Why You Should Track Your Fitness
Have you been hitting the gym really hard lately but seen very little by the way of results? Does your workout feel stale or are you just going through the motions when it comes to keeping fit?
Then get back on track by, quite literally, tracking your fitness and you will soon breathe new life into all your workout sessions. And before you know it, you will have totally smashed your fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle or boost your cardio, setting goals and tracking your activities are the sure-fire way to re-energize your workouts and keep your body a lean, mean, fat-burning machine.
We all know that busy, hectic lives can make it a challenge to keep track of your fitness but there’s a host of smart technology and fitness apps out there to make tracking your progress easier. But, if you still need convincing that logging your activity is the way to go, we’ve compiled six essential reasons why it’s important to track your fitness to get long-lasting results.
Gets you off the starting block
When it comes to your fitness and health, we’ve all got to start somewhere right? Whether you’ve yet to even get off that couch or are already buff but want to step up your regime, getting into the tracking habit will most definitely pay off.
If your fitness goal is to build lean muscle, torch body fat or boost your cardio (or perhaps all three), tracking is an awesome way to keep you focused and helps you to see your exercise, diet, and health in a whole new light. And the quick fitness wins you’ll start to see from your tracking activity will be the power boost you need to really get your lean and mean body dreams off the ground.
The secret to successfully starting to track your health and fitness is not to get too complicated or over-ambitious too soon or you could find the information overload derails all your plans. Instead, be clear about what you what to achieve from the start and gather all the essential data you need to steadily progress and smash those goals.
It could be as simple as a diary planner to get you off the starting block, but health and fitness are where tech really strikes gold, so we recommend getting yourself a fitness tracker or a smart sports watch. You won’t regret it and your tracker will quickly become your health and fitness BFF.
Use your tracking to test out what works for you and to get a baseline of your current health and fitness – you need to know your honest starting point before you can really work out where you want to go! This is where your fitness tracker really starts to come into its own, as many models give you real-time data on heart rate, cardio fitness, distance and activity levels, they even feature stress and sleep trackers, so you can lay the foundations to muscle, cardio, and strength-building good habits.
Measure your progress
Go hard on your fitness regime and you will soon see the results of all that time spent in the gym or out pounding the pavements but to keep your ultimate goals on track, you need to actively and consistently measure your progress. Why, you may say, when the six-pack is telling me everything I need to know! Changes in your muscle tone are fantastic, but they are only part of your fitness journey and without the ‘inside track’ you could well see your progress – and motivation as well as that six-pack – eventually slide.
Tracking your fitness totally removes the guesswork from your gym session or workout and can motivate you to hit the gym when the going gets tough. Yup, we all have our frustrations when, despite the hard work, you don’t seem to be progressing but with regular tracking, you can see the incremental improvements you need to keep you going.
It’s also been shown that when you regularly and consistently track your fitness, you increase your chances of not just reaching but actually exceeding your fitness goals. By choosing the right fitness tracker for the activities you want to do, you can gain a real insight into where you are at any given point and just how far off you are from your ultimate end game.
And if it’s further away than you think, then you know it’s time to ramp up your routine!
Keeps your exercise regime on track
Hammering away on the treadmill is not necessarily going to turn you into a lean, mean, fat-burning machine if your midnight fridge-raiding habits are not being curbed. And those arm muscle ‘guns’ are not going to start firing on all cylinders if your weight-training sessions are off the mark.
Using your fitness tracker or sports watch to monitor your progress will give you a much clearer idea of whether it’s your exercise regime that is actually letting you down. If you are not getting the results you want, then the data you collect will help you to pinpoint the problem and rethink or increase your workout sessions before your motivation totally powers down.
Tracking your fitness also helps you to more accurately up your activity as you improve and stops your workout hitting a plateau where you just end up treading water. You need to be challenged and your body pushed if you are to rock that solid muscle body look and a fitness tracker can totally help you to optimize your workout.
Many trackers also have cardio or fat burning programs where you can set a personalized workout based on your own heart rate so that your sessions don’t go soft as your fitness levels go hard.
Track your nutrition
We’re not suggesting you get tracking obsessed with calories but understanding what and how much you eat and need to burn can really turbo-charge your fitness, weight loss, and muscle-building goals. Good nutrition is essential for your health and getting it right can optimize your fitness and general lifestyle. Eat well for what you are looking to achieve, and you will be energized to get pumped on the rowing machine, weight bench or out on the running track.
But tracking your nutrition shouldn’t be a chore or knock your overall enjoyment of food. Simply jot it down in a diary or download one of the many fitness or weight loss apps available and update them via your smart sports watch when you are on the go.
Tracking your nutrition is also a good way to ensure you are getting the right balance of protein and carbs to fuel your workouts, as well as all the essential vitamins and minerals needed to build a strong, healthy body…and mind. And it can also help you curb your ‘mindless eating’ (chips during the soccer game, late night fridge-raiding, on the go unhealthy snacking) that may actually be sabotaging your fitness and muscle-building goals.
Sustain that motivation
Dwindling motivation is the specter we all face from time to time, particularly when it seems our workouts and fitness goals are hitting a brick wall, or our busy lives are getting in the way of any quality gym time.
And when it feels like your fitness progress is stalling, it can be easy to then find reasons to cut back, skip a workout or compensate for your disappointment with another beer or extra cookie from the jar.
Tracking your progress is an important way to keep you motivated, especially when the going gets really tough. But when you can actually see progress by looking back through your fitness tracker’s logs, it can be a fantastic boost and reminds you that the effort is paying off. And you will then be less likely to throw in the towel and undo all your hard work.
As your fitness levels increase, your progress could also feel like it has ground to a halt, but with daily tracking, you will see the smaller as well as larger improvements….as well as areas you may still need to focus on. Get motivated by the bigger picture, shake up your workout routine and keep the challenge on and those end-game goals will be yours to score my friend!
Form healthy habits
Did you know that on average, it can take two months (or 66 days to be more precise) to create a new habit – good or bad. This is how long you may need for an action to become automatic so when it comes to developing a new healthy habit, you may need some extra help from your fitness tracker to make sure it does eventually become second nature.
Tracking your health and fitness also raises your awareness of your existing actions and habits, and so should help you to identify the things you want to do more of and what you really need to consign to the bad habit sin bin.
When starting on an exercise and health program, you will need to work hard initially to get into a regular routine but by zoning in on all the personal goals you want to achieve will mean you will also be collecting a bag full of healthy habits along the way.
Your fitness tracker then becomes your good habit wingman by showing you your real-time progress and improvements. Yes, those sessions at the squat rack can burn but tracking the rate of your rep increases will keep you coming back for the burn some more! Running may be initially your nemesis but when you smash your PB for that 6K, it’s suddenly your new fitness challenge to go for the 10.
Logging what you eat and gaining the nutritional insight that many apps and trackers provide can also help you to see food and nutrition in a whole new way, and make good choices based on feeding and nurturing your body rather than fueling mid-afternoon munchies, weekend hangovers or blood sugar dips.
In short, taking the time to log and track all your workouts and fitness progress could well help all those new behaviors to latch on and become awesome healthy habits for life.
Knowledge is power
OK, so after all those early morning gym sessions, a healthy diet overhaul and, let’s be honest, sheer, sweaty hard work, you’ve totally smashed your fitness goals and are pumped, lean and cardio-boosted. What next?
It’s easy to sit back on your heels and coast through your usual workouts but now you’ve got this far, don’t stop – is there more you want to do? Well, after patting yourself on your back for what you’ve achieved, we suggest the first thing you do is go back to the drawing board. And by drawing board, we mean, your tracking diary or fitness tracker log.
Consistently tracking and monitoring your workouts, fitness, and progress may have felt, at times, a bit of a chore but it also means you now have a mine of super-useful data that can help you to really understand your body (and any limits), your personal motivations and your abilities. You can now use this information to decide what you want to do next.
You’ve built all that muscle, so do you now need to max up your power and strength by re-thinking your training at the squat rack or assault bike? That 10K? Could it actually now be the challenge of a half marathon that gets you pumped? The static cycle in the gym – is it not the time to release the freewheel and get out on your new road bike and see where it takes you?
The beauty of tracking your fitness is that it doesn’t have to stop. Your health and fitness shouldn’t always be about an end game but about the motivation to keep going and exploring just what you can achieve. And the knowledge you now have will totally keep you on track.