Picture this: you get to the gym, ready to have an awesome workout.
You feel great; no, better than great – you feel so good that you’re ready to crush your 1 rep max today.
It’s chest day (of course), so you go over to the bench, and start doing your warm-up.
You bang through your first few sets, but then something dawns on you:
You’re not really sure how much you were able to bench last time, a mere 7 days ago.
You think it was 195 pounds for 7 reps
But maybe it was actually 185 pounds for 7 reps.
No matter, you think – “I’ll just do as much as I can do.”
So you load on those plates, and end up maxing out your bench with a 185 set for 8.
Initially, you feel pretty damn happy with yourself. You got one more rep than last week, right?
But then the doubt creeps in…
Maybe you only actually did it with 195 last week – which would mean that you didn’t progress at all; in fact, it would mean that you lifted less than you were able to do before.
If this story sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
The vast majority of guys never log exactly what they did during each workout.
Let me be painfully clear: this is an absolutely massive mistake – so if you aren’t logging already we’re going to fix that ASAP.
Why, you ask?
Well, here are 5 reasons that’ll make logging an unquestioned part of your workouts from now on.
Reason 1: You’ll increase the amount of weight you lift
If you feel that you’ve been stuck in a rut, lifting the same weights week in and week out, then logging might just be what you need to break through that plateau.
Let’s face it, most of us are busy, and working out is just a small part of your day.
When you get to the gym, it’s easy to just go through the motions.
It’s predictable, it’s comfortable – and, once you know what you’re doing, it requires very little thought.
But make no mistake about it: working out like this will drastically limit your progress.
Logging completely fixes this problem. Once you know exactly how much you lifted last week, it is much easier to push yourself for just 1 more rep, or put 5 pounds more on the bar than you could do the week before.
This is how progress is made. In small, bite-size increments that add up to something substantial.
Reason 2: You’ll be less distracted
It’s easy to go to the gym and end up doing a half-assed workout.
One of the biggest culprits is when you spend almost the entire time chatting, while your sets just seem to serve as occasional pauses in the conversion.
Trust me, if you are doing this, you are not working out with any level of intensity.
However, when you have your trusty workout log in front of you – outlining exactly what you must do that day – it is considerably easier to stay focused.
You’ll put more into each set, you’ll spend less time in the gym, and you’ll get much more out of it.
Reason 3: You’ll won’t get injured as much
What’s that Chris, how will keeping a log of my workouts prevent gym injuries?
Well, it won’t prevent them – but they’ll be less likely to happen.
You see, many times when you get injured at the gym, it is because you were doing something stupid.
You either weren’t paying adequate attention to your set (see the above point), or you were trying to lift weight that was too heavy for you.
Or you decided, on an ill-conceived whim, “hey, i’ll just skip my warmup sets today and dive right in”.
Then, predictably, you tear your pec, strain your back, or pull your shoulder – and you’re out of the gym for weeks, or months.
But not when you log your workouts each and every week…
When you log, you won’t risk lifting too much weight. Instead, you’ll systematically improve your lifts, working within consistent rep ranges and focusing on progression.
And when you log, you be more likely to warm-up properly. Your log tells you that you have 3 sets of warm-up, so you go ahead and do them. No questions asked.
Reason 4: You’ll be less likely to overtrain (or undertrain)
Yes, working out too much can be bad thing!
When you overtrain, you risk weakening your immune system. You’ll get sick more, won’t make as much progress, and pretty much just feel like shit.
You can overtrain by working out too many times per week.
But you can also overtrain by doing too many sets in your workouts.
Without logging your workouts, you may just bang out 30 sets of chest that day. You felt good, right? So why the hell not.
Well, unless you’re not pushing yourself, you’re juicing, or you just have remarkable genetics, then this is counter-productive.
And if you do this too much, you may start to see symptoms of overtraining.
The same is true of undertraining.
When you have 16 sets in your workout log staring at you in the face, you’re much more likely to complete all 16 sets.
And when you’re tired and feel like calling it quits after your 11th set, you’ll notice those empty columns in your workout log silently judging you and get back to work.
Reason 5: It’s a great long-term motivational tool
Working out is a marathon, not a sprint.
Progress is slow and steady; there is nothing you can do to change that.
And sometimes that just sucks!
You feel like you’ve been working out forever, and still haven’t reached your goals.
Some people end up giving up for just this reason. They say screw this, quit the gym, and go back to eating Cheetos on the couch while watching Honey Boo Boo.
But you’re not like that, right?
Because you log your workouts.
And by dutifully logging each and every rep, keeping track of every hard-won set, you’ll know for a certain that you’ve been making progress.
In fact, you’ll look back on your workout logs from one year ago and be shocked at how little you were lifting back then.
OK, got it, I really, really need to log. So how do I get started?
Great, glad that we’re on the same page.
And now that you understand why logging is so incredibly important, we’re going to show you how to log effectively.
We’ll go over exactly what your log should include, whether it’s better to log on paper or your smartphone, and more!
So check out our article on how to log your workouts properly here.