We all know that regular exercise and following a planned workout routine provide many health benefits while making us fitter. However, not many develop the habit of measuring progress. How can we measure fitness? This is where keeping track of fitness metrics, both tangible and intangible, can help.
To keep track of fitness metrics, we can measure workouts as well as the physical and mental changes over the course of training. This helps to enhance performance and progress. All types of workouts, modality notwithstanding, can be measured using different metrics. This includes assessing how you feel after the exercises or tracking values such as duration, intensity or weight lifted.
Feel-good fitness metrics
Those on the fitness journey to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle should feel happy, energised and motivated to exercise regularly.
Naman Sharma, sports nutritionist and fitness expert at Fitelo, Chandigarh, India, lists the various physical and mental sensations a person goes through after training which can be fitness metrics.
Increased energy and alertness: Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins and boosts circulation, which can leave you feeling energised and focused.
Soreness or fatigue: Depending on the intensity and type of workout, you may feel muscle soreness or fatigue, especially if you have challenged your body in new ways or pushed yourself hard.
Accomplishment and satisfaction: Completing a workout can provide a sense of achievement and satisfaction, knowing that you have taken a step towards attaining your fitness goals.
Improved mood and reduced stress: Physical activity releases endorphins, natural mood elevators, which help reduce stress and anxiety while promoting relaxation.
Increased mental clarity: Exercise has been shown to enhance cognitive function, improve memory and increase focus and mental clarity.
A sense of well-being: Regular exercise can contribute to an overall sense of well-being and improved self-esteem.
Thirst and hunger: Depending on the duration and intensity of the workout, you may feel thirsty and hungry as your body requires replenishment of fluids and nutrients.
However, it is vital to note that people’s experiences after a workout can vary. Pay attention to your own body and listen to its cues. In case you feel excessive fatigue, experience severe pain, or have any other health concerns, consult a healthcare professional.
“If a beginner-level client is feeling anxious, over-stressed, dizziness, they should decrease the intensity, volume and duration of the exercises,” says Guwahati-based master personal trainer and nutrition coach Ashish Baruah. “In most cases, it is recommended to consult a doctor regarding the issues.”
Negativity after exercise
People who keep high expectations of goals and try to achieve them in short periods can be prone to feelings of negativity after a workout.
“People feel negative after a workout due to unrealistic goals, which they want to achieve within a short time, pushing themselves too hard to achieve it,” says Baruah. “They get frustrated and demotivated when they are unable to reach the target.”
In order to avoid this, one can set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound) goals. Ideally, small and achievable goals should be set in consultation with a fitness professional.
Measurable fitness metrics
The specific metrics you track may vary depending on the type of workout and your fitness goals. But keeping track of basic metrics – duration, repetitions, sets, weight lifted – is a must, says Sharma.
Speed: The pace at which one performs an activity. It is relevant for running, cycling or other fast-paced exercises.
Calories burned: An estimate of the energy expended during the workout.
Heart rate: Monitoring your heart rate during exercise to assess cardiovascular intensity.
Power: A metric commonly used in activities like cycling or rowing, measuring the work output per unit of time.
- It is important to keep track of fitness goals through various fitness metrics to evaluate performance and progress.
- For a general person aiming at healthy living, an exercise session should leave them happy, energised and motivated to keep the activity regular.
- The specific metrics you track may vary depending on the type of workout and your fitness goals. It includes duration, repetitions, sets, weight lifted and heart rate.