Track your calories and macros.
Track your weight on the scale.
Track how much weight you can bench.
Track how many sit-ups and push-ups you can do.
Track how much you can deadlift.
Track how many steps you take in a day.
These are all pretty common numbers that the fitness industry tells you that you should track in order to be “successful”. In my experience it actually hinders success and more often than not, can leave you frustrated and deflated.
While tracking numbers might seem like a good idea, especially because most trainers (usually aged 18-22 with minimal experience…) will tell you that you SHOULD, it’s really not. We have had more success with our clients over the past few years avoiding numbers.
Think of it like this, the dark side of tracking a number is that you become more driven by the number than by the purpose behind it. For example, if you become so focus on a set number on the scale, even though you might be having great success with your nutrition, training, fat loss and you feel great, if you don’t hit or maintain ‘that number’ you will feel frustrated. I also see this with tracking steps. Sure, maybe you hit 10,000 steps a day, but are you more focused on that number than you are being healthy with what you choose to eat, how you train, how you sleep and how you practice self-care?
The danger in all of this? When we choose the wrong measurement, we get the wrong behaviour. Over my years of fitness coaching I have realized that measurement is ONLY useful when it guides you and adds context to the bigger picture, not when it consumes your life. Here is my philosophy: Numbers shouldn’t define us, they are just a piece of feedback in a larger picture goal. I can’t tell you how many times over my 20-year career in fitness that I have had a client tell me they feel better, their skin looks better, they have more energy, their clothes fit better (or don’t fit at all because they are too loose!) and then they jump on the scale and ‘that number’ doesn’t appear so they then feel frustrated, stressed and deflated.
In our number focused world, and especially in the world of fitness, we tend to overvalue numbers and undervalue anything ephemeral, soft and difficult to quantify. In fitness, we undervalue leaving a session on a Tuesday morning feeling accomplished for taking the time out of our busy schedule to train, or the fact that we pushed through a tough last set. Just because you can’t measure ‘feeling good’ after you train doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly valuable to the bigger pictures of living a healthier and happier life!
Another example when it comes to traditional fitness goals is bench pressing (an exercise which we’ve actually taken out of our programming for the past few years). Hitting a bigger and bigger number isn’t really worth it if you can barely reach your shoulders behind your back due to poor shoulder mobility or if you can’t bend down to play with your kids or grandkids that afternoon because you are in so much pain… Here is the truth, you WILL hit a point when you can’t bench anymore weight, then what? Should you feel like you aren’t accomplishing your goals anymore? And if losing 10lbs on the scale is your goal but you subscribe to a crash diet that is leaving you exhausted and feeling deprived, it isn’t going to help you sustain a healthy and happy life now is it?
So, what do we encourage our members to track? Why are our members so successful? What do I suggest?
1.Focus on the number of times you train in a week . We recommend at least 2 sessions of our programming.
We build two multi-planar and dynamic “meat and potatoes” training sessions each week and we tell our members to make this their goal. They are challenging but focus on a blend of strength, movement work, conditioning and are scalable for EVERY fitness level. Same with our TT Online program. Once our members feel confident and want to challenge themselves even more OR have more time to commit to their training, they progress onto additional and more skill based programming.
2. Focus on what you are eating by minimizing or eliminating process foods from your diet.
Someone asked me the other day ‘what diet I was on?”. I told them, the “REAL FOOD” diet, simple as that. I have eliminated bars, shakes, packaged foods, candy, cereal….(trust me, stuff I thought I loved) and I have never felt better! Don’t over obsess about macros and counting calories. I have truly never enjoyed eating as much as I do now because real food tastes incredible. *And yes, I eat carbs( fruit and veggies are amazing for you…), enjoy lots of nuts (even though they are fats) and eat pizza (and enjoy it) every Friday night!
3. Focus on how you feel after you train or do movement work. Honestly, do it.
One of our awesome TT Online members encouraged me to write this article today (without even knowing it). She posted a pic in our private forum this morning and wrote: “Woke up super tired from a very busy week. Rolled around in bed longer than usual, battled thoughts about going back to sleep. Dragged myself downstairs for session 5. Now I feel amazing!!!
Think about this. As I write this, we are officially half way through the year and I will leave you with this question to think about: How do you want to feel for the second part of 2019?