Here comes another part of our report on professional progress tracking in workout. In Vol. 1 of this article, we described 5 factors most commonly reported to be measured by professional personal trainers. Here’s another five of the top 10. Some of them seem quite controversial, even though reported as being tracked by many professional coaches.

6. Heart rate

As mentioned in the previous section, there are two types of heart rate records: the resting heart rate and the maximum heart rate. The previous one is measures before strenuous the physical activity, and the other is measured after the client has engaged in an extremely challenging activity, most commonly a run.

The max heart rate, just like the VO2max, is usually measured on a treadmill. Professionally, the test is taken using ECG, which shows irregularities in the heart work. The maximum heart rate is the value which is recorded right before the occurrence of irregularities in the heart rhythm. The maximum heart rate can be also estimated on the basis of the client’s age, using a certain formula, but the result will not be in fact very accurate.

7. BMR

Which stands for basal metabolic rate. Simply speaking, it’s the amount of energy human body spends on basic functioning – at rest. The index may be counted on the basis of several factors:

  • body weight
  • height
  • age
  • gender

The values put into a formula will give us the value of P, which is the estimated energy (or heat) the body produces at rest. This factor reflects the basal metabolism, and is supposed to help in determining the client’s energy expenditure and the proper calorie intake.

8. BMI

And here comes the controversy. Probably everyone who ever tried to control their body weight heard at least once about the BMI, which stand for body mass index. Many personal trainers reported BMI as one of the factors they track. Others declared that they do not consider BMI a relevant factor in tracking progress of their clients.

All in all, BMI is just a ratio of body weight to the square of height. The value is sometimes taken as the indicator of underweight, overweight, or obesity. As a matter of fact, it was meant to be used as a factor in classifying the individuals within a population, and not a basis for a medical diagnosis. Probably that is why some fitness and nutrition experts decline the body mass index as relevant for the progress tracking process.

9. Body water %

A significant factor in the body composition analysis. Similarly to the body water percentage is professionally measured via BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis) which requires some special equipment – as a matter of fact more and more commonly available in fitness facilities. The body water percentage may be affected by proper, or improper, nutrition and is the indicator of proper functioning of the body metabolism.

10. Recovery time

Another factor, next to VO2max, which is to show improvements in the client’s aerobic capacity and general endurance. The faster the body can regenerate after a physical effort, the more efficient the workout can be. As the client’s recovery time stats improve, they will be able to do more: perform more reps, run a longer distance without overstraining the muscles and the respiratory system.

Recovery time is one of the easiest ways to show the client their progress – it does not involve any complicated units or indices. The client will understand their shape improved if they will be told: “At the beginning you needed over 3 minutes to catch your normal breathing rhythm and heart rate after a 200-meter sprint. Now you need only over a minute.” That is one of the simplest ways to express a multi-layer improvement.

To sum up

The factors described in this report are only a few of those measured in general by professional trainers. You’re more than welcome to share in the comments section the kind of measurements you carry out that are the best indicators of progress in the broadly understood fitness.

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About Cathy Patalas

The sports soul and the alleged specialist in words of 52Challenges.com. The main 52C Blog writer. A diligent student at the English Department of the University of Wroclaw, majoring in applied linguistics. An ex-acrobat and aerobic gymnast with the 13-year long experience in „training for winning”. A multiple medallist of Poland nationals in acrobatic gymnastics, and academic nationals in aerobic gymnastics. A fan of gymnastics of every existing type. Personally, finds making everyday choices in a healthy lifestyle even more demanding a challenge than making everyday sacrifices in the athlete’s lifestyle.