Throwback Thursday: How measurement helps a fitness program.

On this Throwback Thursday, I’m thinking about measuring progress. Last night was my first decent track workout of the fall 2014 season after a summer of lots of quadricep-strengthening exercises and way less running than I wanted. I love running with my GPS on the track, because it’s a marker and a barometer for where I’m at now, and where I’m going as I get ready for races later this fall.

One of many excellent tools for measuring your fitness progress. (Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
One of many excellent tools for measuring your fitness progress. (Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Measurement can really work. It’s not a 100%-failsafe thing, and some things just seem like they might not be measurable at all, like contentment and happiness (though some are trying). Still, quantifying progress can help us get from here to there, as long as we have a good idea of which “there” we want to get to in the first place.

The post below was written on May 1, right before the Insane Tomato Summer of 2014 went into full swing. (It was a hot and sunny summer in Seattle – not exactly our usual weather fare – and my tomato plants went bonkers as a result.) Read below for more on what tomatoes and fitness progress have to do with each other.

I didn’t know then about my tomato harvest possibilities, but I did know that measurement helps us to track our progress in many areas. Count your workouts. Count the minutes you move during the day. It might just inspire you.

And with that nod to the value of measurement, let’s go to the Throwback Thursday post…

Tomatoes! And, how measurement helps a fitness program.

[Originally published on May 1, 2014]

These monthly stats reports are a great exercise for me, because they reinforce an idea I’ve learned time and again in my health journey:

You can only grow what you can measure. That includes tomatoes.

– Me, on May 1, 2014

Yup, I counted them, I weighed them...and then I made fifteen thousand new tomato dishes. Yay for the tomato! (Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Yup, I counted them, I weighed them…and then I made fifteen thousand new tomato dishes. Yay for the tomato! (Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

(Yes, when I first planted tomatoes in 2009 when I was losing my weight, I actually would go outside and count the tomato blossoms and weigh the tomatoes when I harvested them. We got 100 pounds of tomatoes from three tomato plants that year. That’s $400 of organic tomatoes for the cost of three $3 starts at the farmer’s market, plus love and attention. I may even have sung to the plants once in a great while.)

But I digress.

When I started writing this blog, “Every48”  was a promise to myself to exercise once every 48 hours in 2014. And even though April was a little wonky because that “every48” promise isn’t necessarily possible in the first few days (or, um, the first ten days) after running a marathon…that’s not really the point. I was kind of beating myself up yesterday because despite my best intentions, I neither worked out, nor ate terribly well. (There may have been a small tortilla chip incident at a happy hour meet-and-greet).

But then I checked the numbers. And I’m doing okay. And so is the blog.

This guy doesn't work for Every48. But I like his chart, because it kind of illustrates where the blog has gone in the last few months. Welcome, welcome! And...what's next! (Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
This guy doesn’t work for Every48. But I like his chart, because it kind of illustrates where the blog has gone in the last few months. Welcome, welcome! And…what’s next! (Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Here are the numbers: I did 15 workouts this month (average of once every other day – perfecto!). There were 9 runs, 4 spinning or indoor cycling workouts (two on one day when I did the Schwinn certification), and 2 elliptical training sessions (great recovery after a marathon).

But there was no strength training and there could have been at least a little bit in the first week of the month, before my marathon taper really began. And no yoga – yikes. That’s gotta change next month.

Favorite stat of all: I weighed in three times this month (skipping the Saturday before the marathon, since I’m intentionally eating more that week for carbo-loading). And all three times, I was within my Weight Watchers goal range. Four years and eight months after initially reaching my goal, that’s a biggie.

And here are the website stats. Boffo!

April was a little nuts around here. There were 1046 unique page views – an increase of 124% over March. There were 418 unique visitors – an increase of 61% over March. Since January 2014, readership has grown by 234% (page views) and 166% (unique visitors). Yowza!

This month, visitors from 20 countries found this blog – and since January, visitors from 29 countries have visited. Welcome! Willkommen! Bienvenue! You get the idea.

How can you help? Please keep spreading the word about Every48!

This blog is my attempt to capture what it’s really like, day by day, to live a healthy life after having had to learn those hard health lessons as an adult. Once you’ve decided to commit yourself to living healthfully, everything else is just scheduling and details. That’s really all there is to it.

No matter how you choose to get there, and how you choose to get active, stay active, or try new things (remember that lifeguard certification I wrote about earlier this week? I am so determined to learn how to tread water without my arms now!)…you can stay energetic, excited about life, and inspired, just by making the promise to yourself to be active every 48 hours, minimum, for the rest of your life.

Hang with me through the year – the adventure is only just getting started.

And now, get out there and get your workout on.

[Back to real time: September 18, 2014]

Yesterday’s Every48 workout: A hard-but-great TRACK workout with my running group – a couple of hard 1000-meter repeats, then a pair of 900-meter repeats with some hard and easier intervals mixed in, a few 100-meter sprints, form drills, and a last 300 meters to top it off. With a one-mile warmup and 3/4-mile cool down, too.

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