In this two-part series on Training Logs, Workout Journals, or whatever you choose to call them, we’ll focus on two things… In Part I we’ll cover the WHY, and in Part II we’ll cover the HOW. The other 3 standard questions are fairly easy to answer:
- Who?: You
- What?: A Training Log
- When?: Every day you workout out (and maybe even some days you don’t).
So, let’s move on to WHY! Here are my top 4 reasons for keeping a Training Log:
- For Faster Learning. Writing down your workouts and other relevant information is like taking notes in school, and it’s been proven that the act of writing things down can lead to better memory retention. For newer individuals this can be especially beneficial, as it can help with learning new terminology, new movements, specific cues, etc.
- As a Memory Tool. Most of the time it’s not feasible to remember all the different personal records you may have set or how you did the last time you did a specific workout. What was my last Back Squat Heavy Single? The last time I did Cindy did I use a band for Pull Ups or a box for Push Ups? How many Calories did I do the last time we did Echo Bike Sprints? Having this information written down allows you to use that history for more accurate current estimates.
- For Motivation. Looking back at your training history doesn’t just have to be about figuring out what to do in the present. It can also be a concrete indicator of how far you’ve come. Similarly, motivation shouldn’t just come from setting concrete goals and working toward them, but also from looking back at where you started and all that you’ve already accomplished.
- For Analyzation. A good Training Log should be able to tell you all sorts of things. At the very minimum it should tell you your training specifics, but why stop there? Losing sleep because of a new baby? Maybe start keeping track of your sleep in the Log to see how it’s affecting you. Did you feel R-E-A-L-L-Y loose and good doing those Squats last week? What type of warm up did you do? Did it address specific issues individual to you that you can focus on in the future? How does your nutrition affect how you feel and your gym performance? One way to know – write it down.
Depending on your training age, the goals you’ve set for yourself, or your “why,” any of the above reasons might be more or less important to you. But it’s likely that at least one or two resonate in some way. I’m of the opinion that a good Training Log should allow you to look at all of these things. It becomes not just a workout history, but almost a health and medical record. It will show you your ups and downs, your victories and defeats. You can look back and see the trail you’ve already blazed, and forward to the one you will set on fire, one entry at a time.