Tracking fitness results is a tricky subject, and in fact, I’d argue it’s the number one reason why people fail at achieving their goals. After decades of working in the weight loss and wellness space, I’ve seen it happen to my clients and I’ve experienced it personally. Whether it be weight loss or a certain goal you’re working towards, it can be all too easy to take your eye off the grand prize when you’re not tracking fitness results the right way.
When you tracking results incorrectly, you can completely miss the mark on progress and success. This can be translated by the mind as “failure” and it’s human nature to avoid failure, so we voluntarily…quit. It happens all. the. time!
So how do we stop that cycle? How do we track results so that we find success? It’s actually quite simple really, it just takes a little flip of a mindset to reverse engineer yourself into success.
The bottom line: focus only on what you CAN control (input) and let go of the specific result (output). Let me explain this in a little more detail…
How to set a goal and measure perfromance
Step 1: We all start with a goal, something like:
- I want to lose weight
- I want to gain muscle
- I want to improve performance (i.e. run faster/farther)
Step 2: We all need a starting ground, so we establish a benchmark and measuring technique
- For weight loss, we generally hop on the scale and have a starting weight.
- For muscle gain, we generally use a scale, but also take specific measurements and/or body fat.
- For performance improvement, we establish a baseline pace.
Step 3: Then, you look for and find a plan to produce that result.
- If you want to lose weight, we start to look at reducing calorie intake or shifting macronutrient profiles and exercising more.
- If we want to gain muscle, we adopt a new weight routine and improve diet quality.
- If we want to improve performance, we find a training plan to follow.
Step 4: Then, we track progress against that goal by measuring results
- For weight loss, we jump on the scale almost every day and joyfully watch the numbers drop. Until they don’t.
- For muscle gain, we flex in the mirror and take measurements, looking for more muscle tone.
- For performance improvement, we measure our progress against our baseline.
All of that sounds about right, right? And it works really well while results are coming in quickly and consistently. Especially for the first few weeks where you still have start up motivation AND you’re seeing quick gains.
Why tracking fitness results incorrectly leads to failure
The problem with this traditional model is that results are finicky and unpredictable. Our bodies are not finite machines, we are organic beings. I’m sure you’ve seen this chart before…
You can’t count on results alone to measure progress, because they are not direct reflections of your ultimate success. At the end of the day, with goal completion — OF COURSE results are what matter most. But as you work towards the ultimate success of a goal, you can not rely on daily results alone to measure progress or fuel motivation. If you do, you’ll likely get frustrated and give up before your body really even has a chance at succeeding.
Results and progress fuel motivation. When you don’t see the result you’re looking for in the minute you expect to see it, you can blame the plan. You jump to the conclusion “this isn’t working,” or declare “I’m failing” when that may not be the case at all. Often your body just moves slower than your mind expects it to. That’s totally normal.
How to succeed by tracking results correctly
In the step series above, there is nothing wrong with steps 1-3. The problem is the way we are tracking fitness results in step 4. That’s what needs to change and you do it by shifting what you’re measuring daily. We’ve already established that you can’t count on results (output) they are simply not reliable or consistent. So what can you count on? Your action and effort (input). That, you have 100% control over and that you can use to measure progress towards a goal.
The correct Step 4 looks more like this:
- For weight loss, use a journal or app to track food intake and exercise output. Did you eat less and exercise more?
- For muscle gain, track your workouts in a calendar and keep an eye on diet quality. Did you lift more weight?
- For performance improvement, do the workouts and measure effort. Did you push yourself to the max?
Regardless of the goal, ask yourself at the end of each day “Did I do the work?” “Did I put in max effort?” If you did, congratulate yourself and let go of the results. If you keep doing the work, you can trust the results will follow.
Long Story Short: Track your INPUT not the OUTPUT. Measure daily success and progress by how many days you did the work. Not by the actual results. Measure actual results more infrequently. Jump on the scale once a week. Measure body fat once a month. Run a benchmark performance improvement every few weeks. These gains come slowly, but if you keep doing the work, they will come consistently.
The perfect plan to help you track results!
If you want a plan to give you direction and a great platform for correctly tracking fitness result, it’s definitely time to register for the 42/42 Summer Bootcamp Challenge! With daily workouts and a simple clean eating formula, you can track your action (input) daily and at the end of 42 days (6 weeks!), you’ll see some serious results (output).
Register now, we start Monday, June 9th and finish up Friday, July 20th (my 42nd birthday!).
Can’t wait to see you in the challenge!
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