Karl Henry: Tracking Fitness Progress
I thought I would take you through several ways to track your progress when it comes to your fitness and health plans. Many people forget to track their progress and this can lead to a lack of motivation, meaning you fall off the wagon. By tracking your progress you will ensure that you stay focused and achieve your goals and more importantly you can have your rewards too when you achieve those targets that you set out at the start.
One of the simplest ways to ensure that you are eating the right foods at the right time is to keep a food diary either on your phone or on paper. Just by tracking your food on a daily basis can make you realise where you are going wrong and what you need to change. It can also be very handy if you are working with a personal trainer as you can show them exactly what you're eating, especially via email which I use with so many of my clients.
A somewhat controversial method as many of the guidelines are considered to be quite low, but it can be an easy and cost effective way to see what difference the changes you are making on your waist. Simply buy a measuring tape in your local supermarket and measure around your waist at your bellybutton. Make a note of this number and measure again every week at the same time on the same day. It's an incredibly easy way to motivate you! Ideally you should be lower than 40 inches.
A good weighing scale can be a great way to track your progress. There is some controversy over muscle and fat ratios but to be honest initially when you start changing your diet and exercising you are not going to build a huge amount of muscle so weighing yourself is very effective. If you are looking for a good weighing scale for home use I would recommend Omron or Seca, there is also a cool new wireless scales call Withings which will sync with your iPad and iPhone.
When looking for ways to track your fitness, timing yourself for a certain walk/cycle or run can provide a great way to track your progress. Try to beat this time at least once a week to see your fitness levels improve and change as you get fitter and stronger. Keep these times somewhere visual so that you can see them coming down and you will gain motivation from this.
Resting Heart rate:
A resting heart rate will show exactly what’s happening to your aerobic system as your training. Simply take your pulse for 1 minute and see what number you get. Below 50 is fit, below 65 is average and above 65 means you have work to do. Aim to take your pulse when you first wake up in the morning, as this will give you a real reading and aim to constantly take it once a week. As you get fitter your pulse will come down and it can be a great way to stay focused.
Another simple way to track your progress is to walk up the stairs. Keep track as to what point you begin to feel out of breadth and watch this change over the weeks. The fitter and stronger you get the easier the stairs will become and the further you will get before you get out of breadth.
By tracking your progress during your training you will find you are more motivated, more focused and will get better results that you normally do. There are other more complicated ways to track the results such as body fat testing ,anaerobic testing and aerobic threshold testing but the ways that I have given you will do the same thing, for free!
Karl Henry is one of Laya Wellness' Health & Wellness Ambassadors. Karl is well known for his role as the leading Expert in RTÉOne’s Operation Transformation. Karl is a self-professed Fitness Fanatic. His interests include Hill walking, Cycling, Triathlons,Swimming, Surfing, Kite Surfing and anything that gets his pulse rate up. Read Karl's full bio here