5 Ways to Track Your Fitness Journey Progress

5 Ways to Track Your Fitness Journey Progress

Fitness Tracking Tools: Charting Your Progress Toward Health and Strength - By Cora Gold

Reading time: 4 minutes

Beginning your fitness journey is a big step toward a healthier life. Whether you’re aiming to shed some pounds, build muscle, increase your cardiovascular fitness or improve your overall health, tracking your progress is crucial for staying motivated and achieving your goals. Fortunately, plenty of tools and methods are available to help you monitor your fitness journey effectively. 

Moving Past the Scale

While the scale can be a useful tool for tracking progress — and for many, it’s the go-to tool — it’s important not to rely solely on it as a measure of success. Weight can fluctuate for various reasons, including changes in water retention, muscle gain, hormonal fluctuations, lack of sleep and the time of day. Instead of fixating on the numbers on the scale, focus on other indicators of fitness, such as:

1. Download a Fitness App

There are plenty of fitness apps available that can help you track various aspects of your fitness journey. These apps provide a comprehensive overview of your health and fitness progress, from tracking workouts and recording nutrition intake to monitoring sleep patterns and setting goals. Some popular fitness apps to help you track your journey include:

  • MyFitnessPal
  • Strava
  • Nike Training Club
  • Fitbit
  • Lifesum
  • Peloton

2. Monitor Your Performance Metrics

Depending on your fitness goals, tracking performance metrics such as strength, flexibility, endurance and cardiovascular fitness can provide valuable information on your progress. Keep records of key performance indicators like lifting weights, running pace or completing specific exercises to gauge improvements over time. Ask yourself these questions regularly:

  • Am I running faster?
  • Am I running further?
  • Am I lifting heavier?
  • Am I doing more reps?
  • Do I feel less tired after my workouts?
  • Do my workouts feel easier?
  • Can I do an exercise that I couldn’t previously do?

If you’re working toward a specific goal by a particular date, tracking these metrics on a timeline provides a clear game plan for your goal. It allows you to assess whether you’ve met your objective within the set timeframe or if deadline adjustments are necessary based on your progress. 

3. Create a Fitness Journal

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to track your fitness progress is by keeping a workout journal. Write down the details of each workout session, including the exercises performed, sets, reps and any notes about how you felt during the workout. This can help you keep track of your progress and allows you to identify patterns, track improvements and adjust your routine to match your progress.

4. Take Progress Pictures

Sometimes, the changes in your body might not be immediately noticeable on the scale or in the mirror. Taking progress photos regularly, such as once a week or once a month, can provide visual evidence of your transformation over time. 

For an accurate comparison, make sure to take photos from multiple angles and under consistent lighting conditions. Over time, when you look back at your photos, you will see just how far you’ve come and how much your body has changed.

5. Feel How Your Jeans Fit

Another effective method of tracking your fitness progress is by paying attention to how your clothes fit, particularly your jeans. Using the same pair of jeans as a benchmark, you can gauge the changes in your body composition over time. Notice how they feel around your hips, waist and thighs. As you progress, you may find that your jeans fit more comfortably or even become looser. 

On the other hand, if your jeans become tighter or more constricting, it could indicate fluctuations in weight or body composition, prompting you to reassess your fitness routine and dietary habits. However, if the scale has gone up, but your jeans are fitting better, it’s likely that you’ve lost fat and gained muscle, meaning your body composition has changed. 

See How Far You’ve Come

Tracking your fitness progress is essential for staying motivated and achieving your health and fitness goals. Find the tracking methods that work best for you and incorporate them into your routine. Keeping track of your journey lets you see just how far you’ve come, helping you stay on track and reach your goals. 

Cora Gold

Cora Gold is the Editor in Chief of women's lifestyle magazine, Revivalist.