Bodybuilding is just that; building all facets of our structure so that all muscle groups and body parts flow in a harmonious nature. For most of us, it takes years to develop into the bodybuilder that we have always envisioned ourselves to be and at times, the process can be frustrating. You have to learn to love the journey as much as you love the end result and in doing so, you must insert check points along the way so that you can gauge your progress and keep motivation levels sky high. As you make your way through your bodybuilding expedition, consider including the following strategies for evaluating your progress.
Measurement and Evaluation
Taking stock of your current body composition is a great way to know if what you’re doing is working. Measuring the circumference of your body parts such as the upper arms, chest, thighs and calves is a phenomenal way to see real growth. If adding size is a priority and the number on the tape keeps rising every time you check, then you can rest assured you’re packing on muscle. The same can be said for your body fat percentage. You should always be aiming to decrease or maintain a certain level as you grow and the best way to see if that is occurring is by measuring your body fat. A quick skinfold test with the calipers is all you need to do if other options such as hydrostatic weighing or a DEXA scan is unavailable to you.
Many bodybuilders and coaches depend upon what they see from week to week in the form of progress pictures. These pictures should be taken at the same time of the day, in the same spot and with the same lighting so that all changes that occurred over the course of the week can be visibly seen by the eye. If you aren’t comfortable taking weekly pictures for whatever reason, you can just simply go by what you see in the mirror and make notes for yourself with each week that passes. With bodybuilding being such a visual and subjective sport, it’s always a great idea to have a visual for yourself to evaluate and compare as the time goes by.
Body Weight/Stage Weight
As you grow, so too does the number you see on your bathroom scale every morning. While keeping strategy number one in mind at all times, you should be aiming to increase your body weight while keeping body fat stores in check. If this happens, it is again another guarantee that you’ve added quality muscle. Second to this is your stage weight. If you’re a competitive bodybuilder looking to rise through the ranks, your goal each year should be to come back bigger, heavier and better than your previous time out in the same or better condition. If you can do that, you have been successful.
Of all the ways to gauge your bodybuilding progress, perhaps my favorite would be seeing the weights you’re pushing in the gym increase. I know the weights are only tools to improve upon our craft but many will agree that an increase in strength in the gym has a direct correlation to an increase in muscle mass. For this reason, with every week that passes, do your best to out lift yourself within each successive training session. Do that and I guarantee more muscle as well as a much harder look to the muscle.
Heyday Footwear Collection
The more you train the more you will understand the necessity for supportive gear. You have to use the best when you’re trying to be your best. You will eventually find that much of the work you do in the gym can be improved upon by just simply changing your footwear. Heyday Footwear provides a much greater base of support by utilizing a flat soled design, has unparalleled ankle support which helps strengthen the integrity of your planes of movement and offers a different shoe model for all occasions. Want to do some cardio, add the Super Freak to your Collection. Want to go ass to the grass when squatting, lace up the Tactical Trainers. Need something to help you dig in when driving up through on your bench press, strap on your Super Shifts. When the need is there, Heyday Footwear has you covered.
Progress can look different for each of us and in many cases, you will see improvement in one or two areas prior to the rest. Figure out which methods will keep you happy and in the gym as you make your way through this crazy world that is bodybuilding and just keep training hard!
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.