How To Track Your Progress
Tracking your health and fitness progress makes you 2X more likely to reach your goals.
Progress tracking is a fantastic way to keep you motivated, consistent, and moving in the right direction.
Research shows simply tracking your fitness progress improves the consistency of the daily behaviors needed to reach your goal.
It also allows you to see what's working and what needs to be adjusted when it comes to reaching your goals.
The problem is, many of us make the mistake of not tracking anything, tracking the wrong areas, or focusing solely on one aspect progress. Then if we don't see improvement in that area, we quickly lose momentum and motivation. That's when many of us quit.
But what if we really were making progress? What if we were just focused on the wrong areas of progress?
A great example of this would be only measuring your progress using the scale.
Many of us have a weight loss goal. Say you want to lose 30lbs. Naturally you would think to hop on the scale each day to see how things are progressing.
The reason this scale-only approach can cause frustration and many people to quit their efforts is that the scale is only one piece of the progress tracking puzzle. In fact, this lack of scale progress is one of the leading reasons why people quit their health and fitness routine.
First, it doesn't focus on the things that lower your body weight. As we know, stepping on the scale each day isn't going to make you lose weight. It's the actions you take each day like exercising, improving your strength, cooking more meals from home, sleeping better, hydrating, etc. These small daily rituals are the things that add up to weight-loss.
What if we also focused on tracking those areas? What if we measured how consistent we were with the things that cause us to change and improve? (More on this below)
The scale also doesn't show the entire picture. Your weight on the scale encompasses your entire body-weight. That includes things like your bones, water, fat, and muscle. So what if you're working out, gaining muscle (which weighs more than fat), and burning fat? The scale might not move a ton or as quick as you'd like but now you're sleeping better, you have more energy, your overall health is improving, and your clothes are fitting differently. Just focusing on the scale puts your blinders on to all the other areas that are improving.
To help you get started reaching your goals, here are the 6 best ways to track your progress.
They are easy to measure, great for keeping you motivated, and ensure that you're making progress.
1| Body-Fat Percentage
Tracking your body-fat percentage is the gold standard for measuring progress. It calculates what percentage of your overall body-weight is fat and what percentage of your overall body-weight is muscle.
When we start a new workout routine, especially in the DSC workouts, we are building muscle as we burn fat.
A traditional scale does not differentiate fat from muscle, so even if you are losing fat, you might be gaining muscle at the same rate.
For some people in their first month or so of training, the scale may not change which can be discouraging. The kicker is, you can still be making incredible progress!
The scale gives you a total number of what is inside your body, regardless of the changes being made.
With that being said another great option if you have access to it is to get your body testing done with a machine like our InBody Scale here at DSC. Obtain your initial values on body fat and lean muscle percentages, then see how you change every few months.
The results can be pretty amazing!
2| How Your Clothes Are Fitting
A huge part of tracking progress is through how your clothes are fitting you.
When making working out more consistent, it can, on average, take us about 4 weeks to notice changes in ourselves.
Trying on clothes is a great opportunity to notice these changes and celebrate them!
Maybe you notice a pair of pants isn't as snug anymore.
A new t-shirt feels more comfortable to wear.
This is a big part of that shift in body-fat percentage as you lose fat and build strength. Your body will start to change shape, tone up, and shrink in certain areas.
This. Is. Progress.
3| Daily Energy
Another great way to measure progress is noticing changes in your energy levels.
For many people at DSC, this was the first time or the first time in a long time that they had participated in a regular fitness routine.
One of the biggest changes that they felt was in their energy levels throughout the day.
The DSC workouts drastically improved their energy in ways such as:
- Keeping up with young children or animals
- Not needing as many caffeinated beverages throughout the day
- More energy during their workouts
- Not getting hit with the "3pm slump"
These simple acts make a huge difference in people's lives all because they have more energy throughout the day.
4| Strength and Fitness
One of the best ways to track your progress is to track how strong you are getting and how your fitness is improving both in and out of the gym.
In the gym, track your progress in the following areas:
Noticing if you are increasing your weights from week to week (improved strength)
Performing more difficult exercises like push-ups with more ease (improved strength)
Attempting a harder variation of an exercise (improved strength and workout performance)
Improving your range-of-motion or technique with an exercise (improved strength)
Increasing how long you can hold an exercise like a plank or how far you can walk/run (fitness)
Increasing the pace or intensity of an exercise (fitness)
Take less breaks during your workout (fitness)
Increasing the duration of your workout
If you have done one or any of those in that list, then you are getting stronger, which is PROGRESS!
Another way to look at your strength is how it pertains to your daily life. Some examples of this are asking questions like:
Is it easier to carry bags of groceries?
Are you able to walk up the stairs without feeling out of breath?
Can you move a little faster or go further on your walk?
Can you pick up your kids/grandkids/animals a little easier?
These are all great markers of strength and fitness progress!
5| Habit Consistency
When it comes to fitness success, consistency is the name of the game.
If you want lose weight, the more consistent you can be with your healthy eating and workout habits the better your weight loss results will be.
One way to ensure you're making progress is to track your consistency.
Think about a few areas of your health and fitness that you want to improve and be more consistent with. This could be something like making healthy breakfasts, packing your lunch for work, completing your workout, and/or going for a walk.
Write those habits down on a piece of paper or a calendar. Every time you complete those habits, check them off on your calendar.
This does a few things like provide visual reminders to complete your daily habits, provide immediate feedback that they are completed, and show that you are making progress towards your goals.
6| Progress Photos
Our final and favorite way to track progress at DSC is through before and after pictures.
Progress pictures give you an outsider look at how you have transformed through the DSC workouts.
They show the previous, awesome version of yourself next to the current, incredible version!
The side by side presentations give you a visual insight into how your body has changed through your hard work at DSC.
Keep them to yourself or share them with others, but know that these changes are happening even if the scale isn't moving.