How to Track Progress toward your Fitness Goals

Get your phone out and get ready to take some progress photos- you’ll want to see how much progress you have made a month from now! Tracking your progress in a variety of ways is extremely helpful because it allows you to see if your workouts, diet, and strategy are effective. For most goals, you’ll want to measure progress on a weekly or monthly basis.
 
How to measure
It is important to measure your goal in a way that is relevant to the most-important factor of your goal. For example- if your goal is to increase your endurance, it makes sense to measure your progress in a way that shows your increased endurance. Perhaps doing a timed 5k race every month to compare your results to the last race. 
 
Here are some helpful hints on what to measure, based upon your goals:

  • For a weight loss goal, measure your weight and BMI Body Mass Index
  • For an endurance goal, measure your speed over a long distance 
  • For strength gain, measure your maximum weight on a specific lift
  • For weight gain, measure your weight and body circumferences using a tape measure 

Some people find it helpful to track additional “bonus” measurements because it allows them to see more specific information. Here are some optional measurements you can take: 

  • Progress photos (front, side and back) allow you to see body composition changes over time
  • Some people measure body fat percentage to know exactly how much of their weight is body fat. This is usually most helpful for competitive athletes who need to minimize body fat, but anyone can do it. Using fat-pinching calipers is the cheapest way to measure your body fat. When trying to lose weight by dieting and eating healthy, many people can see a decrease in body fat percentage of about .5% each week if they are willing to work hard.

 
Let’s celebrate

When you see that you’re making progress toward your goal, you should celebrate! Seeing results means your hard work is paying off. Experts recommend that you celebrate in a healthy way that will not pull you off track from your goal. This could be telling a family member about your progress, allowing yourself to purchase an item you've been wanting, or if you’re brave, you can post your progress on social media!
 
Summary
When you work toward a goal you will need to measure your results frequently in order to see how your body is changing. The measurements that you take need to be specific to your goal and measure in a way that is able to quantify your progress within that area. Once you begin to see results, it’s important to reward yourself, to reinforce the healthy behavior and celebrate!
 
Video: How to Take Your Progress Photos



Aimee Frazier