Tracking and measuring vital pieces of muscle building and fat loss information is a key to the WLC System.
When you have the correct information…
You can make the correct decisions on a daily and weekly basis.
How could you make the correct adjustments and changes to your program if you didn't know what you were doing in the first place?
For example, how do you know how many calories caused you to gain 1 pound of muscle if you didn't track the number of calories you ate each day?
You have to track and measure vital pieces of information in order to make changes that lead to consistent progress each and every week.
So, what are these vital pieces of information? You've got several categories you need to track and measure on a consistent basis…
- Weight Lifting
- Diet and Nutrition
- Cardiovascular Exercise
- Body Measurements
- Rest and Recovery
- Planning and Goals
I want to talk about the vital pieces of information contained in each of the categories above.
This may seem like a lot of stuff to track, but it really isn't. All of the tracking and measuring required for this program only takes a few extra minutes per day.
So, let's get started…
Vital Weight Lifting Information
When you go to the gym (home gym or commercial gym) for a weight lifting workout, you must take a log book or weight lifting log sheet with you to record your workout.
Log sheets are included with every weight lifting workout on any of our programs, so it's easy to print the sheet and take it with you to the gym.
You should record the duration of your workout — start time and finish time. After every set you complete, you need to record it in your log book or log sheets. You cannot forget to record this information.
It only takes a few seconds to write down the correct information for each workout… a good workout log sheet will make this very easy for you — and we include them with every program:
- Starting Time of Workout
- Exercise Performed
- Number of Sets Performed
- Weight Lifted in pounds or kilograms for each set
- Number of reps completed for each set
- Finish Time of Each Workout
By recording the information above for each weight lifting workout, you can monitor your progress.
Your goal every weight lifting workout is to lift heavier weight and/or perform more reps than the previous workout for each exercise. When you know exactly what you did last workout, you can ensure you make progress this workout.
Progress in the gym leads to changes in your body.
Vital Diet and Nutrition Information
You must keep track of the correct diet and nutrition information if you want to make optimal progress towards your goals.
I compare diet to a control panel that controls your results. The amount of energy you are taking in must be recorded.
You also must choose the best sources of food each and every meal. Always work to improve your diet each and every day. Here's what you need to track each day:
- Total Calories
- Total Protein Grams
- Total Carbohydrate Grams
- Total Fat Grams
From those pieces of information, macronutrient percentages can easily be calculated.
Calculating macronutrient percentages is discussed in the diet section. You need these to ensure you are within your target percentage ranges. For example, 30% of your diet from protein, 50% from carbohydrates, and 20% from fat.
Water intake should also be tracked until you become accustomed to drinking plenty of water each day.
I don't have to worry about drinking enough water any more because that's all I drink each day. I simply ensure my huge water bottle is empty before I leave work. I then drink water around and during my workouts. When drinking water becomes a habit, you no longer need to track your water intake.
Vital Cardiovascular Exercise Information
As discussed in the cardio section, a heart rate watch is highly recommended for tracking purposes. A heart rate watch gives you a common frame of reference for any activity you perform.
For example, you can go running and the watch records calories burned. You can go biking and the watch records calories burned. It gives you a common reference for all activities.
A heart rate watch helps you keep track of the information you need to make correct decisions each week. You need to track the following for each cardio session:
- Activity Performed
- Duration of Activity
- Average Heart Rate
- Calories Burned
This information allows you to adjust your cardio during fat loss cycles and allows you to make sure you are making progress with your cardio.
This information is vital to your success.
You won't be blindly doing different amounts of cardio each week and wondering if you burned more calories this week compared to last week.
You'll always know how many calories you burned each week and this allows you to adjust your cardio program as needed to continue making progress.
Vital Body Measurements
In order to measure progress, you're going to need to take measurements each week. The proper measurements will allow you to calculate how much fat you've lost and how much muscle you've gained.
Based on the results, you can adjust your program to make further progress. Here's what you need to measure…
- Body Weight
- Fat Skin Folds
- Waist Measurement
- Other Body Measurements
You will need to take the above measurements under the same conditions on the same day of each week (once per week).
The above measurements can fluctuate under different conditions. You'll learn more about this later.
Your body weight and skin fold measurements will allow you to calculate your body fat percentage, muscle mass, and fat mass. Fat skin folds are the best indicator of fat loss or fat gain that you have available.
Your waist measurement is the next best indicator of fat loss or fat gain. Usually, when the waist measurement goes down, you are losing fat. When it goes up, you are gaining fat.
Other body measurements can be added on a weekly basis depending on your goals and your body.
If you carry a lot of fat around your thighs, you might want to measure them each week during a fat loss cycle to ensure you are losing fat in that area.
You will also take complete body measurements before and after every weight lifting cycle for comparison. From here on out, you will be taking at least a few body measurements each and every week.
Before and after every program, though, you will take extra body measurements during your weekly assessment… let me explain:
All of these measurements aren't necessary every week, but are great measures of progress over longer periods of time.
These measurements allow you to measure the effectiveness of a given cycle:
- Thigh Measurements
- Upper Arm Measurements
- Waist and Hip Measurements
- Calf Measurements
- Chest and Back Measurements
- Forearm Measurements
The change in circumferences of the major muscle groups will help you measure your progress towards your goals.
For example, if you want to focus on building muscle in the arms because they are lagging behind other muscle groups, you would focus in on the arms measurement.
If you want to get bigger overall, you would closely monitor all of your body measurements.
Vital Rest and Recovery Information
There are a few rest and recovery pieces of information you need to be aware of: the amount of sleep you are getting each night and the amount of stress in your life.
Without proper rest, your progress will slow and eventually come to a halt.
If you have trouble getting at least 7 hours of continuous sleep each night, you need to seriously evaluate why you can't get the proper amount of rest. There's always a way to fix this. Seven hours of sleep is good, but 8 hours is even better.
If you need to track the amount of sleep you are getting because it changes so much, simply log your sleep times in your log book. I guarantee that you get much better results when you get more sleep.
You'll learn how to improve rest and recovery with special tips and techniques in the ‘Rest and Recovery' section of this course.
Vital Planning and Goals Information
You need to have daily goals, weekly goals, and program cycle goals. You'll learn more about setting goals and planning to meet them in the goal setting section.
You need to hold yourself accountable to the goals that you set and work hard each day so that you meet your goals. Would you like to see some example daily, weekly, and program cycle goals?
- Meet target calorie intake
- Meet target protein, carb, and fat intake
- Meet water intake goal
- Eat meals on time
- Eat only the best sources of food
- Do all scheduled workouts
- Track and record vital pieces of information
- Perform weekly assessment under same conditions
- Gain 1 pound of muscle per week with no fat gain
- Perform all scheduled weight lifting workouts
- Perform all scheduled cardiovascular workouts
- Meet average calorie intake target
Program Cycle Goals
- Gain 10 pounds of lean muscle mass
- No increase in waist measurement
- Increase size of thighs
- Increase size of upper arms
Track your progress towards your goals each day, week, and program cycle. Make adjustments as needed to meet your goals. Make sure that you can control the goals you set.
For example, let's say you set a goal to only eat the best sources of food each day. At the end of every day, look back and reflect on the choices you made for that day.
Let's say one day you cheated at lunch time and ate a fast food hamburger. Why did that happen?
You may have failed to prepare your meals the previous day and figured you would just eat out for lunch. Instead of making a good choice for lunch, you went with your friends and didn't remember to make a better choice when ordering.
Learn from that lesson and start planning ahead. If you have to eat out for lunch, look at the nutrition facts for that restaurant before you go and make the best possible choice. Or prepare your lunch for the next day ahead of time with the best sources of food.
Evaluate your goals at the end of every day, week, and program cycle.
If you failed to meet those goals, figure out what you did wrong and correct it. When you track and measure vital pieces of information, you can make corrections and adjustments to your program to give you the best possible results.