Now that August here, it’s time for me to start a new tracking sheet. I’ve become certifiably obsessed with tracking all my workouts. In the beginning of my newfound journey it was haphazard at best. I would log my efforts into my iPod app, but that was about it. Now I’ve got the app and multiple spreadsheets to go with it.
Why have I stooped to such levels of near insanity?
I’ve found it’s the best way to track where I’ve been and even more importantly, where I’m going. For some additional insight, a story…
I know someone that wants to open a gym. At least that’s what he calls it. When he’s explained it to me it sounds more like a cafe. Machines all around and the coffee to go with it. This individual also apparently took some college courses centered on various aspects of fitness. Personal training being chief among them. The thing is though, and this is the point, he doesn’t keep track of really anything he does for himself. We got to talking about our respective workouts one day when I decided to ask “do you keep track of your overall volume?” His response was a resounding “no!” It wasn’t even a factor for him. I really couldn’t believe it. Probing further I found he doesn’t really keep track of anything. He does six days a week in the gym, but doesn’t track any progression. That doesn’t seem right to me.
I on the other hand have become enthralled with looking at my numbers. I want to know what I did last month, last week, last workout. It keeps me honest. It keeps me interested. I want to make sure I’m making steady progress. I know we all hit plateaus here and there, but how do you know if you’re unsure of how much you lifted last week? I go so far as to calculate percentages. At least, to some extent. If I do something one week, and the next week for the same amount of reps, I want(NEED) to make some overall volume improvement. I don’t really see the point otherwise.
The only exception to this rule is when training for different results. The periodization cycle I’m working with right now is that exception. Each week the reps are going down, the weights going up. What does that mean for the uninitiated? Overall volume down. I’m dealing with it okay enough, but it’s taking some getting used to. The next couple of weeks are going to be of particular interest. Next week is probably only going to be 6 rep sets, the week after only 3. Volume way, way down…
I’ve always thought if you weren’t sore, you weren’t doing anything. I don’t think that’s actually the case anymore and I’m hoping that’s true. Either way, keep track of what you’re doing. If you don’t keep track of what you do, how do you know what TO do? You don’t!
This exercise/fitness/health/muscle thing is hard enough as it is. We can use all the help we can get. Let numbers be your guide!