HOW TO MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS ?
1) One fine day, you decide you want to get in shape. 2) You decide to go for runs every day for a week. 3) You step on scale to see your weight going down every day..yayy!! you are happy 4) You eat out on one weekend and then step on scale next day to see you have gained weight. 5) You are disappointed, depressed and fall of wagon. 6) Again, after few days you repeat from 1. You will never be able to come out of this vicious cycle of losing some kilos and gaining back the same or even more. The famous quote (by Peter Drucker) “What gets measured gets improved” is 100% true and is applicable in your fitness journey too. So, what should you measure to reach your fitness goals? ✔️ Your Food Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain weight, beware of how many calories you eat on daily basis. Unless you have taken time of tracking your calories and macros for few months, you probably have no clue how many calories you are eating!! It is super important to educate and create awareness on what and how much you are eating. ✔️ Your progress in gym Have a workout program where you track each of your workout sessions, if you are constantly progressing and doing better than your previous sessions you are on the right track. When you embark on your fitness journey, measuring your progress is crucial to know whether what you have been doing is working for you or not. Considering that you are following above mentioned core points, let’s see the parameters you need to consider to track your fitness progress. 1) Scale When you lose weight, you lose more than fat (muscle + water +fat). Losing muscle is not good for you, you will have to preserve it as much as you can. You can lose weight but losing fat takes more time than you think. The number you see when you stand on scale does not define you or your progress. Lesser hydration (causes water retention), improper sleep, stress, hormonal imbalance, menstrual cycle, illness, diseases, change in your glycogen levels (1 gm of glycogen holds 3 to 4 gms of water), increased sodium/salt intake (causes water retention); in some scenarios muscle gain may be outweighing fat loss. These can be some of the reasons for your weight fluctuations. So, do not let scale trick you! Since weight fluctuates on day to day basis, considering your weekly average weight loss would be better. Your weight will also fluctuate in grams and kilos throughout the day. So, measure yourself at the same time and under same conditions - best time would be in the morning after your bowel movement before eating or drinking anything. 2) Take your body measurements On weekly basis take your body circumference measurement of each body part (shoulders, chest, waist, abdomen, hips, thighs, biceps). When you see number on your scale not moving, inch loss assures you are losing your bodyfat. 3) Take your pictures Take your front, side and back profile pictures. It will be difficult to notice changes on daily basis. However, if you have week to week photos to look back, you will be able to see whether you are transforming in right way. 4) The fit of your clothes Using your clothes to keep track of your progress is one of the simplest ways to do. Pick one pair of pants and a shirt that fit tight on you. Try on the same after few weeks and check how they feel and where they are loose. The fit of your clothes indicates whether or not you have lost inches, whether or not there has been change in your body composition. 5) Measure your Body Fat Percentage Depending on your financial situation, you can opt for simple body fat caliper or body pod test or DEXA scan to know your body fat percentage and track them throughout your fitness journey. Remember, no test is 100% accurate in determining your body fat percentage. However, you can track changes in your body fat. Again, do not rely on specific number, what is important is how it is changing from month to month. 6) Track your Strength / Performance in gym If you can squat 100 kgs for 8 reps now, after few weeks if you are still squatting the same weight with same reps, then you must seriously look into your diet and training. However, if you able to squat 105 kgs for 8 reps, then you have obviously gained some muscle and strength. If you did 3 sets of 10 push-ups, total 30. Next week or so you must be able to do 31 total push-ups. This is progress. So have a plan and log your training sessions, so that your sessions get better each passing day. 7) Track your other Non-Scale Victories (NSV) Non-Scale Victories are those that cannot be measured using a set of scales. They help us to shift our focus from numbers to finding value in our body because of the things they enable us to do. Log your NSV to track your progress in your fitness journey. Few NSVs are: You feel energized; Your tend to be more happier; Your joints do not hurt anymore; Your endurance is improving; You see more muscle definition; You are enjoying your workouts; You feel stronger; You are drinking more water; You are eating more vegetables and whole foods; Your digestion has improved; Your blood work has improved; Your medications has reduced; You have healthy skin and healthy hair; Your relationship with food got better; You gained confidence; Your cognitive function improved; You stress levels reduced; Your sleep is good and many more. I hope you will start considering above mentioned parameters to track your fitness progress and not just watch your scale move.