The importance of keeping a weight training diary


The importance of keeping a weight training diary

Why use a weight training diary? Maybe the following questions bring some answers. How much has your bench press increased over the last three months? Are you giving your hamstrings and your quadriceps equal time on the weight machines? Can you squat more weight when you warm up with two sets or three?

If you have to search your brain for these answers, your weight training routine probably isn’t as effective as it could be. Tracking the details of your workouts provides you with valuable information and feedback.

A training diary keeps you honest. You may brag to your coffee shop buddies that you lift tour times a week, but if your weight training diary says otherwise, you know it’s time to stop talking and get to the gym. A weight training diary keeps you motivated, too, because you can flip back through the pages and see your improvements.

Weight training diary content. What should you include in your weight training diary?

Docu­ment the date, the time and location exercised, body part exercised, what exercise was performed, the details of the exercise (number of sets and repetitions for each exercise, the amount of weight you lifted during each set), and any comments on how you felt during training and tips to help in the future. This will for sure help you to determine when you are ready to move forward in your training by increasing your weights, changing your movements and so on.

Figure 1 provides an example of a training diary for a weight training session. Figure 2 provides an example of a training diary for a cardiovascular session.

training diary for a weight training session

training diary for a weight training session

training diary for a cardiovascular session

training diary for a cardiovascular session

Note that all details of the training are included so that no aspect of the training is forgotten. This information allows recall of previous training sessions to give an exact starting point for the next session.

Benefits of keeping a weight training diary

There are many reasons to keep a training diary.

By recording your workouts you can see how you’re progressing toward your goals, which will keep you motivated.

If you’re not progressing like you’d planned, your weight training diary will help you troubleshoot your workout, which will get you back on track. And your diary will keep you accountable to that plan.

Think of it as your best workout partner, an objective observer who will let you know what you need to do, keep you focused on improving, and celebrate your success with you.

Closing thoughts

Do you really need a weight training diary? Definitely. Why? Dreams are only dreams until you write them down. Then they become goals. If you reach your goals successfully, you’ve got a written step-by-step guide outlining how you got there. If you’re stuck in a rut, you usually can find the problem with a careful read of your log. Create your own weight training diary to help gauge the effectiveness of your work out plan today! Also, since workout diaries cost less than $10, why not treat yourself to a diary specifically designed for lifting? You can find these logs at the bookstore.


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