Fitness Friday

Fitness Friday: To Track or Not to Track?!?

Do you keep close track of your workout and diet?  With the prevalence of wearable fitness trackers, online calorie counting apps, and virtual support groups there is no shortage of ways to find external motivation.  Add in social media and you could easily make yourself accountable to hundreds of followers.

The time we live in is unprecedented, what with the availability of knowledge and ways to harness it, but is it possible to get too much of a good thing?  It is possible to track yourself without going crazy.  Utilize the following tips to make sure your healthy curiosity stays healthy:

Know thyself: Do you thrive off competition or would you rather keep your workouts private?  Like anything else in life, personality colors the way you arrange your fitness routine and also how you track it.  Are you an introvert who enjoys long walks with your dog and quietly practicing yoga in the comfort of your bedroom?  Playing with a pedometer might serve your better than posting yoga poses on Instagram.  Are you an extrovert drawn to competitive cycling classes and packed 5K races?  You might consider participating in an online fitness challenge where your progress is public.

Recognize patterns:  Tracking works well as a means to recognize personal patterns but can be frustrating if you expect each day’s performance to be exactly the same.  We are not robots (if you are a robot who is reading this I apologize, you may post angry comments in the “Contact” section….) and therefore will vary in physical capacity day to day and week to week.  This is especially true if you are a woman, as shifting hormones can play a major role in physical changes all month long.  Look at tracking as a way to get to know your health-seeking self better and to make better choices overall, not to beat yourself up over natural fluctuations.

Know when enough is enough: You know that thing when you start innocently tracking your diet with an app on your phone but eventually turn into a nutrient nazi?  Please do yourself and everyone around you a favor and quit while you are ahead.  Diet trackers are wonderful when used in moderation but are bound to make you crazy when used all the time.  Keep track for a few weeks to get a general idea of what you take in on a daily basis then take a break.  It is helpful to get a sense of what and how much you need to consume for your body to feel at it’s best,  but remember the ultimate goal is to be able to practice good nutrition intuitively.

Need more ideas for workouts you can track?  Visit The Joyful Gym Rat on Facebook and Twitter!

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Was my last bowl of food 300 or 400 calories?!?!