Do you ever wonder why 2 people who appear to be doing the same thing have drastically different results? They both work out regularly and eat well yet one guy is lean and muscular and the other is, well,… just average.
What is it that sets them apart? Honestly, more often than not it comes down to this…you can’t know what you don’t track. This means you can’t know if you’re;
A lot of your ultimate success in your quest to change your body will come down to your ability to train and eat consistently with one goal in mind at a time.
More than this it comes down to your ability to understand your situation and make tweaks based on the feedback your body is giving you. This might mean increasing or decreasing your calories, tweaking your gym routine or allowing yourself more time to recover.
Whatever it is you’re not going to know unless you track your progress.
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For the best results, you want to build a complete snapshot of how you’re progressing using multiple different data sets. This will allow you to not only understand what’s happening but also to identify the possible causes.
For this reason, I recommend you track 5 different stats at varying intervals for the best results.
There’s a growing trend of fitness gurus saying that you don’t need to weigh yourself or that you shouldn’t weigh yourself, because “you’re not your scale weight”.
Firstly, you are your scale weight. There’s no way you could not be, that weight on the scales is what makes your physical body, like it or not that weight is you in a literal sense. Get over it, move past it and work to change it.
However, this doesn’t mean the number you see on the scale is the sum of who you are as a person.
This being said, for a lot of people the reality is that your weight is more closely linked to how you feel than you’d care to admit and stepping on a scale (although a strong visual reminder) is not going to change that. Working hard towards your goal will change it.
The key is to treat the scale as a tool, a piece of equipment in the same way you do weights in the gym or your running shoes. Use it to inform your fitness journey not your character. With this in mind, this is how you want to track your weight for the best results.
If you need to grab yourself some bathroom scales here’s what I recommend.
Related: Why Your Weight Fluctuates
Body measurements allow you to see things the scale doesn’t show.
For example, when losing fat you want your waist to reduce in size whilst maintaining the size in the rest of your body. This indicates fat loss with minimal muscle loss.
When building muscle you want your waist to increase as slowly as possible whilst seeing slow but steady changes in the rest of your body. This indicates muscle gain with minimal fat gain.
When it comes to taking body measurements I find it’s useful to have something that allows you to do it with needing someone else’s assistance. I personally use this measuring tape and think it’s fantastic, easy to use and reliable.
I don’t know about you but there have been more times than I care to count where I stood in front of the mirror and sworn I look exactly the same as I did 4 weeks ago.
It’s like my mind is playing tricks on me. I feel like nothing has changed. If you’ve felt the same, then you know what I mean.
Whether you realise it or not over the course of every single day you see yourself in the mirror or reflections over and over again. Some are purposeful i.e. getting ready in the morning, other times not so much i.e. catching a glance of yourself in a shop window reflection as you walk past.
All of this means that you are taking in the small day to day changes in your body a day at a time, creating a flowing narrative where you are just you. In other words, it’s very hard for you to objectively recognise the accumulation of small differences in your body over time.
This is where photos come into play.
Related: 5 Reasons You’re Not Building Muscle
Nutrition plays a huge role in your ability to make and sustain progress in your pursuit of changing how you look and feel. The key to effecting these changes is controlling your total calorie intake and the macronutrient ratios that make up this calorie intake.
Problems arise when you trying to estimate your calorie intake, eyeball the food your eating and generally guess at things. This is especially true for beginners or those without much experience in counting calories.
Look for a recommendation for food scales? I’ve got you covered, click here.
The key to getting stronger, building more muscle and then retaining that muscle mass in a calorie deficit is your ability to consistently apply progressive overload.
Progressive overload is the act of continually putting your body under more stress than it is used to. You can do this by;
However, if you’re not keeping a detailed workout journal of each of your sessions then how do you know if you’re applying progressive overload? The short answer is you don’t and that’s a problem.
Tracking your progress is about using all the tools you have at your disposal to give you as complete a picture of possible.
This allows you to know exactly what’s happening and why it’s happening, which in turn gives you the knowledge you need to make changes as and when necessary.
The 5 key ways to track your progress are;