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Write it down

Keeping a journal a great way to track progress, achieve goals

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The main purpose of physical exercise is to get healthier, faster and stronger.

Training is more than just walking into the gym and trying a few random machines. To get results with your exercise program, it is important to set goals, train consistently, and stay motivated.

This is where a training log comes into play. Recording your workouts is important whether you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or just get healthier. A training log is used to keep a record of all your workouts, including exercises, duration, reps and weights completed.  

There are several benefits associated with keeping track of workouts. First, a training log allows one to set realistic goals and make adjustments to the exercise program based on performance. The goal is determined, and the exerciser can use the log to keep track of his or her progress toward that goal.  

Being able to see performance in previous workouts allows the exerciser to set mini-goals for the next workout. If an individual isn’t working towards a goal and tracking progress along the way, how can they see how far they’ve come, how much further they need to go, and what kinds of adjustments they might need to make to their training in order to get there? The more data the individual has about their training, the easier it will be to tweak the training program.
As progress is measured over time, the log will record performance benchmarks that can be key motivators in an individual’s training. It’s important to celebrate each milestone no matter how big or small.

This creates a feeling of accomplishment and can be used as a motivator for continued participation. A training log is a great motivator, but it can also function as a healthy metric for measuring overall health and fitness. For example, the number of chin-ups or pushups you can perform might be a healthier way to measure overall health and body composition than the number on the scale.

There are countless ways to record workouts, from good old fashioned notepads, to spreadsheets, to online applications and smartphone apps. The method is not as important as consistency and carefully recording the proper data.  

A training log should include all the details of each workout, including warm-up, duration and intensity of each exercise, as well as the number of sets and repetitions and the rest between sets. In the case of strength training, also include the load.

It is also important to have a system that records how demanding the exercise felt — a number on a scale of one to 10 works nicely. Finally, make sure to include external factors such as sleep and stress, as these can make or break your workout. These factors are often overlooked, but they play a crucial role in health and performance.
By recording the data in a training log, the athlete can identify problems and properly address them.

Tania Tetrault Vrga is owner and head trainer at CrossFit Winnipeg. Send questions to her at www.crossfitwinnipeg.com

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