Want to see even better progress with your workout program than you’re currently seeing? Just getting back into things and hoping that you move ahead as quickly as possible? Here’s your guide to the ultimate training journal.
If so, one tool that you must consider utilizing on a day to day basis that will help you see faster progression is the training journal.
Now, some of you may immediately groan at the thought of tracking every rep and set you do. Take comfort in knowing there are plenty of applications that can be used today to keep track of your gym workouts, so the process can be as simple as picking up your phone and typing in what you did. It takes all of 10 seconds, but the difference it can make is profound.
Let’s take a look at why using a training journal is so vital to success and then go over how you can best create your very own journal.
Tips For Your Ultimate Training Journal…
It Allows You To See Overall Progression
The very first reason why the tracking journal is important is because it’ll allow you to see overall progression. Very often, when you hit the gym day in and day out, you don’t see large-scale progress. In fact, you may get to a point where you aren’t feeling like you’re progressing at all.
The scale isn’t going up.
You aren’t looking any bigger.
You haven’t added weight to the bar in what feels like weeks.
This can often be enough to deter even the most motivated of individuals. But, if you are using a tracking journal, you can see that you are in fact progressing.
Remember, progress doesn’t always come in the form of added body weight exercises or doing five more pounds on your bench press.
At times, it’s simply about doing that extra rep or adding a full additional set to your workout. That’s progress. But it’s easy to overlook this as it’s just not that obvious.
But if you’ve tracked your workouts, you can look back and see that 3 weeks ago, you perform 3 sets of 5 reps at 165 pounds for bench press and today you performed 3 sets of 8 reps at 165 pounds, with the last set being a drop set.
That is progress. Having this information present will give you that extra boost when you need it.
It Enables You To Better Learn Your Body
The second reason that a tracking journal is so essential is because it’ll help you learn your body better as well. You’ll be able to write down the impacts you notice a particular exercise or training protocol is having and this will now be stored as a record.
This is critical to success as then when you are designing workouts into the future, you can look back and see what worked and what didn’t – and use that to your advantage.
Since no two people are exactly alike, much of truly great success with this workout game is all about making sure you apply techniques that work for your own body. Even with supplementation, each body will respond differently.
But, if you are never taking the time to learn what techniques work for your own body, how can you expect to accomplish this?
Tracking helps you out.
It Serves As Motivation In Each Single Workout Session
Finally, the last reason to be using a tracking journal is because it’ll serve as an excellent motivational tool for each workout.
While you may be motivated overall – that long term goal you have your sights on is very powerful and gets you to the gym each and every day, are you really pushing each exercise as hard as you possibly can?
Many people aren’t. They literally just go through the movement patterns, and then expect to see results since they’re there.
You need to give more. If you look at your journal and see that last session you did 3 sets of 10, 11, and 8 reps, this next workout, you can try and beat this.
Make it a competition with yourself. This is a fantastic way to always make sure that you are moving along. As long as one exercise is better than it was last time, you are making progress.
So hopefully, you can see why tracking journals are so critical to success. Now that you know this information, how can you make sure that you are optimizing your journal entries?
Here is what you should be writing down.
Reps, Sets, Rest, Weight
First, you have the obvious. Each training journal you write in should list the exercises you are doing, the reps performed, how many sets you’ve done, the rest period taken and the weight lifted.
These are the basic elements that make up your workout routine and by listing them there, you can see precisely where you are and where you are (hopefully!) going.
Many people will only list sets and reps, but remember to list the rest periods as well. How much rest you are taking is going to have quite a strong influence on your total progress, so it’s important to note as well.
If you aren’t in the habit of timing your rest periods, now is the time to start.
It’s also a good idea to list your pre-workout nutrition as well. This is important because what you fuel your body with going into the workout will directly impact the workout performance you are able to give.
If you aren’t eating enough – or worse, you skipped your meal entirely, this will mean a lackluster performance.
So this way, looking back, if you see that your performance wasn’t up to par, you now know why.
This also allows you to learn what works best for your pre-workout meal also. If you notice you performed especially well on a few days when you mixed a protein shake with a banana and oatmeal, this may now be your new go-to for all pre-workout meals.
Just remember that you’ll want to see this boost in performance at least twice to make sure there are no other factors at play. You can also check out my article on the best muscle building foods found here.
Past Day’s Nutrition
It’s also a smart move to write the rest of the nutrition you have used throughout the day as well. If you can, track everything.
Food eaten, calories taken in, macro split, meal timing – the more info, the better. You can learn more by reading my eBook found here. Just as it’s important to track your workout progress, you should also be tracking your diet progress as well.
The amount of sleep you get going into a workout will also influence just how well you perform when you hit the gym. In fact, sleep can really make or break your workout.
So if one workout it seems you just can’t lift as much, can’t complete as many reps, and so forth, write down that you had a bad sleep if that is the case.
This way, when looking back and comparing this workout to others, you can slightly discard it knowing that there was another factor driving that poor performance. Also, check out how to beat your soreness here and how sleep plays a large role.
Finally, also write down what time you are training at. If you don’t train consistently at one time each day, this can help you discover when you should be training for best results, and that can help you optimize your muscle building workout even further (provided you have the flexibility in your schedule to train at multiple times).
Few people consider this, but it can make a difference.
If you want a free workout chart on excel(like the one above) just email me at Mail@gymjunkies.com and I will send one right over.
So there you have all the factors to know and remember as you create an ultimate training journal. If you can make sure these get listed into your notes, you can feel good that you are making it as complete as possible and will have an excellent reference point to look back at.
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