With your fitness journey, there are a million ways to track your progress + growth. There’s no need to track everything, so it all comes down to which goals you want to accomplish. It’s best to start small with specific FitGoals, + those can direct your personal assessments —
1] LOSE WEIGHT
SCALE // BMI
Many people say they want to lose weight, so the scale becomes the most common way to track progress. One pound consists of 3,500 calories, so you’ll either have to burn off 3,500 excess calories to lose a pound or eat a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose a pound. Your weight combined with your height can determine a ratio that is your body mass index (BMI). Still, a number on the scale [or BMI] is simply that — a number ++ it may not tell the complete story of your health. If you’re gaining muscle, you will actually be gaining weight, but gaining muscle typically improves your metabolism so that you burn fat faster than you would otherwise.
Another way to measure weight loss is through composition. You can measure this in a variety of ways, like with skin-fold tests // calipers or handheld devices. These measure how much fat is stored in your body in comparison to lean muscle mass + your bones. Women’s bodies need 10-12% body fat, but even athletic // fit women need 14-24% body fat. 25-30% body fat is considered the average, healthy body fat percentage. Still, these are all relative + do not reflect who you are.
You can also use measurements to track your weight loss progress. You can use a tape measure for your waist, hips, thighs, arms, neck, + more, tracking over time to see what areas are changing. Changes can be from weight loss or muscle gain, ++ there might actually be a net change of zero if you’re losing fat while gaining muscle!
BEFORE // AFTER PHOTOS
Another way to visibly track your progress is through before // after photos. Make sure you’re being consistent with how you take these photos since the mirror can deceive with certain poses, lighting, + clothing. Choose a standard outfit [maybe a basic sports bra + shorts, or your fave Fitionista gear!] + wear that for every picture. Be honest [+ patient!] with yourself, especially since changes will not occur overnight.
2] GAIN STRENGTH
Before your track your strength, maybe you want to track your activity level. Keep a journal to see how much you’re going to the gym [maybe it’s 3 days or 6 days] + how long you’re spending there [maybe it’s 20 minutes or it’s an hour] ++ see over time how this number changes. Longer isn’t necessarily better. You can do a quick HIIT workout in 10 minutes that might be more effective than a steady-state sweat sesh for an hour. Track your progress.
Tracking your strength is always subjective since we all have *off* days. Still, our Fit Test is a great way to see where you’re improving on different exercises. If you track them, you can maintain personal records [PRs] regarding how much weight you’re squatting or benching, or even how fast you’re running! Always be challenging yourself + know that you can probably lift a liiittle more than you might expect ; )
3] TRACKING FOOD
You can track your food intake in a handwritten journal or in a multitude of apps, like myFitnessPal. You can see exactly what your macronutrients + calories are while setting specific goals for each. You can see your progress over time + what areas you need to improve [like maybe eating more protein!]. If you find yourself obsessively tracking your food [every single bite!], you might want to focus on other goals to avoid disordered eating. It’s important to be aware of what you’re actually putting in your body, but at the end of the day, you want to enjoy your food!
4] MANAGE YOUR TIME
We <3 planners, whether handwritten or on an app, to keep us productive + managing our time efficiently. But how do we track our progress? First, write down your top priorities for every day. Whether it’s school, work, sleep, exercise, *me-time,* or socializing, write down how much time you think you should be spending on each — making sure they add up to 24 hours! Then, evaluate your day // week with each hour as a percentage of your time. See how much time you’re actually spending in comparison to what you think. Make note of what you’re spending too much time on [maybe social media?] + what you need more of [possibly sleep?!] ++ adjust your daily schedule accordingly. It’s your life + your time — take ownership + accomplish what you need to do to be your best self!
5] IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH
Through mindfulness, it’s possible to track your mental health. Like a food diary, an emotion journal can be a great way to track your highs + lows. There are also different apps like Optimism to track your symptoms, coping strategies, triggers, + overall moods. Even better, you can track your mental health through accomplishing other goals, like your FitGoals! Your ability to overcome any challenge can mean far more than you may realize.
Still, sometimes the greatest ways to track your progress are non-scale victories [NSV] — how your clothes fit, how much energy you have, ++ how happy you feel on a regular basis. This is your journey to be your happiest + healthiest self, ++ your potential to grow is infinite <3
++ Mary K