One little change can often be the “secret” to making new gains, finding motivation and improving your attitude about your training. It’s no magic pill or supplement. No gimmicks. No expensive purchase necessary. It’s really very simple— start tracking workouts!

 Yes, I’m that nerd you see in the box with the pen and notebook. Everyone else is on the bands or foam rolling, getting their muscles ready to perform, and I’m over there, already at the white board, meticulously writing down the WOD, complete with all the data—did I scale, RX or RTG it? How am I feeling? Did I miss some sleep? Am I sore? Do a morning run or cardio?

People will often stare curiously at me, sometimes commenting, sometimes inquiring. When I explain that I write all of my workouts down, I get mixed reactions. I’m not just being obsessive-compulsive (although I am very much a type A person). There are some really good reasons why you should track your workouts.

  1. GAINS! Or #gainz if you prefer. If you keep track of your max lifts, you’ll never have to guess how much weight you should be putting on the bar for those strength WODs that have you lifting 3-3-3-3-3. If you know how much you last lifted for 3, you have a starting point for the next time. Incidentally, if you’re serious about making some big strength gains, I’d recommend that you follow a strength building program that is progressive and takes you through the main lifts every week.
  1. Motivation. One of the most common complaints I hear from anyone regarding training is that they just lack motivation. Lack of motivation comes from a few places, but often originates from feeling like you’re not progressing. When you track your training, you are able to see just how far you’ve come. You can check your last Fran or Murph time and compare with the new time. You can also see which workouts you’ve scaled and by how much, and which you’ve been able to crush Rx.
  1. Travel. Sometimes, we’re just not able to make it to the box. Having a record of your previous WODs also provides you with a great list of a variety of training. If you’re traveling or need to train at home, you can find some of your favorite WODs and re-do them, or morph them into new WODs that you can do outside the box.

You don’t have to be an elite competitor to keep a good record of your training. Everyone should keep a record, and it doesn’t have to be super complex or time consuming to jot it down. Here are a few great options:

  1. Find an App. There are all kinds of great pre-made workout logs online. You can record your workouts using a number of apps that can even connect to your food intake and sleep habits. This is helpful if you have specific goals tied to your diet and nutrition, and if you’re tech savvy.
  1. Take a pic. This one is the quickest and easiest, but allows for the least amount of interaction—just take a picture of the day’s WOD. The downside—you aren’t inputting your own data, you’re just getting a record of the WOD.
  1. Pen and Paper. My favorite. I’m old school and like the feel of the pen and paper in my hands. I also record failed attempts at new maxes and details such as soreness, stress, and notes on general health.

Whatever your goals and your abilities, if you start tracking workouts, it  can be a great help in staying on track and making progress in the box.

About Amy Lawson

Amy Lawson is a CrossFit Level 1 trainer, English teacher, wife of a strength coach and mom to 2 teen boys. She competes in CrossFit, Elite Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, and just about anything else that presents a new and different challenge.

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