Tracking Your Fitness
We’re in one of the greatest eras in human history, specifically for health, fitness, and wellness. There’s never been more information, more access to said information, and more methods available to extend your prime years for far longer than we ever thought imaginable. It all comes down to management and self-awareness, which is what we’re going to talk about today.
We’re not only going to show you why it’s important to track your fitness but give you some tools, tips, and hacks on how to make it a little easier. The rest of your life is on the horizon, and with proper tracking and attention to your diet and exercise regimens, you’re looking at a bright future.
You Form Healthy Habits for Life
We all have unhealthy habits. For some of us, it’s being on social media far too often, being hooked on our smartphones, but for some, it’s eating excess food of poor quality, and leading a sedentary lifestyle. It usually tends to be one extreme or the other, especially in our modern world of convenience.
Tracking your fitness helps you remain self-aware at all times. When you’re constantly monitoring fitness information, you begin to form healthy habits. You’ll be checking your weight more frequently (for good reasons, not bad), read food labels more closely, and identify what should and shouldn’t go into your body.
Healthy habits also include exercise. Once you get in a routine and stick with it for a while, you’ll actually feel guilty or misplaced when you don’t perform those healthy habits on an off-day. That’s because you’ve rewired your brain to expect healthy trends, and when you don’t follow them, you feel it. Constant healthy habits will reform you for the rest of your life, and get easier with time.
Measuring Progress Lifts Your Mood and Motivates You
Note the key word there: progress. Simply logging what you ate or how many calories you lost on the treadmill isn’t progress, it’s when the proof is in the pudding. When you can see a consistently lowered weight from your starting point, higher muscle mass, lower blood pressure and other health-related issues that may have been a symptom of being overweight – when you see all that, you really feel the progress.
When you measure progress and look at where you began, you can see the strides and difficulties along the way. It motivates you and shows you that you’re able to do just about anything. It puts you on track to your next fitness goal, and so on.
Then there’s the scientific aspect that we absolutely must address. Being overweight, not exercising, leading a sedentary lifestyle, these are all things that lower your serotonin production. That’s your feelgood endorphin in the brain, and you want as much as you can get. Nobody ever died from being too happy. When you lower your body weight and exercise frequently, (which you’ll know through tracking your progress), you actually create more chemical properties in your brain that keep you in a positive mood.
Analyze Your Workout Plan to Test Effectivity
You ever hear someone say, “I tried that exercise plan, and it didn’t work for me,” then just wonder what they were doing wrong? It doesn’t mean they were the problem, but we have an abundance of workout plans for a reason. Everyone’s body type is different, and certain health conditions can get in the way of experience massive change.
When you track your workout, especially if you use a fitness tracker watch, then you’ll be able to find out what works and what doesn’t. It would be marvelous if you could just cherry pick whatever workout sounded best, but it doesn’t mean it will be the best for you.
Fitness tracking allows you to analyze results in a microscopic format. You can find out how many calories you’re losing, what muscles hurt and where, and either recognize issues and adjust to the plan or scrap it and go with another one entirely. The point is that you’re moving, you’re doing something to get fit and stay that way. Don’t let an exercise plan that doesn’t necessarily work distract you from your goals; analyze, come to a conclusion, replace plan if necessary.
Become More Intune With Your Body
If you’ve ever had to say, “I wonder how long that’s been there,” then you’re not in tune with your body. The more fit you are, the more attention you pay towards your body on a daily basis, the more likely you are to feel when something isn’t right. We’re not saying you can detect every issue with your body, but when you know how your body feels on a standard day, everything abnormal raises red flags.
Teach Yourself Time Management Skills
Your life is going to move whether or not you work out every single day. Tracking your fitness creates a framework of goals, and you can determine how much time you’ll have to spend working out to meet said goals. That means scheduling, being on time for your workouts, and ensuring they never take a backseat or get forgotten. When you start rewiring your mind and you just can’t proceed without a solid workout, that’s when you’re going to essentially force yourself to manage your time more effectively.
Whether that means going to bed a little bit earlier, or simply having a more go-getter attitude during the day, you’ll quickly turn a full three-sixty on your idea of the value of time. You absolutely still need your rest, so don’t skip for the sake of getting in more activities. Plan your days, but honor your nights.
Understanding Your Sleeping Patterns
Sleep is undoubtedly the most important contributing factor to your fitness and health, and tracking your fitness (like with a killer sports watch) is a surefire way to teach you the value of it. It doesn’t have to be for any productive reason, but we can all admit we’ve stayed up later than we should for basically no reason. It’s fun, it’s a bit of freedom, and there’s nobody to bother you. After getting in shape and keeping on the fit path, you’re going to see sleep in a whole different light. We can’t stress this fact enough, so here are some hard-hitting points to drive it home.
If you don’t sleep an adequate amount of time every night, you won’t see the results of your fitness training in the way you’re hoping. On days where you put your body through hell, literally break it down and rebuild muscle while abolishing body fat, you need to get your rest. That’s your body’s time to rebuild, restructure and reshape you, and it’s also when it boosts those serotonin levels we talked about earlier.
You’re also far more likely to make terrible decisions in your diet when you’re tired. Even if it’s only one or two missed hours in a night, it has you feeling fatigued, less likely to eat well, and is certain to bring on the feelings of regret during bedtime that night. Also, as a side note, you can’t just make up lost sleep, so you’re causing damage that can’t be undone. The occasional late night isn’t going to destroy you but keep those sleep schedules tight so your body can get in a rhythm.
The last sleep-related point we want to touch on is your actual physical health. Blood pressure, cholesterol, stress, anxiety, and depression can all be triggered by poor sleeping habits. One all-nighter isn’t going to permanently rewire your brain into making you feel like a depressed mess, but it’s going to drag you down temporarily. Prolonged irregular sleep patterns cause long-term damage.
Tracking your sleep is tracking your fitness, it’s all connected. Think of sleep as the behind-the-scenes stuff you don’t get to look at all the time. All the focus and glory is on the work that’s put in at the gym. That’s perfectly okay, but just don’t forget about resting your body.
Holds You Accountable for Your Actions and Habits
When we get into poor habits, whether it’s prolonged video gaming or skipping our obligations, we feel pretty crappy. We talked about forming habits earlier as well. When you’re in this type of rhythm, where you regularly don’t do what you know you need to be doing, it starts to feel a bit numb. Tracking your fitness means you’ll be constantly monitoring yourself, and realize the immediate drawbacks to crummy actions and poor habits.
When you track your fitness, you’re tracking your habits. You know that your new habit is a run every morning, or twenty minutes of strength exercise. You identify and even look out for those habits, and the not-so-good habits will also become increasingly visible while doing this. It helps you learn what behavioral patterns you need to abolish, and shows you how to get it done.
Determining the Best Way to Track Your Fitness Progress
We’ve talked at length about the benefits of tracking your fitness, but now it’s time to show you how to get it done. We’ve listed multiple methods to get you on the right track (sorry, bad pun), because some of these may not work for you and your lifestyle, and that’s okay. Pick and choose, test each one out, and find your perfect balance.
Use a Fitness Tracker – Fitness trackers aren’t just some trend; they’ve proven to be resilient and reliable time and time again, and give you real-time data that helps your motivation stay on target. When you can see how many steps you’ve taken, how far you ran, your calories consumed for the day, and link it all to your smartphone app for a backup plan, well that’s just a beautiful thing. These are constant reminders that sit on your wrist telling you, “Don’t forget to hit the gym after work.”
Start Wearing a Sports Watch – We talked about time scheduling earlier, and there’s no better way to keep your butt in gear than with constant alarms and integrated fitness functions in a sports watch.
Use a Notepad to Log Meals – This is a bit archaic at this point, but it’s physical. It’s a notepad that’s in your hand, a pen in the other, and it’s something tangible that you can look back on. It’s very easy to misplace one of your 3,000 Google Keep notes with meal logs, but your notepad will sit on that kitchen table and stare at you until you add up the calories.
Download a Tracking App – Apps come a dime a dozen, and can get lost on your phone. This isn’t the number one cure-all method, but finding an app with a great user interface and a simple way to input exercises and meals can really help boost your motivation.
Get a Gym Buddy – This is perfect in the beginning because not all of us know how to hold ourselves accountable right off the bat. You have someone else with a fresh set of eyes to tell you, “Hey, we shouldn’t have skipped yesterday,” and pushes you to do better tomorrow. That means you’ll also have to hold them accountable, which is perfect practice to analyze yourself, become self-aware to your faults and pitfalls, and work against them.
Understand That Workout Regimens Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All Solutions
What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. It’s important to understand that our bodies all respond differently to different levels of stress, physical tension and developing healthy habits. It’s not simply just because your friend did it, and it’s okay to realize that tracking your fitness is something you’ll have to work on. The important thing is starting this habit right now, and keeping up with it to become fully self-aware.