weight training log journal

I must admit, there was a time that I didn’t keep a workout journal.

I relied on my memory to track my progress.

What routine did I do last time?  Oh yeah, squats, then bench press, then pull-ups, then military.  Or, did I do military before pull-ups?  Or did I do chin-ups last time?”  Hhmmm.

And for my bench press, I think I did 4 sets of around 185 right?  Well, it doesn’t really matter because I just do as many reps as I can right?  That will get me stronger, won’t it?

Let me tell you, without a shred of hesitation, that as soon as I started keeping a training log, I saw 25% strength gains in almost all exercises within 8 weeks.  And that was after a couple years or working out, so this isn’t the “beginner bump” that is easy to get.

Of course, I was younger then too.  I could remember better than I can now!  I can’t imagine trying to remember everything and still make progress.

Sure, I could have a fun workout.  And much of this is about fun.

But it’s also about getting results.

What is a training log?

A training log simply tracks your workouts.  What exercises you did.   The date.  How much weight you used.  How many sets and how many reps you did.

Here, to get you started, you can use my spreadsheet as a template.  Download it here.  (If you want some extra instructions, post a substantive comment on this post and I’ll email them to you.)

This doesn’t have to be onerous.  Start simple.

To the right is a screen shot of mine.

It can also, if you want to get more serious, include the time of day.  What you ate beforehand.  How much sleep you had the night before.  What your resting period was between sets.  But don’t get overwhelmed here.  Let’s keep it simple to start with.

Why Keep A Log?

With a log you can look back weeks or months ago (or even years) and see your progress.  That can boost morale.  But the real value is in the here and now.  Two points:

  1. You’re less likely to skip a workout if you’ve got a written schedule.  It’s easier to stick to your plan.
  2. Before each day’s workout, look at the last time you did that exercise.  Now, pick something to beat:  the weight, the number of reps, an extra set.

The entire point:  with a log/journal, you’ll work harder and see faster progress.

Are you relying on your memory to track your progress?

Or do you have a log already?

If your answer is yes, then good for you.  Maybe you made up your own, or maybe you bought an empty log book at GNC or maybe you bought a training program that comes with a training log.

If not, why not?

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