When you decide to make a change in your lifestyle for the better, you don’t have to go at it alone. In order to be successful, you should employ a few accountability tactics to ensure you stay on the right track and make progress little by little.
And while we used to think that stepping on the bathroom scale every morning was all you needed to do to be accountable, we now know that may not be the best thing at all — so you won’t find that on this list.
Here are three great ways to be accountable …
1. Tracking your food.
Oftentimes, you don’t know how much you’re eating or what you’re eating patterns really are, until you look at everything written down or captured digitally. If you have health and wellness goals, it’s beneficial to track your food, every day of the week and even on the weekend for periods of time here and there. Bonus points if you take some time for self-reflection after a meal to jot down how you FEEL. Recognizing patterns in food intake and relating it to how your body feels will help you better understand what your body actually needs (vs. what your mind wants). This will let you know why you feel the way you do. Are you eating too much sugar, causing you to crash and have low energy? Are you not eating enough carbohydrates to fuel your workouts or build muscle? Are you mindlessly snacking on hundreds of calories at work that you don’t even enjoy? Are you avoiding vegetables?
Tracking your food is always a good idea. And you can bet that if you work with a personal trainer or nutritionist, they will want to take a look at your log regularly and help you make adjustments as needed. Tools to use: MyFitnessPal, MyPlate, the notes column in your phone or a hand-written food journal.
2. Monitoring your activity outside of your workouts.
While what you do inside the gym is incredibly important when it comes to your health and fitness goals, what you do outside of the gym matters too. You can’t expect to feel good and lose weight if you spend 23 hours a day sitting down and being totally sedentary, with only one hour in the gym moving around. In fact, there’s something called Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or NEAT, which is the movement you do when you’re not sleeping or working out, and it can be a big help in burning calories, getting your heart-rate up and keeping you fit.
That’s why tracking your steps and tracking your time sitting are both excellent ways to stay accountable. What a great invention the activity tracker is too, because it will do it for you. Not only are activity trackers helpful in making sure you’re getting your daily goal of steps (a great goal is 10,000 steps a day, but 12,000 is even better), but they can also tell you when you’ve been sitting for too long and you need to get up and do some laps around your desk. Tools to use: FitBit, Apple Watch or the Health App on your phone.
3. Benchmarking your progress with assessments.
One of the best ways to make sure that you are on track is to spend time checking on your fitness progress with assessments. At Fitness Together, we believe that holding our clients accountable with regular assessments as part of our programming is what makes our clients so successful.
Every six weeks, you’ll have a formal assessment with your Fitness Together personal trainer, in which your trainer will take circumference measurements of your body on your waist, hips, neck, chest, arms and thighs to see if you’ve lost inches (even if you haven’t seen the scale budge). Your trainer will also take your weight, heart-rate and pulse and then move into the performance assessments. Depending on your physical fitness abilities and what you’ve been doing in your workout program, your assessment may include seeing how many push-ups or sit-ups you can do in a minute, or even a plank challenge to see how long you can hold a plank with good form, or checking how much weight you can lift for squats, chest presses and other resistance moves.
Your trainer will record your results in your file, and then you both will sit down to take a look at how far you’ve come and see what you need to do to keep moving forward. At this time, you and your trainer can also reassess your short and long-term goals, talk about your nutrition and make sure you have everything you need to continue to see improvements.
If you’re not working with a trainer at Fitness Together, you can set up a few assessments for yourself that you do regularly, record them on your phone or in a notebook and make sure you’re moving forward with better performance every time you assess. But if you’d like to get started, reach out to a Fitness Together trainer near you today by visiting here (https://fitnesstogether.com/personal-trainers-near-me).
Because how much you weigh on the scale can change daily based on a variety of factors, taking a look at your measurements, performance and skills is a far better way to gauge how much progress you’ve made. Tools to use: Working with a personal trainer at Fitness Together, Map My Fitness, Strava, Google Fit, Strong, Jefit, the notes app on your phone or others.
Remember, when it comes to being accountable, you have to track, monitor, assess and hopefully seek the help of a certified personal trainer to get you to your goals even faster.