Why do we invest time in anything that we do? Well, if you’re like me, hopefully it’s because you want to become better at something or because you simply enjoy doing that certain task or activity. I would venture to guess that most of the folks who step into the gym are motivated by the idea of bettering themselves versus simply enjoying the gym. I mean who really enjoys burpees??? Yet year after year we see millions of people jump on to the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon of self-improvement, only to give up a couple weeks later. Now there are many ways that someone can fail at reaching their goals, but I want to discuss something that can be a reason for success…tracking or journaling.
Now we all have heard the benefits of tracking your food, but how many of you track your workout progress? Tracking workouts can ensure that you are progressing each week. One benefit of having a personal trainer or boot camp coach is that they remember/know what level you’re at and are constantly pushing you forward in each workout. Tracking how much weight you squatted last week or how quickly you ran a mile is a way of holding yourself accountable, just as a trainer would. If you know you were able to do 4 pull-ups the last time you tried, you are more likely to push for 5 the next time. These are only a couple of examples.
Here are my five reasons why tracking progress in the gym is a must:
1. You Get Stronger
Like I mentioned earlier, tracking the weight being lifted or what workouts were completed will allow you to remember what you can do so that you can push yourself in the future. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), in order to gain muscular strength you must continue to lift at or above 85% of your 1-rep max. What does this mean? It means that you must be lifting “heavy” enough to continue to get stronger. The stronger you get, the more you can lift, thus the more you must continue to lift in future workouts. At Edge Body, the other trainers and I are always drilling this point home during our strength day workouts. Great rule of thumb – if it’s easy for all of the reps, it’s time to add more weight! Tracking your weight on each major lift (bench, squat, shoulder press etc.) ensures that you know where you’re currently at so that you can push forward.
2. Instant Gratification
We all have health goals and many of them involve the scale. However, weight loss takes time and this “time” is a common reason people give up on their goals. This is one of the reasons I love having my personal training clients and boot camp members track their workout progress! It can provide instant gratification and a boost of motivation as you are working to see weight loss changes. You will improve in the gym a lot quicker than you think! Weren’t able to do pushups before, but you just busted out 30 in a worko ut??? Could only do a 12 inch box jump when you started and a month into in you conquered the 20 inch box??? These improvements are amazing, and we need to put them to good use. Motivation! When someone can see themselves improving, it gives them the drive to keep pushing towards their long-term goals. Long-term goals can often feel a lifetime away, so tracking gives you the little motivational boosts in the interim to show up at the gym every day.
3. Gives You a Plan to Attack Your Goals
You set a date to get married, so then you started to plan. You wanted a certain career, so you began college and started studying. Most goals in life require a plan; fitness goals are no different. When we track our workouts, we know what was accomplished in a workout and how to progress into the future. You can also plan out what muscle groups you lift each day, when you do cardio or even when you plan to go into the gym. At Edge Body, all of the class workouts are planned in advance with this in mind. All the major muscle groups are accounted for each week, and there is a mixture of intensities and workout lengths to keep boot camp members progressing towards their goals.
Interested in progressing in the gym and having a group to help hold you accountable? Sign up for a FREE WEEK of Unlimited Boot Camp classes HERE and experience Edge Body.
4. Avoids Training Plateaus and Stagnant Routines.
Ever killed yourself in the gym but never seem to get anywhere towards your goal? As previously stated, we need to progress to improve! Tracking the weight being lifted (Tip #1) and what workouts you’ve done (Tip #3) keeps you from hitting a plateau. Tracking allows you to keep mixing things up with your workout routine, push yourself to lift weights that challenge you and keep you from becoming bored with the same old workout. At Edge Body we encourage our boot camp members to track progress in their strength day workouts so they can keep getting stronger. We also offer challenge days to push our members not just in the weight being lifted but in cardio endurance as well. All of this is kept in our strength binder for our members to reference in future workouts.
5. My Personal Favorite – Allows You to Create NEW Goals.
Going back to points made above, when you become stronger, have a plan, and push past plateaus…you reach your goals! Tracking workouts allows you to reach goals faster which then allows you to set new future goals. Many of these new goals may even be things you never thought you could accomplish, like hitting a large weight loss milestone, doing a pull-up for the first time or being able to complete a run in one of our Edge Body workouts without stopping to walk.
I hope this provides you with some of the many reasons why tracking works! You have to know where you are coming from, to know how far you’ve come. So run to Target, buy a small notebook, load it up with motivational quotes and start your workout journal! Already an Edge Body member? No worries, we got you covered with our strength binder. Keep track of progress on your tracking sheet, and we will hang on to it so you don’t have to remember to bring it to each class. AND when you do hit those goals…CELEBRATE! You’ve worked for it!!!
That’s today’s Tip from the Trainer!