Medical Care Help Center.

Tracking Progress Toward Your Goals

Tracking progress is important for achieving the goals you set in Step 1 of the 6 Training Steps. Witnessing real progress is one of your greatest motivational tools. Your efforts are reinforced when you see your performances improve.

Always record your fitness and sport skill scores at the end of each phase of training. Your fitness assessment is your starting point–your baseline measure–for tracking your progress. Use the scores from each of your fitness evaluations to mark your pace toward your target dates.

You can get a clear picture of how close you are to achieving your goals by the target dates you established by creating charts like the ones below (See blank Training Progress Chart and Sample Training Progress Chart). Fill in your scores on the specific test items you selected.

Training Progress Chart Sample Progress Chart Test yourself on more than one item that represents each goal. For example, if your goal is to lose a specific amount of weight, you might consider using body weight, body fat percentage, and body dimensions as measures of weight loss.

Each of these measures helps you better evaluate how you’re doing. Here’s why: It is possible that you could lose fat, but gain weight because muscle weighs more than fat.

Also, a body fat percentage test is subject to error due to inaccuracies in the instrument and inconsistencies by the person taking the measurements, as is any other test.

Taken together, though, all of these measures allow you to better analyze results and find trends. Multiple indicators give you more insights about how to keep your training program aligned with your goals.

You can take tracking progress a step further. If you are so inclined, you can even plot your progress on a graph. You can do it easily using Excel charts or even by sketching charts out by hand. Plot your scores on each test item on the vertical axis, with time in weeks on the horizontal axis. Improvement Over Time

Use one graph for each test item. Together, they will give you a better visual of your progress. When you look at your progress on all of your test items, you can see graphically on which qualities you are improving more quickly and on which ones you are improving more slowly. (Note: You could overlay all the items on one graph if you convert to percentages of change.)

You can also identify plateaus–areas where your progress is leveling out. This information allows you to make informed decisions about how to revise your exercise training program. Plus, seeing the results of your hard work on a chart motivates you to continue to work in a positive direction.

You can expect more rapid improvement earlier in your training program. As time passes, your progress may become more gradual, plateau, or even decrease temporarily. Varying your training will help you achieve more consistent improvements.

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