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With all the information and advice online on how to keep fit, it can be difficult to figure out the best ways to get started. Luckily, we’ve got your back.
Here at Gymshark Central, we think that starting out should be simple.
Check out the first instalment in our Back to Basics guide from Sophie (@gainsbybrains) here.
TODAY IS THE DAY!
You’ve been contemplating about it for some time now, and you are determined to change your lifestyle.
But, before running to the gym and signing a year contract, you need to know what is it that you want to achieve and how can you track your progress, so you know that you are heading in the right direction.
Starting with the basics
Having clear goals makes it easier to progress compared to training without a specific aim.
But, this doesn’t mean that you should have a goal related to a specific number of the scale. Your goal should be to improve your body composition or run your first 5K instead of gaining or losing weight.
Why? Let’s break it down!
Your body composition is often used to describe the percentage of fat and fat-free mass in your body.
Fat-free mass is also referred to as lean body mass (LBM), and it includes (among others) bone, organs, muscle, other tissues and water!
The number on the scale
You might have some kind of emotion attached to the number on the scale. For example, you might feel positive when it goes down and negative when it goes up (or vice versa).
But a change of the number on the scale doesn’t necessarily mean that your body fat percentage changed. Your weight depends on a variety of factors, not just muscle tissue and body fat.
Short-term changes in the number on the scale are often due to water retention; long-term changes are more representative of a change in your body composition.
Some factors that can influence how much water your body retains are chronic stress, your carbohydrate intake, sodium and potassium imbalances, and your menstrual cycle.
That doesn’t mean that using bodyweight to evaluate or track progress is useless.
You can weigh yourself every day (under the same circumstances) and calculate your weekly average weigh-in.
Calculating averages smooths out daily fluctuations, and it allows you to compare your weekly average weigh-in to your weekly average weigh-ins of previous weeks and evaluate your progress!
Even though you know that a lot of factors influence the number on the scale, you just might not feel comfortable with weighing yourself frequently.
Luckily, there are also other ways to keep track of your progress.
Keep track of your progress in the gym! Write down what exercises you did, how many sets + reps you performed and how much weight you used, so you know for sure whether you are making progress over time.
Use the mirror, but don’t forget to be kind to yourself! Our perception of what we see in the mirror might not be right. We are often our own worst critics.
Progress photos. Take them at the beginning of your fitness journey, and keep taking them regularly so you can compare them!
Measurements. Girth measurements are circumference measures that you take (with a tape measure) at specific points of your body. You can also use a skinfold caliper to measure skin folds.
All methods have their own pros and cons. You can use the information the methods provide you with as just that, information.