We Islanders love staying healthy! We love nourishing ourselves and challenging ourselves. So it makes sense that when you start a new fitness program, you might want to track your progress.
But for some of us, tracking progress can slide into self-judgment (especially if a scale is involved). Have you ever felt discouraged after one of these situations?
Meeting your goals is taking longer than you thought.
The numbers on the scale aren’t moving the way you want.
Comparing yourself to someone else makes you feel inadequate.
All of these thoughts are very common! It’s easy to get discouraged, or even to feel like your fitness practice isn’t doing you any good.
That’s not true! Dance and fitness practices always do you good!
I want to give you 5 ways to track your fitness progress without ever stepping on a scale. Your fitness practice should feel good to you—body, mind, and heart. These tracking methods are low-stress, and can give you a picture of your overall health and wellness.
Build your skills
This type of goal involves working towards achieving a specific skill or ability, rather than focusing solely on physical changes.
For example, you may set a goal to run a 5K race, improve your flexibility by touching your toes, or grow your endurance by dancing without taking a break for a certain number of minutes.
By working towards these goals, you can get a more internal sense of achievement, rather than comparing yourself to others.
Plus, reaching a goal can help you feel more confident in your abilities and give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.
2. Look for the good!
As you stick with your dance fitness practice, you’ll begin to lose weight or gain muscle. These changes will start to affect your everyday life in positive ways.
Pay attention to how your clothes fit. Are your jeans feeling less snug? Can you fit into that old dress you’ve been hanging onto? Maybe you’ll notice some new definition in your shoulders or legs, or new strength in your core. Is it easier to lift the dog food, or can you carry all the groceries in one trip?
You might also notice that you feel more energized throughout the day.
Get ready to be pleasantly surprised! Your entire body is getting stronger and more resilient. Experiencing that progress in your daily life is encouraging. It motivates you to stick with your fitness program, and have even more fun along the way.
3. Keep a journal
Journaling is another effective way to track your fitness progress.
Writing down your thoughts about your workouts, how you feel after exercising, and which parts of your body feel stronger or weaker can help you identify areas of improvement and set new goals. You can also journal about healthy meals you’d like to try, or start a food diary.
Plus, journaling is a great way to relieve stress and increase your motivation to keep working towards your fitness goals.
4. Use a fitness tracker
A lot of us are fitness tracker fans!
It’s no mystery why. Fitness trackers can track your steps, movement, sleep, and diet, giving you a comprehensive picture of your overall health and wellness. Some fitness trackers can even gauge your resting heart rate or blood pressure, which are great biomarkers to follow. Your dance fitness practice will help move the needle, and it feels satisfying to watch your health improving day by day, week by week, and month by month.
By using a fitness tracker, you can see how much you’re moving each day, how many calories you’re burning, and how your overall fitness is improving over time.
5. Take pictures of yourself
I know… taking pictures can be daunting!
But it can also be a great way to see the physical changes that are happening in your body, and support your relationship with yourself. Take pictures of yourself once a week or once a month and compare them over time. You don’t have to post them on social media. These are just for you.
You may be surprised at how much your body changes. Seeing that can be a great motivator to stay engaged with your dance fitness practice.
Fitness is a journey!
Health is a journey, not a destination, and progress takes time.
That’s why it’s important to choose a fitness practice—like dance—that you truly have fun with. Enjoy your exercise, and it feels like play! It’s even better if there are friends around you who are working on their own progress as well.
Come visit us at The Dance Space in Nantucket for a non-judgmental, supportive, fun environment that helps you make progress naturally.