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The Curious Case of Workout Logs – Part II


In part I of this two-part post, we looked at what it’s like to train when we have a tough time figuring out a good strategy or scaling options for a workout. At best, you struggle through the workout. At worst, you leave a ton health & fitness on the table over the course of several months. Not a good thing.


What can you do about it? Well, you can start by keeping a training log. You finish your workout, you pull up SugarWOD to log your score — right there, take 30 seconds and write some notes. A week, a month, a year from now, you’ll be looking back at old logs and your old self will be guiding you in your training!


Check the following benefits of having notes in your log:


  • Accuracy: you don’t have a perfect memory. Half the time you think you remember, but you don’t. Write it down, no need to guess, just look back at your log.


  • Motivation & Accountability: some days you’re tired, you don’t want to push hard. Your brain is tricking you into taking it easy. But you look at your log and you see that last time, you did this workout in X time. Do you really want to be a minute slower today? Your log shows you your progress. And progress begets more progress.


  • Evaluation: what’s getting better? What’s lagging? How do you know? Is it a feeling? Are you basing it on your 1-rep maxes? What if you’re handling heavier weights on a day-to-day basis in the metcon and doing it easily? Is that not getting stronger? Your log will tell you what’s good and what’s bad.


  • Injury Prevention: injuries happen. Sometimes, they happen and we’re not exactly sure when and why. Writing detailed notes can help identify the original cause. You might note one day that your back was a little tight after a workout, then it went away. Two days later you note that you couldn’t sleep well because you couldn’t get comfortable. Another day after that, you feel a twinge of pain in your lower back on back squats. Your log holds the whole story and the key to identifying the root cause of your injury.


So what should you write in your logs?


  1. How you performed the workout

Be specific. Record anything that would allow you to recreate the workout precisely as you did it that day (examples include: weights used, number of bands for pull-ups/dips, the specific range of motion on the GHD sit-up, and the run route used if it varies)


  1. How you should approach it next time

How should you tackle this workout next time, what would you do differently, what would you keep the same? What about the individual movements? Would you break up the reps? Would you scale?


  1. How you felt

Record how you felt before, during, and after the workout if it was out of the norm (did you shoulder feel tweaky, did you have an extra awesome performance, did you eat lunch too close to the workout, are you 4 months pregnant?)


  1. What equipment you used

What was the environment? Did you workout with knee sleeves, Oly shoes, or use a different jump rope? Was it abnormally hot or cold or was the parking lot covered in snow for the 400m runs? Record this information too.


Now you know how to keep a training log. Now you know how to get more out of your training. And all it takes is 30 seconds after every workout. It’s practically a free performance boost!


This is worth it, this will help you and you know it. So finish reading this sentence, close this page and open SugarWOD on your phone. Look at your old logs and shake your head at how much better your notes can be and how little you’ve helped yourself in training.


Next workout, you’re going to do this right, you’ll ask coach for help if you need it, and you will start a new awesome habit.


Yes, you rock. And your future you? Pure beast mode.


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