Analysing, monitoring and Tracking your progress.

When undertaking any fitness, weight loss or healthy eating programme, it is essential that you have an accurate and accessible means of measuring your progress for motivation, to ensure development and to keep you working towards the realisation of your goals.

Tracking Your Progress – These are some measurements we suggest you record regularly:

  • Weight and height
  • BMI (Weight in Kg, divided by Height squared in m)
  • Waist to hip ratio (measure waist at belly button and hips at widest point, divide waist by hips; a ratio of 0.95 or less is good)
  • Muscle measurements (Regularly measure the largest muscle groups; Biceps, Pectorals, Quadriceps, Calves, Stomach)

Taking these measurements once a week will give you a fair assessment of how you are working towards your goals and the speed at which you are making progress. Developing your own training programme.

“Be diligent and intelligent, Diligence promptly executes what intelligence thinks through. Haste is the falling of fools – they know not the obstacles and set to work without preparation.” The Art Of Worldly Wisdom – Balthasar Gracian

Tracking Your Progress – Helpful tips for building your own sessions

  1. When planning your own sessions, the first thing to consider is your goals; make sure your session corresponds exactly to the goals you are setting out.
  2. Always be prepared to challenge yourself BUT remain realistic in your capabilities. Challenge yourself in a reasonable and healthy manner with your goals in mind.
  3. Don’t plan a session that ends up being too long and you can’t complete. Be reasonable and consider your time constraints because not completing a workout can be very demotivating and unrewarding.
  4. Research the best exercises and training methods to suit your goals. The internet is a limitless source of health and fitness tips and information. Sieve through the infomercials and advertising and find out what the professionals do; sportspeople, bodybuilders, friends who have been successful.
  5. Don’t be scared to try something new. If it doesn’t work for you, you can drop it and replace it with something more appropriate. Provided you are honest in your analysis of your training, you can easily break down which training methods work for you and which don’t.

Tracking Your Progress – Methods

If you are looking for a great way to analyse your performance, your fitness, your strength and your power, then why not try progress charts? By creating a simple chart that covers a variety of exercises at different repetition volumes, you can discover all you need to know and map your progress to decipher what requires improvement and where you aren’t progressing. Remember on every exercise, cheated repetitions DO NOT count. Be honest when assessing your progress, it will be better for your motivation, safer for your body and give you better foundations to build upon.

Try creating a chart similar to this one…

Exercise Volume/Repetitions Volume Repetitions
Resistance 1 Repetition Max 10 Repetition Max
Bench Press
Barbell Squat
Overhead Shoulder Press
Dumbbell Fly
Bicep Curl
Cardio Speed over 1000m Distance in 10 minutes
Rowing Machine
Cross Trainer
Treadmill
Exercise Bike

It is also helpful to monitor your strength, endurance and fitness in different environments or using other methods like bodyweight training. A great example of a progress chart to use would be:

Exercise Repetitions To Failure Repetitions within 2 mins
Press Ups
Sit Ups
Squats
Burpees
Cardio 10,000m (10km) Time Distance in 30 mins
Jogging
Cycling

There are so many viable methods of monitoring your progress and it is ultra important to never let the results of any get you down and to avoid becoming fixated on a specific measurement and letting it bring you down or demotivate you if you aren’t as successful as you would like to be. Other sensible and simple ways of monitoring your progress include:

  • Clothing Sizes
  • Mood and Attitude
  • Medical Health
  • Functional Day To Day Fitness (Ease at which you perform day to day tasks)
  • Sporting Performance
  • Appearance In The Mirror

Tracking Your Progress – Reaching a Plateau

Has your training plateaued? Have you reached a point whereby you don’t seem to be making gains, bulking up, improving strength, speed, losing weight or adding definition? It happens to everybody, that’s your body telling you that it’s bored and it needs a new challenge. It’s become used to your current training schedule, it can handle it, it needs something to “spice things up”.

Cardiovascular Training:

If you’re a regular cardio trainer, and you’re in need of a change to your routine, here is 3 simple alternatives or changes you can make to continue reaching your goals:

  1. Swap disciplines. If you’re running, add cycling to your routine, try boxing, kickboxing, badminton, swimming, use machines. Just vary your current routine and ensure you mix in enough different disciplines to make it effective for you. (Commonly known as cross training).
  2. Find yourself a muscular endurance supplement offering you a carbohydrate and protein hit. This added fuel could be enough to take you past your limits.
  3. Try and use a different training method to the one you currently use. Mix intervals, continuous, fartlek, pyramid systems and increased resistance/incline etc.

Resistance Training:

If you are a regular resistance trainer looking to develop strength, size and power, here is 3 simple alternatives or changes you can make to continue reaching your goals:

  1. Try new exercises. Don’t get stuck following the same routine of exercises week in week out. Scientific evidence suggests that you should alter your training regime every 4-6 weeks in order to continue achieving results.
  2. Change your training methods. Add supersets, tri-sets, circuits, alternate agonist and antagonist muscles (eg. biceps and triceps) pyramid sets, drop sets, alternating your approach to muscular training means you will achieve maximum muscle fibre recruitment.
  3. Alternate weights, sets and repetitions. Don’t constantly work with one set up in mind. Heavy weights, low reps, low sets can be swapped occasionally for Low weights, high reps, high sets. You can alternate between these in the same workout. The more methods you can put together of challenging your muscles, the more muscle fibre recruitment you will attain and as therefore the better your results will be.

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