“What gets measured gets improved” – Peter Druker
When it comes to knowing what works and what doesn’t, nothing beats data. And if you own a smartphone, it has rarely ever been so easy to keep track of what you do. Here are the things I keep track of. I am quite lazy so I try and make them as automatic as possible.
A – Activity
This includes the number of steps you do a day, but also any bike riding, running, dancing, cleaning, anything that involves low intensity high volume physical activity.
App I use : iPhone integrated tracking
I simply let my iPhone do the work. It tracks the number of steps I do during the day in the background. I used to use Runtastic that did a good job, but things seem to get easier as time goes by. If you are and Android user and have any suggestions I will add them in if you have any. I tried Life Cycle, but find the obligation to keep the wifi on to be annoying. If this isn’t a deal breaker for you the app works well.
B – Sleep
You should track your sleep. If you’ve read my previous article on the subject I have become an ultimate fan. You can read TS Wiley’s – Lights Out or read Arianna Huffington’s the Sleep Revolution to get more information and tactics to get better sleep. Or just stay tuned in, I will be posting more articles on the subject.
App I use : Sleep Cycle.
Great little app that will allow you to track how long, the different phases of your sleep, and add data on what you did during the day that might affect your sleep (coffee, naps, heavy lifting, sex, alcohol, weather, activity, etc), and tells you which activities increase or decrease the quality of your sleep. Neat little toy.
C- Training Log
This is the first thing I started writing down. Keeping track of the sets and reps, which exercises, the time of day, and location of where you were training are key to making greater and faster improvement.
Apps I use : Note or Evernote.
I don’t really think there is any use to getting specific app, it tends to get difficult when your trainings get complex. Here is an example simply write out my training like this :
« 28/02 – 8:05am – Clichy
Military Press : 5X5@55kg R:5min
Neck press : 5×10@30kg / Pull-Ups 5×8″
Yes that is an actual workout.
I write what day, the time, the location, the exercises, the reps, the weight, the resting time (R) and the forward slash means I alternated the exercises. I keep a separate file for Military Press, and I write the logs one after the other so I can easily refer to what I did the previous week. I do the same for the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift. This works for about anything, not just for strength training.
d – Meditation
Meditation is a tricky one.
Because it is easy to skip, and very hard to get back to.
Once you get into meditation, you know that when you are feeling down, tired, angry, wired, or stressed out, you need to sit down and meditate. The issue is when your mind is strong, balanced, even keeled and motivated. Meditation just seems useless but it is actually what got you there in the first place. So I needed to find a way to motivate myself to keep going even when my mind was feeling at its best.
App I use :
Headspace – I used to love this app because it taught me to meditate. There are several techniques, different lengths for all situations, and great visualisation. You can download a few of your favourite sessions, and they adapt to your needs. BUT I go very annoyed for two reasons. First of all the person talking had to show himself in a video, which just killed it for me because every time I listened all I could think about was his face. Second of all, I got annoyed that the 24h setting for daily meditation is actually just 24h. meaning that if you meditated at 6 am monday, and 8pm the next day, it counted it as if you had skipped a day. Small details, but they got me to stop. But for learning I still think it is extremely good.
Balanced – This is a great app because it is very easy to use, it doesn’t really pressure me too much in doing things (I react very poorly to anything pressuring me into something), but reminds me that at some point in the day it might be in my best interest to sit down and meditate to stay balanced. I don’t tell myself for how long, if I just stop and focus on relaxing for 1, 5, 10, 20 minutes, then I’ll consider I have meditated.
That is all i track, and it is already quite a lot. Just chose one and get good at tracking it.
I am going to get myself a Fitbit and try that to see if it improves my life at all. Knowing what my heart rate is and tracking it might help discover things such as allergies or any overtraining I might experience.
Thank you for reading, hoe it helped.
Take it easy.