In the last article I discussed some things that are commonly used to assess the effectiveness of a training session. And I explained why mainy of these factors may not qualify as determinants of effective training.
So what does constitute an effective training session? Well if you looked at the list from the previous post all of the items had something in common. And that is that they were subjective measures and therefore difficult to measure.
What we should be using to evaluate the effectiveness of our workouts are objective and measurable tools. Below is a list of 7 Things You Can Measure to Determine the Effectiveness of Your Workouts.
#1. Body Changes
This one is fairly easy, low cost and doesn’t take much time. And it’s easy to see trends over time. For example you can track the following:
* tape measures
* pictures from the front, back and side
And while the bathroom scales you can pick up at any big box store aren’t the most accurate way of measuring bodyfat they are consistent and do not depend on the expertise of the user. Photos are great because they will show changes in body shape and tone when the net gain on the scale may be zero.
#2. Tracked Workouts
We record every workout at Okanagan Peak Performance Inc for our clients and ourselves. We are so aware of the numbers that when a staff members posts that they were able to dumbbell snatch 60 lbs for 4 reps I know this is a personal best. And I know the previous best. And when they set their previous best.
Besides loads we know distances and times during energy system workouts. We know heights jumped on plyo boxes. And we know how we felt during and in between workouts as well.
The better the note keeping the better the chance of success.
#3. Blood Work
Have you ever had blood work done and then started an exercise and nutritional plan? And then have you been back to see your doctor to compare the change?
Are you a diabetic and measure your blood sugar at various times throughout the day?
Or are you an endurance athlete that has had their lactate threshold measured?
Whether it was for health or performance there is benefit in know your insulin, cholesterol, blood sugar and lactate levels. These numbers indicate changes in your health and allow more precise programming in the gym.
#4. Heart Rate Variability
In the 1960s the Russians designed something for their space program that would indicate the state of recovery of the cosmonaut. In particular they were able to assess the state of recovery of their nervous system.
While many of us can’t afford or justify an omega wave like the Russians used Joel Jamieson has designed something that measures our heart rate variability. For $200, instead of the $30 K for an omega wave, you can quickly and easily see how recovered you are. Knowing this can help you decide how hard to push on a given training day.
#5. Watches and Monitors
I don’t mean for you all to rush out and buy a heart rate monitor if you don’t have one already. But if you don’t currently use one they are a great invesment. Used in combination with some performance testing for lactate threshold or VO2max you can then set particular training based on your goals and health.
And during your energy system workouts you can record how long it takes to recover to a particular level. Make note of this and compare from one workout to the next to determine results and progress.
To wrap this all up your progress and results should be based on numbers and your physiology. It shouldn’t be based on feelings, emotions and attitude. It’s great when people have more energy, smile and walk with more confidence. But don’t confuse these with what actually constitutes an effective training session.