p5 motivational tips: #4 Monitor your progress

How are you going to keep working out?  Actually, how are you going to make fitness part of your enduring culture and not a temporary chore?  Visualise your progress!  Get a heart-rate monitor and watch how your body adapts to higher intensity work before the heart-rate elevates.  You will see this improvement in no time.  Watch yourself getting stronger but be careful, your body may just be making neuro-muscular adaptations and not necessarily getting bigger.  Therefore, get your tape measure and get results for your arm or chest circumference.  Get some calipers and obtain skinfold measurements at the triceps or in the ‘love-handle’ area.  This link will allow you to obtain software that allows you to do this.  You can record progress over time, create slide-shows, even graphs.  It really is a great piece of kit


I really credit people that keep a log of what they are doing and how much weights they are pushing.  I said before though that we may be pushing more as a result of increased neural activity, or through compromising our technique or even perfecting it (sounds weird I know).  Also, most people aren’t interested in getting stronger but bigger or leaner (or more toned in the case of most women).  There are other ways of monitoring your progress that reflect the type of training I favour and which you should also favour.  Circuit-training, creates an internal environement conducive to getting leaner, fitter and stronger simultaneously and naturally.  So when you do a circuit it may be so tough that even completing it is an achievement.  Or you could time how long it takes to complete it.

Bottom line is make sure you monitor progress as this is key to discovering the fittest version of yourself.


3 ways to put a circuit together

So in the first part of my purposeful training series I explained a four-exercise circuit which I beleive is going to get results a lot faster than ‘station-hopping’.  The four exercises are:

1. Lunges

2. Press-ups (or push-ups)

3. Crunches

4. Squat Thrusts

My client Zainab was good enough to demonstrate the circuit so watch the You Tube video now.


So here are a few ways to perform the circuit:

1. As in the video, 10 repetitions back-to-back.  Repeat three times.

2. Perform each exercise for 30seconds back to back so four minutes work.  This would be at a steady rate which we would call endurance pace. Aim to go for another four minutes.

3. Perform for speed.  As fast as you can for 20 seconds, recover for 10 seconds then into the next exercise.  Again, aim to go for another four minutes. Thus, you have the 20:10 protocol.  With this you can count how many repetions you perform in each round and improve by trying to do more each time.

Hope you enjoy performing this.  This really is the most basic of basic circuits but for many gym-goers even this style of training is unknown to them.