progressed.
Keep track of how much fat you have lost by measuring your weight once a week. It would be best to avoid measuring yourself every day, as it may turn out to be counterproductive. Once a week should be more than enough.
Also, take a body composition test in regular intervals. It will tell you how much weight you have lost, more specifically, how much muscle you have gained, and how much fat you have lost.
Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
The number on the scale might not be best indicator that your fitness program is progressing the way you want it to. You may notice that, as you start to lift weights, your body weight will actually increase, which might seem discouraging. But, that is a good thing, because muscles in your body are now storing more water and energy, and you weigh more because of the increased lean body weight. That is why should rely on body composition test instead of looking at the number on the scale.
The body composition test is designed to measure the amount of fat on your body, which means you will know how much of your weight is down to fat, and how much of it is down to lean body weight. As your lean body weight increases and your muscles grow, they will require more calories, and you will lose fat much faster. Therefore, your goal should not be a smaller number on the scale, but to decrease the fat percentage.
But, most importantly, always keep track of your progress and watch those excess pounds melt away forever!