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Whether you are struggling to see the results you want at the gym, or are gearing up for a big round of training, keeping a workout journal is one of the most powerful ways out there to insure that you are getting the most of your efforts in the gym.
Here are just some of the ways that a workout journal will help you crush it at the gym this year:
1. Builds a layer of accountability.
For most of us, we work out alone. Without a coach, or a buddy, or any other kind of accountability to keep us honest it can be easy to slag off when it comes to our workouts. Missing a workout here and there, or skipping the occasional exercise that you don’t feel like doing, adds up.
Writing out your workouts, while it might not look like much, reinforces a sense of accountability to your workouts. I’ve lost count of how many times I plodded through a less-than-optimal training session simply because I had to write out the sets in my workout journal.
2. You do the things you set out to do.
Task completion—it’s something you probably haven’t thought about very often, but it is surprisingly important. When you lay out a list of things you are going to do, and then do them, this creates a sense of confidence while building a level of personal integrity. Keeping your word matters, whether it is doing the workout you set out to do or keeping your commitments at work and to your family, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from the task completion of completing your assigned workouts will benefit you across your life.
3. Keeps you focused on your weak spots.
For many of us we have something at the gym that desperately needs work. It could be getting that hip flexor mobility work in. Or doing more core strength work. Or simply squatting more. Whatever it is, a workout journal will help you assess these things, show you how much you are actually working on it, and help you create a plan moving forward so that you give that weak area the attention it needs and deserves.
4. It helps you track progress.
Burn-out is over-rated. What happens you are mentally not into your workouts isn’t burnout, and unless you are an elite athlete, it’s not over-training. It’s a lack of progress. Is there anything more demotivating than not seeing any gains or improvements in the gym. It ends up creating a bottomless void of purpose. Writing out your workouts, the results, and the sets and the reps, helps you target and plan for improvement. Improving in the gym is the ultimate motivator, and you can wield your workout journal to effect this.
5. Scheduling your workouts.
Sounds like a basic thing, but scheduling your workouts, the intensity of your workouts, as well as recovery and rest days will help you be more consistent and productive in the gym over the long term. Having the proper amount of time to recover between sessions is critical—your strength and size gains happen between your workouts, after all. In it’s most basic form a workout journal helps you monitor how often you are working out, how much you are recovering, and when to apply more or less rest.