If you have set yourself a goal to gain muscle and are going to start working hard in the gym with a strength routine, surely you are interested in knowing how to measure your progress in muscle training. It is not difficult, you just have to take into account a series of variables to prepare your training diary and observe its evolution. Do you want to know what they are?
Keeping track of your volume training is always interesting, especially since checking how you progress as the weeks go by will give you extra motivation to keep pushing yourself. In addition, a good follow-up can help you correct errors if you detect stagnation or even a setback. Modify the routine with new exercises, introduce changes in your diet or in the loads you use. If you follow your training plan to gain volume, it will be easier for you to adjust it to obtain maximum effectiveness from it.
4 variables you should pay attention to in muscle training
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An agenda, a paper planning, or an Excel chart to plan your training days. You can choose what is most comfortable for you to be pointing a series of variables and being able to observe, objectively, how your volume training evolves. Of course, the mirror also works and, as time goes by, you will see in front of it whether your muscle mass has increased or not. Even so, developing muscle mass requires training a minimum of two-three months and at two weeks it is difficult for you to notice any change when looking in the mirror. On the other hand, if you compare a series of initial measurements with those you have spent in time, you will be able to check if your routine is on the right track.
So, how to prepare for your muscle volume training and keep track of your evolution? Take a pencil and paper (or computer/mobile) and write down the variables that you must monitor to track your volume training
It’s simple. It is about getting on the scale and knowing how many kilos you parts. You must remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so it should not surprise you to gain weight during the first few months of training (then the weight should stabilize). Keeping track will help you adjust your diet and know if the evolution of your weight is what it should be.
2) Percentage of body fat and muscle mass
Knowing it is somewhat more complicated unless you have a specific scale at home (bioimpedance scale). An easier option is to use a caliper, a kind of caliper that is used to calculate what a fold of fat in any part of the body measures (doing it yourself with a gentle “pinch” where it interests you). For its part, the easiest way to calculate the initial volume of your muscles is by measuring their contour.
To keep track of your volume training, it is important to write down those two measurements: the amount of fat and muscle size and to do the measurement again every two or three weeks. If all goes well, the fat data should decrease and the contour of your muscles should increase. As always, we advise you to solve your doubts with a personal trainer or with your endocrinologist.
It is also important that you write down a series of data about your diet to know if it is helping you increase muscle volume. Write down the calories ingested each day and it is also worth noting, even if only roughly, the number of carbohydrates and proteins that you include in your menus.
Controlling what you eat, knowing the essential nutrients for muscle growth, and the energy expenditure involved in your workouts can provide you with valuable information so that your program to gain volume works. For example, you may find that you are not including enough protein or that the calories you eat far exceed those you really need. Knowing what is happening, you can take the necessary steps to correct errors and continue to improve.
4) Weight in exercise
It is another fundamental piece of information that you must include in the follow-up of your volume routine. Write down how much weight you train within each session and how you feel. Has the exercise been too easy for you? Have you not been able to complete the series? This information is basic to train with the right weight.