Look after your nutrition, get enough sleep, stay hydrated, keep stress down, and exercise.
When you put all of this together you start to see results. On that note, it’s important that you do have some kind of system in place to record your progress.
It can be easy to let things pass us by without acknowledging the fact hard work has paid off.
When it comes to something like body composition changes usually happen in a subtle way over time – there are no overnight transformations.
Body composition is just one component, and it’s important to look to more than just the number on the scales.
Here are some considerations for you for measuring progress;
The number on the scales will not go down in a straight line, but over time there should be movement down if you’re in a fat loss phase and sticking to things.
If maintenance is your goal, then a weekly average which stays the same over a period of months is the goal.
On the other end of things if someone needs to put on weight the number should go up.
What to do – log your weight day to day or week to week. Keep in mind that it will fluctuate day to day and even hour to hour, but over weeks and months there will be a trend in the right direction.
Weigh yourself first thing in the morning after you go to the toilet using the same scales.
Weight Can Be Tracked Over Time On Your Tracking Sheet
Your body composition can change drastically over time and it is not represented well by scale weight. Using a tape measure keeps track of lost inches and is another useful method of recording progress.
What to do – organise a time with me to get them taken, it only takes 5 minutes.
All Of These Are Kept On File
Looking In The Mirror
This for me is the single most important variable to measure off. Are you happy with things when you look in the mirror, yes or no?
If the answer is no, there is more work to be done.
Your body will change in subtle ways and because of this it’s not always apparent because you see yourself every day.
Keep track of things, trust me on this – anyone who doesn’t do it ALWAYS comes back to say they regret it.
What to do – Take progress pictures every 8-12 weeks.
How Your Clothes Fit
The number on the scales might not move, but you may notice a change in how your clothes fit. Like I already said – your body composition can change even though your weight may remain the same.
What to do – Be aware of the changes and give yourself credit when this happens. Just be ready to have to spend a few quid on updating your wardrobe!
If you look after nutrition, sleep, hydration, stress and get regular exercise, you should notice an improvement in your energy levels.
Also, from personal experience I have experienced a significant boost to mental clarity. I no longer suffer from brain fog or regular lapses in concentration.
What to do – Be aware of how you feel day to day, keep notes on any improvement and try feel happy with the fact something like this has improved.
Track Your Energy Levels. That And Sleep Are Intertwined.
Do you feel happier about things? If you are looking after all the targets mentioned it provides a sense of personal achievement along with the physical changes.
The best thing you can ever do to improve how you feel about yourself is to work on yourself.
What to do – It’s important to not always get caught up in the process of doing all this. Spend some time at the end of the day, or the end of the week reflecting on things.
Have I worked hard on myself this week? If so, you should feel good about yourself. Practice the act of being happy with what you’re trying to do – life is tough enough.
The Social Aspect
We can spend a lot time around people we don’t necessarily click with.
When you decide to make the change and look to improve your health and lifestyle, it’s important to be surrounded by people on the same path who will support you.
The most rewarding part of my job is the fact I have met so many great people.
We all share similar goals, we all support each other, and we all celebrate our success together.
What to do – Get involved and enjoy the fact that you have a group of people with the same goals as you. Often the thing holding someone back from progress is that they are surrounded by people who do not want to see them do well.
Improved Work Capacity And Performance
This will all depend on your fitness level.
If you have a good level of fitness and go into a calorie deficit your performance can take a hit.
However, in a lot of cases the person will make big improvements due to the loss of fat mass. Your bodyweight drops so it gets easier to move – you’re not lugging around any ‘useless mass’ when it comes to performance.
What to do – Record your workouts, record your weights, keep track of your progress in the gym.
Hair, Skin And Nails
This is purely from personal experience. I used to suffer from acne and spots before I started to look after my nutrition and the other components of a healthy lifestyle.
I cannot pinpoint one thing to say it made the difference, I think it’s the whole lot that helps, but it made a huge difference to my self-esteem and confidence.
What to do – just be aware of any improvement, and be happy if there is.
Another benefit of looking after the cluster of good habits.
I used to struggle with sleep and suffered from insomnia sporadically over a period of months and years. These days I sleep well and get to sleep easily.
Again, I would only be speculating if I were to say it was one specific thing that was responsible.
It makes sense that if I went from being sedentary, eating the wrong types of food and not exercising to being active, dialling in my nutrition, and training, that my body is a lot happier with this routine.
I am far busier than I used to be – this also plays a huge part. When bedtime comes I’m ready to sleep!
What to do – Record how many hours of sleep you get per night.
You might be surprised by how low the number is. Always look to improve and get as close to 7-9 hours as you can.
Nobody Operates Well On Too Little Sleep. Track It.
Improvement At A Sport/Injury Recovery
This relates to training in the Academy. All programming should be underpinned by intelligent design – we deal with a lot of clients who have come in with injuries and seen huge improvements once they stick to our guidelines over a sustained period of time.
We also deal with many athletes in their off-season who go back afterwards feeling stronger and fitter than ever.
What to do – Keep a journal of how your injury feels week to week, and do the same with your training sessions and matches if you play a sport.
Unless you are blessed with unwavering self-confidence (most of us are not) then this is something that is earned.
For me, I feel more confident in my mid-thirties than I ever have in my whole life.
I work at things every single day. I eat to my goals, I get to bed on time, I keep stress down, I work hard at being a better coach, friend, and family member every single day.
Happiness and self-confidence starts with you – nobody can give it to you.
What to do – Work to improve every single day. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
I hope this provides some food for thought when it comes to progress other than just focusing on the number on the scales.
If you have any questions let me know, I’d be glad to help
The Tracking Sheets
Access to the sheet is given by me via Google Drive. If you haven’t received your invite please drop me a message.
Here’s a quick video walk through of how to fill them in as you go, any questions let me know.