It surprises me when I sometimes tell people who ask about my “training” that I write down every workout I do. It’s almost surprising to then that I bother with recording the workout that I have already done. “It’s In the past” I hear. They sometimes follow with a similar question to shouldn’t you think more about the next workout instead? Or make a comment similar to they don’t bother as “I know what I’m doing”. Well I do think about the next workout, however the next workout is always based on what I’ve done before and at my age I don’t think that a can recall what I ate for breakfast a week ago let alone what workout and movements I trained or in the previous two weeks! so it seem fair to write it down for the reasons ill cover.
It hasn’t always been the case. In the past (when I was younger) I pretty much trained on a regular basis and my workouts were broken down from body part to body part playing around ( getting buffed bro! ) doing a 3 split or 2 split program. Never wrote it down. What for? For example Chest – Monday, Back Tuesday, Rest Wednesday, Shoulders – Thursday, and legs Friday….might even do chest again on Saturday and see my mates. Now that I’m slightly more organised, OLD, in the Fitness industry, writing programs, record client’s measurements and have now have access to more data, writing it down certainly has its benefits.
Here are my two reasons. It’s the basis of reaching your/my goal and because I simply can’t remember!
The benefits of writing it down for progress are many. So I have kept it brief and relative to health and well being with what I consider the important points in you actually achieving not only you fitness goal but perhaps other endeavours you are working towards.
Writing it down keeps you accountable and shows your habits ,it’s a true reflection on what you have done and haven’t done , so if you skip that run, walk , gym session that you originally planned , you will know by reading it whether you actually bothered or not. It also allows you to reflect back over a given time frame and see what sort of habits you have. (An honest and objective way) Do you find that training on Mondays is always achieved, do your Friday afternoons suck or was that long run on Sunday morning you once wished for now a regular habit. By writing it down it eliminates the guesswork and allows you to plan moving forward.
It helps you see what works and what doesn’t work, if you have taken the time to write it down and have found that certain exercises sets/reps or movements leave you a little sore or running after a particular workout you are left too exhausted and its creating a negative return on your time exercising, then you will most likely look back and discover what is causing this effect. Because you wrote it down. This way you will be able to make the necessary changes and remedy situation.
It shows you are serious about your fitness and health. The mere fact that you are documenting your fitness regime basically sets you apart from most individual. (sadly people just turn up and do the same thing week after week) It’s another way in keeping you accountable and being serious. Over time when you have gone through this process once or twice and achieved your goal, let’s say calories required for energy here. You will most likely just be mindful on how much food intake you need based simply on your acquired knowledge from documenting it before – a common theme among typical seasoned fitness professionals who diligently take into account how many calories are burned during workouts and reconcile this against the calories required for optimum results.
For just weight loss needs keeping a food diary helps (a popular method used by trainers) An excellent choice to make when initially figuring out what your current habit is towards nutrition in reaching weigh loss goals. For some this is quite cumbersome, but to the few who manage their food intake diligently changes can easily be made according to particular needs. Take a sport that is dependent on bodyweight categories. (for example boxing) from a nutritional point of view this is critical in achieving weight loss results. It helps you keep track of your food intake in both maintaining current bodyweight and possibly dropping those last few pounds/kg’s in making weight. If you are one of the fitness buffs out there that is a little bit more pedantic with food recording who chooses to breaks it down even further in recording carbohydrates, protein, fats in grams in finding out further information. its the way to go. This is quite an in debt form of record keeping if you are new to it I would recommend a suitably qualified person when needing to take it this far.
And lastly it helps you track your progress and stay motivated. That’s right motivated! If you are recording it than you will likely see the results and how you got them. This is the best form of motivation to get. Once you see results the maintenance justifies itself and you simply keep going and continue to improve.
So the message is clear, take the time to write it down and eliminate the guess work. Be honest and diligent and you will get the results you are after. Stick to the process and reap the rewards.
A fitter, stronger and leaner body.