Day 9 – fitness goals and benchmarking thoughts

I have done a lot of different fitness routines over the years, and most of them were, ultimately, bad. I wasn’t necessarily stupid, but rather I was ignorant of what to do. The second problem I ran into was tracking progress; I didn’t know how to tell if my routines were working. I have stumbled my way into a better idea of what works.

I’ll start with benchmarking. If your goals include trimming some fat, get off the scale! The scale is an ineffective measure of success, since weight changes with gains and losses in both fat and muscle and fluctuates based on eating, drinking, and bowel movements. If you must use the scale limit yourself to measuring at the same time of day each time and don’t measure more than once a week. No one gains or loses a pound or more of body fat overnight without surgery. So what to measure instead? A mirror is a good start since you know what you want to look like. Another good tool is a measuring tape. Finally, you can spring for a body fat calculation (most home tools are inaccurate).

If your goals are to get stronger, then my advice is to track both body weight exercises and weight exercises. Log your exercises in the same place on the same equipment, and make sure that you havent done other workouts beforehand. I do a lot of different body weight exercises, but I only track standard push-ups, pull-ups, and squats and I only do so in my exercise room. Also, I will track a couple rounds of this to help track muscle recovery. For weight tracking, I pick one exercise per workout and do that one first after my warm-up, otherwise you may be mistaking a lack of progress with muscle fatigue. Finally, don’t stretch, it decreases performance.

Today I logged a new PR on my deadlift: 275

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