If you’ve spent any amount of time in our classes, you’ve probably noticed that we track certain performances while at the gym. Most classes we focus on how much you did on a certain lift and how many sets/reps you did at that weight. If you come in for our CrossFit classes, you know that we track all the metcons we do, with a focus on the benchmark metcons.
A few questions we have from people are “why the focus on performance?”, “if I want to lose weight shouldn’t I be tracking what the scale says?”, and (not really a question but is often commented) “I don’t care how much I lift, I’m not competitive”. We’ll take a look at these and break down why it is we focus so much on performance, and why that leads to the results you’re looking for.
One of the main reasons we track what you do from the get-go at No Limit Fitness Studio/NLFS CrossFit, is that we can show you how much you have improved. In the world of fitness, it is rather easy to feel like you aren’t getting any better. Especially when the workouts you do always require a large amount of effort. These big, multi-joint, functional movements we do can take the wind out of the sails of anyone, and it can lead to discouragement if not put in perspective. That’s when we show you how far along you’ve come (one of my personal favorite parts of coaching)!
Just recently we had one of our members doing power cleans in a CrossFit class and I overheard them quip “Man I SUCK at cleans!” after they missed a lift. First off, I get it. Trust me. They can be infuriating at times. However, I took said member aside and showed them how far they’ve come since they started. It was an increase of over 50lbs in less than six months!!! Once this was pointed out to them, their attitude completely changed and they were more satisfied with where they were. Not to mention they went back to their bar and made the lift!
Performance vs. Weight Loss
Most people start working out because they want to lose some extra pounds they’ve put on over the last few years. More often than not, they start with an overly zealous number as a goal that is unreachable, such as losing 50 pounds in 6 weeks. Tracking their performance along with their weight loss again helps keep things in perspective. If you want to lose 50 pounds but have only lost 6-8, that’s pretty discouraging. A quick talk with your coach and having him/her point out that you may have lost “only” 6-8 pounds but you also added 25 pounds to your back squat in that time provides proof of success. Adding more weight means you built muscle, which is going to help you burn more calories throughout the day, which will in turn burn more fat.
It also behooves me to mention that the scale is a no-good, dirty liar sometimes. I’ve had clients (typically women who have never lifted weights before) who trained for 6 months and hardly lost any weight. They understandably were upset with that result. Then I showed them a side by side comparison of how they looked before and how they looked now. Their face had slimmed down, arms had lost some fat, and they had to buy almost a whole new wardrobe because none of their old clothes fit anymore!
The Relationship Between Your Performance and Your Coach
As a coach, tracking clients’ and members’ performance gives me a lot of information. For example, our CrossFit classes have been doing a LOT of double-unders lately. This came about when I looked through some results from a few workouts with double-unders and realized that we, as a gym, are not very good at them. That tells me I need to do a better job coaching them, whether that means I need to come up with new drills or find better cues to help our CrossFitters improve. It also tells me we need to do double-unders more often since the best way to get better at them is to constantly practice them.
Tracking performance can also tell us coaches and trainers that something else outside the gym may be the problem. If we have an athlete who keeps improving their lifts and run times but also isn’t losing any weight, and possibly gaining some, we know something outside the gym is the issue. Most likely nutrition in this case. This will tell us that we need to give more guidance on the issue, which we are now addressing with Darcie’s Nutrition Plans.