Want to know the secret of top performing athletes at your local gym? For the most part, it’s not a magical supplement (the guys with the needles hanging out their butts don’t count), or a fancy new piece of athletic gear. While it may not be the sexiest tool out there, the most powerful workout aid you could employ is something that costs far less than your protein or even your shaker bottle.
It’s keeping work out logs.
Recording and monitoring your workouts is hands down the best way to improve your performance at the gym today, tomorrow, and over the long haul. And best of all, it doesn’t come with any known side-effects like some other not-so-legal lifting aids.
Here are 5 reasons how this little beauty of a tool will help you kick ass at the gym –
1. It will keep you accountable.
Unless you are working out with a team, group or a trainer, you are ultimately left to your own devices to get your butt to the gym. Having a workout log that lists specifically what you are supposed to accomplish that day at the gym is the closest thing you can have to self-accountability. For myself, I know that if I have my workout written out ahead of time I am far more less likely to ditch on the workout. After all, it’s already written down. There’s no space or time for any of the awful mind games that you have with yourself over whether or not you should hit the gym.
2. It will motivate you.
Yup, having all of those workouts written down will actually get you fired up to head back to the gym. Looking back at the months of work you have already done provides a glowing and shining testament to what you are capable of. It reminds you how much of an athlete you actually are, and that you have expectations to live up to. So ride that swell of pride and get your butt back to the gym.
3. It will keep you on task.
Similar to point #1, when you have your workout written out before you, and knowing exactly what sets and reps you gotsta do, you are far less likely to waste time between exercises, making small chat with that dude whose name you don’t really remember, or gazing at the TV’s in the cardio theatre to see what the score of the game is. Having your little “to-do” list insures that you walk in, whoop ass, and walk out.
4. It will teach you some stuff.
How many times have you gone to the gym, had a mediocre workout, and not really understood why it happened? Or bothered to really look into the causes behind it because they weren’t readily apparent? Keeping track of your workouts – and especially the extra-curricular stuff like diet, sleep habits and stress levels – can help you get behind the reasons for why some days you suck a bag of doorknobs some days, and kick ass up and down the gym on others. You may just pick up some new, better habits out-of-the-gym as well.
5. It makes it much easier to achieve progressive overload.
Anybody that is mildly serious about their results at the gym knows the key to increased strength and size is progressive overload. Keeping a log makes this simple. Each week you will have targets – whether it’s more weight, more reps or more sets – that you need to surpass in order to continually stress (a.k.a. grow/strengthen) your muscles. Trying to remember your weights and sets can be difficult to impossible unless you are Rainman. Jot down your results, set your targets, and kick their butts.