Free Intro Workout

How to Measure Progress (and Some Perspective)

  1. The number of reps performed and the amount of weight used.  On every exercise during every workout the goal should be to either (1) perform more repetitions with the same weight used during the last workout or (2) lift slightly more weight than was used during the previous workout.  This attempt to always use more weight or perform more reps with the same weight is referred to as “double progression.”  If you did 8 reps last workout with 118 pounds, today your goal is to lift 9 reps. As you first commence a strength training program, progress will likely come rapidly.  During today’s workout you may achieve 8 reps with 118 pounds (and a 9th rep is utterly impossible at the moment) and 2 weeks later you are able to achieve 12 or 13 reps with the same weight.  Further more, 2 months from now, you may be able to complete 8-12 reps with 138 pounds (a 20 pound increase in weight).   However, as time goes on, your progress will slow.  It is not uncommon to take many weeks or even months to increase even 1 rep on a given exercise.  Increasing 4-6 pounds on an exercise over 2 months may be a huge victory.  This is to be expected.  And remember, if you are over 35-40 years of age, your natural predisposition is to get weaker as time goes on.  So if you strength train intelligently and intensely and are still only able to “maintain” your strength, don’t panic.  “Maintaining” strength is essentially progress, as you would have lost strength and lean muscle tissue had you not been strength training.  However, your goal should never be to maintain (research suggests that exercisers with the goal of “maintenance” experience a greater decline in fitness).  Your goal should always be to improve, although your attempt at improvement may manifest itself as “maintenance.”  In this respect, every exercise of every single workout is a strength “test.”  Outside of this, no specific strength testing isrequired (or even desirable).

  2. A Bod Pod test.  The Bod Pod provides an accurate and reliable assessment of your body composition; the percentage of your body weight that is comprised of fat versus lean tissue.  This assessment tells us so much more than simply stepping on a scale as a scale simply measures mass and doesn’t tell us what that mass is comprised of (and of course, our goal isn’t to simply lose weight; but lose FAT).

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