I'm going to keep today's blog short and to the point. In anything you do, in order to achieve your highest level of success, you must track your progress! Tracking progress and achieving success are synonymous with one another. Again, this must be done with anything you wish to be exceptional at. For today, we will focus on the obvious subject, health and fitness.
Instead of explaining all the reasons as to why it's important, because I believe those reasons are self-explanatory, I will give some examples of things I do to track my health and fitness goals.
1. Get a notebook and USE it to log your workouts: Write down the day and date of your work out. After each exercise write down the type of exercise, the amount of weight used, and the amount of reps completed. The same applies to a run or any type of cardio exercise. This may seem like a simple, unnecessary step, but it is by far one of the most important. How will you be able to know how much weight you did the last time or how fast you ran and use that as a guide to push yourself the next time if you don't write it down? Log your workouts. I promise it will be worth the extra 5 minutes it takes.
2. Download MyFitnessPal on your smartphone: MyFitnessPal is a great, free and easy to use app to track your daily calories. (No I don't work for them or make any money off of mentioning them, it's just a kick ass app) When you first log on you will create a new username and then be asked some basic questions, such as height, weight, level of activity, etc. This is used to give you a recommended daily caloric intake for your specific body and activity level. You can choose options such as, maintain current weight, gain weight, or lose weight. Myfitnesspal automatically adjusts your calorie needs accordingly. There is also a friend's section where you can share your nutrition diary and see what others are eating as well. This is a great way to keep a friend and yourself on track. You can change the settings of your diary to public, private, or friends only. It is initially automatically set on private. I have mine set to public so anyone can see. It keeps me on track and accountable for what I am eating. (FYI Saturday is my cheat day and gets a little crazy!) Follow me at Brose219.
3. Buy a Heart Rate Monitor: I never thought I would be one of those guys wearing his heart rate monitor during every work out, but it is by far one of the best pieces of equipment I have ever purchased. Whether you are just looking to lose a few pounds or are a serious athlete. Heart rate monitors are an incredible tool to get you to that next level and keep you progressing. It's very simple and easy to use. It's very important you purchase one with a chest strap, because this is what measures your heart rate and causes a much more accurate reading of calories burned. There are some other great "activity trackers" out there, but I personally don't like them because they are not measuring your heart rate, which is a huge factor in determining your fitness level. I use a Polar FT7 and purchased it for about $90 at Best Buy. It comes with a watch that is worn on your wrist and shows your heart rate, calories burned, and whether your are currently in the "fat burn" zone or "fitness" zone during your current training session. After you complete your work out it gives you a read out of total calories burned, average heart rate, and maximum heart rate during your session. There is also a weekly summaries section, which is great to go back to at the end of the week and see how well you did. There is also the mentioned chest strap, which has a small transmitter on it that sends the signal of your heart rate to the watch so you can see how hard you are pushing yourself! At the end of my work out I add my calories burned, average heart rate, and maximum heart rate to my notebook as another tool to see not only what type of training I was doing, but also how intensely.
There are many other great tools, such as body fat analysis machines, taking your body measurements, and obviously weighing yourself on the scale. Again, tools are great, but only when put to use! Get your tools, learn how to use them efficiently, and record your progress. You are well on your way to success!