Think back to the numerous times you’ve set upon a new goal and the number of times you reached a goal in comparison to the times you threw in the towel. Now think, what processes did you have in place to ensure you achieved your goals those times you failed? Did you consistently track your journey through any number of means or did you follow a more relaxed approach with little to no direction throughout?
You may have heard of the saying “What gets measured gets improved” and how accurate this saying is. Measuring your progress is absolute key if you want to get the best results. When we consistently track, or measure our progress you will notice:
- Improved Focus
By measuring your progress it enables you to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind and your eyes on the prize. Whereas, failing to measure implies your goals are out of reach or not as important, thus often getting forgotten about.
- What Works & What Doesn’t
With so many different diets, training styles and weight loss advice out there you need to find what works for you. Ideally, something that is sustainable for your own individual lifestyle. Inevitably, measuring your progress consistently gives you the ability to create the best plan possible and make adjustments when necessary.
- The Little Wins
You may have a goal to drop 10kg. By measuring your progress consistently you are able to see how far you’ve come as well as keep you motivated and focused to continue towards your goals. Remember: All progress is progress no matter how small.
So what’s the best way to measure your progress? Well, that all depends.. Ideally you’d like to implement a few different methods, but most importantly you want to implement methods that are easy and suited to your individual circumstances.
- Weighing Yourself
Probably the most common method of tracking, however not the most important. Weighing yourself is an easy and convenient way to track weight loss or gain. However it is important to remember there is a difference between weight loss and fat loss. You could hypothetically lose fat but the scales could remain the same due to lean muscle gain.
If you are someone who is easily triggered by the numbers on the scales this may not be the best method for you.
- Taking Photos
While changes may be more subtle in between photos if not taken far enough apart, they are a great visual tool to see how much change has occurred in body composition. Just be sure to take photos at the same time of day, in the same lighting and wearing the same outfits to allow for a clear comparison. If you find taking photos minimal clothing intimidating try taking snaps in firm fitting leggings and singlet or a bodycon type dress.
One of the more time consuming methods, but a highly recommended method if building lean muscle is your goal! All that’s needed is a trusty sewing tape and preferably a helping hand for accuracy. The more common measuring points include Chest, Biceps, Waist, Abdomen, Hips and Thighs, but depending on your individual goals you can include things like Glutes and Calves too. Measurements should be completed at regular intervals, every 3-4 weeks for best comparisons.
Those snug pair of jeans, the belt that’s reached it’s last hole or the dress with the zip that just won’t go all the way up. these clothes are the perfect item to measure your progress. Monitor each week with how they gradually fit differently or hopefully even end up becoming too big and baggy every week or two.
- InBody Scanners
A method that is becoming more and more popular with community based gyms, the InBody scanner is a machine that is able to measure a number of parameters including Body Fat Mass, Lean Muscle Mass, Water Levels and Visceral Fat. Time efficient at 1 minute to perform, and non invasive, however they can range from anywhere from $25 to $60 per scan. Scans should be spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart for best comparisons.
It’s important to remember, progress isn’t always visual. Try your best to avoid fixating on one method and instead implement multiple methods you can consistently and conveniently track in regular intervals.
- Health Markers
Often overlooked, a good diet paired with regular exercise is proven to improve a host of health markets including, but not limited to Blood Pressure, Iron Levels and Cholesterol that can all be measured and improved through monitoring results from your GP.
- Bio Feedback
It is just as important to track the mental changes that occur on your journeys as it is to track the physical changes. Tracking things like Sleep, Libido, Energy Levels, Mood can be directly related with your training and nutrition and as such can improve greatly with consistent adherence.
- Strength and Cardio Endurance
Setting fitness related goals can be a great tool in helping you fast track towards achieving your goals, but also in measuring your progress. Using an app like Trainerize where you can record your workouts; sets, reps, weight performed can be a game changer in ensuring you are progressing in your exercises each session.
No matter what methods or tools you use it must be convenient and easy to complete, or you simply won’t do it. The best methods will be the one’s that suit your lifestyle and make you feel good! In the end, if you trust the program, you’ll soon look up and see that you’re a lot closer to your goal than you originally were!