If I had one super-duper uber-important tip that would increase your fitness results and allow you to see trends in your fitness would you listen?
I sure hope so, because this is the easist, but most often neglected aspect of training.
Ready? ……………………………….Log all of your workouts
Logging your workouts, whether you use a program such as Fitocracy or a simple notebook will allow you to accurately implement progressive overload. Progressive overload and consistency are the keys to long term success in a fitness program.
Before you start charting your workouts it is important to do the following:
- Be honest with yourself and your abilities. Working outside your abilities will lead to injury, either long term or short term. You must put in the time to build your base and work hard, but within your abilities.
- Be consistent with workouts. Having a shorter or lower intensity workout is better than completely skipping your workout. It takes 4-6 weeks just for the neurological changes of weight training to take place. Body composition changes will take slightly longer, 6-8 weeks before significant changes can take place. Stay the course and put your time in, nothing worth having is easy.
Now that you will be working consistently within your abilities and have a solid planned lined up here is what you should note:
- Goals- What is your goal? Weight loss, weight gain? Make it specific and visual wherever you track your workouts. This will keep you focused on the trek ahead, especially when you have a tough day and don’t feel like exercising
- Exercises, sets, reps, rest periods- Track all of these important values and work on improving each workout. Increase volume, intensity, or decrease the rest periods. Always work to increase your work capacity.
- Energy levels, how you feel- Are you working out at a different time of day? Factors such as inconsistent workout time, diet, and emotional factors can leave you with varying energy levels. If you are exceptionally sore or banged up look back at what you have done recently and look for trends. It’s possible an exercise may be being performed incorrectly or with too much volume.
- Miscellaneous- Track your warm ups, cool downs, conditioning circuits or any other un-accounted for aspects of your workout. Each aspect of your workout should have a purpose towards your goal, if it doesn’t drop it.
Tracking workouts is vitally important to long term success as you can accurately overload your body to keep changes coming. Tracking each vital aspect will keep you from spinning your wheels and/or program jumping. Start now and get in the habit of tracking your workouts!