Anger, joy, frustration, excitement, all of these emotions and more happen in the notebook. No I’m not talking about the Nicholas Sparks book/movie but I am talking about a relationship. The relationship with your notebook, or iphone or whatever you use to keep track of your progress in the gym. Here at CrossFit True we preach about the importance of having a notebook or some other device that allows you to track and measure your progress but we don’t really ever talk about the relationship we have with that little book.
We want you to write down the workout that you do and your results, i.e. weight used, time on metcons, etc. In addition to those hard concrete facts we also like to have you keep notes on things like how you felt during the session, how quickly you recovered after, etc. Examples of this could be:
“Squats felt great today. 65# was the perfect weight, next time try 70#”
“Was dying after this one, took me about 10 minutes before I could remember my name.”
“Felt amazing! Finished and got my breath back super quick. Can’t wait for tomorrow!”
However it’s important to keep the things in that book in perspective and not let them rule your life. We see this alot with strength progressions. As we progress in a strength cycle a typical goal is to increase the weight that you are using for any given exercise. So like a good athlete you record your weights in your notebook and go back to it before each session to see where you should be for the upcoming workout. The problem comes when for some reason you just cannot progress that day.
Just because you wrote down that you want to do 70# next time in the squat doesn’t mean you HAVE to do that weight or that you should. Just because you did 3 sets of 5 at 50# and today is 4 sets of 4 you don’t have to bump it up. Each training day is unique. Things such as sleep , hydration level and what you ate over the past 48 hours will all affect your performance in the gym today. Use the notebook as a guide and reference, not the end all be all. See how you feel today and use that to determine what you need to do in order to get the most effective training session that you can.
The goal is to progress forward over time, over the days, weeks, months, years. This is the timeline we are looking at for health and fitness. Don’t get caught up in the mindset of “I’m getting worse” or “I’m not any better”. Just because you didn’t progress on a certain day doesn’t mean all progress has stalled. You need to look at your results and your notebook in general over the long haul. Take a macro look over 6 months to a year, not a micro look of a day or a week or even a month.