Building a better body and incorporating all of the necessary components (like a training log) that contribute to realizing that goal, typically takes up the vast majority of our thought processes. We aim to improve with every decision and action we make so that we can see a measurable difference in what we’re doing. There are so many variables to consider when trying to determine progress that sometimes we end up focusing on too much all at once, versus taking one step at a time.
One of the easiest ways to establish progress and to create set points for yourself, is a simple training logbook. This valuable tool, one of many that we can use, will enable you to record, reflect and analyze all of your workouts so that you know what needs to be accomplished for the next workout. As simple as this practice is in nature, it has proven to be extremely beneficial for those who need visual proof of improvement. If you aren’t already utilizing a logbook, here are five great benefits to using this approach.
Benefit #1: The Numbers Don’t Lie With A Training Log
There is a lot to be said about instinctive training and going by feel, but there is a lot more to be said about having solid proof right in front of your very own eyes with regards to looking at numbers. The weights you use, the reps you achieve and the number of sets you utilize in a workout, all matter.
When you write it all down, there’s no second guessing for what needs to be done next. Whether you’re trying to increase the load, the number of reps you hit or trying to figure out how many sets for a particular body part you did last week, it’ll all be right there for you to analyze.
Benefit #2: Holds you Accountable
There are going to be days when you just don’t feel like putting out your best effort but if you hold yourself accountable to the logbook, that little bit of guilt you’ll feel might just change things. When you are trying to get bigger and stronger, on a consistent basis, you can’t keep doing the same things. Adaptation will set in and you’ll just end up spinning your wheels. By always having to consult your logbook to ensure each successive training session is better than the last, you will quickly see the power of the book.
Benefit #3: Post-Workout Therapy
For those of you who already use a logbook, you’ll understand this perfectly. There’s something therapeutic about sitting down at the end of a workout to write down and log everything you’ve done. It’s almost like the workout itself isn’t over until you’ve completed this final task for the day. You can take this time to think about what went right or what went wrong, determine best practices moving forward and take pride in any PR’s you may have set. For some reason or another, it just feels good to go back over the workout, record it all and then prepare for the next.
Benefit #4: It’s Your History
You have probably heard it before from some of the greats of this industry, but training logs that have been kept, year after year, form a part of your history in the sport. Each phase you put yourself through has been recorded from the lifts you did, to how you felt, to your thoughts on the workout to the goals you write in the margins. It’s all there and when you reach a point where you can relax and look back on everything you’ve accomplished, it’ll be a chance to relive some of your greatest feats in the gym and do so with fond memories attached.
Benefit #5: Educational Purposes
Being able to refer to documents that allow you to gain knowledge, is a practice everyone should partake in. There is only going to be so much that you can remember about what you did over the course of your training career and what approaches yielded what results, so rather than lose that information, keep it on paper with the logbook.
You may find yourself one day in a position to help another and your logbooks will act as textbooks for the next generation. Whether you decide to share it with anyone or simply use it for your own references when making decisions for another, all the information will be readily available to you.
Training logs aren’t for everyone and you may find that you use it and then get away from it for a period of time and then come back to it. This may go on for the entire time you train; it’ll just all depend on your mindset at the time. If you haven’t tried this approach yet, you should definitely consider giving it a go.
If you’re already a pro with the logbook, then you know the benefits. It’s just one more tool at your disposal for ensuring that progress is always occurring, and it might work for you and it might not. You won’t know for sure until you try. The nice thing about it is that it’s very simple to start incorporating and a great way to maintain accountability to yourself.
Author: Dana Bushell
Gym Star Team Member