Measure your progress! How to stay on track for your goals!
“Hey coach, I’m not progressing! What’s up with that?”
It can be very easy to feel like we are not progressing as athletes, no matter what level we are, whether you’re the average gym goer or an elite level athlete. As human’s it is easy to have a selective or short term memory, where we compare ourselves to a session from the week before, or just on how we feel (Which usually is related to outside stressors and not our gym performance).
When thinking about progress we often forget where we came from or where we started. Often we need to take a step back and remind what it was like when we started in fitness or how we performed in races 1-2 seasons ago, or at the start of a year. It is easy to forget that maybe we were unable to do a pull up or an air squat, but because we can’t yet squat double bodyweight or do 10 strict pull ups we “haven’t progressed”. Similarly, in sport improving by 0.5sec later in life might not feel like progress but it’s probably just as impressive as knocking off 3 seconds when you’re a junior athlete.
It’s important that we track progress even, and probably, especially, if you are an ‘average gym goer’. Tracking progress allows us to look at the bigger picture, and sometimes the smaller picture, it also allows us to even further our progress along the way. In business and in work you would be crazy not to track progress or perform reviews to continue growth of a company. In the same way, it’s kind of crazy not to put that little bit of extra investment into your fitness / gym hobby.
Let’s take a short and simplified example. Last week you performed 5×5 back squat progressing in weight and your last set was at 60kg. It pops up again this week, but you have no idea what you had on the bar or what you finished with, was it 2 plates? Was there a small plate? You forget. So, you build up again and you finish on 60kg, maybe even 57.5kg because it feels ‘grand’. This might continue. From this sure you’re gaining some strength, a little bit of adaptation but you’re not progressing very much at all.
On the other hand, your training partner has their app/notebook and they’ve got what they hit last week. Keeping the example simplified, they aim to increase by 2.5kg this week. They continually track, some weeks they hit that new goal, some weeks they don’t but over time they make progress!!
“Hey coach, why am I not progressing? I train with Conor ;), we started at the same time and he’s progressing so much more! “
Conor tracks his progress. He sets goals to improve by tracking his progress. It motivates him for the session. When he feels he has had a shit session he’s able to look back and see his progress. Be like Conor. 😛
Luckily enough at Perpetua we have an app, TrainHeroic, that you can use to both view workouts and record how you’ve done that day. It’s pretty handy, as we use our phones so much it is very easily accessible. If for some reason you don’t fancy it, then you can always still go old school with a little notebook! Or even your own excel spreadsheet 😉
If you need any help with Train Heroic, contact your coach!