What gets measured improves!
This simple statement can be applied to nearly every area of life, but nowhere is it more true than when it comes to fitness.
It’s easy to walk into the gym and randomly pick up some weights or go for a run with no real time or distance in mind. And sometimes that is exactly what is needed, a ‘do what you feel’ day with no expectations attached.
But if you are taking the time to exercise on a regular basis then you should absolutely be using a training diary to get the most out of that effort. It does not matter whether you are a professional athlete or a casual gym goer, this applies to everyone.
If you are serious about getting in shape, the importance of tracking your progress cannot be stressed enough. An effective workout tracking system will help keep you accountable, stay motivated, focused and most importantly, help you stick to a workout routine. It all comes down to consistency, which is the only way to make real progress.
This does not have to be complicated. Your workout tracker should be:
1 – Quick and easy – so it doesn’t interfere with your workout – use the rest periods to take note of relevant information.
2 – Useful – a system that records the essential information of what you’ve done, that reduces errors, and that helps make informed decisions about what to do during your next workout.
3 – Versatile – so you don’t have to find a new app or develop a new system every time you want to do a different style of workout.
If you are not tracking your workouts then how do you know the progress you are making? How do you know what reps, sets, times or exercises you should be increasing or decreasing on any given week? In truth you won’t know, not really.
4 – Tracking Development – It also means that you have a record of all your results which you can attempt to beat if you decide to run through the course again, or re-test yourself on the assessments. When you gain access to the Unlimited Library you will be able to use certain training sessions to test yourself against periodically.
Notepad & Pen – This is what you might call the old school option, but just because it is simple it should not be overlooked. In fact it is an incredibly effective option. All you need is a small sturdy notepad and a pencil or pen.
Online Notepad – This is simply a 21st Century update to the notepad and pen. There are many options out there, Google Docs and Evernote being two that are excellent choices.
Fitness App – The final option is to use one of the many apps which are available, such as JEFIT or Runtastic. The problem with these is a lack of flexibility, because they are usually designed to work within set parameters.
Recording The Information
Regardless of what type of workout journal you decide to use, make sure to take notes and track metrics that will actually help you reach your fitness goals. Everyone will have their own particular way of doing this but here is a simple template to start you off.
Write Your Workout In Your Weekly Diary
This is an incredibly important part of the process, and should be done the evening or morning before the workout. Watch the video prior to actually taking part in the session and make sure you have the correct equipment available prior to starting. This accomplishes several things:
1 – It helps keeps you accountable by having something you are committed to.
2 – It mentally prepares you for the exercises within the session.
3 – It removes any potential barriers and is far more time efficient.
For the RT5 programme your workout will be easy to follow as it is there in front of you on the screen. If for any reason you are unable to watch the videos please take note of what is included in the training session so you can follow it in your own time. If you are utilising this method we suggest taking note of the following details;
[Training Session Name and Duration] = [Exercises] – [Sets] – [Reps] + [Equipment needed]
We advise taking note of the following for each training session as you will be able to relate to this at a later stage and see how much you have developed (please note not all of these metrics will apply to every session, please adapt accordingly);
Level Completed = Level 1, 2 or 3 (please refer to the Assessment video to determine what level you are at).
RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) = 0-10 (For more information on how to workout this metric please click here)
Difficulty = From 1 – 10 (1 being easy / 10 being incredibly hard)
Form = From 1 – 10 (1 being poor form / 10 being near perfect)
Time completed or remaining = This applies to any session that uses a set amount of reps within a specific time cap. For example an E2MOTM (Every 2 Minutes On The Minute) may have 4 exercises with 4 repetitions on each, once this is completed you will rest for the remainder of the two minutes before starting the next round. This is a good metric to record as week 1 you may have 5 seconds remaining per round and week 6 you may have 30 seconds (showing an improvement in your overall fitness / conditioning). Alternatively you may have a time cap with the ability to complete as many reps or sets as possible (with good form) during that time. For example 30 repetitions of each exercise completed as fast as possible = 18:40 in week 1 and 14:10 in week 8, again showing a significant improvement in fitness and conditioning.
How to record during a training session
It is best to fill in your training diary as you move through the session (using rest periods to record the above). When you’re in the middle of a workout, it can be easy to forget what set you just completed.
For an Every Minute On The Minute training session it may look like this;
1 – At the beginning of your session mark down what Level you will be working on based on your assessment score
2 – Complete a round
3 – Mark down – Difficulty (/10), Form (/10), Time Remaining (/2 mins)
3 – Start the next round and repeat the above process
4 – Once completed record any adaptions that you took
Consistency is the key to achieving success in any endeavour. Too often we fall off the path due to frustration, boredom and lack of motivation. Keeping an effective workout journal is a simple, flexible and easy way for you to track your workouts and make consistent progress towards the end of the 10 week course and beyond.
Regardless of what method or system you decide to use, stick to it for a few weeks and you will be amazed to see how much progress you’ve made.