5 Ways to See if You’re Getting Results from Your Workouts
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something different is the definition of insanity. In the fitness world, it’s easy for people to get caught up in the hamster wheel mentality – you just kind of go through the motions. Hit the gym, workout, shower and go home. Rinse, lather, repeat
As a personal trainer, I usually get people who want to run their normal workout routine by me. After I hear them out, I usually ask the following question:
Me: “How has that worked for you?”
Someone Else: “What do you mean?”
Me: “What kind of results did you get from your efforts?”
Someone Else: “…………….”
It’s not like I’m picking on them or anything. I’m genuinely curious. You go to the gym to get better at something, so don’t you want to see that something improve? If progress isn’t happening, wouldn’t you make changes? I certainly wouldn’t go to school to learn less.
Nothing sucks motivation out of people like a lack of workout results. Here at UEFP, we encourage clients to track progress the following five ways:
- Weight– Plain and simple, is the scale moving? If you want to gain weight, then the scale should be creeping up a pound every week or two. It’s not the end all be all, but if your goal is to change your body, your scale weight should adjust eventually. To prevent you from ripping your hair out, weigh yourself first thing in the morning and leave it at that. Stepping on the scale several times a day just leads to frustration. Weight can fluctuate quite a bit throughout the day so consistent measurements help track progress.
- Bodyfat – Tracking your bodyfat percentage is the best way to measure progress. Anyone trying to lose weight actually wants to drop fat, so it’s important to know that you’re losing weight from the right source. Apps, electronic devices, and bathroom scales you can buy from Target are the worst way to record your bodyfat. If your personal trainer is experienced, then skinfold calipers can give you an almost precise number. Not everyone has access to a qualified trainer though, so we can also try…
- Measurements – The numbers don’t lie. Doing circumference measurements along with your scale weight is a nice pairing. All you need is a measuring tape and a partner that you trust to measure correctly. Everyone should measure their waist, but those focused on weight loss can also track their thigh and hips. If you want to lose weight expect the numbers to go down slowly. Half an inch off the waist per month is steady, consistent progress. Measurements can also help those trying to gain muscle mass. If your thigh isn’t growing but your waist is, then you know you’re probably eating too much in your quest to get big.
- Pictures/Mirrors – You’re going to be your worst enemy, so pictures can help keep your head in the game. I’ve had clients lose ten pounds and think nothing of it, but seeing pictures as a “before and after” gets people fired up. You see your body everyday and chances are, you’re overly critical of what you see. Pictures are a time capsule and can show dramatic changes. I recommend taking pictures every 4 weeks. Try to get the pics done with the same camera, in the same room, similar lighting, etc.
- Performance– Lastly, your performance in the gym should be improving. Can you lift more weight? Run a mile faster? Whatever you’re putting your time on, you should be getting better. If I have a client who is steadily doing more and more work in the gym with no change in their physique, then I know the diet is way off.
If you’re spinning your wheels in the gym then it’s time to start tracking your progress. You should be seeing changes every 2-4 weeks. If you’re not, then you know you need to step your game up. Either way though means you’re making good use of your time. Once you start seeing results then you might get a chance to brag if I ever run into you and ask “how’s that working for you?”