3 Reasons to Log Your Workouts

This article originally appeared on Derby City Crossfit. 

Have you ever come into the gym and look on the whiteboard to see the Skill/Strength is Cleans 5-5-5-5-5, and then you ask yourself “I don’t know what weight can clean 5 times.” Tracking your workouts and progress will help you determine what weight you have done in the past and help you figure out what to do in the future. It also helps our coaches to know where to start you on your weight for the skill and WOD. Tracking workouts will help you determine whether or not you are improving.  Sometimes you don’t realize just how far you have come in your fitness progress until you look back and see where you were.  Seeing progress is motivation to keep going!

At CrossFit Crux, we encourage all of our athletes to use SugarWOD in order to track their day to day WOD results, progress, and strength percentages. This is a free service we offer to our athletes so they can get an accurate picture of how their fitness is improving, where their weaknesses may lie, and how CrossFit is contributing to their health, wellness, and longevity.

Here are three key reasons why:

Build a Reference Guide
If you’re still in your first year of CrossFit, then logging your workouts is even more important, because doing so can help you process what you just learned/experienced in class. You’re repeating terminology to yourself, which helps you learn it faster; and, you’re building a reference guide that you can refer back to when you need to remember weights used, reps scaled, or otherwise modified in an old workout. It can be hard to remember which kettlebell you used or how heavy last week’s snatches were, so having a journal can give you an accurate answer quickly.

Measuring Progress
This is a no-brainer. I have 8 years of training logs in my online journal, so I can look back to old 1-rep-maxes that I’m now hitting casually for reps in workouts. PR’s in previous WODs are now considered “easy” and “casual”. My log is also incredibly valuable when I feel like I’m training particularly poorly, so I can look back and see how far I’ve come. By measuring progress, we gain perspective and come to appreciate the journey in our training, not just the destination.

Self Analysis and Discovery
My log includes not just my training weights and WOD times, but also notes about rep patterns, where I thought I could push harder in the WOD, areas where I slowed and shouldn’t have, sleep habits, food intake (in some cases), stress levels, etc… Writing seemingly trivial things down for later assessment has amazing potential for not only improving training, but also learning to manage what really matters: life. For example, let’s say that Monday’s workout was really tough on you. Why? If you kept a record of some events happening in your week, then you can discover patterns. Maybe you’re really stressed out from a work project or a personal relationship issue. Maybe you’ve been partying too much on the weekends. Maybe you’ve stopped prepping your meals. Your log can help you determine why you always have bad workouts on Mondays and make some lifestyle changes. Do you value partying more than feeling good and seeing yourself get fitter/stronger? You can’t escape reality if it’s staring you in the face every day.

Like anything, I recommend starting small by writing the WOD and your score. As keeping the log becomes more of a habit, write down more variables like mobility work you performed pre- and post-WOD. Over time, you’ll find out what extra info is important to you, how to use it to set goals and stay accountable, and what impact it will ultimately have on your progress. Happy logging.