Tracking progress sounds very simple and like common sense. However, the majority of everyday lifters never track anything, from their nutrition, strength increases, photos or weight loss.
People get lazy and don’t track, you cannot intelligently make educated decisions if you don’t have feedback. Tracking progress is an integral part of what we do, so we can analyse whether you need more, or less, or simply keep going with what you are currently doing. Here are my tips on tracking progress.
Photos to me are the most crucial measurement of progress. When it comes down to it, when you are at the beach, or on stage, no one knows or cares how much you weigh or what your body fat percentage is.
You care how you look, which is why photos win. Firstly, always take photos when you begin your journey. These are imperative. To be able to know where you started is always a powerful reminder in the never-ending journey of building your physique.
How to Take Photos
First things, first, stop with the selfie photos in the mirror holding your phone! These don’t show you anything. We all have phones that have a self-timer, so put your phone on a ledge, set the timer to 10 seconds and take yourself progress photos.
Always try to take these in a bikini or sports crop and shorts so you have as much feedback as possible. Whole body, the photo should have your feet and room above your head (when you put your transformation photos together, you need room when or they won’t fit properly).
Take photos from the front, back and side. Keep your arms relaxed and by your side and simply stand there still in a normal manner. Don’t look too happy for before photos.
I suggest taking progress photos every fortnight for those in the a fat loss phase. Then for those who are building. Building takes more time, so progress will be slower. Photos every 3-4 weeks will be sufficient. Remember to use the same location for your house, this helps with consistencies visually. Ideally, the same time of the day paired with the same lighting and same outfit for absolute accuracy.
Second to photos, I use scale and also girth measurements to track and assess progress. My advice is weighing yourself twice a week on a Monday and Thursday, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach after using the bathroom.
Also, you must take girth measurements twice a week, such as chest, waist (belly button) and hips. You may also like to take the midpoint of your thigh as well. Body fat testing via calipers, dexa scans and in body scans are all reasonably good but use these ONLY as a guide don’t be married to the reading. It’s just an algorithm.
Please remember, all these measurements are away to asses some form of progress. But when it comes down to it, the best measurements of success, is when you look in the mirror and genuinely like what you see, as cliché as it sounds.