Tracking Progress: Quality vs. Quantity / When Goal Setting Goes Wrong
Is there really one “perfect” way to track progress? Fitness culture is obsessed with numbers. We either want them to go down-- such as the number on the scale or body measurements-- or we want them to go up-- how much weight we can lift, how many calories we burned, etc.
We all use this numerical data to determine whether we are progressing, regressing, or staying the same. But how many times have you seen a person do some crazy juicing detox and drop 20 lbs in 7 days only to end up looking and feeling like absolute dog sh*t by the end of the week? Or how about the person who adds 80lbs to their back squat but has trained so hard over the past 12 weeks that they can’t stand up straight or perform in the bedroom? These people may have “progressed” according to their quantitative goals, but at what cost?
This is why we shouldn’t fail to also include qualitative markers of progress as we continue on our quest to fitness badassery. It truly is a balance of quality versus quantity.
Tracking objective data certainly plays an important role in reaching any goal. It creates a degree of separation from emotion, letting the numbers speak for themselves, and generally speaking- the numbers don’t lie.
But checking in with yourself to collect honest, subjective data can give you hints as to whether your efforts are sustainable in the long run. No one wants to wind up feeling like a pile of dog crap at the expense of fitting into their summer bikini for one weekend.
Next time you step on the scale or test your favorite lift, follow-up by asking yourself some new questions to get the bigger picture of your progress. Here are some examples:
Over the last 1-2 weeks, have I felt:
Achieving big strength and fitness goals comes with some level of sacrifice. But, if you’re finding yourself at the negative end of these subjective scales more often than not, it’s worth asking yourself whether there may be a better way. Remember that exceptional performance is built on a solid foundation of overall health, which encompasses so much more than just your measurable strength or waist circumference. Optimize your health, optimize your performance. Performance is built on a foundation of health.
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Head over to Hybrid’s page to learn more about how our coaches can help you find the best way to track your progress in the realms of training and nutrition.