Lona here to talk to you about tracking your progress.
Growth usually happens so gradually that from one day to another, it’s almost impossible to notice any big differences in your progress. If you decide to start training for something today, for example, it won’t miraculously be easier already tomorrow. Yet, if you wait a few months, you might be signing up for your first marathon with little to no memory of how hard that first 5k felt.
Somewhere in-between, there were a million little moments where you chose to endure the pain, push your boundaries and force yourself to expand. Each of these moments is a win worth celebrating – a milestone of progress.
For some people, working out regularly is a big enough reward in itself. For others, failing to recognize the milestones in-between quickly leads to frustration and makes them feel like they are not getting anywhere. Actively tracking progress can be helpful in this sense because it highlights the small wins in a way that makes them hard to ignore.
In the studio, we have different ways of measuring progress. For example, we can use the power meters attached to our bikes during a spin class to track distance, calories burned, and power output (watts). For Power classes, we can keep track of the number, time and color of the springs that we add while we do different exercises. As you get stronger, you’ll notice that you can adjust the springs on your Xformer to make your exercises more challenging. Something as simple as keeping a note on your phone can be a good enough way to keep tabs on this development.
During these lockdown times however, as we do our online bootcamps and go for runs or bike rides outside, tracking becomes a bit more challenging. If you find numbers and statistics helpful to keep you motivated, here are some ways we suggest keeping track of your workout progress at home:
There are plenty of great apps out there to help you track your progress in all areas of your health and fitness journey. There is an app for everything from keeping track of your distances & speeds during an outdoor run or bike ride, to tracking how many reps at what weight you were able to do. There are also plenty of apps for tracking your weight if that is one of your goals. Here are a few suggestions to get you started but there are many more out there to explore!
– Couch to 5k Trainer
This app was designed for absolute beginners to help you get off the couch and running a 5k in 9 weeks. This app doesn’t only help you measure progress, but it also helps you make it happen.
– Map My Run
This app tracks most of the same things that other running apps do, such as distance and speed, but it also comes with a voice coaching feature and gives you stats to help you improve – for even faster progress.
Despite the name, this app isn’t just for running. It also allows you to keep track of your time, distance covered, speed, calories, elevation and more in a whole variety of different sports from running to cycling or even skiing.
– My Fitness Pal
For the most part, we aren’t a big fan of calorie counting. However, if weightloss is one of your goals, it can be useful to keep track of what you are eating. My Fitness Pal is a great place to track what you’re eating and how your weight is progressing. You can also keep track of your workouts in this app.
2. Keep a Workout Journal
If you’re not a big fan of apps, you can opt for a workout journal instead. You can keep track of many of the same things with an old school pen and paper – just make sure that you don’t forget, since your workout journal may not always be on hand like your phone would be!
3. Fitness & Strength Tests
If you’re mainly doing bootcamps or weight training, you can use strength tests to measure your improvement over time. These tests vary but usually involve doing a set exercise or series of exercises for a certain amount of time or with a certain amount of weight. You repeat the same test every couple of weeks and track how many more repetitions you are able to do in the same time.
One example is the Insanity Fit Test. This test does not require any equipment and you can find it online with all of the instructions and a sheet to help you track. You can also find many other types of tests for every muscle group or type of fitness you can imagine. Find one that you like and repeat it once or twice a month to see how you’re doing!
Another great way to help you track your progress and measure the impact of your effort is by wearing one of the many different kinds of fitness watches & devices out there. The great thing about wearing a fitness watch like a Fitbit, for example, is that you don’t limit tracking to only when you’re in an actual workout. These devices give you a better idea of your overall daily activity, as well as things like your sleep quality. Some of the most popular fitness watch brands out there are Fitbit or Garmin. Depending on what you want to track and also what you prefer aesthetically, you can pick the one that’s best for you!
Although tools like these can be super helpful to help keep you motivated, we do want to stress that numbers aren’t everything. Don’t forget to listen to yourself & tune in to how you are feeling as well.
Feeling strong, healthy and happy should always be priority number one regardless of what any app or device is telling you!