Some don’t keep a training journal and will tell you they’re unnecessary. Whatever. If you’re successful without one, continue. But know the benefits:
- Motivation. Looking back at where you come from is inspiring.
- Awareness. You get an understanding of what works for you.
- Experience. You learn from your errors: injuries, stalling, etc.
- Confidence. You’ve got a plan when you go to the gym.
I used to keep my workouts on pieces of paper. The problem: it was a mess. I couldn’t find back information. Then I started to keep a real journal. I write exercises, sets, reps & weights before I hit the gym. I take my strength training journal with me in my home gym & fill it in while working out.
How to Use Training Journals. Get an A4 notebook. Composition books will last years. Don’t buy a spiral bound notebooks, they wear out too fast.
- Write your goals on the front page.
- Use a column format: write from top to bottom.
- 9 to 12 workouts fit on 2 open pages which equals 3 weeks of training.
- Put similar exercises on the same line, easier to track progress.
- Mark personal records with stars. This acts motivating.
- Add comments: injuries, pain, intensity, overall feeling, etc.
Practical Example. Here are some pictures from my strength training journal. Workouts from September 3rd until September 22nd. Notice the column format. The journal is dirty: sweat.