Why should you bother to take notes on your weight lifting/strength training routine? The answer is simple. Improvement.
First off, for your exercise journal to help there are certain things that need to be tracked.
On a separate sheet, or even on a large index card, write down your usual routine. What exercises do you regularly perform? How many in a set? How many sets? Do you wait a certain time between sets? How much weight do you use each exercise? Approx. how long does it take you to complete the entire routine?
This is basic information that you should have handy. This card becomes your reference card for your journal.
Each entry should include the date, the time you worked out, how long. Also, include how you felt before and after. You can assign a number scale and make an additional notes for example:
Tuesday, Nov. 12: worked out noon to 1 p.m. Felt tired, sluggish- rate: 5
Many competitive athletes also track and rate their sleep quality as well. This will usually tie in directly with how you feel.
Also, note any modifications to your workout. For example, if you did any extra sets, or increased the weight. Maybe you rearranged the order of your workout (and this will change how your muscles are affected) or you did certain sets as a circuit workout. Don’t forget to include any exercises that seem to be particularly easy or really tough.
Be sure to note how you felt the day after a workout too. If you feel super sore, then it’s time to peruse through what you’ve recently changed. If you upped the weight, maybe you need to compromise and go back a few pounds. In general, up repetitions first, then drop reps down and up the weight after a week or two.
The other purpose of the training journal is to allow you to look back over several weeks and review. Have you avoided changing anything in your routine? Then maybe it’s time. Are there some exercises that you’re still having a lot of trouble with? Then consult with a trainer and find a modified version or another exercise that will help develop the trouble spot differently.
Are you continually worn out the next few days? Then do less strength work and introduce some aerobic elements. If you had a few days that seemed low, was it because your sleep quality was down or maybe you didn’t feel that well? Then don’t change anything yet.
See all the great reasons to take the five to ten minutes to jot this all down? In the long run, your journal will be your road map to improvement. On days when your motivation is slacking, pull it out and read. Be inspired. See how far you have come. You have the proof in your hands that it your workouts are working for you; and if not, you have concrete evidence that it’s time to change up your routine. Your memory can not objectively tell you that.