Are you keeping a Training Journal?
At the beginning of the New Year, every one of us has probably made at least one CrossFit ‘resolution’ (and if you haven’t yet, why not??). In a few weeks or months you’re going to want to look back at the athlete you were and compare to the athlete you have become. One of the best tools you can use to keep track of your goals is a Training Journal.
A training diary keeps you focused on your goals and also has several benefits for you and your coaches:
- Keeping a training journal accelerates the learning progress.
Especially if you are new to classes, writing down your workouts gives you some time to process what you have learned and repeating terminology to yourself so that you can remember the exercises easily.
- It gives you a better, more personalized workout.
Logging weights – not just PBs, but reps/sets and each exercise variation – helps you to be more prepared for classes as you will know what weights you’ve used in the past so you can scale/advance the WOD correctly; this will increase your work capacity more efficiently.
- It helps your coach help you.
Performance trends and patterns that cannot be seen by observing one day at a time, become clear in a training journal. So whether your progress has stalled out or you have a new goal, with a training log it’s easier to identify what works/doesn’t work for you.
- Confirms patterns and corrects performance mistakes.
After good or bad days, it’s important to look back and check if you can see any patterns, so that you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future (lack of sleep, overtraining, poor nutrition?) and identify what helps give you the best performance for benchmark/competition days.
- Create motivation and build confidence.
A training journal creates a permanent record of accomplishments. Reviewing every weekly goal and training period/objective achieved is always good to look back on.
- It makes it easier to set reasonable goals.
Goals are important, but you need to set realistic ones to able to progress efficiently (more about goal setting in a future article).
Training journals come in various formats. A blank notebook or diary is the easiest way to start: it’s cheap, you can bring it with you, note your workout straight after class and refer to it for your weights.
A log can be a really simple note of every exercise or include more details; this is up to you but here are suggestions from a coach’s perspective:
The focus should be on learning the exercises and identifying the best scaling options for the WODs.
- Warm-up routine
- Skill practice or new movements learned
- Special cues you have been given for specific exercises
- Details of training (e.g. weights, reps, sets)
- PBs: 1RM, 3RM, 5RM
- Scaling options (bands, alternatives, etc)
- Workout and “score” of the workout
- Post-workout stretching or mobility work
As the athlete progresses and the training becomes more performance-focused, it’s important to note the external variables which may compromise the training. It can be important to add:
- Time of training
- Muscle soreness
- Nutrition pre/post workout with times
- Water intake
- Quality and hours of sleep the night before training
- Energy level before/after training
- Level of stress
If you’re training with specific goals like weight loss, strength/mass gaining etc. it could be a good idea to keep a ‘food log’ as well where you can note your nutrition in details with quantities, macros, times etc.
So what are you waiting for? Start with your next class!