Even the best of us can hit the proverbial wall when it comes to health and fitness. Whether it is less of a desire to keep on training or wondering if you are actually still making gains, it is easy to get the wind taken out of your sail if you don’t have the motivation in place.
And this happens more than you may think. USA today reported that 67 percent of all fitness memberships go completely unused. If there is not a motivating factor or two in place, people will hang up their workout clothes and shoes in the back of the closet.
One surefire way to keep the passion for training is by documenting and measuring progress through each of your workouts.
Only Compete Against Yourself
Part of the problem with exercising is how people always want to compare themselves to others. Just because you don’t have quite the stamina to go the distance or the strength to lift heavier than the other person doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. After all, the goal of working out is to get a healthier version of you. It is fine to use the progress of others for motivation as well, but you first must learn how to walk before you can run in many instances when it relates to exercise.
Measure Your Own Body’s Progress
There are several ways to determine if your workouts are taking effect. The key is to detail the progress from week to week.
For instance, there are those people who determine the value of their training through the scale alone. However, this is often the problem. You may think you have hit your weight loss plateau, but instead you could still be losing fat but gaining muscle. The scale may be reading the same weight, but you are actually much healthier.
Alicia Romano, R.D., specializes in weight management at Tufts Medical Center’s Frances Stern Nutrition Center in Boston. “I think the scale can be a really tricky thing for people, especially young women or middle-aged women because we tend to get very focused on the number,” Romano stated.
It would be wise to make use of a cloth tape measure to avoid this problem. Record your measurements either on your phone, in an app, or in your personal journal. The inches lost do not lie. Measure the problem areas such as waist, upper legs, chest, upper arms, and stomach. Even if you are not losing weight according to the scale, you can still be losing inches. If your waist size goes from 36 inches to 32 inches, you are doing something right!
Cardio and Strength Training Goals
Once again, you are essentially competing against yourself. Week in and week out, record the results of your workout to provide the motivation you need.
As an example, try to eclipse your personal best of a 5k run. Or beat your 25 consecutive pushups record that has been haunting you for months. Perhaps you have military pressed 100 pounds last week and would like to see if you can do a bit more now. And if you can’t surpass your personal bests, try to at least maintain. It is all about setting goals as you measure your fitness progress and keep the motivation intact.
Other ways to measure progress are:
- You feel more energetic and mentally alert
- Your sleep is improving
- Your clothes fit differently
- Your friends and family have noticed changes
- You’re progressing, not regressing
- You want to nourish your body with healthier food
- You’re performing daily activities easier and feeling stronger
- You look forward to working out
Maintaining the Motivation Is Half the Battle
The toughest part of the workout is usually the beginning. Whether it is at home or in the gym, just getting started is often the most difficult problem. Fitness progress is more than just what you see. The hard work you are putting in is paying off and if you’ve noticed any of these changes, it’s a good indication that you are getting fitter. Use your progress up to this point to keep you motivated. Think throughout the day how good it will feel to improve upon your health and fitness, no matter your age, and working out will then become a permanent part of your lifestyle.
If you’re struggling through a setback or are scared to start your first workout, try committing to just 10 minutes each day, and see how great you begin to feel!