Most of us working out expects some effects, sooner or later. Some of us look for visual changes, others for improvements in strength, speed, flexibility, endurance. How to check if our workout works how it’s supposed to? What should we pay attention to? Which stats are the most significant, and which seem to be overestimated?
Performance over stats?
Fitness goals are important, but not always focusing on the goal too much is good for the progress. Mind you that achieving a goal is a complex process, in terms of both physical and mental changes. The key to a long-term change is to balance the focus between the physical and the mental.
Should we really focus on weight when trying to lose/gain some weight?
When trying to estimate the effectiveness of our workout/diet program, we often focus very much on physical:
How much do I weigh today?
How do I look like?
Am I losing/gaining weight as fast as I planned?
In the meantime, we should also pay attention to how we feel on the way to our goal. Motivation is a major factor here. And to boost our motivation, we can change perspective from the bigger picture to the little steps which are individual days, workouts, exercises. That’s how we are able to estimate our progress more reliably.
What details should we focus on when trying to assess our fitness progress?
So the questions we should be asking ourselves are, for instance:
- Am I able to perform more sets/reps of an exercise than I used to?
- After what time of workout do I feel tired? Has that improved since I started.
- How much time do I need to recover after workout?
- Has my general body coordination and technique of performing exercises improved?
- Has my speed improved – how many reps of an exercise can I perform within a limited time?
- Did I learn any new exercises lately? Am I able to perform the exercises I couldn’t de before?
All in all, the idea is to actually focus on workout more than on the goal itself. As soon as we realize we actually enjoy working out, we understand why we do it, and how to do it right, we can be sure that we’re on the right track to the goal.
How to estimate improvement in performance?
OK, but how to answer all the questions like those above if we don’t have a professional trainer who’s keeping eye on us? There are two solutions:
- The first one – hire a trainer. Especially if you are a beginner and you don’t really know what you’redoing. A fitness pro will help you understand all the crucial workout processes. They will monitor you individually, set a path to follow and make sure you won’t get lost. Working out with a trainer, you’ll learn to notice all the important technical details. They will show you the rules of the game, so to say.
- The second – measure your own performance. Set a workout log to keep track of your performance. Make notes during or right after each session. Test your strength, speed, flexibility, endurance every three-four weeks. Compare your results. In order to control your exercise technique, record yourself performing and see what you’re doing good and wrong. Strive for the proper form of exercise.
Focus on doing your best. While you’re working out, pay attention to each rep and set. Observe how your body reacts on the effort you serve it, and how the reactions change over time. In workout, paying more attention to the present brings unexpected effects in the future. Stay fit and motivated!
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