CategoriesBlog Move.

Harnessing the Power of Frequency

“A small daily task, if it be repeated daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”   – Anthony Trollope 

Do you find fitness goals daunting?  More often than not, we set goals based on the desired end result such as losing 30 pounds or being able to bench press 225 pounds.  When we focus on such an ambitious goal, most lose motivation quickly as those goals start to seem unattainable and we eventually give up.

To succeed over the long run, harvest the power of frequency and you’ll see the productivity and efficiency needed to crush your goals.  Here’s why:

  1. Frequency Makes Starting Easier

Getting started always seems like an overwhelming task.  “What do I do?” and “How do I even do it?” are the questions we consistently ask ourselves.  While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is simply start on one or two things that you can easily accomplish and consistently repeat.  These goals can be as easy as making it to the gym once a week, walking 30 minutes every day or skipping desserts.  It doesn’t matter how small it seems, by simply starting to work towards your goals, you remove that mental boulder and start to gain momentum.  Once you establish your confidence and gain momentum, you will be ready to take on more ambitious goals.

  1. Frequency Relieves Pressure

Anytime we begin a new endeavor, we feel the pressure to succeed and fear failure.  Relieve your pressure to succeed by focusing on the process, not the results.  By creating and focusing on daily goals that you can accomplish, you will experience success more frequently and will find achieving success to be easier each day.  With a mountain of success, you’ll no longer feel the pressure to succeed and be well on your way towards reaching your goals.

  1. Frequency Nurtures Frequency

Once you have learned how to develop a habit, building more habits becomes easier to do. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you might start with avoiding certain foods like french fries, deserts, etc.  Once you have mastered that, you may move to making your own lunches every day.    Once you have mastered that, you can then move to doing meal prep for the entire week.  Pretty soon you’ll notice the fat to start to melt as you’re eating healthy the majority of your meals.

To key to achieving your goals lies in creating repeatable success.  Focus on succeeding in the daily tasks you set, rather than your long-term goals, and you’ll gain the confidence and discipline you need to reach your goals.

CategoriesBlog Move.

Jumpstart Your Training with Medball Exercises

Christian Garcia, CSCS

Flow Fitness Seattle

Do you find yourself doing/using the same old workouts, exercises, machine, and or equipment? Have you considered implementing more power and force into your workouts? Do you want to improve your overall everyday motor skills?

Mass x Acceleration=Force. Over the years, the primary focus to gain strength has been to lift more weight (mass) in order to get stronger (force), however acceleration is too often overlooked. We can increase force production by increasing their speed at which we move an object. Cue the Medicine Ball.

Many dynamic medicine ball exercises that replicate sport movements are not necessarily found in other strength training movements. You can project power through a ball in the Frontal Plane (side to side), Sagittal Plane (up and down), and transverse plane (rotation). Foundational movements like the squat, deadlift, and benchpress are great for building strength but are limited by their single plane movement and ability to transfer power throughout the entire body.

Medicine ball training is very versatile and can be trained for pure power by using an appropriate weight for a particular amount of sets and reps or used for longer durations for conditioning.

Medicine ball exercises that we use at Flow Fitness:

1) Medball Slams

2) Wall Balls

3) Rotational Throws

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

Create Success in Fitness

It’s one thing to know what to eat, which exercises to do and how to do them — but it’s another thing altogether to do all this consistently.  If you have tried and failed to establish long-term, healthful habits, then you know all too well what I’m talking about.

Any kind of change, even toward healthful habits, can feel stressful. Without question, your habits are more powerful than your desires or motivations; while motivation can kick-start you, it’s your habits that will power you through to the end.

The key to making successful changes is understanding that the path isn’t linear. Follow these steps to create healthy habits that will last your whole life.

1. Set some goals — TODAY!

The first step toward making improvements is to create some goals. Most people think goal-setting simply means choosing something to work for that they don’t have (e.g., losing 20 pounds) — but there’s more to it than that.

Saying you want to lose 20 pounds isn’t a goal; it’s a statement. Successful goal-setting is both a science and an art form. Your goal should be specific and realistic; involve both short- and long-term components; and focused on your behavior, rather than on the outcome.

2. Make them specific and measurable

Going back to our example, “losing 20 pounds” isn’t a solid goal because it doesn’t give you anything measurable or specific to work on. What’s more, scale numbers are unreliable, as your weight can fluctuate up to five pounds throughout the day based on what you’re eating.  However, simply changing your goal to “losing 20 pounds of body fat” is specific, since it refers to losing one thing — body fat — and it’s measurable, since it targets a number: 20 pounds.

3. Challenge yourself, but be realistic

A good goal is big enough to inspire you to action — but not so big that you can’t accomplish it, leaving you feeling frustrated. A goal such as, “I will work out 5 times a week” is a bit too lofty for someone who hasn’t been working out.  Instead, pick a goal such as “I will work out 3 times a week”. That’s challenging, yet realistic.

4. Frame your goals around behavior, not outcomes

Make sure to set behavioral goals — those based on things you can directly control — rather than outcome goals: the end product of a series of behaviors. The sad truth? Too many people only set outcome-based goals, such as:

  • I want to lose 20 pounds.
  • I want to make $100,000 a year.
  • I want to squat 315 pounds.

While these goals are specific and measurable as well as challenging and realistic, there’s one problem: They’re focused on the outcome, which is beyond your control. You can’t control your rate of fat metabolism, or force your boss to pay you more.  You can, however, focus on your behaviors.

Try these types of behavior-based goals:

  • I will exercise five times a week.
  • I will eat protein with every meal.
  • I will have either fruit or veggies with each meal.
  • I will drink 150 ounces of water daily.

In the end, if you set goals based on your behavior and things you can control, your outcome goals — such as losing that 20 pounds — will fall right in line,  without you having to worry about them. (Well, except for that $100,000 salary; I’m still working on that one, myself!)

4. Have both a short- and long-term vision

In order to achieve your challenging yet realistic goals, you must break them down into even smaller behavior-based goals. Set the smallest goals just for today, the bigger goals for next week and so on. Save your very biggest goals for later. In this way, you’ll create mile markers on the road to success.

5. Share your goals with someone else

Once you set specific goals that you’re committed to achieving, tell someone else your goals right away. If you keep your goals a secret, it’s easier to either ignore or completely forget them.  But sharing with another person helps keep you accountable; they can hold you to a higher standard, so you’re more likely to get things done.  If you’re up to the challenge, share them on social media and create your peronal online support group.

Remember, what gets measured gets managed. Set goals you can achieve, focus on small behavioral changes, share your plan with someone else — and you’ll be primed to succeed.

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move. Uncategorized

Run Stronger

The sun is out and shining in Seattle which means it’s running season. When thinking about running, it’s easy to focus solely on running itself to improve our speed and endurance. To effectively take your running to the next level, cross training should be incorporated into your fitness routine.  These exercises will not only make you a stronger runner, but it will help prevent injuries. Below are some of my favorite exercises to incorporate with running:

  1. Lateral band walks are a great way to activate and strengthen the glutes which is crucial for running. Use these as a warmup exercise or in a circuit with other exercises to really feel the burn! Here’s how to use:
    1. Grab a mini band and place above the ankles or around the balls of your feet.
    2. Start with feet hip distance apart and toes pointing forward. From here, drive with your knee and step to the side.
    3. The other foot will step and return to your starting position (hip-width distance).
    4. Go for reps or for distance and make sure you do both sides.
  2. Deadbugs
    1. Deadbugs are a great exercise for strengthening the core. This exercise requires a neutral spine position while moving your arms and legs, so it is also great for stability and balance.
      1. Lay on your back with your arms straight in the air and legs bent with knees stacked over your hips. Press your low back into the floor to engage your abdominal muscles.
      2. Inhale and extend opposite arm, opposite leg while keeping your low back glued to the floor. Exhale and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
      3. Start by doing two rounds of 8 reps per side and slowly increase the number of reps/sets. Use this as a warmup or as part of your workout.
  3. Glute Bridges
    1. Glute bridges are a great way to build strength and stability in your glutes/hips. Start with your bodyweight and as you get stronger, use bands, single leg variations, or even a barbell to challenge yourself.
      1. To start, lay on your back with your heels about a palm’s distance away from your glutes.
      2. Dig your heels into the ground and raise your hips, squeezing your glutes through the entire movement. Ideally, your hips should be in line with your shoulders at the top with your shins vertical.
      3. Pause at the top and control down to the starting position.
      4. Start with two rounds of 10 reps.
  4. Hamstring Curls
    1. Hamstring strength is crucial to running, but many of us struggle to activate this muscle group. Hamstring curls are a great way to strengthen and activate these muscles and can be done in different ways. Feel free to use a machine, stability ball, or gliders to start. My favorite are gliders.
      1. Lay on your back with your heels on a set of gliders about a palm’s distance away from your glutes. Dig your heels into the ground and squeeze your glutes to come into a glute bridge position.
      2. Slowly extend your legs away from you maintaining tension in the back of your legs. If you are able, keep your hips up and return to the starting position. If this feels too challenging, or you start to feel tension in your lower back, drop your hips to the floor and bring your heels back to the starting position.
      3. Repeat for about 8-10 reps.
Side motion view of young sexy attractive healthy fitness sporty active slim girl with sportswear running in front of the grey wall at night on the street.

Try adding one or all of these exercises to your strength routine and see how your runs become stronger and faster!

CategoriesLive Fit. Move.

Improve Your Performance with Plyometric Training

Whether you’re a runner, rower, soccer player, or do any sport that uses your legs, plyometric training can improve your performance.  Plyometrics are a series of jumping exercises to teach you how to exert maximum force in a minimum time.   Athletes us plyometric training to increase their speed and explosive power.

There are several simple, easy to learn plyometrics you can start with, so anyone can add plyometrics to their workout routine. However, make sure that you’re treating these as a part of your strength training and avoid going too hard and losing your form to avoid injury. When executed correctly, plyometrics can be a great way to supplement your current routine and make bigger gains. Here are great plyometric exercises you can start with:

1. Box Jumps: One of the most common exercises in plyometric training is the box jump. The box jump is a great exercise to increase your vertical jump height as well as strengthen your quads and glutes. Here’s what to do:

  • Set a box about 6 inches in front of you (start with a smaller box)
  • Get into a squat position with your feet about shoulder-width apart
  • Sink into a squat and explode up and on top of the box using your arms
  • Land softly onto the box and carefully step down
  • Rest in between reps
  • To make these more challenging, you can increase the box height
  • Start with 3 rounds of 8-10 jumps

2. Broad Jumps: Broad jumps are a great way to build leg strength and test explosive power. All you need is open space, so the setup is simple:

  • Start in a deep squat position – legs shoulder-width apart
  • Using your arms and pushing the floor away with your legs, explode forward and land softly in another squat
  • Immediately explode forward into your next jump
  • Start with 3-4 rounds of 3 jumps

3. Scissor Jumps: Scissor jumps are essentially jumping lunges, which are great for building single leg strength in the adductors and glutes. If these feel challenging at first, use TRX straps to help with balance, then move on to doing these without assistance.

  • Get into a standard lunge position with your back straight and knees and toes forward
  • Come down into a lunge and explode up switching legs mid-air
  • Land softly and repeat, making sure to switch legs with each rep
  • Start with 3 rounds of 8-10/side

4. Squat Jumps: If you’ve taken a team conditioning class, you’re probably already familiar with the squat jump. Squat jumps are great for strengthening your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves while getting your heart rate up. This exercise is great for building strength in weighted squat exercises as well.

  • Start with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Sink down into a deep squat, then explode straight up swinging arms overhead
  • Land softly and repeat
  • Make sure you keep your core tight and use your arms to help propel you through the jump
  • Start with 3 rounds of 10 jumps

Please keep in mind the importance of maintaining good form. Plyometrics are often used as a form of cardio and it’s easy to perform these exercises with poor form when done quickly and carelessly. Make sure that you’re always landing softly and keeping your knees in line with your toes. Also, perform lower reps and take rest when needed – fully resting between sets will ensure proper form.

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

Seven Gym Mistakes to Avoid

By Flow Coach, Mackennon Klink, B.S, CSCS, Pn1

As you begin to move more, you will make many mistakes on your journey. And you know what? Good. This is totally normal. Every mistake you can possible make hasbeen done a thousand times before. However, ifwedon’t learn from our past or history, we are doomed to repeat those same mistakes over and over. To make progress, there are mistakes that can easily be avoided. Let’s bring to light a few common gym mistakes that will derail your training and bring your gains to a halt.

  1. Not Using a Training Log

“What gets measured, gets managed.”Peter Drucker
This is a cardinal sin within the gym. How do you know if you are making progress if you are unsure what you did last week orat which weight? To make continuous progress, write your workouts down. Track your weights, reps, sets, and even how you’re feeling pre/post workout. Stop making this cardinal mistake. Write down your damn workout!

2) Working out without a Goal or Vision

Not planning your workouts in advance (also known as programming) always leads to mediocre results because there is no direction or focus. Regularly strolling into the gym and then using whatever machine and/or weights are available will usually lead to a less than stellar workout and not be an efficient use of your most valuable asset. TIME! Plan and know what each workout will consist of, so you can be mentally prepared and take the guess work out of the equation.

3) Program Hopping

Ignore the latest fitness trend or fad. Discard the “flashy” exercises and stick to the essential movement patterns: hip hinge, squat, lunge, push, pull, and carries. Just because you saw an exercise on Instagram doesn’t mean you should do it. As a rule, you should stay on the same program anywhere between 6-12 weeks before changing it up. Stay on course, be patient, be consistent, and you will get great results.

4) Ignoring Progressive Overload

To improve mobility, increase strength, and make gains in your overall conditioning, you must force change. You need to push your body to work harder than it is used to, otherwise it will not adapt. Progressive overload is the most basic training principle and goes hand in hand with using a training log (See # 1). Your training should be challenging yet allow enough recovery between workouts, so you can continue to increase your level of intensity.

5) Resting too much (or too little)

Rest periods are integral and have a huge influence on overall progress. Unfortunately, most people don’t know if they are spending either 45 seconds or 5 minutes between sets. To build strength, you’ll need to“earn your rest”by feeling stimulated, not annihilated while being specific to your goals. We recommended having a stop watch with you while you train. Here are some guidelines to determining rest periods based on your goals :

  • 0 – 30 seconds for circuit and metabolic conditioning •30 seconds – 2 minutes for muscle building (hypertrophy)
  • 2 – 3 minutes for strength training
  • 3 – 5 minutes for power training
  • 5 – 10 minutes for maximal intensity strength and/or power training

6) Sacrificing technique for Weights

While it is important to track your weights, beat personal records and add weight to the bar, it is more important to improve the quality of each rep. Focus on perfecting technique and mastering mechanics. If unsure, go to one of our Strength Camps sessions or hire a personal trainer.

7) Doing Everything at Once

No one can completely overhaul their life overnight. You cannot go from 0 to 100 with your fitness aspirations without causing a complete burnout. Instead, take one small step. Do something more than you were yesterday.

This is not the end all, be all list of gym mistakes. There are hundreds of thousands of different mistakes individuals make within the gym, both beginners and veterans. However, the biggest difference between beginners and veterans are beginners are discouraged by their mistakes, while the veterans use their previous experience and the wisdom of other coaches to get better. Within the fitness world, there is very little black and white, only shades of grey.

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

Five Warm-up Tips to Boost Performance & Avoid Injuries

Getting hurt sucks! We exercise to lose weight, build muscle, feel better, and improve quality of life.  However, it is tough to do any of these while sidelined with an injury. Though it is next to impossible to prevent ALL injuries, there are steps that we can take to reduce the likelihood and, in the process, increase results. One of the most important and often overlooked of these steps is properly warming up prior to activity.

To set the record straight, hopping on the elliptical/treadmill for 10-15 minutes to “get a good sweat” before heading to the more intense part of your training is an unproductive way to warm-up. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. Flow Fitness has you covered with these 5 tips to help you prepare your body efficiently and effectively!

  1. Don’t Static Stretch – Prior to most physical activities you want your nervous system to be “excited” which in turn will lead to better recruitment and activation of muscles. To achieve this, any ‘stretches’ that you do must be dynamic in nature. For example, instead of sitting and holding a straight leg hamstring stretch for 1-2 minutes, do walking (or skipping) leg swings, which not only improve hamstring and hip flexor range of motion, but also gets the body ready for the more intense parts of your workout while increasing core temperature and heart rate.
  2. Be Multi-directional – Most activities require movements in different planes. This is one of the major reasons that hopping on a bike or treadmill is an inefficient way to warm-up as you are only working in one direction. Instead try to incorporate dynamic side to side (shuffles), diagonal (medicine ball chops), front to back (lunges), and rotational (hip twist) movements.
  3. Activate ‘Sleepy’ Muscles – Warm-ups are much more than just getting sweaty. It is also necessary to prime the muscles that will be active during most of your workout. For example, if you plan to do squats and lunges which relies heavily on the glute muscles (which have been inactive during 8 + hours of desk work), then it would be wise to include exercise such as clam shells and glute bridges to ensure your body performs optimally. So always think about what exercises you are doing and what muscles you need to be “awake” to ensure success.
  4. Groove the movement – Along the same lines of muscle activation, it is also important to take the body through a “less intense” version of the movements in your workout to fine tune the mechanics.  If you are doing a large compound exercise such as the overhead press, always do 1-2 warm up sets with very light weight prior and then another 2 workup sets with a slightly heavier weight, before diving into your more intense working sets. These sets will help reinforce proper form and address any areas that may need additional activation or range of motion.
  5. Be Mindful of Time – Though important, your warm up should be between 6-15 minutes in duration and not consume your whole workout.  However, you can always add mobility and activation drills in between sets of an exercise. For example, band pull aparts following 8 reps of bench pressing can keep shoulders mobile and primed for another set.

Properly warming up prior to working out is the most important thing you can do.  The truth is this:  If you do not have the time to warm up, then you do not have time to work out.  Warm ups can keep your joints healthy, increase range of motion, help prevent injury and improve performance.  So, incorporate these 5 warm-up tips into your training plan and see how far you will progress!

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

The Type of Training You Need the Most, But Are Not Doing

Mobility is a big buzz word in the health, fitness, and performance world. Open any fitness magazine or Instagram page and you can read about ways to improve mobility. While the information is abundant, there is still a lot of confusion as to what it is and how to add it into your everyday life.  So, let’s take a moment to define, validate, and incorporate mobility.

Mobility- What is it?

Though flexibility is a component of mobility, they are not the same thing!  Mobility primarily focuses on the body’s ability to self- control a joint though its full range of motion with the goal of establishing new and useable ranges. Flexibility, on the other hand, is the muscles ability to lengthen regardless of control or strength. For example, if you lie on your back and try to bring your leg straight up in the air, you may find that it stops well before that 90-degree angle you so desire. However, if you ask your Flow Personal Trainer to push your leg back as far as the muscle will allow, you may find that you can successfully get to 90 degrees (if not further). In this instance you have proven that you have the hamstrings flexibility to get to 90 degrees but lack the requisite strength and mobility (primarily in the hips) to get there yourself.

Mobility- What is it good for?

Now that we understand what mobility is (or isn’t). Let’s discuss how it can help you. For starters, mobility training keeps your joints healthy by continually ‘reminding’ them of what they are supposed to do (allow movement) and how they are supposed to do it (with control). Like most things, when un-challenged, the body will lose abilities it no longer thinks it needs. Further, by having healthy joints and strength at various ranges of motion, you may reduce the chance of injury (ankle roll, hamstring pull, etc.) because the joint has “been there before” and you have actively established resiliency.

Another great advantage is that improved mobility increases performance by allowing you to move into various positions (like a squat) while having the strength to control the weight without compensation.  Finally, improved mobility in areas like the ankles and hips take stress away from joints primarily meant for stability, like the knee and lower back. So, before you toss out your running shoes and take deadlifts out of your program, consider mobility. 

Mobility- How to do It?

For most of the population, you can never mobilize too much, and you should do mobility training every single day (2-3 times per day if you want to bullet proof your body). This does not have to be a marathon session lasting several hours as 15-30 minutes per day will do wonders.  Further, we recommended you mobilize first thing in the morning, after long periods of sitting, and prior to any physical activity.

While focusing on every single joint would be ideal, the areas we find most beneficial to focus on are the ankle, hip, thoracic spine (middle back), and shoulders.  Finally, mobility drills should be done in various positions such as standing, tall kneeling, seated, or lying (stomach and back) and with control (i.e. Slowly)

If you are looking for detailed instructions on how to properly mobilize and gain physical freedom, we strongly recommended attending one of our Kinstretch Classes in Fremont on Tues @ 6:30pm and Thurs @ 7:30am, as well as, our Personal Training, Strength Camp, and Team Conditioning sessions which include several mobility exercises throughout each workout.

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

Are you putting enough effort into your training?

Learn how to accurately gauge your level of intensity to ensure that you don’t fall short of your goals!

Has this happened to you ?
You’ve committed to going to the gym consistently and are completing your workouts and making progress. Occasionally, however, those dumbbells you used last week seem to be heavier and now feel like 100lbs versus the 35lbs that is clearly labeled.

What’s going on here ? Are you getting weaker ? If you have a well-designed program that prevents overtraining and plateaus, then the answer is most likely no! However, what may have changed in this scenario is your rating of perceived exertion (RPE).

What is RPE?
RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) is a subjective measurement of how much work you are putting into a given movement or exercises. RPE takes into consideration feelings of effort, strain, discomfort, and/or fatigue which are then quantified on a scale of 6-10. If you train long enough, eventually you will have those days where high intensity feels like a warm-up and vice versa, which is totally normal. What the RPE scale allows you to do however, is have additional data points in which to track your workouts beyond the standard Sets, Reps, and Weights. RPE actually allows you to self-assess each movement and gives immediate feedback as to “how it felt”. This in-turn allows you to make necessary adjustments to ensure you progress. Further, you can proactively program your workouts based on RPE’s to distinguish between low, medium, and max intensity days versus randomly coming into the gym and saying “It’s going to be a light workout today”
While there are a myriad of factors including sleep and stress that can affect RPE, it is best to be honest with yourself and use how you feel in the moment to dictate your next move. If you underestimate your RPE and go too intense next set or round, you can potentially hurt yourself and/or hinder your progress.

The RPE Scale
RPE works on a scale of 6-10 and should be used before (how I want to feel during) and after (how I actually felt during) each exercise. As you improve your ability to evaluate your effort level, the two numbers should be identical.
RPE of 10 – Max Effort –“ Zero reps left in the tank”
RPE of 9 – Heavy lift – “One rep left in the tank”
RPE of 8 – Difficult lift – “Two reps left in the tank”
RPE of 7 – Moderately difficult lift – “Three to four reps left in the tank”
RPE of 6 – Minimally difficult lift – “four or more reps left in the tank”

As a general rule you want to feel stimulated, not annihilated after your workouts and should be at 7-8 RPE with the occasional 9-10 RPE days, which should be followed by several days at 6 RPE (Recovery/Deload).
Truth be told, a lot of us are not working as hard as we could be in the gym as effort can be difficult to accurately gauge. The RPE scale is a simple and effective way to properly monitor exercise to know if you are being properly challenged or if you need to work a little harder in order to reach your goals.

Written by, Flow Coach Mackennon Klink, B.S. CSCS, PN1

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

Five Simple Ways to Measure Progress

By Flow Coach Mackennon Klink, BS, CSCS, PN1

Whether it is a kitchen remodel, job promotion, or increasing “followers” on Instagram, there is no better feeling than to see how far you have come after starting something. This holds true for your fitness goals as we know there is no bigger discouragement than lack of progress after countless hours in the gym. While there are many ways to assess overall progress, the 5 listed below are the ones that I have found most reliable when addressing more aesthetic fitness goals (i.e. not only feel your best but look your best in the process). As a rule of thumb, progress should be tracked every 4 to 6 weeks.

1. Progress Pictures

While quality of life should be your primary goal, we do understand that people also want to “look” as great as they feel. Pictures serve as a great motivator as they will always be there to provide inspiration and a sense of accomplishment in how far you have come.

Progress photos should be taken at the beginning of your fitness journey, then preferably every 4-6 weeks in regular intervals. Here are a couple of tips when taking your photo:

· Take photo at the same time of day
· Wear the same clothes
· Use the same lighting and background
· Save photo as full size and with high resolution
· Take pictures from the front, profile , and back
· Pose as the REAL YOU (No flexing, tightening, or sucking in)

2. Body Circumference Measurements

Placement of fat is a significant factor in the risk of disease. Those with a high percentage of fat in the abdominal region are more at risk than those with the fat located elsewhere. A common method to assess this potential risk is to obtain a waist to hip measurement and its corresponding ratio. For health reasons, it is recommended that waist to hip ratios be <0.90 and <0.80 for men and women, respectively.

· Record each measurement to the 1/8 inch
· Here is a great video to show you how to conduct a waist to hip assessment

3. Body Fat Percentage

Body fat assessments are a common form of measurement to track overall body composition (fat mass vs. lean muscle mass) and is my preferred indicator of overall progress. Unfortunately, body fat measurements are more difficult to “self-administer” and in-home devices are usually inaccurate. My advice is to invest the $35-50 it cost to do Hydrostatic Weighing, Dexa-Scan or Fit3D Scan (currently offered at Flow Fitness) as these represent the “Gold Standards” in reliable body composition measurements.

Check out the table below to see which category you fall into:

Body Composition Category Women Men
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Fitness 14-20% 6-13%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Unhealthy 32% or higher 26% or higher

4. Writing Stuff Down
If you are serious about getting results, you will need to start tracking your workouts. What does tracking your workout and progress looks like? It begins with having a workout plan in place and writing down what you did. For example:

· If you did 5 sets of 5 reps of back squats at 225 last week, then you’ll need to do 5 sets of 5 reps of back squats at 230+lbs the following week to get stronger.

· If you did 3 sets of 5 pull ups last week for a total of 15 pull ups, then you’ll need to do 16+ pull ups the following week to get stronger.

A journal (and a pen) only cost you a few bucks and can make a huge difference in your training and results.

5. The Scale

For the record, I am not a big fan of using bodyweight as a metric for tracking progress. With the primary reason being that our weight fluctuates daily from 2-5 pounds! In addition, too many people allow the number on the scale to radically impact their mood and how they feel about themselves. However, if you choose to use the scale to measure progress, step on the scale the first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom and before drinking or eating anything.

Along with pictures and measurements, the scale is simply another tool in your toolbox to assess progress, so you can adjust your current plan when needed. Remember transformation does not happen overnight and the best way to ensure progress is to stay consistent in your training plan and by enjoying the sense of accomplishment that follows.