Strength training is not just about losing weight but making long term changes to improve your health and fitness level. If you focus on just the digits on the scale, you may miss the other benefits of your training program. Your weight doesn’t tell you the whole story behind your fitness journey.
Here are 4 ways to know that your hard work is paying off.
Resting Heart Rate Drops
Check that pulse! Your resting heart rate, or the measure of how many times per minute your heart beats while you are at rest, is a good indicator of your cardiovascular health and can be positively impacted by exercise. Tracking your HR over time is a good way to measure your fitness progress. First you need to calculate your heart rate.
Many fitness trackers like Fitbit or Apple Watch can determine your resting heart rate or you can figure it on your own without any fancy technology. To start first, find your pulse by placing two fingers between your the bone and tendon over radial artery (located on the thumb side of your wrist). Count the number of heart beats in 15 second and then multiply that by 2 to get your BPM. Your smart phone has a calculator, by the way.
A rate between 60 and 90 beats per minute (BPM) is considered normal. Generally speaking, a lower heart rate indicates that your heart is functioning more efficiently. Though many factors ranging from age, gender, and genetics may impact your baseline heart rate, the one factor you can control is your fitness level. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) like our TS Shred class can help to lower your resting heart rate.
And just for reference, Lance Armstrong had a resting HR of about 32 BPM at his prime but getting close to 60 BPM is a good start.
Your Clothes Start to Fit Differently
After you start incorporating a strength training routine balanced with a nutrition program, you may see changes in the way your clothing fit. You may find that jeans are getting looser around the waist or on the contrary, that you’re filling out your your favorite shirt as you develop muscle. You may have lost some weight but if you’re increasing lean mass while losing body fat, the scale might not move but you will feel the results! You can actually lose inches around your waist but have little movement on the scale.
We like to take progress pictures of our clients to help you visually see how your body is changing. Usually after 3 months of strength training, the results can be dramatic.
You’re Sleeping Like a Baby
Are you finding yourself getting a better nice rest? Are you falling asleep more quickly? Are you not tossing your alarm against the wall? Research shows that people who exercise frequently tend to have a better night’s sleep than those that don’t. Interestingly, the benefits of exercise on your sleep patterns may actually take a few weeks to kick into gear. On the flip side, a poor night’s sleep can hurt your workout. So the moral of the story; go to sleep early to insure a good workout!
Do you have more pep in your step? Studies show that people who exercise experience less fatigue than those that do not. Consistently working out can help you build up your energy levels, increase your lung capacity, and pump greater amounts of oxygen rich blood to your brain. Working out also can improve your endorphin levels, which help reduce stress and improve concentration and focus. This endorphin rush may make you feel like you have more energy throughout the day.
So skip the energy drinks and go for a brisk walk or sign up for a HIIT class if you are feeling tired.
We know that progress may be hard to see on a day to day basis but you should take a step back and evaluate how you actually feel, not how much weight you’ve lost. Our coaches are here to help you build a stronger you so reach out if you’d like to discuss your progress.