Unless you've been living under a rock of late, there's been something of a fitness revolution playing out on social media. From platefuls of paleo diet creations on Instagram, to short fitness videos on YouTube and online coaches springing up from nowhere, you'd be hard pressed to ignore the fact fitness and healthier lifestyles are IN.
The connectivity we can now have with complete strangers across the globe means we're able to find new food and fitness inspiration without having to leave our sofa (ironic, huh?)

As a gym addict and happy flexible dieter, I'm all for the positive promotion of better lifestyles that encourage us to eat healthily yet sustainably (bye bye, crash diets). But something else more interesting is emerging... No longer are we content to just eat better and move more; we want progress and we want to see it, share it, be celebrated for it and then use it to push ourselves harder.
This is in no way a criticism of those sharing their progress; I actually encourage people to reflect on how far they have come, and I really enjoy celebrating in others' progress. But we have to remind ourselves that we are human; we aren't machines, we aren't perfect, we sometimes make bad decisions or mistakes and sometimes the path we're so determinedly taking either gets cut off or we find ourselves back a few streets.

The danger with the need for constant proof of progress is that when those inevitable pauses or backwards steps come, we punish ourselves rather than celebrating the point to which we got to. You can't always see progress, that's so important to remember. It might not manifest itself on the scales, but it could be that you start springing out of bed in the morning because whatever you're doing is giving you more energy and purpose.

I'm my own worst enemy for physical signs of progress. I've been training hard and I made the mistake of checking the scales. Uh oh, 2kg heavier and body fat % was up by 1% since I started strength training regularly (for context, this about 9 weeks). Rather than celebrating how much heavier the weights are that I can lift, or that I have made serious progress in being able to lift my own body weight relying on less and less support as the weeks go by... I felt down and my subsequent training session was hard because I wasn't motivated to go harder. What was the point if my niggly voice was telling me I was getting fatter? It's stupid, but that's exactly what I was hearing.

Having had some reflection time (or, just given myself a ginormous kick up the ass), I've managed to put myself in a more positive place. Progress is wonderful, but remind yourself of what your goals are and focus on those, not other factors that you throw at yourself along the way.

If you've signed up to an online coach, what did you say you wanted? To feel better, have more energy, be able to fit into certain clothes? Then focus on that - THAT is your progress path.

When I started training, lowering body fat was not a goal. If it was, I'm sure I'd have been put right that making muscle gains and body fat loss don't always necessarily go together. My goals were focused on strength; lifting more, squatting more, pulling up my own body weight. And I'm doing that. When I think about the last two months, my confidence in the weights area of the gym is soaring. I'm learning every single day and pushing myself as hard as I can.

Remember: progress doesn't have to be visible to be there. Remind yourself daily of the path you're travelling and where it's going. Don't get de-railed and demotivated by things lying by the side of the road.
Fix your focus, keep on travelling