Beginner weight lifters are often discouraged when they don’t see any great results within the first few weeks of training. This is understandable in a sense, but it’s also the same reason why some overweight people never get skinny. It causes them to give up early.
It is important that we don’t focus on our short-term progress too much. But it’s understandable if we want to know that what we are doing is working. Until we see the difference, there seems to be no reward for the hard work that we put in.
The truth is that the difference is there.
However, it is not something that we can always see when all we look at is what’s in front of the mirror.
In fact, the changes that take place and become noticeable in the mirror will require long-term commitment.
Muscle growth and fat loss takes time. The initial effects are usually more health-based. We tend to feel a lot better about ourselves, a lot more energetic and less sluggish, and we get a positive feeling out of our workouts.
We Can Always Keep a Diary!
No one likes the idea of keeping a diary once they grow up, especially guys. However, it is definitely a great way to keep track of our progress in the gym. If we need to, we can just call it a log.
We can log many different details. This may include our weight every time we do a weigh-in, the weight, reps, and sets of each exercise we perform, and even bi-monthly or monthly progress pictures.
The idea is that we will have a central point where we can compare our ‘before and after’ as we wish. We can notice that in the short term we accomplished a little progress. After a few months we can look at the before and after pictures and likely see a much more noticeable difference. We can also compare our lifts from before and now and notice our strength has improved drastically.
We Can Monitor Body Fat Percentage
Another important variable in our fitness progress involves our body fat percentage levels. This is an indicator on the total amount of fat that our body is carrying. It also indicates how much lean mass we have at any point in time.
If we are trying to put on muscle, we will want to make sure that our body fat percentage does not increase too much. If we are trying to lose weight, we will want to make sure that it goes down – otherwise we are losing too much muscle at the same time.
We Can Hear It From People Around Us
Most of the time, any major changes in one’s physique or body composition will be noticed by those around them. Our significant others are usually the first to notice as they see us with our shirt off a lot of the time. Our friends and family may also start to notice a difference, especially when we drop our extra fat and look much thinner within the course of a few months.
We Can See It On Our Phone
It may sound crazy, but we can actually track workout performance with our smartphone. There are many workout tracking applications that allow us to input our exercises, weights, reps, and sets, and etc.
Many apps are tailored towards bodybuilding style training. They come pre-loaded with a long list of common exercises based on the primary muscle that gets worked. We can go through these lists and even create a custom program that is pre-set for future workouts. The app will even show us how many reps and sets we have to do for each exercise (bonus!) and we will just have to enter our lift results afterwards.
There are many different ways that we can go about tracking our progress. The main purpose of tracking progress is to make sure that we understand that we are getting results even if we don’t seem to think so. It is vital that we always stay at least motivated enough to not quit on working out as the results will pay off big time in the long term – if we don’t falter.
If we are in need of further motivation, we can always look online at others’ before and after pictures on bodybuilding forums to see how long it took them and how little difference they noticed at first.