It takes time and practice to design a fitness routine that gets you closer to your goals and isn’t so hard that you end up giving up by the second Tuesday. However, progress is the primary motivation behind a fitness routine, but it is also the trickiest thing to figure out.
Noticing any significant progress while workout out can take up to weeks – if not months. But you don’t want to find out months later that your workout hasn’t been working out at all, do you? This is why it is extremely important to have some sort of measures to understand whether you’re headed in the right direction or not.
Anyone who is working out has a specific goal in mind – toning up, losing body fat, strengthening their muscles, or just maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, if they don’t feel any significant progress, they may end up getting discouraged and give up altogether.
So if you’ve been working out for some days, but aren’t sure if you’re making any progress, here are a few signs that your workout is working.
The Weights Are Getting Lighter
It is important to keep track of how much weight you’re lifting and how many reps you can manage. If you’ve been lifting the same weight for a significant amount of time, chances are that it may feel lighter as compared to when you first began. This is an indication that your muscular endurance is building. Over time, you should either be able to lift slightly heavier weights or manage to do more reps with the same weights.
Rate of Perceived Exertion
According to the American Council on Exercise, the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is the feeling caused by exertion. A 0-10 chart defines it. For instance, sitting in front of a TV gets a rating of 0, as you aren’t exerting at all. On the contrary, pacing on an uphill slope main put your closer to 8 or 9 – 10 if you’re very unfit.
As you continue working out regularly, your RPE increases. In the beginning, working out on an Elliptical Machine for 10 minutes at a specific speed may get you a rating of 9. However, once you continue it for a month without increasing the speed or time, it may go down to 5 or 6. A good workout should have an RPE of 7 or 8. As you continue working out, your stamina continues to grow, and you need to increase the amount of time you’re spending on the Elliptical to continue making progress. If you find yourself sweating out at the same pace two months later, then the workout may not be working for you.
Your Jeans Fit Better
No, this does not mean that the number on your weighing machine has dropped. Frequently weighing yourself is a mistake while trying to measure your progress – so resist this temptation. This is because various factors affect your weight, which may cause it to fluctuate. In addition to that, a pound of muscle is a lot smaller than a pound of fat. So if you’re building muscles, you may be gaining weight even as you get fitter. This can lead to disappointment.
Instead, judge your progress by how well your clothes fit. Are the clothes that were perfectly fit getting loose? Even if they work slightly better, that’s a massive indication of your progress.
Your Unhealthy Cravings Have Reduced
If you’re regularly working out and paying attention to your fitness, the chances are that you will be more mindful about your food habits as well. (If not, then you have to start now!) In the beginning, it may be challenging to give up your favourite snacks and would require a lot of self-control to succeed. However, if you keep at it while including healthy foods in your diet, you will soon notice that your cravings for unhealthy foods have declined.
Instead, your body is now craving healthier foods such as high-quality carbohydrates and proteins in order to fuel itself for the workout. Now, this does not mean that you’ll never crave another cookie in your life – just that your dependence on these foods will decrease drastically.
You Look Forward to Your Workouts
Remember the first day at the gym? You felt tired, breathless, and unfit. So much so that you considered the option of just giving up and going for a pizza at least ten times throughout your session. However, as you make some progress, your body starts to adapt to it.
This requires you to push yourself a little in the beginning, but soon, you’ll notice that you don’t dread hitting the gym anymore. Instead, you actually look forward to it. Yes, some days will still be difficult than others. But when you find a workout that works for your body and fits with your personality, fitness becomes fun.
Sometimes, progress is hard to notice – this is especially true when it comes to working out. However, most of the time, it’s only because your daily progress may not be significant enough to notice. But it will lead to better results over time. So the next time you feel that your efforts are futile, try to look for these small signs to see whether your workout is working or not.
If you still don’t notice these changes over a few months, then your workout may lack something. In this case, try discussing your concerns with a gym or fitness instructor, and they may be able to come up with a better plan for you.