Progression is the name of the game
Last night as I was packing up, one of my personal training clients started picking my brain. He’s heavily involved in martial arts and was looking for ideas of training his students and we got to talking about different ways of measuring progress.
We came up with different ways for both the students and the teacher to figure out whether or not it’s working. Things like the national physical fitness tests we did in high school came up and even things that can measure punching power.
When it comes to a vague notion like being “in shape” it’s important to have barometers of progress. How do you know if what you’re doing is working? You have to assess every so often.
In my personal training studio, I assess my clients current strength over a couple exercises that I come up with in order to reach their goals. As an example, if a person comes to me unable to do any chin ups, then in 12 weeks they’re able to get 3, I know it worked. Come again 3 or 4 months later and they’re able to do 5 or 6, I know it’s working. Numbers are the easiest to compare because they’re objective. 10 is a bigger number than 1, as my daughter who is in kindergarten taught me.
Now even though my passion is with strength, a lot of times people come to me because they want to improve the way they look. Well again, I can tell from the numbers because there is no way to turn a 1 rep max into a 10 rep max without looking better (assuming you aren’t eating like a maniac).
In fact if you turned 1 rep maxes across several different exercises and your bodyweight remained the same, it’s a good indicator that you have burned fat and built muscle.
Another measure though it’s not objective is pictures.
When it comes to dramatic changes like these, progress is obvious. In fact when people start my program, I advise them to take a bathroom selfie and not look at it for at least 3 months. It’s hard to notice the day to day change but over time the changes add up.
But what if it isn’t every 12 weeks? What about making this a longterm lifestyle?
I like the ideas from Clarence Bass, a legend in the fitness world where he recommends taking pics every year on your birthday so you know whether or not you’re maintaining what you built effectively. I started doing this when I turned 40 years old.
Now, it doesn’t have to be on your birthday. It could be the start of the new year or any time really. Just make sure you have some kind of way to determine whether or not you’re on track to whatever it is you want to do in life.
If you want my help, I have a free trial available. Just text me at 973 476 5328 and introduce yourself to get started.
Eric Moss is a personal trainer in Boonton and moonlights as a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, and motivational speaker. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a live show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, associations, nonprofits, and government entities as well as for schools and universities. His personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey and is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville, Butler, and Parsippany New Jersey.