Today, I want to emphasize ONE important habit that will make a big difference in your physical fitness and performance. That habit is consistently tracking your workouts.
Now, we like to track just about everything. Whatever you track demands your attention! It could be just about anything. A lot of entrepreneurs track personal net worth to make it grow. Call centers track customer satisfaction. The list goes on. If you want to improve something (or even maintain it), this is a practice that works.
You can’t be the person who says “I don’t know why I’m not getting any better” and then also have no idea about the data behind the habit. You’d be right...you really don’t know why you aren’t improving.
This habit is especially important for nutrition and I highly recommend tracking your food. However, that gets very specific to your goals. If you want to start somewhere, check out our other article: 4 Reasons You're 'Eating Healthy' or 'Eating Clean' and Not Losing Weight.
Back to workout tracking! Tracking your workouts is very simple. It is essentially just a log of what you did (exercise selection, workout style), how much work you did (sets x reps or time), and the outcome (weights used, etc). Knowing your performance history allows you to:
Set benchmarks and goals, so that you can mark improvement over time
Gain insights into what helps or hinders your performance
Remember your weights or workout times so that you can constantly challenge yourself
Not knowing those numbers is a way of telling yourself that it doesn’t matter. But it does! I've talked to way too many people who say they've done the same workouts or used the same weights for months...or YEARS! That's a recipe for stagnation.
How should you go about tracking workouts?
With technology, there are a lot of options these days for tracking. Personally, I like a simple notebook. I’ll write down all my sets and reps, the exercises, the outcomes. This makes it easy to write notes as well on how you are feeling that day or anything else that might help for future reference.
There are notebooks made for this purpose floating around on the internet, but any $0.99 composition book will do.
At Elevate, we offer a free app that ties into our gym software! The app can track your weights used on lifts and times/results on other workouts, specific to the daily workouts that we write.
If you aren't at Elevate, there are a ton of apps that can store your results for future reference.
Keep in mind that tracking this data is for YOU. I’ve talked to plenty of people who think their results aren’t worthy of tracking...and that is ridiculous thinking. This isn’t Instagram where we only record our best stuff. Think about if you could look back to your first month of workouts after months or years of practice. You’d be amazed at where you started!
Let’s apply it!
I challenge you to start tracking every workout, whether it’s on paper or on your phone. Start today. There's no perfect time to start tracking. The best part is, it'll only take an extra minute or two per workout. You can even write out all the parts of your workout before heading into the gym. That way, you just fill in the results as you go.
By writing down your workouts, suddenly your performance means something. Now you can give it focus and attention which leads to progress.