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3 Reasons To Start A Workout Log

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Workout Log
My Workout Log

Do You Need A Workout Log?

Back in the ’80s -90's without a Cell phone or GPS people had to use a map to show them how to get somewhere. You could try and wing it and maybe you’d get there but it wouldn’t be the most efficient way to go. You'd waste gas, and time, and put more mileage on your car to get there. For training, a log is a map giving you directions to navigate your fitness journey. It's going to help you create a straight line on your trip. I’ve trained without a log and I’ve trained with one and I can’t imagine not having my log with me when I exercise. Everyone is telling you to keep a food journal right? Record what you eat and track your macros so why not record your exercises?

What Is A Workout Log?

The answer to this is a workout log can be anything you want it to be. Do you want it to be a notebook you picked up at the store for a couple of bucks? Do you want to buy a really nice one on Amazon like The Omega Project Black Training Book? You could use an app on your phone to track. You can do any one of these options and they will be just as effective. Personally, I use a basic notepad that I fill in every day. The picture at the top of the post is my actual log and as you can see it's filled with chicken scratch only I could probably read. If you buy one on Amazon it’s gonna be formatted a certain way and that will be the information you’ll record. If you buy a notebook you’ll have to write everything down but it will include everything you want to record. The bare minimum you should include is exercise type, weight, repetitions, sets, and rest periods. So now that you know what a workout log is I’m going to give you 3 reasons why having one is a no-brainer.

1. It Tells you Where you’ve been

Everybody’s fitness journey starts somewhere. How do you plan today's workout? The only way to write today's workout is to see where you've been. Just like a map a training log tells you how far you have gone. Are you stronger than you were last year, last month, or last week? If the answer is yes, what exercises, reps, and sets were you doing? If the answer is no your log will tell you that in the lack of progress. The beginning of your workout log is generally where your first fitness goals will become concrete. The bottom line is you have to start logging your workouts in a journal consistently so you can see the journey.

2. It Tells you Where you Are Today

This might be the most helpful part of keeping a workout log. Based on last week's workout what is your game plan today? You’ve written down the exercises, weights, and reps you did last week. When you walk into the gym with that training log you're throwing away all the guesswork. You sit down in a machine you're not guessing where to set the weight at. You know what weight to set it at. You also know you have to get at least 10 reps because you got 9 last week and you're not going backwards! This is going to do two things for you. First, it’s going to decrease the time you spend at the gym. Each set is going to be straight to the point. Second, it's going to increase the intensity because you're going to try and one-up yourself every set. You’ll find yourself celebrating often with personal bests and milestones happening on a weekly basis!

3. It Tells You Where Your Going To Be

You know where you were, and you know where you are now. Let's take that and game plan on where you want to be. Are you looking to gain strength? Are you looking to lose body fat and lean out? Wherever you want your fitness path to go, write it out. Write the next 4 weeks of workouts down so you can achieve your goals. Unlike a road map, your training log is blank until you set the course. Where you want to be in a month or a year is entirely up to you but your training log can help you not get lost. You'll find yourself playing a chess game with your training instead of exercising day to day. Pick a milestone a year from now and break that milestone into 4 smaller goals. Plan and journal your way to achieve each goal until you hit the big one!

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Are You Ready to Write Your Fitness Journey?

Do yourself a favor and record your workouts for the next month. Write down each set, and rep, and then use that data to create next week's workout. If it doesn’t give you more focus and an increase in intensity, stop doing it. I’m positive that after a month you're going to keep on journaling. It’s going to insert accountability and motivation into each workout. When you're curling 30-pound dumbbells you won’t stop at 8 reps because you did 9 last week. No, you're going to go for 10 or 11. If you stopped using a training log it would be like using a map to get halfway across the country and then pitch it out the window. You’ll never work out blind again!

Bonus Content - Planning your week

My Weekly Exercise Plan
My Weekly Excercise Plan

So the photo of my weekly plan shows my rough handwriting but hey I can read it so who cares! Recently I signed up for an Ironman 70.3 race and I find myself using my daily workout log but with one new addition. Every 7 days I write down a weekly planner. The triathlon involves training in a few different forms. I can't keep track of it all in my head for the week so I have to write it all down to make sure it gets done. Running, biking, weight lifting, and stretching are a lot not to mention work and family. If you have a lot to juggle in your week this is another reason why a workout log/journal is a must!

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