Today I want to go over how we like to approach tracking progress. First off, if you are looking to improve, and currently aren't tracking any information in regards to your health, wellness, or physical capabilities, there is a good to almost certain chance that any work you are putting in is going to waste. If you are honestly satisfied with where you are and simply want to maintain the level of success you've reached, then what I'm saying doesn't really apply. But if you are building towards a goal, and not keeping track of what you are doing or how well you are doing it, you will not reach your goal. Second, If the only thing you are using to track your progress is a scale, you are going to hate your life.
This is why we use a physical assessment in our programming. Like we have talked about before we train to improve the life we are already living. Doing so means working on your ability to stand, move, and bend for periods of time without pain, how much your heart and lungs are affected by your standing, moving, and bending, and the amount of lean tissue (muscle) you have to use for your standing, moving, and bending.
So can you guess how we assess your progress? By standing, moving, and bending! Here are the four things we test in our assessments:
Low impact cardio
Functional leg strength
High intensity cardio
You can measure low impact cardio by walking easily for 3 to 5 minutes, and taking your heart rate before and after the walk. In the gym we tend to do mild step ups, like so.......
whether you're simply walking or doing a step test, the important thing is to measure your heart rate before and afterwards. The goal is to see less of a jump between the two numbers over time.
You can measure your body control in two parts, upper and lower. For the upper body we tend to use either push ups or pull ups. If you for sure know you cant do a pull up, start with the push up. If you for sure can't do a push up, watch our video on how to do push ups....
When you can do 15 push ups, nose to ground, in the exact manner the video says, then switch to pull ups. When tracking pull ups, we don't care if your chin goes over the bar, but that your arm and shoulder reach peek contraction, like so.....
You can measure your lower body control using a squat. The goal here is to see how low you can get through the proper mechanics of the squat movement, use our squat tutorial as your guide. If you need to, use a box and record the size of the box. Give yourself five to ten tries.
For lower body functional strength we focus on a 5 rep back squat. If you can't yet safely reach parallel in your squat, like our tutorial says, you may do a wall sit instead and record your time.
In this lift, you are testing the efficiency of the movement, not the amount of weight you can lift. That means you do not go up in weight if you have a hitch in your form. Like so...
Finally! I know this is a lot but bear with me here.... You can test your high intensity cardio by spiking your heart rate with a series of sprints, or a minute of burpess, and measuring your heart rate directly after.....AND 3 minutes after. The goal here is to see how well you recover, so you want your heart rate 3 minutes after to get closer and closer to your resting heart rate from before.
That is how we like to measure progress. If you don't like, feel safe with, or have access to barbells or weights, I recommend using the wall sit instead. We aren't saying you have to use all of these measurements, or this exact formula, but find something outside a scale to focus tracking your progress.