What Is The Tracking Log?
Your Tracking Log is simply a record of the steps you take as work your way towards being a Fat Burner.
You can add statements about the progress you are seeing, about your health, about your coaching, about how you are doing, etc.
I realize this may seem like a pain to keep.
But it is very important and for several reasons.
I want to inform you as your coach I really need your input.
I cannot successfully coach you without the information you provide.
I read every word in your Tracking Log during each Evaluation Session to prepare for our regular Coaching Session (and I often go back over older entries I’ve read previously).
It helps both of us correlate your habits, your steps, the changes I recommend, and the results you get.
I rely on the Tracking Log to determine which changes to recommend.
We will be able to spend our Coaching Sessions digging deeper instead of collecting information.
You will become aware of your habitual behaviors and conscious of the effects of your efforts.
Importantly, you will be able to see an unquestionable record of your road forwards – what you did, what you overcame, how you persevered, how you progressed, and ultimately, how you succeeded.
This in turn will fuel both your motivation and your long-term success.
How To Keep The Log
I want to make this as easy as possible.
Don’t get fancy and don’t sweat it.
The Tracking Log is just a simple text file with time-stamped entries in chronological order.
Use any format you prefer and write in your own voice.
Provide as much or as little information as you want.
Keep in mind I need enough information to evaluate your steps and progress and
we don’t want to use up valuable Coaching Session time on information collection.
You also will find it valuable over time to go back and look at your progress, so don’t skimp.
Later I will show you a few shortcuts.
People forget the details so record things as you go through your day.
Jot things down on a piece of paper, or write in a small notepad, or type in a notetaking or outlining app.
You could even send texts or emails to yourself.
Transcribe or copy any notes taken outside your Tracking Log to it each night.
If you update your Log every day it won’t end up being a lot of work (and you won’t forget anything).
At least 24 hours before your coaching session email the entire Tracking Log file to my personal email address, Dave@BeAFatBurner.com.
Entries in your Tracking Log can fall into several categories.
Remember these are all only suggestions.
And there is no need to segregate items into particular places in the Log or to label items as being in particular categories (though you could if you want – the format is up to you).
But what you put in your Log will indicate to me what is most important to you.
Feel free to include whatever you think will help me coach you.
Here are some suggestions:
How Do You Feel
Let’s go through these in more detail and cover some things that you might address.
What is your birth year (my recommendations will often vary depending on age)?
What are your goals?
What are you trying to achieve?
What do you hope to get out of your coaching?
What constitutes success for you?
Do you have any known medical conditions?
Are you under a doctor’s care?
Are you taking medications?
What food restrictions do you have?
Does any medical condition require special foods?
Do you have food allergies or sensitivities?
Do you hate certain foods?
What about exercise restrictions?
Do you have a medical condition or disabliity that limits or prevents your participation in certain activities?
Do you have any acute or chronic injuries?
Roughly three quarters of body composition, including fat levels, is due to food, beverages and nutritional supplements.
There is no other factor that can overcome a poor diet.
Given its importance to fat loss and fat levels, the tracking of what goes in your mouth (and at what time) is the highest priority.
Unfortunately it is also the area with the greatest amount of detail to record.
You pretty much want to record everything, even if it is non-caloric (for example how much water you drink each day and when you drink it is important).
One shortcut is to define “standard” meals or snacks.
A standard meal or snack is one you have repeatedly.
You define it once and then can simply use the reference to it when you consume it.
An example is:
Define “Unhealthy Burger Meal”: 12 oz beef patty, hamburger bun with heavy mayo, slice of onion, 2 iceberg lettuce leaves, 2 Tbsp catsup, 32 oz Coke, 12 oz french fries with 4 Tbsp catsup, 16 oz ice cream sundae with 4 oz chocolate sauce.
The next time you consume the meal you can just enter:
Tuesday Lunch 12:15 pm “Unhealthy Burger Meal”.
If the meal includes spices and herbs you can include those as well (their micronutrients are important too).
If the meal’s ingredients change at a later date you can simply enter a new standard meal definition.
Many times you will not know the exact amounts of ingredients and can use good estimates.
You could say things like a palmful or a large handful or two pinches.
As long as you are consistent in your estimates so we both know the rough amount you had.
If somebody else prepares your meal and you don’t know what is in a given dish, just ask the chef or server.
As long as you are not asking for family or proprietary secrets they are usually willing to share (and may even take your interest as a compliment).
If you take vitamins or other supplements you also want to record those details as well.
Note the amount and time for individual vitamins and supplements, and in addition, the brand for ones like multi-vitamins.
Exercise is a category similar to food in that it has a central influence on fat levels and that everything counts.
If it lasts more than a couple of minutes it’s worth mentioning – even if it is “just” standing.
Here is another shortcut opportunity – define standard exercise sessions and simply reference them when they are performed.
Define “Vigorous Walking”: 45 minutes walking, mainly level ground, averaging 65% of max heart rate.
Then you can note:
Sunday 8:30 am “Vigorous Walking”
Be as precise as possible.
Include times, distances, heart rates, poundages, sets, repetitions, rest intervals, etc. – whatever is relevant to the exercise(s) in question.
And do flag achieving personal bests – it will be good for both us to see!
Everybody is aware of how sleep affects their feelings of well-being and their ability to function in their daily lives.
But it is also tied to areas such as cellular repair and cleanup, workout recovery time, hormone levels, etc.
So we would like to track sleep as a factor in body fat levels.
Do you go to bed the same time every night?
Do you take any sleep aid nutrients or supplements?
Did you have difficulty falling asleep?
If so, why?
What quality of sleep did you experience?
How many times did you awaken?
Were you able to fall back asleep easily?
Did you feel rested when the morning arrived?
What was the total amount you slept?
Do you nap today?
When and how long?
Stress hormones can have a deleterious affect on numerous other things – other hormones, sleep, mental focus, muscle and fat stores, etc.
I am not interested in being nosy about issues that are personal to you.
So do not feel obligated to disclose anything that makes you uncomfortable.
But please don’t hide the fact if you are facing stress – it matters.
Are any things causing you stress?
How strong is each stressor?
How is it affecting you?
What are you doing to handle or cope with the stress?
Your focus should be on taking the steps that will get to your desired body fat level.
We want to move away from old, bad habits, and towards newer, effective ones.
This is especially true as you start out.
But you do need to take note of where you are seeing positive changes.
You just don’t want to be obsessive about it – checking every week or two is ok, every day isn’t.
You also want to avoid being judgmental – if you don’t see rapid enough progress it doesn’t imply anything about your character or effort.
True fat loss takes time (while rapid “weight” loss usually involves considerable muscle and water weight and a slowing of metabolism).
So how should you track your body fat level?
In weight loss programs the scale is often the only tool.
The problem is a weight measurement cannot differentiate between fat, muscle, water, etc.
And in weight loss programs you can lose as much muscle as fat at the same time.
With Fat Loss Coaching you can actually add muscle and lose fat at the same time.
So scales used alone are of little use.
Also avoid the Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement which uses weight compared to (squared) height.
It has the same problems as just using a scale to measure weight.
The most accurate methods use X-Rays or Ultrasound (such as DEXA) to scan your body.
But they tend to be expensive, require specialists to perform, and access can be difficult or inconvenient.
Hydrostatic testing, where you are weighed normally and under water, has similar issues and is not quite as accurate (residual air in the lungs affects buoyancy).
Impedance measurements, which send low-level electrical signals through your tissues, can be done at a gym or at home (using a scale with electrodes).
But they can be affected by various issues such as how much liquid you have in your system and readings can vary considerably over the course of a day.
Skinfold measurements using calipers can also be taken at a gym or at home and are inexpensive.
The measurements can be used in isolation (how thick are the prominent fat deposits) or run through an equation (such as the Parillo Method) to produce a bodyfat percent.
So if you can afford it something like a DEXA measurement is best (provided you can find it).
But quality calipers can be had for $20 and you can do the measurements yourself (in private).
In all types of measurements the most important thing is progress, not the actual number that comes out at the end.
If your body fat percent moves from 20% to 19% (or a skinfold measurement decreases), that’s good.
Whether the 19% is accurate or not in an absolute sense is actually immaterial.
What matters is that it is repeatable – if you perform the measurement again you get the same outcome.
Make sure the conditions are as similar as possible from measurement to measurement and it is performed in an identical manner.
For example have the same person take the measurements every Saturday morning at 8:00 am using the same equipment and method.
How Do You Feel?
What kind of energy levels are you experiencing in general?
What about during exercise, after exercise, or the day after exercise?
How about the same questions for perceived muscular strength?
Are you experiencing any aches or pains?
Are they improving or getting worse?
How is your motivation?
What about your optimism?
How do feel about your progress?
What are you finding difficult or easy?
What mental or emotional obstacles are you facing?
What strategies are you using to overcome them?
What old habits are proving difficult to move beyond?
Why do you think you are so strongly attached to them?
What new habits are you struggling to firmly establish?
How do you like the changes I have suggested?
What about the rate of change?
Do you want to go faster? Slower?
Am I being sensitive enough and responsive enough to your individual situation?
Am I being too hard on you? Too easy?
Am I not paying attention to an area of concern or difficulty?
Am I weighing a given factor an inadequate amount? Or too much?
Are you given sufficient time to speak during coaching sessions?
Are you granted an acceptable level of control over subject matter in our sessions?
Remember all of the categories and possible questions and comments are just suggestions.
Make this your own – the story of your journey to being a successful, lifelong Fat Burner.
It’s for you as much as it is for me.
Most people fail in most “weight loss” or fitness programs.
Many times it is fault of the program – the program simply does not account for how your system actually works at the level of hormones and cells.
But the secondary reason for failure is that most people have trouble with what is being asked of them.
In many cases practices such as going hungry for weeks or months or doing long or exhausting exercise are not sustainable.
Left with no alternative people return to the behaviors that got them into the higher-fat state in the first place.
I want you to make lifelong changes that enable you to be successful at fat loss and maintenance but also to enjoy your life in all aspects.
I see these as going hand-in-hand, not being conflicting goals.
I want your effort but without the unacceptable discomfort.
Being a Fat Burner is easy, but getting to that stage can be difficult; decades-old habits can be very sticky.
The Tracking Log will serve you as an important motivational tool to show you where you have been and how far you have come.
Do not underestimate its power as emotional fuel!
Let’s be successful together!
383 Central Ave, Suite 450
Dover, NH 03820