Do you ever walk into the gym without knowing what exercises you’re going to do? Have you ever set up the squat rack and then had to contemplate what weight you should be pushing? It can seem like a small thing, but these moments of indecision can slow your progress immensely.
The truth is, most people who have been working out for years don’t just walk into the gym without a plan. You never run into them holding a pen and paper calculating how many bicep curls they should do, but that’s only because, by this point, they already know. Until you know how good you are, you’ll never know how great you can be. If you’re looking to make significant progress, you absolutely have to track your statistics.
Benefits of Tracking Your Progress
Tracking your progress is instrumental in designing workouts and diets to help you reach your goal. Not to mention the morale boost it gives you. Tracking your progress keeps you motivated by showing you how much you have already accomplished, and making it clear what your next short-term goals should be. It also helps you understand how well different routines and diets work for your body and your goal. It even reinforces healthy habits because it forces you to spend time thinking about your body and your health.
Track your progress so that every time you walk into the gym, you’re ready to make informed decisions about what to do next.
How to Track Your Progress
There are multiple ways to stay up-to-date on your progress, but it depends on what your goals are. For instance, if you simply want to lose weight, it has been proven that the most effective strategy is to keep track of your caloric intake. If you’re looking to build muscle, you’ll probably want to start by bulking up and focusing on increasing your one-rep-max weight. If you want to be faster on the track, on the field, or in the pool, you’ll want to constantly push your average times lower and lower.
Technology has made it easier than ever to keep track of your fitness. The widespread popularity of the Fitbit is a testament to this. However, there are plenty of less expensive and more specialized fitness trackers available.
Runners and weightlifters aren’t the only ones who benefit from a good fitness tracker. For instance, swimmers won’t benefit from a pedometer function, but they would greatly benefit from knowing how many strokes it takes to finish a lap. That’s why there are even fully waterproof fitness trackers designed specifically for measuring your progress in the pool.
If you’re looking to lose weight, there are also great options for measuring your heart rate and how many calories you’re burning. While on the topic of calories, you can also benefit from using a good calorie counting app. Poring over nutritional labels gets old quick, but these apps are already programmed with the average calorie count of most standard foods. They even have the calorie counts of brand-name processed foods and fast food items, so you can keep maintaining your diet on the go.
What to do with your records of progress
These devices will record your information for you, making your workout planning much easier. However, this information serves you no good unless you use it. Make sure you stay up-to-date on your progress and use your data to determine what’s working and what isn’t. When something is working really well, keep doing it! Don’t forget to reward yourself once you’ve reached your goals, you deserve it.