In 2011 I squatted over 400 pounds for the first time. This isn’t super-human by any means, but for me it was a solid number for my 195 pound body and I was happy with it.
After squatting that much weight I couldn’t help but think back to my early days of training and how I’d probably done thousands of squats prior to that big day.
In middle school I started doing body weight squats and eventually progressed to lightweight squats with a bar.
In high school I remember the first time I put the big weights on the bar and did squats with 135 pounds.
By the time high school was over and I was in college training as a college football player I was squatting well over 300 pounds, nothing crazy, but not too shabby for me.
Through my own training as an athlete for 13 years and as a personal trainer for the last couple of years I’ve learned to understand one key principle about getting results – Progress Reigns Supreme.
If you want to jump higher, run faster, lose fat, put on muscle, or just get healthier it takes time.
However, many people get discouraged if they don’t see huge results from a program in a week or two. They look for a way to lose 20 pounds in a week or gain 50 pounds on their bench press in a month. If this is you understand this – It isn’t going to happen!
I don’t say this to be mean, I just want you to come down to earth and come to grips with reality.
Does this mean you can’t see some amazing gains in a short amount of time? No, but like I said, quality results take time.
Now, I do understand that seeing progress from a program is very important. If you see progress you are much more likely to continue on with the program and actually get the results you desire. If you don’t see progress you’ll probably quit and jump from program to program or trainer to trainer.
There are plenty of ways to see if you are progressing from a workout program. Some of these methods are subjective and difficult to measure while others are objective and give you concrete data on your progress.
Let’s look at 10 ways to measure your progress from a workout program.
- The Good Ole’ Mirror Test. We do this every day. Quite simply, we see how we look in a mirror. Not the easiest way to see progress.
- The Scale. Again, something many people do every day. Most people have a goal of weight loss, so this seems appropriate. However, here’s the important thing to know: A scale measures your weight, that’s it. What happens if you gain 5 pounds of lean muscle and lose 3 pounds of fat? The scale will say you gained 2 pounds and you will be discouraged – not good.
- Body Fat Percentage. This way of measuring progress is much better than simply using a scale. It will allow you to see how much fat you lost and how much muscle you gained. The best ways to measure this are with Hydrostatic Weighing, The BODPOD, or a DEXA scan. They can range in cost from $50-$150, but it is well worth it to get accurate measurements.
- Circumference Measurements. Have you lost a few inches on your waste? Well my friend, congrats, you have made progress.
- The Number of Reps. Let’s say you can do 10 push ups one week and in four weeks you can do 20 push ups – you have made progress.
- The Amount of Weight. If you can squat 350 pounds for 3 reps one week and a few weeks later you can squat 370 pounds for 3 reps you have again made progress.
- The Amount of Time. What do I mean by this? Well, this could mean that you finish a workout in less time or you can last longer while performing an exercise.
- Blood Work. Having blood work done is a great way to see if you have gotten healthier or not from exercise.
- How You Feel. Do you have more energy? Are you able to function on less coffee or, dare I say, no coffee at all? This is a very subjective measure of progress, but by all means you will notice a change.
- How Your Clothes Fit. This is a measure of progress you can see rather quickly from a workout program. If your goal is weight loss and you’ve been working with a personal trainer for a few weeks or performing your own exercise program take note of how your clothes are fitting each week.
If you haven’t been getting the results you desire from training let me help you realize the power of progress. Think about this: If you lose a pound per week, you’ll lose 52 pounds in a year. If you gain 5 pounds on your bench press each month your bench press will be 60 pounds better in a year.
I know what you may be thinking, that is a long time to wait! You are right, it is a long time, but the time will pass anyway.
Celebrate the small victories of progress! They lead to your desired outcome.
I work as a personal trainer and I’d love to help you get the results you desire from a program. Contact me to see how you can work with me, in person or online. We’ll work together to make consistent progress to help you achieve your goals.
Have a great day!
- How Jerry Lost 70 Pounds and How You Can Lose Weight Too (justingordon8.wordpress.com)