If you’re trying to lose weight, improve muscle tone, or want to accomplish a new fitness goal, one thing you shouldn’t overlook is tracking your fitness routines and dietary habits. We often start off with the best of intentions for new goals, but many of us become side tracked after a few weeks and then wonder what went wrong? With tracking your diet and fitness activities, there’s much more of a focus on being the best version of yourself! Here are a few tips of the trade to reach your health and fitness goals:
Record Your Basic Statistics & Your Goal
If you are getting started on a new weight loss goal or fitness adventure, it’s important to begin with recording how, what and where you were at when you started.
- Start with recording your start date and a clear intention, as well as a rough guideline and deadline to how and when you hope to complete your goal. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure you have reasonable expectations for your fitness goals – like aiming for about 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week!
- Record all your statistics, including height, present weight and a few key body measurements.
- Record your start weight in pounds or kilograms. Although there is some truth that the number on the scale does not tell the whole story (as far as how much of your body weight is lean muscle and how much is of it is fat) it’s a quick and easy indicator of your overall health.
- If you are not sure how much you should weigh, consult a BMI chart or calculator. The BMI chart stands for Body Mass Index, which estimates a healthy body weight for men and women between 18-65 based on their height. Calculate your BMI at: www.calculator.net/bmi-calculator.html.
- Use a measuring tape! Measure your chest, waist and hips; 3 key places you’ll see results. If you’d like to know whether your measurements are within a healthy range, do a simple “hip to waist ratio” measurement (www.bmi-calculator.net/waist-to-hi-ratio-calculator).
- Do a few quick fitness tests to measure where your strength, flexibility or cardiovascular fitness levels before you start. Fitness tests are simple exercises that take only a few minutes to complete and record and will tell you know how you rank in certain fitness areas! Like the Plank Test (see how long you can hold a plank for – if you can hold it for 1-2 minutes you’re on the right track!) Complete a Fitness Test every few weeks to track your progress.
Track Your Daily Diet and Fitness Routines
Once you have recorded your fitness goals and intentions as well as your height, weight, body measurements and fitness results from several fitness tests, it is time to get the work done and start recording what you are eating and drinking daily (including the quantity!) and what fitness exercises you’ve been doing to improve your health and fitness.
When recording your food intake it is important to include the:
- Time of day you ate
- Quantity of food, and
- How the food was prepared
- Also! If you feel up to it, write down how you felt after you ate to give you a better idea of what food is good for your soul
- Record your exercises (time of day, type, intensity, duration and if needed how many sets/reps your did)
Choose a Journal or other Tracking System
How will you track all of this information? Log it on paper or using a Fitness Tracking App (like Fitbook!) If you’re one to take pen to paper, buy a notebook large enough to record everything you eat/your daily exercises, but light enough you can carry it around all day. I normally use a simple notebook, but thought I’d look for and invest in a journal designed specifically for tracking my health and fitness goals! I ended up buying “Fitbook”, a great tool to track your goals, and only costs about $24. The journal has designated space to write your fitness goals, basic stats, daily diet and room for recording both your weight training exercises and classes you go to. In the last few weeks, it’s helped keep me on track – though sometimes I find there isn’t enough space to write down every single detail!
Not into writing things down, track it with an app! We love the Fitbook Journal fitness app: www.getfitbook.com.
It’s all about balance and creating a tracking system that is right for you and your fitness goals, and know you’re not alone in your fitness journey!
Dana teaches fitness part time and specializes in Yoga, Pilates and Body Sculpting. She has been writing for close to ten years and was the Skin Care Writer for the Toronto Examiner from 2010 to 2016. She works part time as a fashion and fitness model.