Checklist to See if Your Workout Is Working

Checklist to See if Your Workout Is Working When you first start working out, you usually notice a rapid improvement in strength, aerobic capacity and sport-specific performance issues such as flexibility and balance. The first six weeks or so of your new training regimen offer the fastest gains and after that things start to slow down as your body gets used to the increased activity level. It can be easy to lose motivation when you are no longer seeing gains from session to session.

Tracking Exercise Benefits

Most people exercise with specific goals in mind, such as weight loss, health improvements, or to improve performance for a sport. Here are a few measurable metrics that you can use to track the effectiveness of your workouts, helping you to stay motivated in the long term:

  • Weight – if you want to lose weight, weigh yourself once every two weeks. Make sure you weigh yourself at the same time of day and on the same scales, for maximum tracking accuracy.
  • Body fat – you can measure your body fat using hand-held scales or callipers. There are online calculators that will guess your body fat percentage based on measurements taken with a tape measure.
  • Lung function – test your lung function by using a peak flow meter or by trying timed runs on the treadmill.
  • Strength  – every six weeks, test your one-rep max on your favourite exercises
  • Flexibility – measure the distance that you can achieve on the sit-and-reach test, as well as your range of motion on other stretches.

Diversify Your Exercise Regimen

If you find that your performance has stagnated, then you may want to diversify your exercise program. Changing the exercises that you perform or adding new exercises to your workout is a good way to break through plateaus and also to increase your motivation.

Aerobic exercise offers many health benefits. It improves cardiovascular health and helps you to burn more calories, promoting weight loss and increasing your general energy levels. Low and moderate intensity aerobic training is a good way to burn some extra calories and promote “active recovery” as part of a more specific training regimen.

Flexibility training is a good idea for all athletes. Even if you don’t dream of being able to do the splits or perform strange contortions, it’s still a good idea to do some stretching. Improving your flexibility will make it easier for you to achieve full range of motion on your favourite exercises and also reduce your risk of injury.

Strength training is an often-overlooked part of exercise, especially among people that are looking to lose weight. Some people avoid strength-training because they are worried that it will make them look big and bulky, but this is not something that can happen accidentally. People who engage in moderate intensity strength training a few times a week are not going to suddenly find themselves turning into Jay Cutler or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Strength training offers many health benefits, including improved balance, reduced body fat, a faster metabolism and increased bone density.

A good exercise regimen includes sport (or goal) specific training as well as general physical preparedness work. Re-evaluate your progress every twelve weeks and make changes as necessary to ensure continued progress.


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