A training or workout journal usually takes the form of a little notebook you can track your workouts in. I realize that the idea of writing your workouts down might seem a little inconvenient at first. After all, lots of people use the gym to relax. For just a few minutes a day though, you can use this little tool to improve your workouts, track your progress, and get better results. That’s a time investment worth making. Here are three reasons you should start tracking your workouts today.

  1. You can make more consistent progress

Before I kept a training journal, I was guessing about the weight I should use for almost every exercise. Sure, I could remember a few of the big ones like squats, but most of my other numbers tended to slip my mind. Because of this, I ended up lifting slightly more one week, much less another, and somewhere in between the following week. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get much stronger.

By keeping a training journal, you can look back to see exactly what you did during your last workout. No more guessing about what weight to use and what speed to set the treadmill at. Instead, you can make small, measured increases to keep on improving from week to week. This will help you improve faster, and since you won’t be stuck spinning your wheels, you’ll get better results!

2. You can look back on your mistakes and learn from them.

Do some trips to the gym make you inexplicably sore or tired? Without keeping a journal, you’ll remain confused about the cause. If you can look back in time and see what you did and how you felt each day though, patterns start to emerge. You can use this information to modify your workouts and make adjustments where necessary. That way, good workouts become more common!

A training journal can also help you figure out what’s working and what isn’t. If you’re trying to lose weight and you’ve dedicated yourself to a training program for several months without any progress, you want to be able to see that on paper and know it’s time for a new plan. Likewise, if the training program you tried last year helped you lose 10 pounds, maybe it’s time to revisit that one!

3. It’s a great source of motivation

When you’re working out, change comes in small doses. When you aren’t seeing results overnight, it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day of it and feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter.

Turn ten or twenty pages back in your training journal though, and you’ll be able to see exactly how far you’ve come. Sure, you haven’t lost weight in a month, but you’re still down twenty pounds from a year ago! And you’ll feel better about that little plateau in your running speed when you see that you’ve hit plateaus before and gotten through them. A training journal will let you reach new heights, but it’ll also let you see just how far you’ve come.

If you’re sold on the idea of a training journal, keep an eye out for next week’s blog on how to keep a training journal!

Austin Joseph

Personal Trainer/ Nutritionist