“If you Need a Witness to Your Success, Be Your Own.”

It is no secret that one of the best ways to notice improvements in a gym setting is to track your performance or progress. Normally, we would do this by performing some sort of field test. A field test may be a timed run, a rep max test, a step-up test, a push-up test, or a vertical jump test. During this time, we find ourselves in a scenario where performing a field test becomes difficult for both the test taker and the test monitor. Because of this, we have to look for ways to self-monitor.

Self-monitoring is a daily or weekly task that we can perform to track progress, overall performance, and recovery. Ideally, we would choose a task that can monitor all three. For example, to track the progress of lower body strength we might choose a bodyweight squat. In order to make this movement work for the other two tiers, we would have to add some sort of a time element.

Example
Monitoring Task/Test: Bodyweight Squats
Time: 60 seconds
Reps Completed:
Overall Difficulty (1-10)

If we take a look at this example, it has a rep element, a time element, a difficulty element, and a set task. The rep element will help us to track our progress and overall performance, If we increase the reps done in a minute, that is both progress and an increase in overall performance. If we complete fewer reps, it may be a sign that we are tired or a little over-trained. The time element ensures that we are performing the same task for the same amount of time so that our results can be easily compared day to day or week to week. The overall difficulty element will let us know about our recovery. If the overall difficulty of the task becomes too high (8+), we may want to think about lowering the intensity of our sessions/workouts. If we pair the difficulty element with the reps completed element, we can get an assessment of our performance and recovery. Typically, as performance dips, so does (or so has) recovery.

Improvements can be hard to come by at times, but they can become even harder to come by if we are not monitoring ourselves correctly and regularly. However, if we take a few minutes out of our day to “check-in” with ourselves, we begin to learn more about how to take care of ourselves physically. By doing this, we can accurately track our overall performance and progress while (hopefully) warding off over-training, lack of recovery, dips in performance, and stalls in progress/improvements.

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