WED: Is Your Progress Theoretical or Concrete?
Let me ask you something.
How do you know if you have made progress towards your goals? Serious question that I would genuinely like you to take a moment and reflect upon? What measurements and benchmarks do you have in place to assess whether or not you are “better?” Do you track data? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly? If your goal is weight loss, are you tracking your fat mass versus your lean body mass? Or do you go on just a scale? If you go on feel for your physical and performance results, is it effective? Are you better? Are you stronger? If so, what are you basing that upon?
Reason for the Grand Inquisition, is because there are two kinds of progress we can make in the gym, theoretical and concrete.
Theoretical progress is all of the progress that we think we make and I understand it’s attraction. This is where we “turn off our brain” as I have heard it likened to, and just work. In this form of progress, we’re unaware of any data because we haven’t collected it. We show up to the gym, leave our work and family stresses behind, and we just get to work without much cognition behind it. It can be nice, the idea of turning the gym into your place where you don’t have to do all of that other stuff you have to do at home and at work. Yet, it can be costly on your time, as well.
In the theoretical approach, we don’t know if our fat percentage is down because we haven’t set a baseline and observed its change, we don’t know if we’ve gotten stronger because we don’t write down our lifts, same goes for benchmarks. We don’t know if three or four times per week has produced a better outcome on our goals because we don’t have a plan. We don’t know how our diet impacts our fat levels and performance because we don’t have any idea how much food we really eat.
Yes, you can absolutely be productive in the gym and create a healthy routine where the outcome is theoretical progress, this is honestly not a terrible place to live if you don’t treat the gym with that much gravity and just want to sweat, but it is not nearly as effective as knowing your physicality with certainty.
The reason we are always asking you to track your data is because data is the only way to truly know if our goals are closer or further from reach. The only way. Study after study shows that those who measure achieve faster desirable outcomes across all goals than those who don’t.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some easy ones.
- Log all of our meals. Analog. Just keep a journal of what you eat without tying a calorie count to it. Areas for improvement will easily stand out.
- Log your barbell lifts. Squats, deadlifts, cleans, snatches, jerks. The barbell lifts drive the fastest adaptation, simply focusing there can do wonders.
That’s it. Two easy areas to begin to send the shift to your brain away from abstract and into the certain.
If you have some tangible goals that you want to reach, then take the ambiguity out of your fitness and collect data on yourself. Know with confidence where you are on the journey, and what you have to do to end up at your goals. Otherwise you’ll always go off of feel, and feel can easily be falsely influenced by emotion.
With a Partner Complete the Total Reps
50 Ring Rows + 50 Supine Rows
100 Walking Lunges
100 Cals Bike/Row Sprint
100 Alt Sumo Rows
100 Staggered Push Ups
300m Plate Pinch Carry