Too often I see gym goers take a lazy approach to their fitness journey. Many think eating “healthy” and going to gym is all they need to make progress. I wish it could be that easy.
I cannot stress enough the importance of tracking your progress, and I don’t mean just stepping on the scale every morning and freaking out every time it goes up half a kg.
Here are some tips to ensure results are locked in and you aren’t sweating away your progress.
Tip 1: Weight Scales
Be consistent with your check ins
These are a great place to start, however, they are only a tool and not the only determinant of your progress. The best way to track your weight is to jump on the scales the first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom. Track this every morning and write it down on your phone or on paper. Once you record Sunday’s weigh in you will have 7 different numbers.
Eg: Day 1: 70.5, Day 2: 70.1, Day 3: 70.4, Day 4: 70.2, Day 5: 70.3, Day 6: 70.9, Day 7: 70.6.
Add all weight check ins and divide it by 7 (7 days).
Total weight: 493 divided by 7 = 70.42 is your weekly average.
If your goal is to lose weight I recommend 0.5kg weight loss a week.
If you're trying to put on weight try for 0.25kg per week.
The importance of tracking weight daily is essential as weight fluctuates all the time due to stress, hydration, sleep and many other factors.
Tip 2: Measuring Tape
The number on the scales does not define you
Although the scales are a great tool, it is essential to also use a measuring tape to measure your body circumference.
Here are a few places I recommend measuring:
- Neck (around the mid point)
- Shoulders (both arms down at your side, at the widest point from shoulder to shoulder)
- Chest (lift up your arms, wrap the tape measure around your chest, just above the nipple, and then lower your arms)
- Biceps (both left and right)
- Waist (at the belly button for consistency)
- Quadriceps (both left and right)
Track these at the front of your workout journal. Track once a month to see the changes you have made.
Tip 3: Workout Journal
Progressive overload is the key to results
Too often I see the same faces in the gym lifting the same weight all year round. They usually look the same.
Each workout, keep a log of what you do. When you are set to complete that workout next time make sure it is different in some way.
You may do more weight or more reps on any given exercise. If you can increase weight or reps, add another set. This will ensure your body is challenged and therefore tearing muscle fibres.
Tip 4: Rest and Recovery
Give yourself time to recover
To ensure your muscles can recover and rebuild from your workouts you need to rest! Some sources state a muscle group needs at least 24-48 hours to recover before training that muscle group again. However this varies from person to person.
Resting 1-2 days a week from the gym is advised. Also ensure you don’t train the same body part back to back. Give it rest and it will grow or tone.
Tip 5: Nutrition
I’m sure everyone has heard “Abs are made in the kitchen” or “You can’t out train a bad diet”
This is the key to muscle growth or fat loss. Your diet should include a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. I won’t go too in depth here but you need to ensure you are filling your diet up with nutrient dense foods and limited processed food.
Put simply you need to be in a:
- Calorie surplus for muscle gain = Consuming more energy than your body needs
- Calorie deficit for fat loss = Burning more energy then your body needs
You can either track using a food journal or via the touch of your mobile phone.
My favourite app is MyFitnessPal (free), however there are many others.
Once all these steps are in place you are on track to achieving the results you deserve. Don’t make the mistakes I and many others have made. Kick start your progress for 2018!