I decided to keep it simple for my Self Discovery project and focus solely on my workout routine. The goal was to lose at least 2 pounds a week for the duration of the project, documenting my workouts and mood. I was mentally ready on April 1st but, wasn’t physically ready until April 8th.
I created a “workout board” and added post-it notes after every workout. The stars represent days I felt my workouts were really successful, the checks were for mediocre workouts and the confused face represented days I completely dropped the ball. I realized manual input works best for me; I use technology daily and it was really refreshing to use a simple pen and pad to track my daily workouts and emotions – there’s something about having physical access to information – a tangible outcome that has always been highly effective for me. I tracked each workout, sets per workout and repetitions daily in my spiral notepad. I also included my mood before the workouts. In hindsight, it probably would have been useful to track my emotions before and post workout but I believe the data collected was also sufficient and helpful. I transferred the data from the notebook to an excel spreadsheet to create an electronic version of my progress.
I also created a line graph of my mood vs exercise to visualize how my mood affected the productivity of each workout. I discovered when my mood was high the workouts were explosive and productive, when I was cranky or annoyed the workouts weren’t good and I was dissatisfied with my performance. I weighed my emotions on a scale from 1-10, with one as low/unhappy, 5 medium/mediocre, and 10 as excited and motivated.
My motivation began to drop halfway through the project, mainly because I weighed myself daily and was discouraged when the numbers on the scale didn’t change. The image below represents my major fitness milestones and discoveries. Day 15 was pivotal because I started using the data I collected to focus on my emotions for better workouts.
Music was also instrumental during the
four three weeks of training. It was a great motivator and really gave me the push I needed to get through harder sets. I listened to a lot of EDM music during my workouts; I think the upbeat tempo really pushed me to dig deeper and use maximum effort. However, my go-to genre is Hip-Hop, and I listened to one song in particular, during every single workout to increase my motivation. Classical music and Jazz music worked best for my cool down phase and low-intensity workouts.
One thing to note is I struggled at the beginning with the feeling of not fitting in at the gym because I felt so out of shape. Hence the reason I delayed going to the gym for the first week of tracking. Eventually, I was about to get past my insecurities and focus on the bigger picture, my desired weight loss.
Overall, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what it takes to ensure I am consistent and focused. The manual tracking “in your face” output works best for me. I lost a total of 6 pounds in 3 weeks! It doesn’t end here, using this information from my fitness journey will greatly help me reach my long-term weight loss goals. The next step is to incorporate better eating habits that will support well-balanced physical health.