Picture this... you had an absolutely killer workout last time. You feel great, you achieved multiple PRs, and love the way your body is responding to the training stimulus.
Now...you just need to replicate it. Oh boy! here it goes.
See, people overestimate by far how well they think that their brain can recall facts. When you're juggling multiple sets, number of reps, and not to mention resistance used and precise duration, it's simply impossible for your brain to recall all those details without the luxury of even refreshing the facts.
The end result? Your workout is all over the place, and you lose some great momentum you were building.
This is actually very common and results in athletes (especially newer ones) not sticking to a program for any amount of time, and as a result, never seeing the fruits of their labor.
Fun fact: The gym I used to go to had a grand total of 3 people (myself included in that number) using training logs of any sort, out of a possible 1000 members.
Still, think you don't need to use one? In this blog post, we'll discuss what you're missing out on and why you should really start implementing this as early as your next workout.
It's easy to miss a workout here and there when you don't have anyone holding you accountable. This is especially true if you train by yourself. Writing down the sets, reps, and weights you use in a log gives you something to refer back to so that you can replicate previous workouts or aim to increase your weights from session to session.
When you don't have anything to look back on, it's easy to just throw your hands in the air like you just don't care (LOL).
But when you're logging your workouts, you can see exactly how often you're slacking off and not meeting your goals. This helps to light a fire under your ass and keeps you accountable.
Do you feel like you've been stuck at the same level for weeks, or god forbid- months? This is often not the result of a poor work ethic, but rather a lack of tracking.
Without logging your workouts, you force yourself to guess at the weight and reps used in each workout. This is a surefire way to make little or no progress in your training.
However, if you track everything down to the last rep and the weight lifted, you can easily pinpoint areas that need improvement, as well as areas where you're already making progress.
You're making solid progress in a few exercises week after week. Maybe it's time to milk the proverbial cow for all it's worth. One of the best benefits of having a workout log is that it allows you to optimize your workout routine. You can track how much weight and reps you perform, as well as rest times between sets.
This will give you an idea if your program is working the way it should be. If you're making good progress in some exercises but not others, you can make changes to the program to better suit your needs and goals. For instance, if you're doing really well in decline bench presses but not the incline variety, increase the number of sets for the former while reducing the latter.
When you keep a detailed journal of your workouts, you can avoid overtraining and injury by monitoring how your body is responding to different types of training. In a properly structured periodization program, you structure workouts to last for around 3 weeks before allowing for a 1 week deload.
The deload period usually involved exercise done at a lower intensity for recovery purposes. With a journal, you can track how your body responds to the different types of training and make changes accordingly. This helps prevent burnout from overtraining and keeps you injury-free.
However, these periods can last longer than 3 weeks, depending on overall training intensity and individual recuperative ability.
Was That a PR?
It's always exciting to hit a new personal best in your lifts or run a faster mile. But without a training journal, it's easy to forget what your previous PR was. PRs are not only important to track improvements, they can also provide a source of motivation. Seeing how far you've come in your training and being able to quantify it will keep you motivated to continue pushing yourself toward new heights.
It's easy to hit those PRs with a supplement that has a proven track record for enhancing strength and lean muscle gain, such as Foundation.
Plus, being able to log subjective feelings when you accomplished the milestone can help you determine if something needs to be changed up.
Know what another, not often exploited benefit of using a training log is? The ability to set goals. This involves preparing for the workout you would like to do BEFORE doing the workout. This involves referring to already completed workouts (especially the previous session) to analyze and determine the expected goals that should be met during the coming session.
This helps you to set expectations for yourself and work towards meeting them. You can also see how close you are getting to your ultimate goals, which will provide further motivation and incentive to keep going.
So in this way, keeping a training log not only serves as an easy way to remember what you have done in the past but to also plan for your future success.
Every few months, take a look back at your previous training cycles and see what worked well for you and what didn't. This will help you adjust your current training plan accordingly. Some people just don't respond to certain exercises the way others might, so it's important to pay attention to the details of your training log.
It makes no sense to try to beat a dead horse. If an exercise isn't yielding results for you, it's probably better to move on and find something else that does. A training log will also help you identify what works best for your body and give you the ammunition to keep pushing forward.
Finally, if you're ever worried about hitting a plateau or want to switch up your program for other reasons, a training log is an invaluable tool. It provides a wealth of information to help you make the right decisions and keep progressing toward your goals. So, don't underestimate its importance.
For those that are a bit more “in the know”, there is the ability to go further in depth with your data. Certain programs allow you to track and graph different metrics related to your workouts such as volume, intensity, rest periods, etc.
This allows you to get a better picture of how your body is responding and adjust accordingly. Furthermore, this data can be used by coaches who are designing a program specifically for you as they will be able to see what exercises work best for you and which ones don’t.
All in all, keeping a training log can be an invaluable asset to any fitness program. Not only does it provide you with a way to track your progress, but it also helps you identify what works best for your body and keeps you motivated to keep going.
Just as your quarterly check-ins are important, so are seasonal ones! As the weather changes, so should your approach to training. A workout journal will help you remember what worked well for you in the past and make necessary adjustments.
For instance, most training programs during the summer months should include more outdoor activities and focus on endurance rather than strength. Likewise, during the winter months, training should be shifted towards indoor workouts that emphasize strength and power.
Think of yourself like a bear; you should be conserving energy during the cold months (perfect for bulking), and expend the calories during the warmer months.
Plus, we know that you're dying to show off that summer-ready body anyway!
One of the best things about having a workout journal is that it gives you a place to dump all of your thoughts and ideas about training. This is especially helpful on days when you just don't feel like working out but know that you need to push yourself anyway.
Looking at a large amount of data at once can feel overwhelming, but it is necessary for continued success and improvement. Having an organized place to store this information will make it easier to reference when needed.
Plus, if you ever need help or advice from a coach or mentor, they'll be able to quickly see the big picture of your training program and suggest helpful tips to take you to the next level.
A training log is a must-have for any serious athlete or fitness enthusiast. It provides a plethora of data that helps you make smart decisions about your training program. Plus, it's fun to look back on how far you've come!
Can Help You Outside The Gym Too
While the training journal tends to focus on the exercise specifics, its benefits extend beyond the gym. Keeping a log of your training can also help you stay on task with nutrition, sleep, and mental well-being as well.
Don't ever underestimate how important sleep is to your overall goal. That's why we suggest using an effective chronobiotic supplement like DREAMZZZ.
You can correlate the activity you perform with subjective hunger, sleep quality, and duration, along with your mental state following the exercise.
It makes no sense to perform exercise that leaves you feeling so out of it that all you want to do is curl up in a ball and take a nap.
By understanding how your body responds to certain activities, you can adjust accordingly and make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance to perform optimally both in and out of the gym.
At the end of the day – whether you’re just starting out or an experienced athlete – having a training log can make the difference between success and stagnation, and help you feel the way you want to feel.
Who says a training log has to be a physical book? Why not a digital version, or better yet, an integrated app? This way, you can further harness the technical data offered by an accompanying fitness tracker to measure calories burned, steps taken, heart rate, and more.
These data can be added to your log to provide even greater insights into the effectiveness of different types of exercise, as well as how your body is responding to them.
Plus it's always good to stay on top of the latest technology so you can get a leg up on the competition.
The dinosaurs are extinct after all (don't be a dinosaur!).
Don't ever be under the impression that a workout log is a useless artifact. If you really take the time to scrutinize many of the top athletes in the world, you'll find that they all have a few things in common. One of those is the use of a training log.
Having a detailed record of your activities and results makes it easier to identify areas where you can improve in order to reach your goals faster and more effectively.
So don't wait any longer, grab yourself a workout journal and start taking notes! You'll be glad you did when you look back in your journal a year later with good memories of all the hard work you've put in to get to where you are.