If you’re not measuring, how do you track your progress?
I believe in tracking... it's the only way to know if you're...
A - improving
C- going in the wrong direction.
Below, I have listed some traditional metrics that are used to gauge progress with your nutrition and training:
Scale weight, body fat and muscle mass
Body part girths (thighs, waist, arms, hips, etc.)
Athletic performance measures (strength, speed, power, endurance, etc.)
Blood variables and bio-markers (cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, etc)
Visual progress (progress photographs)
However, I think that people place too much emphasis on these metrics alone. It's so easy to become fixated on that data and forget about learning to tune into our bodies.
Aside from tracking your body composition and taking progress photos, I would like for you to consider some other ways to help you determine if your nutrition plan is serving you positively.
I need you to understand that our bodies are complex.
They change in many ways — ways that are often intangible or subtle. We feel and function differently, though we can’t always say exactly how.
Long before we lose any weight or body fat, small signs of progress show themselves… you just have to listen to and get in tune with your body.
You feel satisfied after meals.
You have more energy
You’re sleeping better
Your digestion is better
Your skin is better
You’re more consistent with great habits (you don’t quit after a few days)
You can lift more weight
You can do more reps
Your technique has improved
Your clothes are fitting just a little bit looser (or tighter)
You’re in a better mood
You’re stronger and have more endurance in your workouts
It feels more like a lifestyle than a diet
You no longer say terrible things about yourself, like putting yourself down
Your perspective of food and exercise has shifted from a negative one to a positive and empowering one
You now motivate others
You’re not coping with stress with alcohol or food
You don’t think of foods of “bad” or “cheat day/meal”... You don’t have a restrictive diet mentality
You’re not gaining weight or going backwards during stressful times or holidays
This is not a finite list... but some of the many, many milestones you can and should celebrate.
Remember, I'm all about focusing on positive progress and avoiding goals like perfection.
Positive progress leads to more compliance and consistency. The more consistent and compliant you are, the better results you'll get. And the positive feedback loop continues!
Also, change isn't linear. You will not always continue to improve or improve at the same rate.
Your progress will plateau or become stagnant - especially when you're tracking with the traditional data listed above. This is when you have to mentally check yourself, stop fixating on data and focus on some of the feels :)
If you’re in a “diet mentality”, each day feels like a new battle to avoid the “bad foods”.
So let’s flip that. Focus on adding, not subtracting.
Try not to fixate on things like...
“avoiding” your “junk food”.
“avoiding” your prepackaged meals.
Just add so much healthy stuff — water, lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables — that there’s less room or desire left over for food that doesn’t support your goals.
And at first, look for what you gain rather than what you lose. Like muscle. Strength. Confidence. Energy. Sanity. Satisfaction.
You can do this. I know you can. I believe in you… now it’s time for YOU to believe in you.
You owe it to yourself. You are worthy of your goals. You are worth the investment.
Now go lift your weights and eat your carbs!
-Nicole, owner Elevate St. Pete