Lots of people think they are doing a good job of tracking their fitness progress when they are usually going about it wrong. Simply stepping on a scale is not an effective way to track your fitness progress. In fact, forget the scales altogether!
A scale can’t tell you if your fitness is improving.
A scale can’t tell you if you’ve lost fat and gained muscle.
Mostly a scale will just give you a complex that all of your hard work and sacrifices aren’t paying off.
It’s definitely a good idea to track your fitness progress so that you know if what you’re doing is working for you, but how you go about doing that is just as important.
If you are just getting started then check out my post on Setting Your Fitness Goals here.
By far the best way to track your fitness progress is to set up a test that you can complete monthly. I know, nobody likes tests. But this is a good test, not only can it show you if your fitness level is improving but it can show you where you may need a little extra work.
There’s also the bonus of the test being a workout!
Setting Up Your Test
What you choose to do for a fitness test will depend largely on what you are capable of as well as what you have available to you for equipment. If you don’t have access to a bunch of equipment then you can set up your test using strictly bodyweight exercises. Here is a good Bodyweight Workout that can be done at home or on the go.
The way you want to set up your fitness test is to come up with a series of exercises that match your current abilities. Choose exercises that you can complete at least 5 in a row, as you progress you can change your test to more challenging exercises. How many exercises you do is up to you, just try to make it challenging, it’s like anything in your fitness journey, if you don’t make it a challenge where you have to work at it then you aren’t going to get the results you are after.
Complete the individual exercises for a specified amount of time to see how many repetitions you are able to complete. Conversely, you could time how long it takes to complete a specified amount of repetitions.
Below is a basic test to track your fitness progress. I have used this test for several years and it is a good indication of where my fitness level currently is.
To complete this test do each exercise for 1 minute and record the number of reps your are able to complete. Take a 30-second break before moving on to the next exercise.
Do this test every month in the same order, following the same rules, and then compare your results to the previous month. Now you will be able to track your fitness progress and see where you need to focus more. Sometimes you won’t see an improvement on some of the test exercises, to help this over the course of the next month you could workout to compliment that exercise.
Change your workout routine every 6 to 8 weeks so that you are constantly seeing improvements on your tests, nothing worse than plateauing and not seeing even one extra repetition.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t improve one month, just stick with it, make some adjustments and push yourself in every workout. Some months you may only improve by one repetition, where the month before you did 3 extra. But one more is still an improvement, and it still means you are better than you were.
As your fitness improves you may need to adjust the way you track your fitness progress. If you started out with exercises that were difficult for you in the beginning but you now find them to be too easy, then you should change it up.
Set up a new series of exercises that are more challenging and start tracking your progress from there. Don’t think of it as starting over, be proud of yourself for getting to the point of having to make it more difficult.
This is a big milestone in your fitness journey. Now is a good time to look back at the results from your first test to remind yourself where you started.
Show It Off
Share your results a friend, family member or workout partner. If every month you are sharing your results with the same person, it is even more motivation to work your butt off and get better results. It will help to hold you accountable so you stick to your program.
People enjoy seeing others improve their health and fitness, don’t be embarrassed to share it. Heck, post it in the comments below, I love hearing success stories!