- You don’t know how much you’re eating. If you’re overweight, you probably don’t realize how many calories you consume on a daily basis. If you’re underweight and “can’t gain weight no matter what you eat,” you probably don’t realize how many calories you consume on a daily basis. Americans have such a warped sense of reality when it comes to proper “portion size” and what constitutes a meal. We need to be better informed.
- You can’t tell if you’re getting stronger. Our bodies need to be constantly challenged in order to adapt and get stronger. If you do three sets of 10 push ups every day for a year…you will just be really good at doing 3 sets of 10 push ups and nothing more. You need to constantly increase the difficulty of your workouts in order to get results. If you didn’t know how you did last time, how the hell are you going to know if you’re doing better this time?
- That which is measured gets improved! I’m sure there are actual psychological reasons behind why this works, but I know that I get better results when I exercise if I know EXACTLY what I need to lift or how fast I need to run to get stronger and better. If I did 30 push ups in a row last week, then this week I have “31! 31! 31!” emblazoned in my mind while doing them…sure enough I’ll get to 31. On top of that, if you’re constantly keeping track of what you eat, taking measurements, and tracking your workouts, you will always be thinking “healthy!” and thus make healthier decisions on a more consistent basis.
How to track your body:
Take a picture – once a week, preferably the same time every week, after you wake up and before you have breakfast. Friday or Monday mornings
Take measurements – Make sure your measurements are taken in the morning and not after your workout. Also, make sure you measure the same location each week. Take a circumference measurement at each of these spots and write it down:
-Shoulders (both arms down at your side, at the widest point from shoulder to shoulder)
-Chest (lift up your arms, wrap the tape measure around your chest, just above the nipple, and then lower your arms)
-Bicep (either left or right, but be consistent)
-Waist (at the belly button for consistency)
-Hips (measure the widest part of your hips)
-Thigh (left or right, but pick the same spot on your thigh each week)
Track your Diet:
80% of your successes or failures will be a direct result of how you eat. Although the quality of your calories consumed is incredibly important, the quantity of calories you consume is the first thing that needs to be fixed. Think of your stomach as a muscle that adapts to its surroundings. If you continually shovel 4000 calories down your throat, your body will start to crave 4000 calories even though it doesn’t need that many.
Most people eat the same few meals over and over again on a weekly basis – I do. For that reason, I don’t think it’s necessary for you to track ALL of your calories EVERY day for months and months. However, I think spending a week writing down every calorie is incredibly important for your education and awareness on what you’re eating. I’m talking every freaking calorie: that half of a Kat Kat bar at Judy’s desk when you stopped by to grab some cover pages for your TPS reports, the handful of M&Ms you ate while watching 30Rock reruns on NetFlix, the five cans of Coke you drank while finishing up that late night project, and the six beers and three slices of pizza you crushed to celebrate afterwards.
Track your Workouts:
When you exercise, do you do so with purpose? Do you know exactly what you’re going to do and how long it should take you? If you’re serious about getting in shape, you need to start tracking your workouts:
- If you did 3 sets of 10 push ups last week for a total of 30 push ups, you need to be able to do 31 total push ups this week to be stronger.
- If you did squats with 135 pounds last week, this week you better be squatting 136 pounds or more
- If you did 3 pull ups last week, you know you need to get to 4 this week if you want to be stronger.
Have a plan, know what kind of results you need to get in order to be better today than you were yesterday, and then GET THERE!