You never know where you are going if you did not benchmark where you started and know where you are today. Therefore it is critical to make sure that you know where you stand today so that you can make plans for tomorrow.
There is truth in those statements but it is important for you to make sure that you are following certain numbers, and not just weight on the scale, but I have run into a couple of people over the last few days that are not sure if they are moving forward or not.
One girl that I know says that her stays in a five pound range and she started working out a couple weeks ago and says she is at the high end of her five pound range.
The other person was watching the X-Weighted TV show and wanted to know how they exactly did the testing at the beginning of the show.
So here is a few things to look at today that will help you in benchmarking your fitness goals.
Most people trying to change their habits and get in better shape have a few things that they care about, Weight, food intake, strength, flexibility, and fitness stamina.
So when you start or even starting today you need to start a diary or journal where you can do weekly updates of a few things to know where you are today and tomorrow.
Weight Gain and Weight Loss
Easy enough here, you should weigh yourself once a week and see where you are at. This to me is only one thing that you should take into account when measuring your fitness.
Of course weight will change over time sometimes muscle will go up or down and sometimes fat levels will go up or down. So the important thing to consider with your weight is that when it changes you need to relate that to your food intake and types of exercise you are doing.
Food Intake – How Much, How Often, And What Kinds Of Food
Food journaling is something that every big diet from the Zone Diet, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers all have you do. It is important to know from one day to the next what you are eating and why. If you track your food intake then you can tell where your weaknesses are and always able to look back to see what you were doing bad and well in the past.
The best things to look at are the macro nutrients. Checking how much protein, carbohydrates, fats you are taking in and how they will relate to each other. How often you are eating and when during the day that you are eating are also very important benchmarks for now as well as for the future. This is best done on a daily basis and an app like MyFitnessPal is a great way to get started with this.
Strength – How Much Can You Lift, Push, Or Pull
Strength is a very easy to measure stat. Find a range of exercises that you can do. You can do the easy things like number of squats, crunches, push ups or calf raises.
If you have weights available to you then you have a huge range, you can do bench presses, bicep curls, tricep extensions, as well as many other weight bearing exercises.
There are two ways to track. The number of reps that you can do at a certain weight, or the amount of you can do for 10 reps. To me there is no difference in these two types of benchmarking and you can do one or the other or mix them up. If you are working out on a regular basis then your strength and muscle mass will increase. This affects your weight as well.
Flexibility – Improving How You Move Through Life
Flexibility is one of those things that no one seems to care about but is incredibly important to your overall fitness and your lifestyle.
Having flexibility is hard to test at times so this one is single reps and seeing where you are.
Some examples of flexibility are stretching your calves down and see how far down you can stretch your calves, also stretching over to one side and the other at your hips and in front to see how far down you can reach to touch your toes. If you do not do much exercise and then jump right into it your muscles will become sore and for a short period of time your flexibility will suck, don’t worry, your flexibility will get a lot better over time
Fitness Stamina – Moving Faster While Keeping Your Breath
Fitness stamina is another easy to track set of exercises. How fast can you go a mile, running or walking? How long can you stand on one leg? if you are in the top of a pushup how long can you stay up? How many miles can you bike in an hour?
You have to start tracking the changes in your life if you have not already started doing so. Wouldn’t you love to know in a month or a year or 5 years how much better your stamina has become?
You do also have bad days as well as good days and on those bad days you need to be able to look back and see that you are doing great and pick yourself up again.
So today, tonight, or even tomorrow make sure that you have done some of these tests for the first time so that you can have a starting point. Once you do all of these tests a few times over the next few weeks and months you will have discovered what a great tool that benchmarking your fitness level is for seeing progress in your health lifestyle.