One of the best ways to stay motivated when you are starting a new weight loss program, or muscle building for that matter, is to see how you are improving each week. You have probably heard the saying before, nothing motivates like success, and that is 100% spot on. The energy boost you get when you look at the scale and see you have lost 3 pounds after a week of being dedicated to your diet and workout is unbelievable and it just makes you want to be even more dedicated.
But tracking your progress is not just about being motivated; it is also to make sure you are actually getting results. It might sound stupid but you will get people who will follow a program for months on end and never really get any results without even knowing it. They will just think; ahh well I went to the gym and I feel good so I am progressing. But come summer they will still be out of shape or don’t even have a 6 pack to show for 12 months of hard work. If only they tracked their progress they could have seen within a few weeks that they are not moving forward and so need to do something about it.
So make no mistake, your weekly progress is not just important for you to make sure your current program is actually working, it is also one of the best ways to make sure you stay motivated until you have reached your goals. However getting onto the scale is by no means the ONLY way of tracking your progress. Below I will share 5 of the best ways for you to keep an eye on your progress and to make sure you never hit a plateau and feel motivated from day one until the end!
For many people one of their goals will be to actually drop a dress size, especially for the ladies. But even for guys. If you have a pair of jeans that is fitting you currently it could be a good way to try that same pair of jeans on each week to see how it fits and how it is getting loser and loser around your middle. It is a simple yet very effective way of checking your progress.
Of course the scale will be in here and although it has many flaws in that it only shows your weight in total instead of your body fat% or muscle mass, it is still an easy way to see how you are doing. The trick to using a scale correctly is to only use it once per week at the exact same time after the exact same activity or meal. For example, I will weight myself every Friday morning after I did my morning cardio. But remember, drinking a few glasses of water or eating just before you go onto the scale can easily increase the weight drastically and so you won’t have an accurate reading.
The same goes for someone who is doing muscle building. Every week the numbers on the scale will go up but that does not mean he is getting fatter, it is just the extra muscle he is adding.
So the scale is still a good way to track your progress but just keep all the variables in mind.
Your body measurements are another easy yet more accurate way of tracking your progress. You can just use a normal tape measure and measure areas like your waist, hips, shoulders, chest, arms, thighs, and calves. Remember not to take these measurements over your clothes. Keep your muscles and body fully relaxed. Don’t pump up your chest or hold your breath, just relax and then take the measurements.
Then simply write down each measurement and compare it to last week’s numbers.
Tracking your body fat is probably one of the best ways to actually see if you are getting REAL results. With most other things you could be getting skinny, but not actually losing fat which is what you should always be aiming for.
These days you get many body fat % measuring equipment but the best, and most accurate way is to still get a professional to do it. Most trainers should be able to perform a full body composition test.
Try and do this once every 3 to 4 weeks.
Most people are obsessed with their weight and will use it as the only way of tracking their progress and success. However, even if you don’t lose one pound of fat but you start to do some weight training and cardio workouts you will strengthen your heart and become fitter and you will also become stronger and build some muscle. So tracking your fitness and strength levels is another good way of seeing how you are progressing and it will also motivate you like crazy.
The easiest way to track your strength gains is to simply pick a few exercises ( Make sure you always use the exact same ones ), one for each major muscle group like Push-ups, Squats, Pull-ups, sit-ups etc and then see how many you can do in a minute. Each week you can then perform all the exercises and see how you are improving by the increase in the number of reps you can do for each exercise within 60 seconds.
A simple fitness test to do is to measure a route that is around 2 miles long. Then each week you go and jog that exact same route and you should see your time come down every week as you get fitter and fitter.
There are also many other more professional fitness tests you can do and your trainer should also be able to test your fitness.
So there you go 5 simple yet effective ways to track your progress and so stay motivated. Tell us below which technique you like to use and also share any others that you might be using!