Following our previous article on tracking calories, we will explain other areas of activity we track in order to progress.
Your training is the foundation to improving your physique. Therefore, tracking the weights, reps and sets you do makes it easy to ensure you progress each session. If one week you do leg extension, you may do 10 reps 3 times at 20kg, you know the next week you are capable of doing that weight, so you can increase the weight. This is called progressive overload.
Tracking your workouts also present you with pattern of when is best to take a de-load. Gaining an understanding of how long your training cycles are means you can plan accordingly. For example, if you’re able to train with progressive overload for 6 weeks and you notice by week 7 you’re fatigued and struggling to hit the same numbers, it may be a sign that you need to take a rest from the gym to recover.
You can also log in other factors aside from just the weights, reps and sets.
-You may be training at a different time of the day. which affects your energy levels.
-You may have not eaten much that day, and for women you may be at a specific time of the month.
This is a huge benefit to having a PT – they do all this data collection for you!
Tracking your Steps
Another form of tracking activity is by counting steps, which is all the craze now. Steps can be easily logged on your phone or a fitbit watch.
As a nation we’re committed to hitting our 10k steps daily and becoming boastful when we’ve exceeded it. Steps contribute to your NEAT levels – NON EXERCISE ACTIVITY THERMOGENESIS which contributes to the energy deficit required for fat loss. It’s important to put in the effort not just during the gym but also outside, which is why we actively encourage clients to get more steps in. Getting more steps in is a really easy method of moving more that doesn’t require a lot of energy and can be done without you even thinking about it. Try walking to a further bus/train stop or going to a further coffee shop, the increase in energy expenditure will add up.
In extreme cases for muscle building, sometimes doing too many steps can put you in an unknown deficit (on top of cardio and training). Which may mean you need to consume more food to avoid that deficit.
A great example to why we should track is if you look at someone who has a sedentary job at a desk all day, who may average 5k steps a day compared to someone working on a building site who can do upwards of 20k steps a day. Even if they’re the same age, gender, height and weight, both will have different calories required for their goals.
In summary, whenever you want to make progress you need data to start with, and then monitor as you go on. There is no one size fits all answer with regards to how much you need to eat to lose weight, or how many reps and sets you need to do to grow bigger biceps. Each individual is different. The more we know about you the more we can help you.
Article By Claudia Hodgson