3 Mistakes You Make When
Tracking Your Fitness Progress
The healthy way of life is becoming increasingly popular, with more and more people taking up diets, starting at home exercise routines and even going all out and getting a full gym subscription. When you set out on this journey, having a goal is important. And in order to maintain it, you will have to track your progress.
The Most Common Mistakes
When it comes to assessing how well you’ve been doing on your weight loss plan or exercise routine, there are a lot of inaccuracies and factors that come into play. Thus, it’s very easy for things to get out of hand. Fortunately, we live in the age of information nowadays. By simply going online, you can find out anything you want on any topic.
There are plenty of helpful websites out there where you can find progress tracking tips, such as Muscle & Fitness, Bodybuilding.com, ExerciseBikesExpert, Fitness Magazine, and many others. And yet, with all the information available nowadays, people still make these three rookie mistakes when evaluating their improvement.
Relying Solely on the Scale
When you’re on a journey to lose weight, monitoring it closely is part of the entire package. And most people rely on their old and trusty bathroom scales to do that. However, this method might not be as accurate and honest as you think. In fact, it could be said that all it does is lie to you and make you obsess over your weight constantly.
According to a small-scale personal experiment conducted by a writer for The Guardian, weighing yourself weekly when you’re trying to shed some extra pounds is one of the worst things you can do. Your weight can fluctuate tremendously over a short period of time, which means that major inaccuracies appear along the way.
The author of the aforementioned article found that theirs varied by as much as four pounds on any given day. If you weigh yourself weekly and you do it at the wrong time, your results might disappoint you. The best approach is to do it every single morning, but don’t let the number that comes up define your progress. Instead, make a weekly or even monthly average.
On top of that, you also need to combine this method with other more objective ones, such as before and after photos, or even having a certified nutritionist provide you with an assessment. It’s important to know the limitations of each approach and to counteract them by employing a diversified palette of options.
Taking BMI at Face Value
It’s no secret that calculating your body mass index, or BMI for short, is a classic way to keep tabs on your fitness progress from beginning to end. The guidelines are pretty straightforward in this case. Simply use a calculator like the one provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute on its website to find out the result of your height to weight ratio.
Depending on the result you get, you will fall into one of four categories. You’re underweight if it’s less than 18.5, your weight is normal if it’s 18.5 to 24.9, you’re overweight when it ranges from 25 to 29.9, and when it’s greater than 30 you’re obese. Sounds simple enough, right? All that you need to do is adjust your routine according to the outcome.
However, your body mass index might not always reflect your progress accurately. For example, people who are more muscular will still have a higher BMI that might place them in the overweight category, even though they are fit in reality. Relying solely on this to track your evolution is thus a serious rookie mistake.
While it’s still important to calculate your BMI, you need to account for the fact that it’s ultimately an inaccurate system that might not consider several important factors. Therefore, remember to take its results with a grain of salt and take into account every other facet of your progress before deciding how to proceed.
Not Keeping a Meal Journal
If you’re interested in the world of fitness even remotely, then keeping a diary of what you eat is not a foreign concept to you. But just like most other people, you might be disregarding its great influence. This is one of the most seriously overlooked aspects of progress tracking that people mistakenly ignore for one reason or another.
The truth is that keeping a meal journal offers you a lot of important insights into your eating habits and allows you to track your progress at the same time. For example, you will understand why, when and what you tend to overeat, which leads to a better resolution to the issue. In addition, you might discover that your perception of reality is flawed.
If you’re on a strict fitness plan, then you most likely already watch your calories and are on an intensive workout regimen that has you in and out of the gym at least three times a week. And while you’re there, you’re certainly performing physically demanding activities, which leave you feeling exhausted, but also give you the impression that you’re doing the most.
However, the reality of your fat burning might be a bit different. You might not be dropping as much as you think, which is why keeping track of your daily intake becomes crucial. Thus, disregarding the importance of this practice might be why you’re always putting those extra pounds back on in a matter of just a few weeks.
Even though the classic bathroom scale is everyone’s go-to method of keeping tabs on their weight loss, not being aware of the inaccuracies produced by this method is the number one most common mistake we tend to do. While the scale has its benefits, it’s important to combine it with other methods of evaluation as well.
On top of that, calculating your body mass index is also something that is often done, but its flaws rarely get accounted for. And last, but certainly not least, it’s essential to not disregard the benefits of keeping a strict meal journal. By calculating your intake and acting accordingly, you can become aware of much more than you’d think initially.