Goals are great to have in many different aspects of our life. Whether it’s goals for your education or career, health and wellness, bucket list or anything in between, it gives us something to work towards. Something to strive for. The question is – How do you know if you’re getting closer to reaching your goal? Are you tracking anything to see your progress towards reaching the goal you set? If not, you may not see the amount of progress you’ve made and it can be easy to get discouraged. On the other hand, you may not be making much progress and not knowing what you can adjust will stall your results.
Speaking from a health and fitness perspective, people have many different goals. Building strength or stamina, adding muscle, losing weight (body fat), body recomposition (losing body fat and adding muscle simultaneously), training for a specific event, etc. It’s much easier to know how close you are to the goal you’ve set and what you can do if you’re not seeing the results you want or if your progress stalls by tracking some data along the way.
For the last two and a half years, I have been working on body recomposition (losing body fat and adding lean muscle simultaneously). I have lost over 120lbs of body fat and gained a significant amount of muscle in that time. I attribute a huge amount of my success to my ability and desire to track. The things I track include the following:
My daily food intake – I use My Fitness Pal religiously and have tracked every day for over 550 days. I use a food scale and weigh everything. Most times I can portion my food without weighing and if I check it’s within a gram or two but I find peace of mind in knowing for sure how much I’m eating. I also find that over time portions can get bigger and bigger if we don’t check in from time to time. No one is saying you have to track forever if you do start tracking, I personally just enjoy it and it’s so easy now that I’ve been doing it for so long.
My workouts – I keep track of my workouts including exercises performed, sets, reps and weights This is so that I can see if I’m getting stronger, and whether or not I am building lean muscle. I practice progressive overload in order to ensure I don’t stall my progress. I also stick to a specific split with the same workouts for an 8-12 week period (with the odd change up if I decide to workout with a friend or I’m just not feeling something that day).
My weight and body measurements – I use a body fat scale at home and weigh myself daily. I don’t focus on the daily number so much as I do an average of the week or month even. The scale is one of my least favourite measures of success, but it is a tool for tracking nonetheless. I take body measurements once a month as they don’t change that drastically (for me anyway) at this point in my journey.
In the last 8 months, I’ve also started going for BodPod body composition testing to have accurate measurements that I can track and then adjust my efforts based on the results.
The BodPod uses air displacement to test the body composition and gives very accurate results. I’ve been going for these every 3 months and adjusting my goals based on the results I get.
Whatever goals you have, it’s a great idea to find a way to measure your success if you’re not already. From my experience it helps you with setting realistic expectations for how long it will take to reach your goals, helps you to continue striving for them even when you may lose some of that motivation and allows you to readjust when you’re not seeing the results you expect or when progress stalls. Hope this helps and thanks for reading! 🙂
Happy Goal Setting!
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