Not seeing results when embarking on a quest for enhanced physical strength or cardiovascular endurance can be frustrating.
Physical changes to the body and in your athletic ability take time to cultivate and require consistency. At first, these changes may be slight or hard to notice, especially if you’re not looking for them in the right places.
In order to notice the progress that you’re making with your at-home fitness routine, it’s important to check-in with yourself and assess how far you’ve come in the previous weeks.
1. Take measurements
The scale is commonly used to determine bodyweight or body mass index (BMI).
But, weighing yourself with a traditional scale will not provide you with feedback on changes in your body composition.
Consider using a scale that gauges muscle mass and body fat to better assess your progress.
Using a tape measure, or a string in place of one, is a great way to track inches. Measuring circumferences on your body can help to indicate where you have lost weight or gained muscle.
Measures of progress are not strictly limited to numerical expressions.
Pay attention to how your clothes fit and how energized you feel overall.
2. Record your workouts
Take videos of your workouts periodically to analyze your form.
Using a mirror may work in some instances. Mirrors are useful for tracking positioning in the first few practice repetitions of an exercise.
However, trying to examine yourself in a mirror while deadlifting or squatting can interfere with your form which is why using a video setting on your computer or handheld device is more beneficial.
Many people also find that taking weekly photos and videos helps to display evidence of their physical progress overtime.
3. Create a spreadsheet
Use a spread sheet to keep track of your workout program.
Record the exercises you are completing daily along with the sets, reps, and weight used. Create additional columns for rest time in between sets, rate of perceived exertion, your heart rate, and the total duration of your workout.
You can use a fitness tracker to record your heart rate.
Or, you can use the tips of your fingers to track your pulse by placing them on the insides of your wrists or on either side of your throat.
Your predicted maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age.
Your target heart rate during exercise is typically 60-80% percent of your maximum heart rate.
4. Complete fitness assessments
Depending on your goals, fitness assessments that are appropriate for tracking your development will vary.
You can complete a mile run at the fastest pace manageable to assess your cardiovascular fitness.
To assess strength gains, record how many push-ups and sit-ups you can complete in 60 seconds. Make sure to rest in between sets and complete these exercises separately from one another.
The overhead squat assessment (OSA) is commonly used by certified personal trainers to evaluate postural alignment and muscle development.
Place the hands straight-up overhead and slowly squat down.
During the OSA, pay careful attention to your knees. Ensure they do not bow out or buckle in.
Remember to change up your workout routine every 3-6 weeks so that your progress doesn’t stagnate.