Why one trainer believes we should all be creating “fitness resumes”


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Working on our resumes is one of those much-dreaded adult chores that everyone has to do, but complains about before actually getting around to it (see also: paying bills and flossing teeth). Drafting a fitness resume, though? That’s something I can get behind.

Trainer and wellness coach David Chesworth, who’s the fitness director at Hilton Head Health, thinks you should be looking at your sweat game the same way you look at your career. Similar to your nine-to-five, your sweat dreams should be goal oriented and nicely organized with steps that get you to that goal. The fitness resume, something his colleague Matt Barrack, a fitness coach, coined can help you do just that.

The idea is that you set up fitness goals, which help you track how you’re improving. “A lot of the times with goal setting and with behavior changes, just the idea of logging something reinforces adherence,” says Chesworth. “On top of that, the feeling of success leads to more success.” Think of it as a way to get extra motivation in your sweat game.

“Showing your previous achievements reminds you how you’ve had success in the past,” says Chesworth, who says it’s helpful to outline your strengths and weaknesses in fitness. “Something that’s detrimental to the vast majority of people is getting tunnel vision with their workouts. If you’re not seeing the precise results you want, it can be frustrating—so a resume gives you more reasons to feel proud of yourself.” Intrigued? Keep scrolling for Chesworth’s five-step plan for creating one for yourself—I promise it’s not nearly as annoying as writing one for a job.

1. Choose an objective: You can choose anything you’re looking to achieve, like learning how to do a push-up in perfect form, or increasing your running endurance.

2. Build a skillset: “Once you’ve mastered something, see if you can increase it,” says Chesworth. Conquered that perfect push-up? Make your next goal to knock out 10 at a time. “Keep track of your progress, and when you master something, add it as a skill then set a new goal within that skill.”

3. Keep learning: Make note of your fitness knowledge repertoire. Do you follow a certain trainer on Instagram, or frequent a fitness studio? “Write down classes, apps, or channels you watch to learn more [about fitness],” says Chesworth, so you know where to check in for handy intel that can help you up your game.

4. List references: Think about who makes up your support team to hold you accountable, like your significant other who goes to Barry’s Bootcamp with you (in my case) or a personal trainer who keeps you on a schedule. “Put down your support network who’s supportive of you in your fitness routine,” says Chesworth.

5. Display it: Don’t tuck your fitness resume into the back of a drawer—hang it up on your fridge or on your desk. “See it often and be reminded of your progress, and continue to update it regularly as you would a career resume,” says Chesworth. The good news? There’s no cover letter involved.

Also useful is the 5/3/1 Wendler method, which can help you achieve strength training goals. And here’s why trainers say that in the divided world of cardio vs. weights, you should really be incorporating both. 

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