How to Measure your Fitness Progress
January 2012 – Fitness Goal Setting and Measuring Fitness Success!
In my last article (The Truth About Weight Loss!), I discussed how measuring your success solely by the amount of weight you lose is very flawed. To prove my case, I showed a ‘before and after’ picture of a female who was leaner and thinner in her ‘after’ picture even though she gained weight. For this reason, I have put together another article so that you do not continue to make the same mistake in 2012! I will give you some better examples of goal setting and show you how to more accurately measure success so that you get on the right track this year toward transforming your physique! Enjoy!
When you look around in most competitive sports, you will find that a high percentage of athletes have this in common – they have incredible physiques. What can we learn from this simple observation? Athletes are the ultimate example of what it really takes to get that physique most people dream of. Can we compare ourselves to athletes? Yes! Below is a chart that I use to monitor an athlete’s biomotor abilities. However, this chart can be used by anyone. Allow me to explain.
The first biomotor ability (BA) on the list is strength. Therefore, I would go through a series of strength tests (push, squat, and core etc.) to determine a person’s overall strength (Score out of 10). Once I am done assessing strength, I work my way down the list and determine the person’s overall fitness level. How does strength or any other BA relate to physique transformation? Well, I can assure that 9.99 times out of 10 a person who can perform 40-45 push-ups in 30 seconds has a better physique than the person who cannot complete a single push-up. In order to complete 40-45 full push-ups in 30 seconds, a person requires a combination of strength, speed and endurance. Therefore, if you wish to transform your physique, one long term goal (1-5 years) could be to achieve this range of push-ups in 30 seconds. Please keep in mind that this is only one example out of many; the following are some more BA goal-specific examples:
- Meet all the normal ranges of motion for joint and spinal health (Flexibility/Mobility)
- Complete a triathlon (Endurance)
- Squat and deadlift your bodyweight or 2x your bodyweight (Strength)
- Learn all the Olympic weightlifting movements (Coordination)
- Run 100 meters in under 11 or 12 seconds (Speed)
- Complete a set of bicep curls and overhead tricep extensions while kneeling on a Swiss Ball (Balance)
- Complete an obstacle course (Agility)
- Dunk a basketball (Explosive Power)
For most people, the examples above will probably take years before they are achieved. For this reason, you must create a series of short-term goals to gradually increase your fitness level toward achieving your long-term goals. In addition, I recommend that you strive to improve as many of these biomotor abilities as you can. The more of these you develop, the more your physique will transform for the better. When I train my clients and boot camp members, I give them a lot of functional exercises which challenge and develop all of these abilities. Not only does this make them look better, but it helps make everyday tasks such as climbing stairs, carrying groceries or keeping up with children (or grandchildren) become much easier.
Goals for 2012: Improve your Biomotor Abilities!
When you weigh yourself, what are you weighing? How much of your weight is fluid…organ tissue…bone…muscle…fat etc? If your ultimate goal is to lose weight then you actually risk diminishing your health. For instance, I guarantee that if you exercise hard enough to work up a good sweat and you do not replenish your body with enough fluids, you will lose weight. However, continue to do this and you will dehydrate your body which decreases your health and increases your chances of fatigue, injury and organ failure just to name a few. Therefore, your goal should not be weight loss but fat loss. Once you determine your percentage of body fat, you can set a goal to reduce this percentage. Remember, it is very possible to lose body fat (improve body composition) and gain weight! (Check out my previous article for proof) If you are serious about transforming your physique, hire a professional to take an accurate measurement of your body fat and have them re-test approximately every 3 months.
Goals for 2012: Improve your Body Composition by Reducing your Body Fat Percentage!
If you wish to transform your physique there are many other ways you could measure progress and success. As a CHEK Practitioner, I also assess posture and movement patterns. This allows me to use the correct postural and movement pattern exercises to help my clients realign their musculoskeletal system. As a result of this realignment, clients often experience increased energy and productivity, decreased stress and pain (in back or joints) and much more. Using a scale from 1-10, you can also gauge your energy levels and your productivity or stress and pain levels. Finally, one of the ultimate measures of success is happiness. Are you happier when you are working out and bettering your health or are you happier when you are being lazy and neglecting your health? The more we improve our health and transform our body, the better we feel about ourselves.
Goals for 2012: Increase Energy and Productivity, Decrease Stress and Pain, Increase Happiness and Feel Better about Yourself!
I know many of you would love to begin transforming your life this year but what if you do not have enough motivation to actually do so? If you do not have the motivation to start an exercise regimen, a nutritional diet or any other resolution for this year then I recommend you take the first step and read my book ‘One Habit At A Time’. In the book, I teach you how to develop simple habits which will give you the motivation you need to start any new resolution. Remember, motivation is mostly made up of energy and a lot of people do not have these simple habits I present in the book which can harness a great amount of energy. When you have an abundance of energy, you will naturally be motivated to use it toward creative means. Get your copy now.
I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year and an Abundance of Energy!
Your Holistic Health Coach,