How To Measure Fitness Progress
Measuring progress is something I am asked about quite often. We want to see progress to prove that our efforts are productive and worth it. It indicates whether we are pushing ourselves properly. There are so many ways to measure progress, so many variables, so many results. The most important thing to consider when desiring results is to realize that it takes consistent and continual effort over time to see progress. Let me reiterate that - it takes effort and time. Without one or either of these factors, progress will be severely limited.
To measure progress, you must first determine your goals. Are you aiming to tone up? Do you want to lose fat? How about gain muscle mass? Do you want to look good in a bikini? Where do you want to see progress? Is it more than just outer results? When we first start with our goals, we can then pair them with a progress indicator.
Before and After pictures
No matter whether you want to lose weight or gain weight, I always advise taking before and after pictures. Although they can seem frightening or awkward, these pictures can be a huge indicator of progress. I can remember taking my first before picture for the Tone It Up Bikini Series. After the challenge, I took my after pictures and was shocked when I compared the two. I didn’t realize how much physical progress I had made in 8 short weeks. We see ourselves in the mirror every day chi makes it quite difficult to view changes in our body over time. These before and after pictures help so much! They also hold you accountable. When you take before pictures, you become more determined to take a good after picture.
Body Weight increase or decrease
Weigh yourself. This is a tricky one. To be completely honest, I use my scale maybe once a quarter. After struggling with an eating disorder and having an obsession over my weight, I know it is healthier for me to only weight myself in larger time increments. There is definitely an art to weighing yourself. It’s important to step on the scale around the same time each time - morning and evening weights can drastically differ - I mean hello DINNER, water, and maybe a little wine, too. Another thing to consider is that muscle ways more than fat. I lost 25 lbs over my health journey but recently I’ve gained 5 lbs back of muscle! So be wary of weighing yourself, but it can be a good indicator for overall health.
Dumbbell weight used increase
This is great way to measure physical fitness progress. Increasing your weight can prove how you are getting stronger. Increasing your weights can reveal how your muscles have adapted to your exercises and strengthened because of your effort. I remember starting out with just 10 lbs for leg exercises, but my goals have changed slightly and I now use 20-50 lbs for legs days. The weight you chose depends on your goals but as a standard rule, try to use a weight that is quite difficult to complete the last two reps of a set.
Less fatigued during exercises
This is one of my favorite ways to judge progress. Switching up your routine and trying new exercises or sports will challenge your body drastically. It keeps your body on your toes - literally - so it doesn’t get accustomed to a particular exercise. When you continually challenge yourself, you can feel less fatigued during your workouts. Keep in mind, this can be seen in a variety of ways. You could require less time between sets, or maybe you increases the number of reps you are able to perform. Be mindful that your workouts are taken at different paces and you could be shortening your rest or increasing your intensity without even realizing it! When you are less fatigues, your body is capable of more.
Don’t get down on yourself for not seeing the progress you desire. Stick with it. So many factors influence progress. Give it time. Give yourself time. Give it your all. Keep pushing through obstacles.