How impactful journaling through your fitness journey can be for your health VS the scale!
So, you've been following your new workout routine and eating pretty clean for a few weeks. You feel lighter on your feet somehow. You hype yourself up and hightail it on over to the scale only to see you may have gained a few pounds!
Or, maybe your weight hasn't changed at all. Either way, I'm here to warn you, DO NOT fall victim to the scale mindset! You can undo a lot of your hard work by stressing yourself out over your weight when in reality, their are MANY different factors that influence the numbers you see. You can be retaining water. You can be putting on more muscle. Whatever the reason, there's a better way to track your progress.
Journaling and it's benefits!
We've all heard the phrase, "Numbers don't lie". Though that might hold some weight (No pun intended), numbers can still be pretty deceptive. We confuse water weight and bloat for fat gain. A basic scale can't differentiate muscle vs. fat. So how do we figure out if your workout is actually working out? We turn to a different set of numbers. One that's a little more reliable, and a lot more motivating.
Reps + sets + Weight used=
The first step to a healthy relationship with progression and even regression.
I advise my clients to log their weight used for each routine so they can look back after each Phase and reference the stats in comparison. This works in more than one way. In MANY cases, it will show the client how far they've come. Maybe in the first week, they couldn't even complete a full set of an exercise. Now, weeks in, they're not only completing what's assigned, but upping the weight and challenging themselves more.
It can also show imperfections and signs of struggle.. Sometimes there are exercises we struggle with. At some point, you may have to switch the routine up for something that will help you improve and achieve what once felt impossible. Maybe you struggle with pull-ups. So we'll work on implementing exercises that will work the muscles necessary to help you build more strength. Or, we can start with banded pull-ups or something at an introductory level to ease you into your progression. There are so many ways journaling your reps, sets, and weight used, can be used to your benefit!
How you feel?
This may be the most important way to prove your progression and possible regressions. This method is often overlooked, as it's easier to write numbers and keep it moving, but it can play a vital role in your fitness journey. Was the workout easy? Did you struggle with certain parts? Did you feel energized? Do you feel challenged?
There are many ways to go about this one, but they all lead to a better understanding of your workouts, your body, and how to improve your experience as you push through plateaus and fight to reach your goals.
Why we do it!
Don't forget to not only reflect and look back to your starting point, but think about why you began your journey of self improvement. Who inspired you to take control of your life and health? Did a situation change your mind? Whatever the reason, we have to humble ourselves and be honest, this is a PROCESS. It won't happen overnight and most things that do, won't last long and flourish the same. We're chasing longevity here! You may not want to compete in sports or athletic programs but if you're showing up and working out, believe it or not, you ARE in competition...
You're in competition with YOURSELF. Every step you take after that is another step in the right direction. So show up, work hard, have fun, and continue to put YOU first.