Monday, May 08, 2006

Keep Track Of Your Muscle Building Progress

When working out to build muscle or lose fat, you need to see if what you are doing is working or not. If it isnt, you need to stop, regroup, figure what you're doing wrong, and start heading in the right direction again.

So in order to make progress, you have to measure your results. You can look in the mirror and see if you're achieving the muscle gains or fat loss you want. You can tell by the way your clothes fit or by what your friends say. You can judge by the scale, although this is not the greatest way to measure success.

After starting a weight-training program, you'll soon start gaining muscle mass. This muscle weighs more than fat, so the scale may not show a difference in weight, in fact, it may say you have gained weight. So it's misleading.

You may have lost body fat, but the scale doesnt distinguish this. The way to properly measure your progress is through body fat testing. This is a very accurate method to test the percentage of fat mass and muscle mass that you have.

Obviously, if the goal is to lose body fat, you need to see if what you are doing is working. Its good to test body fat at least every 30-60 days. You need to know where you currently are before you know where you are going.

So having your body fat tested is just one way to keep track of your progress.

Another is to always, always, always keep a written journal or log for your workouts.

If you're at all serious about building muscle and increasing strength--this is a must.

It’s the only way you can keep track of your lifts and know when its time to go up in weight.
Just use a small pocket notebook and write all your lifts and weights used in it.

Let’s say you didn’t use a notebook and decided to go by memory. Say that you had a great bench day and ended up going up 5 pounds in weight.

But you fail to write it down and think, "I’ll remember that I went up."

Now, a week goes by and you’ve totally forgotten the weight you used last bench day, so bench time comes around again and you’re scratching your head, wondering what it is you last did for weight.

Chances are, you’re going to put on your old weight, not the new weight (that you added 5 pounds to). When that happens, you went backwards and have lost the progress you made.

Building muscle only happens from progressively increasing the amount of weight you lift, over time. Muscle mass has to be forced to grow, it doesn't happen without increased overload.

Believe me, forgetting your weights happen.

And when you fail to increase the amount of weight you lift, on any exercises, your results will suffer.

You have 30 or so exercises to keep track of, it’s easy to forget one or two of your weights.
And if you forget a weight and do the same weight again when you should have went up, you just wasted your time and energy.

You just did something you were already capable of doing and have missed the chance to increase the overload you were using (and in turn, the muscle and strength that would have come with the new overload).

Please use a journal for your workouts.

These are just a few of the ways to keep track of your muscle building and fat loss progress.

--Shawn LeBrun


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