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How To Measure Your Progress For Your Health And Fitness Journey

You want to start measuring your progress. You recognise that there could be many different ways to do it and you want to find an option that is right for you.

Maybe you were using the scales and you discovered that it is can be skewed by muscle growth. You may have also discovered that it’s not a good indicator of a reduction in body fat percentage.

There are a number of different ways to measure your progress when it comes to your health and fitness. All come with different benefits and are best suited to different types of people.

I am going to give you the many different tools you can use to measure your progress to find the option that works best for you. So that you can continue to create long-term lifestyle changes that lead to a healthier, happier you.

Measure your progress

How To Measure Your Progress For Your Health And Fitness

Dexa Scan
Gives an accurate baseline body measurement. Broken down by, total body fat mass, total body muscle mass, your visceral fat levels, intramuscular fat, total bone mineral density, regional breakdowns – Trunk, left/right arms, left/right legs. You can research a local place and get these done regularly for a more accurate measurement of progress at a price.

Scales
This is a fairly commonly used option. It’s great for an understanding of general weight loss and although the scales are not as accurate as other forms of measurement, it is recommended to use the same scales as your results will be more consistent in comparison with each other. The scales can create a very negative mindset for many and if it is the form used, it is not recommended to be used everyday but once a month or fortnight.

Photo Progress
This is a personal favorite of mine to use with online clients. Ensure your photos are consistent with lighting, distance from mirror/camera, clothing (the less the better) and standing in the same position. Take a frontal, side shot and back shot. If your goals are physically related (i.e. reduce body fat, improve toning) then this is a good option. Females are recommended to take into consideration your cycle and note feelings at the time of photo (such as bloating) for comparisons and reference. Again I don’t recommend you do this daily, but once a month.

Fitness Testing
There are various types of testing. From how many sit-ups you can do in a minute, how many pushups you can do in a minute and how many squats you can do in a minute. If you choose to do this on your own, please consider things like using same height chair (for bottom to touch) and completing the exercise in full range. If you take too long to complete a repetition in less than a minute you need to consider it the end of the test. Where possible have an experienced Personal Trainer complete this for you to reduce the amount of human error that could occur.

Please see here for at home flexibility testing.

Fitness Testing is great for active individuals and adventurers who are training with a purpose of being fitter and stronger at the sport and adventurers that they love.

Measurements
This is also a good indication of both muscle growth and a rough guide on body fat percentage reduction. Measurements are as accurate as the human measuring and can vary slightly based on human error. Overall, I prefer to use this over the scales. The most unreliable point can be the waistline for those who suffer from bloating and inflammation.

Skin Fold
Using calipers is a common was to measure body fat composition. It is invasive and as good as the human measuring. It’s recommended someone who has done it before measures you and that they continue to do the ongoing measurements for consistency.

Rate Your Progress
This is the most underrated measurement of progress (I believe ) across the fitness industry. This type of measurement involves making a note (somewhere, anywhere) about something you do physically that makes you feel unhealthy, unfit or not strong.

Answer the question: What is something you currently do that makes you feel like you need to be fitter/stronger/healthier?

Examples of this include rushing up some stairs, doing an activity you haven’t done in a while and thinking (ahh, I am so unfit), eating a terribly delicious very bad for you food and thinking (man I don’t eat very good).

You have to pick ONLY ONE for a month. Focus on it, and reassess at the end of the month after your training. This is something so simple but highly effective.


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I guarantee you almost everyone is going to get to the end of this post and say, okay cool, but now which one do you recommend. Honestly, I am sure this won’t come as a surprise to you, but I can’t. They all play such a different role. The relevance of each is dependent on your goals, your personality and your type of training.

When I am training my face to face clients I commonly use measurements, “rate your progress” and fitness testing for my 1:1 clients. Online clients use photos and this is important because measurements can’t be done at the studio.

If you are really unsure, I recommend you try them all and see what you like. That might seem like a lot of time invested in trial and error but progress is the key to ongoing success. So always acknowledge your progress and know what works well for you and keeps you challenging yourself.

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