So you’ve committed to a regular workout routine. You have sacrificed sleep, social activities and binge watching your favorite shows in order to stick to your plan. But how do you know if it’s really working?
The first and most gratifying way to know your workout regime is successful is to see or measure physical change in your body. This can be done in several ways.
You can use a scale to weigh yourself. In order to be most accurate, you will want to weigh yourself first thing in the morning, preferably with no clothes or shoes, prior to beginning your workout program. This is your “before” weight. Then you will want to weigh yourself once a week in the same fashion. This is a good way to track your results consistently. It will also let you know when you reached a plateau and, therefore, may need to change your routine. Please note that weighing yourself more than once a week can actually be counterproductive and misleading as weight fluctuates.
Because scales aren’t 100 percent reliable in delivering results and progress, some people choose to take measurements instead. You will want to use tailor measuring tape to do this. Usually, this is done on arms, waist, hips and thighs. Again, there is a degree of human error to this method, so just try to measure in the same spot every time.
Last, always can rely on how your clothes fit (or don’t fit anymore). You probably will start to notice your pants are looser, or maybe you’re even fitting into your “skinny” jeans again.
The second way to know you are on the right track with your workout is because you FEEL better. When you work out, you are reaping many more health benefits than just looking good. The first thing most people feel is that they have more energy. A body in motion stays in motion. So when you work out, you most likely will feel rejuvenated and livelier.
Because exercise produces endorphins and increases serotonin levels in the brain, you will have a more positive mindset. This often has a domino effect. You may find yourself making healthier decisions in other areas of your life — such as diet, relationships and career decisions.
Also, a good exercise program will help regulate normal sleep patterns. If you struggle with insomnia, exercise is one of the best ways to combat it.
Ask your doctor
Finally, a great way to gauge whether your workout is doing its job is to recruit the help of your doctor. This is especially beneficial if you suffer from chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, COPD or heart disease. Comparing test results before you start your regimen and then again in 6-12 months could help provide proof that you are making positive differences in regards to a particular condition or to your overall health.
It is not uncommon for chronic sufferers to stop relying on medical devices that they have needed for years. Many are able to stop using certain prescription drugs, inhalers or even walking devices. Of course, you never want to change your prescribed regimen without consulting with your doctor first.
Before you get discouraged and decide to throw in the towel, take some time to measure your progress. Notice the results not just in your body, but your mind and maybe other aspects of your life as well. Then pat yourself on the back because it takes dedication and perseverance to stay committed to a program. And most importantly, keep on smiling and sweating!