How do you know if your diet plan and/or workout plan is paying the efforts you’re putting? A question you should know the answer to, and that’s exactly what we are going to tell you in this article, so keep on reading.
Why Measure Progress?
Whether in fitness or not; measuring progress is one of the major components of any well planned process, measuring progress is important for:
- Knowing whether you’re getting the desired results of your training and diet.
- Avoiding wasting time and money invested in your plans.
- Taking the right decisions based on the progress you’re reaching, like changing the plan if it’s not working, or keep going with it if it’s paying off.
- To provide encouragement when you start seeing –hopefully- positive results.
To do that; here are some of the most commonly used ways to track progress.
How to Measure Progress?
The most obvious tool, but not necessarily the most accurate one; although scales –regardless of type- are the most common means to monitor changes in body weight, they are still subject to bias due to lots of factors that might affect your weight, such as time of the day, clothing, last meal eaten, menstrual cycle, in addition to that it doesn't tell you whether you lost –or gained- fat, muscles or water.
To take your body weight while avoiding bias as possible, follow these guidelines:
- Measure it in the morning, before eating and after defecation, if not in the morning then measure it at the same time of the day every time
- Wear the lighter clothes possible, shoes off
- Stand straight, without tension
- Don’t measure when having edema, or 2-3 days before and at the beginning of the menstrual period
- Don’t measure directly after exercise
2- Measuring tapes
Body circumferences are off great benefit in evaluating your progress, whether you want to have bigger biceps or smaller waist, just make sure to take the measure at the same place every time, not when there is edema and without compressing the skin while taking the measurement.
3- Skin folds caliper
Skin calipers are also a great tool to monitor progress, due to their low cost and ease of use; they enable you to compare changes in your skin folds that reflect fat and muscle content, plus they are used to calculate body fat percent.
Monitoring your body composition (i.e. fat to lean mass content), is one of the best way to track your fitness accomplishments, there are many ways to measure your body fat content, see them here and chose the way that best suits your needs.
Nothing is more convincing regarding body transformations than “before and after” image right!!
That’s why you’re advised to take images of yourself before and after to see changes. Your mobile cam is the easiest way to go.
5- Fitness tests
Since progress isn't always about weight and body circumferences; you better perform these fitness tests on regular basis to evaluate all aspects of your fitness, such as flexibility, strength and endurance.
6- Lab tests
If you’re exercising and/or dieting to overcome high blood sugar level, cholesterol, triglycerides or any other health-risks marker for medical reasons, lab tests are the most accurate way to tell you if you’re on the right path.
How often should you measure progress?
Well, if you are NOT seeing results out of your workout and diet plan at least on monthly basis, you need to reconsider your protocol. So, evaluating progress every month is recommended.
Don’t become obsessed with it though, since repetitive assessment before body changes can even take place might lead to frustration, add to that, that muscle gains –if that was your objective- takes longer time to notice than weight loss.
An easy way to track progress!
Want an easy way to record and track progress while implementing your fitness scheme? Such as body weight, circumferences, heavier weight you can lift, longer distance you can run, etc.? Use your smart body dashboard in your Fitnessyard profile.