Do you keep track of your training progress?
I know what you’re thinking and no, keeping track in your head doesn’t count.
I’ve only recently started tracking my training progress very diligently, and it’s made such a big difference to the quality and intensity of my training sessions already.
The main reason I didn’t track much previously, and I’m sure this is common amongst personal trainers and experienced gym goers, is that you think that because you can remember the weights you used in your previous session, it’s unnecessary.
Or maybe you’re making your sessions up on the fly, and can’t see the point of tracking progress.
I would personally keep track of a few basics, but not consistently and definitely not in enough detail for my goals.
Progress, Slowgress or Nogress
The problem is that it’s hard to ensure that you’re making progress, and whether you’re moving in the right direction when you can’t look back at where you were.
Not knowing for sure where you were last month, or even last session makes it pretty hard to plan ahead too.
So what should you keep track of?
I can already hear your eyes rolling back in your head because you know I’m about to prescribe you some homework, but don’t panic because tracking can be as simple or as detailed as you like, provided it allows you to reach the goals you’re seeking from your training.
Pictured to the right is a page out of my training log (complete with some highly complicated equations at the bottom there), for the quick session I did just before I wrote what you’re now reading.
All I’ve written on that page is the stuff that’s going to allow me to progress during my next session.
I could either add load, add reps (laps) or decrease the amount of time it takes me to complete the same task.
I’ve added in load per minute as a rough guide to the intensity of the session, so if that number goes up, I know I’ve done more work for each one minute period.
Make it work for you.
Now how you keep track is up to you. There are a bunch of really great training apps available today designed to make the job easy for you but for me, a pen and a cheap notebook (or an expensive one if you really want) do the trick.
And, one more bit of advice with it.
When I’ve written training logs previously, I’ve always planned to write them at the end of the session, but when the end of the session rolled around I’d want to go home to eat.
Usually I’d end up putting it off all day, until finally I’d skip doing it all together.
Filling your training log in between sets would be my advice.
Your less likely to forget details then too.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I have a body that’s filled with a number of dud joints, mainly thanks to my much younger years when I had no idea about how to move well, plus a few more recent years where I wasn’t proactive enough with my prehab work and warm-ups.
Sometimes I feel like one million dollars, and other times I feel like someone has swapped out my skeleton with that of a ninety year old.
When your body is letting you down, that’s no excuse to stop moving, as in most cases (I wanted to say all cases but there are extremes that are exceptions) if you stop moving things will only get worse.
Your body is sore for a reason, so it’s a great time and the perfect motivation to improve on the things that are causing you issues.
At the moment, my back isn’t one hundred percent happy, due to a bit of an imbalance between left and right side hip strength and mobility.
So at the moment, instead of doing Barbell Romanian Deadlifts I’m doing Suitcase Romanian Deadlifts, and instead of Squats I’m doing Split Squats to try and balance out those imbalances.
And with suitable loading both those movements are hugely challenging, albeit in a different way to a traditional heavy barbell movement.
I’ve also been spending a lot more time warming up than I had previously, and doing specific drills to target weak links in the chain.
I was doing drills for those weak spots previously, but now that I’m tracking my training properly I’m able to see what’s working and what isn’t.
Aaaaaaand completely by accident, we’ve come full circle.
Now that this one is wrapped up in a neat little package, I’ll end it there.
Thanks again for reading, and I hope you found it helpful.
If you have any questions or suggestions on how to track progress better, or work around issues/injuries with your body, please chuck them in the comments below.