Tracking my workouts is one of the BEST things I could have done when I started my fitness journey. In this post, I share with you FIVE reasons why tracking your workouts is so important for your fitness progress. Below, I have included a FREE Workout Log that you can use you track your own fitness progress at the gym. Check out my short video explaining these 5 benefits on my YouTube channel (and subscribe of course 😉).
Reason #1: It Helps Define Your Starting Point
Having a goal is a great way to motivate yourself to begin a fitness journey, however, when we don’t record our starting point, we cannot determine how far we have come, or whether we are making progress in the right direction. When I first started working out, I could barely bicep curl 5 pounds! Within a few months, I found that 5 pounds started to feel lighter and lighter. I soon found that I was able to increase the weight to 7.5 pounds, and finally 10 pounds – where I currently sit. Even though I cannot bicep curl a higher weight, understanding my starting point has allowed me to have a more realistic expectation for improvement. Further, seeing that progress has allowed me to know that I am making progress, has kept me motivated to keep going, and makes me curious how much more improvement will happen if I continue on my fitness journey.
Reason #2: It’s a Way of Tracking Progress WITHOUT using the Scale
Three months into my fitness journey, I noticed that I wasn’t losing weight, which was discouraging, because I had expected to lose at least 5 pounds. However, in my workout logs, I was seeing consistent strength gains, and my weights for my exercises continued to increase. This helped me realize that my effort was paying off in other ways, beyond the scale. It also helped me realize that muscle weighs more than fat, so even though I was not losing weight, I knew that I was building muscle and changing my body composition.
Reason #3: It Tells You Whether You Are Working Hard Enough
I generally follow the 8 – 12 rep rule, meaning that I know I am lifting the appropriate weight when I am able to complete between 8 – 12 repetitions of an exercise. If I can perform 12 repetitions with perfect form, I know that I need to increase the weight. If I cannot perform 8 repetitions of an exercises, I know that the weight is too heavy for me. If you find that you are continually lifting the same weight during an exercise, and not noticing any strength gains, perhaps you need to increase the weight, increase the frequency you exercise, or change up your training. My workout log has been an excellent tool for me to determine whether I am in a plateau or not pushing myself hard enough during each workout.
Reason #4: It Increases Efficiency & Allows You To Build Muscle
Coming prepared with your workout log will make your workouts SO MUCH faster and more efficient. Coming with a workout plan allows you to group your exercises into the most efficient way possible, and allows you to form a “routine” when you enter the gym. After you have figured out your starting weight during the first few sessions, you will know what weight to start on with each exercise, preventing lost time.
If you goal is muscle gain, it is VERY important to stay consistent with the exercises and workout plan that you do. As a rule of thumb, you should stick to the same workout plan for 3 months, or until you plateau. If your goal is muscle gain, it is much better to stick to one plan or exercise routine, than continually switch up your exercises. This is because in order to build muscle, you need “progressive overload”, meaning that you need to continually perform exercises that push your muscles beyond their capacity. Having a workout plan, will allow you to stay consistent with the exercises you perform, allowing you to build muscle.
Reason #5: It Keeps You Accountable
Your workout log can be a tool to keep you on track with your fitness journey because it serves as a “reality check”, and a motivator. For example, looking at your workout log will allow you to know how often you are going to the gym. If you are not seeing strength gains, but notice you are only going to the gym one time per week, you may realize that you are not working out as often as you should. Further, your workout log can act as a motivator because it allows you to see improvement over time. Seeing yourself continually improve, and completing your workout plan after 3 months will provide you with the motivation to keep going and challenging your body.
I hope you enjoyed this post and have a better understanding why I ALWAYS bring my workout log to the gym with me. As promised, here is a link to your new FREE Workout Log! Have you ever used a workout log or do you currently use a workout log? Let me know in the comments below!
Have a Fabulous Friday!