How are those New Years Resoulutions to lose weight, tone up or eat better coming along? Did you fall off the ban wagon? Well whether you’re still on the high road to health or if you’ve fallen away from the good habits you were trying to enlist, tracking your progress is a great way to create some accountability for yourself and keep you focused on your goals.
The results of a study published in the eHealth Journal of Medical Research found that participants who recorded and tracked their progress were significantly more likely to stick with a weight loss plan and maintain their weight loss compared to those who didn’t monitor their progress. So get your measuring tape out and lets get real about where you’re at and where you want to be. Here are the Progress Tracking Rules:
1) Measure & Weigh Yourself Every 4-8weeks
How frequently your measure and weigh yourself has to do with what goals you’re trying to achieve. Here is a list of goals to shoot for and instruction on how often you should track your progress…
- Goals for Weight Loss should track progress every 4weeks.
- Goals for muscle gain should record progress every 4-6 weeks.
- Goals to maintain body weight track progress every 6-8weeks to avoid plateau.
2) Get the Right Tools
The most accurate way to track progress without professional tools is to use flexible measuring tape and a scale. With your measuring tape record:
Arm (right arm, right below deltoid or about 1.5” below arm pit)
Thigh (right thigh, relax leg and measure 2” below crotch)
Other measurements people like to track:
Shoulders (good for men)
If you can get a hold of a body weight calculator than that is a great measurement tool to add to your progress tracker. Once you have that number you can calculate your lean body mass (how much of you is muscle), your BMI and more. Most gyms have a body fat calculator or body fat calipers so ask someone at the front desk or a trainer to take your body fat and they should be happy to help you!
*Measurements from body fat tools are not 100% accurate but if you use the same tool each time track your progress then I consider them a great way to tell whether or not you’re actually burning fat. Many times you’ll gain muscle and lose fat so the number your scale may read -3lbs when really you’ve lost -8lbs of fat and gained +5lbs of muscle! Which is a great thing! Thats why using body fat tools for tracking progress is ideal. It allows us to get more specific information about what changes are happening in the body.
3) Do not weigh yourself more than 1 time per month
This will keep you from freaking when you gain 2-3lbs here and there simply from inflammation due to poor diet, over exercising, travel, or menstruation. Focus on following through with your training regimen and healthy diet not on the numbers on the scale. They’ll only stress & distract you from focusing on whats really important. Weigh yourself one time a month! Thats all you need.
Here is your Progress Tracker! Print it out, put it up on your fridge! The numbers you’ll collect don’t lie so its time to get real about where you are and where you want to be. Happy Tracking!