It’s the second week of the new year and I think it’s time to offer some of the best fitness tips to succeed this year. According to statistics some have already abandoned. Do not throw in the towel so soon because this is a long distance race.
Set your goals
And Bruce Lee reminds us:
Log your workouts
There are a number of reasons why logging your workouts could be beneficial.
Progression. This is the number one reason to keep a training log. Two huge and common mistakes I see in the gym are those who increase their training volume in huge jumps, likely resulting in injury or burnout, and those who stay stagnant at the exact same weights/sets/repetitions for months and months, and wonder why they aren’t seeing any progress. The principle of progression, one of the seven main principles of exercise, states that overload of exercise should occur in gradual progression rather than in major bursts. Keeping track of your workouts will allow you to analyze your progression, as well as ensure that consistent, yet gradual gains are being made.
Motivation. Similar to keeping a food journal, logging your workouts will help motivate you to continue with your training plan. Knowing that must put in a workout before you can record reps or instead leave the page blank, can be enough incentive. Further, physically seeing the weight add up on paper is motivation to continue making progress with your training.
Keep you accountable. Training logs distinguish wishful thinking from reality. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you had a great (or horrible) workout, but by writing down what you did, how you felt, goals achieved, etc. this will tell the real story. Training logs keep you accountable for what you’re doing on a daily basis.
Build confidence. Athletes often take a critical view of themselves, always looking for areas that need improvement. Keeping a log of daily success forces you to recognize your progress and success, and this leads to and builds confidence.
Trial and error. After a particularly successful training cycle in the gym where you made gains, or perhaps a training cycle you struggled through. Having access to particular statistics and notes on your training will aid in building future training plans. Keeping a detailed training log enables you to better find the factors in a good or poor performance. For example, you may find your performance flattens when you get less than six hours of sleep, or that after a stressful day at work you struggle with your motivation. You can scrutinize what you have done to look for trends or patterns, so you can make any needed changes.
The training log is your own personal history of your training and performances. It can, and should, be used to see what works and what doesn’t for you in training to meet specific performance goals. Most athletes and individuals use training logs to keep track of the basics such as the number of repetitions and weight lifted. Limiting your training log to this basic information is only scratching the surface of the potential of what a training log can really provide.
While each athlete should structure a training log to meet their needs, a good training log might include:
- The facts of the workout such as the number of reps, weight, miles laps, weather, the time of the workout, etc.
- Goals for the workout and the extent to which each goal was achieved.
- How you felt, physically.
- How you felt, mentally.
- Hours of sleep the night before.
- The diet the day before, especially the last meal before the workout.
- What you need to work on in the future based on today’s results.
- A success from the training session, i.e. what you did well or accomplished.
- These lessons learned or reminders that can be applied to competition.
There is no single training log template that will meet the needs of all athletes. There are e-versions, pre-populated version, the good old notebook. The point, no matter what type of journal/log you use, you need to take the time to develop a training log in a format that you’ll use and will work for you. Your journal should be unique to you. Your thoughts, your workouts, your ideas are going into there. It should fit YOU.
Practice patience and celebrate small successes
Get yourself help
- this is a realistic outcome for an average person.
- that they could a pro fit level eating and exercising into a normal life.
- that they need to do everything themselves, and
- that there’s something wrong with them if they can’t do everything themselves.
Follow these simple tips and make this year your best EVER!