How do you measure workout success? Most people who begin a workout program have some sort of long term goal in mind. Many want to lose weight, gain strength, push their endurance, or rehabilitate injuries. However these are long term goals, and its human nature to need to see, to measure, the improvements along the way. Some days we may crush our workout goals with a clear improvement, other days things don’t quite go as planned. On those rough days it can be hard to stay positive, and becoming discouraged along the way is a killer for long term goals. As I was training for an endurance race last year it became clear to me that I needed to have more than one way to measure fitness success.
I came up with 4 key measures that I can look at to see if my workout was “successful.” With these four points: farther, faster, longer, and better I could track the progress towards my goal without hitting a wall. When you use multiple measures to track your success, patterns emerge in improvements that help you make adjustments and keep moving forward to your goals.
How I Measure Workout Success
- This is all about speed and moving your body. Did I improve my pace? Am I getting closer to my pacing goal? Chart pace improvements to see what sort of workouts help to boost your speed. By tracking this measure I was able to see that my pace usually improved the week after a long run.
- Going the distance is key when training for endurance sports. Did I walk father than I have in previous workouts? Am I gaining on my ability to go the goal distance? Did I meet any of my distance mini goals? Father for me is all about making continued progress towards the distance, even if I wasn’t able to reach my goal yet.
- The measure here takes into account the overall workout. If I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill, did I still have the oomph to cycle for longer? Was the overall workout for a longer amount of time? Is my body becoming more capable and comfortable with extended exercise? Have I expanded my endurance?
My final measure may actually be the most important, and least recognized. It’s all about how the body feels after a training session. Did I recover from the workout more quickly? Is it taking less time for me to bounce back after a training session? Was I able to complete the workout without triggering a flare of my chronic illness, or stressing weak points in my physiology?
While these four measure worked great for me while training for an endurance run/walk, you may find other ways to measure your workout success. If you are swimming, perhaps you can hold your breath for more strokes, have quicker turns, or make significant improvements in your form. Weightlifters might measure by increasing sets or reps, adding in a new muscle group, or achieving new notch on the tape measure. How you measure your workout success is entirely up to you. Creating many ways to measure will help you to reinforce positive goals without getting discouraged along the way.
If you have a great way to measure success that most people don’t consider, leave a comment below! I would love to hear your body positive story.