Yesterday, we did “DT” in our Competitor program.
It’s one of the few legitimate “Hero” workouts that is actually a good test of different skills and modalities of fitness. Are you proficient at barbell cycling? How well developed is your grip and posterior chain endurance? These are but a few metrics that this workout measures.
Today’s post isn’t about “DT” or any workout for that matter. Rather, this post is a friendly reminder that in order to see the value in ALL of your workouts, you need to keep a training log.
Here are three major reasons why you need to start being diligent recording your workouts:
- Measures progress. This is a no brainer. Yesterday I was able to PR my DT time by almost two minutes. How do I know that? It’s because I have been recording my workouts religiously since 2012! I have about 5 old training logs with all of my workouts. It is incredibly rewarding to see how far I have come. Old 1 rep max attempts are now 5 rep maxes. PR times in previously performed conditioning workouts are now “paced efforts”. A training log becomes incredibly valuable when we have a stretch of training that is bad, too. When you are struggling with making gains in the gym for a stretch, and you will struggle from time to time, you need only look back on how far you have come. By measuring progress, we gain perspective and come to appreciate the journey in our training, not just the destination.
- Goal setting and accountability. At the beginning of each new log, I like to write a recap of things that have happened so far as well as write down my goals for the next cycle of training. I know that when I don’t train, I can look back in my log and see my goals staring me right in the face. It’s a great motivational tool. “You don’t feel like training today or for a few days? That training log is sure going to have a gaping hole in it.” Nobody said that improving one’s health or athletic performance would be easy, and God knows that lots of solid training can be downright hellish. However, what is even worse is looking back on prognosticated goals and then seeing empty pages in the training log.
- Self analysis and discovery. My log includes not just my training results, but also notes about sleep habits, food intake (in some cases), stress levels, and other ramblings throughout the week. Writing seemingly trivial things down on paper for later assessment has amazing potential for not only improving training, but also learning to manage what really matters: life. For example, you had a really bad workout on Monday. Why? If you kept a detailed record of some events happening in your week, maybe you were really stressed out from a relationship that you are just now realizing you need to escape. Maybe you drank a lot on the weekends. You then notice that you always have bad workouts on Monday. You then also notice that you are always getting drunk on the weekends. By having a record, you notice patterns and allow yourself the space to start asking questions about your life. Do you value alcohol/drugs/greasy food more than your health, etc? You can’t escape reality if it is staring you back in the face each and every day.
A training log is a valuable tool that every athlete needs to keep. If you are serious about your long term health and/or athletic performance, training logs allow us to chart a path towards future growth and remind us about how far we have come.
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