Logging your workout has five major benefits. It is something every serious trainer should be doing. In my previous article, Plan Your Training Success, I mentioned logging your workout as one of the components of planning. In this article I'd like to discuss the five benefits of logging your workouts.
Logging Improves Your Efficiency
Before you hit the gym, write down your pending workout. I go so far as to plan what weight I will be using on each exercise as well. This approach makes the workout much more efficient. You will know exactly what order to do the exercises. There is no doubt in your mind about what is next. In this way, you are able to get through your workout in the most efficient manner possible.
Logging Tells You the Truth
A workout log is a record of your lifts. We all tend to boost our own numbers in our head, but the log itself is brutally honest. It will tell you when you did not work hard enough on a workout. It will let you know what exercises need help. Your strengths and weaknesses are quickly pointed out via the log.
Logging Helps You Progress
Progression is something very important to any training program. Progression is partly doing more each time and partly changing things up at the right time. A workout log, if kept correctly, will alert you to your progress. It is quite easy to see that your bench press is getting stronger.At the same time, it is obvious when a 6 week training cycle is over and it is time to change things up. The log makes this very important variable very easy to hit.
Logging Boosts Your Ambition
Weight training is the kind of sport that has you competing against yourself every time you enter the gym. A workout log helps with this self-competition. In my workout log I have a spot where I record what weight I am trying to hit as well as the repetitions I am trying to hit. These numbers become mini goals for me. Hitting them is essential and I do everything I can to hit them. If I did not have a log I would not have this information readily available to me.
Logging Pushes Your Motivation
If you were to go into the gym and log just your very first workout and then fail to log workouts again for the next 12 weeks, you'd find out some interesting things. My bet is that at the end of the 12 weeks, if you checked your numbers, you will find that you didn't improve much. In addition, it is quite possible that you would have quit at some point during the 12 weeks. However, by keeping a meticulous workout log you are going to be motivated to complete your training. Your motivation level will go through the roof as you see your progress documented.
If you are not already logging your workouts, I strongly suggest you do so. I use the Bodyminder Workout and Exercise Log, but anything that works for you is what you should use.