[ClubQ is a private personal training gym in Fitzrovia dedicated to helping people look, move and feel better.]
ClubQ owner and trainer, Harry Cox, responds to the phenomenon of step tracking. Is it useful? Should you be doing it? What's the best method of tracking?
At ClubQ we use step tracking consistently with our clients as a way of managing daily activity for a variety of goals.
It's a common misconception that step tracking is just about burning more calories, which definitely isn't true! Whilst that is one utility, tracking your step count is also about managing your movement throughout the day to ensure your body stays mobile.
It can seem like an overwhelming burden, but I promise you after a few days you'll realise it's far easier than you initially perceived. Here are my 3 top tips for beginning your step tracking journey!
Tip #1 - Buy a step tracker
Yes, I know it sounds obvious, but often people will start off by using their phones to track their step count. The iPhone comes with built in step tracking into the health app and whilst this is an okay entry level way of tracking things I always advise people get a separate device for tracking their steps for 2 reasons:
1) It makes it obvious - when you've got your device on your wrist it's a constant reminder to check your step count throughout the day to make sure you're on track.
2) It's more accurate - what happens when you put your phone down whilst you're walking around the house/office? That's potentially a lot of movement unaccounted for.
Step tracker recommendations:
More Expensive - Fitbit/Apple Watch/Garmin
Less Expensive - honestly, anything will do. Amazon have some good budget options for <£20 that'll work absolutely fine.
Tip #2 - Set a target
Don't just blindly track your steps with no intention. Having a target to hit every day will lead to you creating habits over time that will help you to hit that number on a consistent basis without having to think about it.
'But what should my target be?' I hear you ask...
Great question. I suggest to my clients that for the first week they just track and see how things play out. From there, depending on the goal, we will set a relevant target.
e.g. Client A wants to lose weight. After 1 week of tracking steps we realise they do ~8,000 steps per day. In order to increase daily expenditure, their step target needs to be >8,000 steps per day.
"What gets measured, gets managed." – Peter Drucker
Tip #3 - Make it competitive
A healthy dose of competition makes things fun and gives you that drive to do just a little bit more. It also provides you with an element of peer to peer accountability, you're far more likely to succeed with hitting your target if you know your accountability partner has hit their target for the day.
Most of my family members now have step trackers and it's surprising how often it becomes a topic of conversation.
"How many steps have you done today?", "I need to go for a walk to get my steps in" and even "YOU'VE ONLY DONE 1000 STEPS TODAY?!" isn't uncommon conversation at the dinner table, which breeds a positive peer pressure to create healthy habits.
It's only a walk...
The beauty of step tracking is it isn't a formal exercise 'chore' but an easy way to integrate more movement throughout the day. Although it seems easy, it presents many similar benefits to that of a more formal exercise option.
If you'd like to learn more about step tracking or need help implementing it into your lifestyle then contact me on instagram @coachedbycox or contact ClubQ directly through the enquiry form on the website.