Measuring Progress to Improve Your Athletic Results
Tracking your progress is about finding ways to measure change, this takes place through subjective, and objective processes. By being able to track measurements effectively, you increases the chance for motivation, which in turn drives for better results in the future. By being able to develop your abilities to measure progress, you can potentially set yourself apart from the 50% of adults who drop out of a training program within the first six months of starting (Allen and Morey, 2010).
There are multiple variables which you can track. While most people who train limit their progress to body fat, strength, endurance, and muscle size; physical activity can also be linked to progress in pain, diseases, and development in other body systems.
Certain variables such as pain, and overall satisfaction with a diet and a program can only be measured in terms of subjectivity. Two people may be experiencing the same amount of pain, but to one person a six out of ten level of pain, is another person`s eight out of ten.
Track Variables Frequently
There are objective forms of measurement as well which can be considered more accurate, but can be the subject of error. These forms of measurements can be tests such as a one rep max tests, VO2 max tests, blood tests, and the use of wearable devices. Due to the fact that the physiology of a human is not static, it is hard to find a form of testing which is 100% reliable, or valid. By tracking progress more frequently we can make these tests more reliable.
Because of how taxing one rep max tests, and VO2 max tests can be, they cannot be administered on a frequent basis. But by using wearable technology, we can track smaller changes on a more dad to day basis. By doing so we create a more frequent ``measure and motivate`` cycle which could improve long term adherence. An example would be ``accelerometers`` and how they convert acceleration into activity points which can measure volume, and the intensity of activity.
Exercising with Wearable Technology
Up until this point, wearable technology has not been used extensively for exercise prescription. By doing so we could design case specific interventions which would be an enhanced version of current ``personalized`` and ``customized`` training programs. This would include making proper adjustments to volume, and intensity, in ``real time``, unlike the traditional forms of program design which heavily rely on the predictive abilities of the coach and the athlete.
When measuring progress we typically ask the question ``What happened?``. While this is an important question it is only offering us information in hindsight through a descriptive analysis. Our aim when measuring progress should not only involve hindsight, but also insight, and most importantly foresight. We optimize the information we receive by asking further questions such as ``Why did it happen? What will happen? And, How can we make it happen?``. By gathering more insight and foresight, we ensure a greater chance of progress to be made in a more controlled manner (Matt Davis, 2013).
(Matt Davis, 2013)
While both subjective and objective measurements of progress are great, it is important to understand their limitations. By better understanding these limitations, taking proper measurements which are reliable and valid, and asking the proper questions to gain insight and foresight, we can better achieve consistency in progress and measurements which in turn will drive your motivation and potentially increase your training adherence for better results.
Allen, K., & Morey, M. (2010). Chapter 2: Physical Activity and Adherence. General Internal Medicine, 12-12.
Davis, M. (2013). Top 10 Moments from Gartner's Supply Chain Executive Conference - Matt Davis. Retrieved April 24, 2016, from http://blogs.gartner.com/matthew-davis/top-10-moments-from-gartners-supply-chain-executive-conference/