|Are you losing motivation, and
wondering why you should even bother working out? There are several
factors that can help you monitor your progress, and many ways to
measure each factor.
A great motivation tool is to take photographs of yourself. When you
place two pictures side-by-side, it's hard to miss the changes that
are taking place. If you have just begun working out, you can
compare "before" and "after" shots, over the
course of several weeks, that can show you significant differences.
There are many devices for testing your body fat. These devices
include hand-held instruments or body fat scales, and give you a
reading in terms of body fat percentage.
The accuracy of these devices can vary, so make
sure you consistently use the same device to measure yourself to see
If you've ever taken a fitness appraisal at a
fitness club, you should be familiar with the items below.
Calipers measure the amount of fat stored beneath the skin by
"pinching" the skin at various points on your body and
measuring the size of the skin fold. Although you can use calipers
to help you calculate body fat percentage, it is easier to use them
to measure the millimeters of fat in the skin fold, and compare
these numbers as the weeks go by.
Tape measures are a good way to measure muscle mass increases and
body fat reduction around the abdomen. You can also use clothes
(pants size or dress size) as a tape measure. If your clothes are
getting baggy in certain areas (around your waist) and getting tight
around others (your arms) you know you're doing something right in
Heart rate monitors are light weight digital devices with special
sensors placed around the chest that picks up the signal of the
heart beating. Your upper and lower heart rate levels can be
programmed into the monitor for training purposes. Heart rate
monitors are great devices because you don't have to stop exercising
to take your pulse and they are generally very accurate. At a glance
you can tell how hard your system is functioning.
As your fitness level improves over a period of
training weeks your heart rate readings will decrease. The heart
rate measure should only be a guide when assessing the differences
in your cardio fitness level. For complete accuracy on your maximum
heart rate, consult your Doctor.
Keep a diary or a log sheet to record sets, reps, weight, and
distance (for cardio). Over several weeks you will most definitely
notice a gradual increase in these numbers.
Switch up your routine
It can take several months or more to see the results. If your
physique is not where you want it to be, celebrate the fact that
your health and fitness level have improved.
You should revamp your workout program every four
to six weeks to avoid plateau.