How do you know if your fitness regime is getting results?
You are going to the gym four times a week, you do a long run at the weekend.Your friends admire you for your discipline but still, at the back of your mind, is a nagging doubt. ‘Is my fitness regime getting results?’
There are simple signs – reduced weight, increased or improved muscle tone. An ability to run/cycle/swim for longer. But how do you know that you are working as effectively as you can and that you are doing the right things?
The importance of record keeping
When you start a fitness regime, it helps if you keep a record of what you are doing and how it feels. This form of self-monitoring needn’t be arduous, just a few simple notes after a session, but it will give you a snap-shot of where you are.
For example, over a three month weight lifting programme, your fitness regime is getting results if you are able to lift more weights, do more repetitions and do it all with great technique. It may be that you instagram your work out every so often – that pictorial record will help you see for yourself how much you are improving. Check out Kelsey Kerridge Instagram to see some great examples of images from the gym.
How fast can you go?
If running or cycling is your thing, then the simplest measure is how much quicker you cover a set distance or how much further you can comfortably go. This is where Park Runs are such great motivational events. The format – a five kilometre timed run – couldn’t be simpler. For everyone taking part, a regular Park Run will tell you all you need to know about your improvements.
And then there is the everyday. Do you find yourself sleeping better? Do you have much more energy than you used to? Do you run up the stairs at work while others take the lift? If any of these apply to you, then yes, your fitness regime is getting results.
If however, you still have some doubts, then it might be that you need to change things up a bit.
Try something new
The first thing you could do is to try something different. If you have been following the same fitness programme for years, then you definitely need a change. Your body gets used to the same movements so it no longer needs to adapt to cope with the stress. That is when you stop seeing any improvements. So the answer is to get outside your body’s comfort zone. As an example: every Monday lunchtime you go for a five kilometre run. Swap that for a circuit in the local park, where you do 10 different exercises and sprint between each one. Talk to one of the staff in the Outlooks Gym to get some new ideas.
Small steps to big changes
Sometimes it doesn’t need to be that drastic. Just tweaking what you are doing will produce results. For example, if you regularly do weights, add weight but lower the number of repetitions. That small change will challenge your muscles to work harder and you will feel it.
Add an active recovery day into your weekly routine. This is any workout that gets you moving but still lets your muscles recover completely. This means your body can reap the benefits of exercise without getting burned out. A long walk, yoga, gardening – anything that gets your body moving but still gives your body and mind a rest from strenuous activity.
Take a challenge
One other way you can change things up, is to set yourself a new challenge. Why do you do fitness in the first place? Why not test yourself and see if your fitness regime is getting results by entering a challenging event. Anything from a charity swim or bike ride through to a mad adventure race. There is nothing like the thought of competing in an event to focus the mind on how to get ready for a physical challenge.