Measuring Progress Without Numbers

We need goals to make progress.  But setting goals that can only be measured in numbers sets us up for added stress, pushing the intention further away.  Numbers are easy to fixate on but don’t show us a balanced picture.  The fitness world seems to agree and is moving away from scales and BMI and toward determining body composition for a clearer picture of success.  Measurements and body fat percentage certainly have their place, but we can add different approaches to gauge our proximity to meeting our healthy ambitions.  Ways that steer clear of digits and help us stay the course.


One big benefit of training has little to do with appearance.  Brain Imaging proves that endorphins are released during bouts of exercise.  Endorphins are essentially our body’s own naturally produced opioids and have the ability to reduce depression and anxiety, making our workouts mood-enhancing and, with consistency, mood-stabilizing.  Noting how we feel, especially in comparison to when the latest goal was set, could indicate which direction we are headed.  You may want to keep a journal to be able to track this information effectively.

Regularly “checking in” with ourselves will bring clarity.  Determine if going to the gym feels like a chore or if it is something to look forward to, then ask yourself why.  The answers are telling signs of what is and isn’t working.  The why is one key to unlocking solutions.

Two of the most common reasons for missing a training session are boredom and not wanting to go alone – both of which can be linked to our moods.  Delve deep to find the causes and explore ways of combating them.  Share and discuss these findings with your coach to help them individualize your training and bring you closer to the objective.


The Gloveworx coaches were selected for their experience, knowledge, and ability to coach.  Their job is to help us hit every target we set.  So, who better to ask: how is my technique?  Has my reach improved?  Am I faster, more flexible? Essentially, am I making progress?  Questions that are best answered by someone who is watching your transformation up close.  

However, the information is useless if we aren’t open to hearing the good and the bad.  Chances are that some of this feedback has been given before – we simply didn’t process it.  To really measure growth, it’s important to acknowledge our coaches as the valuable resources they are.  Take their insight seriously and implement their advice in and outside of the gym to see quicker results.

Introspection is a necessary component of any evolution, fitness included, but seeking an outside perspective gives a complete picture.  Setting and striving for healthy goals brings more than just physical gains, and those around us notice.  Typically, there’s no need to even prompt; people will often point things out without any inquiry.  It’s important to note that constructive criticism should only be considered from a knowledgeable source that is on your team – think doctor and coach.

In the rest of our lives, we can simply pay attention to see if there are few positive yet subtle missed signs.  When we stay present in everyday conversations, we begin to pick-up on outward signs of our progress or lack thereof.  If you are getting positive feedback related to your attitude, focus or abilities, you are probably on the right track.  Regardless, pay closer attention and decipher which outside observations are helpful to your journey.

Outside of the Gym

Whether or not we meet our next goal (and how fast) is largely determined outside of the gym.  If only we could workout and call it a day, but the truth is every second matters.  Choices from what we eat to the quality of our sleep inch us in one direction or the other.  To get an objective view on what life looks like outside of the gym, just read your bank statement.  If most of your disposable income is spent on gym equipment, grocery stores, and inspiring books – you will meet your goal and be setting the next one in no time.  If instead, you see more bars and fast food restaurants, it might be time to reconsider your lifestyle.

Want to take this a step further?  Consider analyzing your grocery receipts.  It’s impossible to live in denial when the proof is before you.  Those little treats we use as rewards might suddenly reveal themselves as consistencies, rather than rarities.  If this is true for you, use the shock of seeing how we mindlessly sabotage ourselves to re-prioritize.  Success comes easier when it is front and center in your mind.  Think “health” within your day to day activities.  Contemplate each new purchase with the question:  Is this helping me get where I want to go or not?

The takeaway is that every moment counts.  We should continue to set new intentions; just don’t forget them once the day’s workout is complete.  Hitting the bag, fitting in cardio, and finding time to stretch is imperative, but keeping our eyes on the finish line 24 hours a day is the fastest route to getting there.  It is natural to want to know if we are improving, but if we aren’t careful, a goal that was meant to bring us better health can quickly turn into an unhealthy preoccupation.

A Balanced Approach

Most of us have either known someone or have been someone obsessed with calories or the scale.  There is no way to escape numbers while trying to achieve specific fitness goals, but creating a balanced approach is more sustainable than using digits only.  Monitoring how we feel, our overall behavior, and asking for feedback gives us much more than a number.  It encourages a balanced approach to fitness.  It’s also a reminder to be mindful, connect with others and tap into the resources available to us.  All of which will likely get us to the finish line and help us maintain the results.  Keep this in mind during your next Gloveworx training session and consider asking your coach for feedback.