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Friday, August 21, 2015

One of the Most Important Habits for Making Progress

You HAVE to track your metrics!
What gets measured gets managed. A successful coach in my industry once told me this and I adopted it.  I've always been a note taker/writer so jotting things down comes naturally to me. Other people?  Well, getting them to write anything down in detail is like asking them to spend their weekend cleaning out the garage…every weekend.  

If there was a way to impress upon my clients the importance of logging/recording/journaling, I would do it. Unfortunately, I only have my words. I'm not the drill sergeant type and I’m not your mommy so getting you to write things down by calling you a maggot, or nagging you until you move out, aren’t going to happen.  

Back in 2011, Craig Ballantyne, trainer and fitness expert of Turbulence Training fame included journaling as one of his

 top 10 fitness predictions for 2012.  Meaning, he was convinced that recording what you’re doing was so important he thought it would be a big part of the future of most everything health and fitness related.

If you’ve committed to getting healthy and in shape then, you’ve committed to logging you’re progress; it’s that simple. My friend  JJ Virgin, will not even work with someone who will not  “journal.” 

It has been said that success leaves clues.  Having these “clues” right there in black and white provides valuable feedback with which to make decisions that impact your progress.  It’s like having a toolbox filled with the right tools to create the program that best suits your needs, goals, preferences and schedule.  

Recording your “stats” or "metrics" helps you to:

  1. Succeed with fat loss -If you're trying to lose body fat, daily feedback helps you focus on better food choices, Keep your macros, carbs, fat, and protein on “budget.”  Be your own personal fat loss “bookkeeper.” 
  2. Break unhealthy eating habits -Poor food choices can be triggered by emotional and/or social cues. Journaling helps you identify and eventually overcome the triggers that cause you to eat when you're really not hungry. 
  3. End the guessing game -A haphazard effort based on guesswork leads only to confusion, frustration and often, failure. Take the guesswork out of it by monitoring information to know what helps you make the most progress.
  4. Stay motivated -Getting in shape is a long-term goal. Setting short term and mid range goals help you stay motivated as you move toward "the big one." Tracking is a big part of goal setting and goal getting. Watch yourself succeed, as each day takes you closer to the current goal.
  5. Stop unconscious behaviors -Take the time to review your food choices and daily physical activity. You won't unconsciously grab for that extra snack or wave off that workout when you remember that it all goes down on paper-you'll start to see the consequences of your actions.
  6. Overcome hidden barriers to fat loss -Barriers to your fat loss can sometimes seem mysterious. You may plateau without an obvious cause. Tracking helps you uncover the hidden concerns you didn't realize were stalling your progress.  
Having “proof” on paper (or on an app) provides clarity and accountability, highlights your accomplishments, reflects how you’ve progressed, and reveals what elements of your program still need work as you continue to adapt and improve.  This is a real confidence builder and keeps motivation high.

Important metrics to monitor with regard to nutrition include: calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and hydration as well as weight, body fat percentage, fat free mass, body mass index, caloric expenditure vs. intake, number and quality (yep) of BMs (bowel movements), and more. 

Track ambient or, non-exercise movement, i.e. moving from point A to point B, as light, moderate, or active throughout the day,Track time spent exercising whether it  be cardiovascular training, resistance training (with sets, reps, tempo, and rests also measured.) You can even gauge improvements in stretching. 

Track values based on perception using a scale of  1 to 10 included are things like stress level, mood, hours of sleep and sleep quality, chronic physical symptoms and motivation.

Collectively, these metrics represent a window into your progress. Monitoring a few or many of these variables provides you with an overall picture of where you’re succeeding, and where you need to make changes. The information you collect can even be charted and/or graphed to create a visual tool that guides your success.

Some great online tracking programs include FitbitTraining Peaks (emphasizes cycling), and Mymee to name a few. Each has different features and most are continually updating, revising and providing new features for users.  Choose the system that best suits your needs and is the most user-friendly for you. Most apps offer online “tours” or trials so you see how they work. Apps range in price from reasonable to are-you-kidding-me?
I can’t stress what an important role journaling plays in achieving your health and fitness goals. Think of tracking as the illustrated version of your game plan. Months after beginning a new program, with enthusiasm and commitment waning, you could wind up being a another fitness program casualty because you didn’t have a plan....y
ou wouldn't want that to happen, would you?!
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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!
© 2015 Jinifit, Inc.

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