Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Write it down

Write it down

One of the most useful pieces of exercise equipment you'll ever use is a notepad and a pencil. Or the equivalent.

It's a piece of equipment that seems to correspond well to workouts people can stick with. People who write down their workouts tend to be more serious about them than those that don't. Think of this - your friend says "I want to get in shape, so I'm going to do pushups, situps, squats, and pullups every other day, and run at the track." Your other friend says the same thing, and pulls out the notebook she's using to write down her workouts - how many sets, reps, and her time on the runs. Which person sounds more serious about it? It represents a commitment. More than that, it'll help you get in shape.

Writing your workout down does a few things:

- it allows you to track your progress. If you never write your workouts down, it's hard to track your improvements in strength, stamina, speed, etc. from workout to workout across multiple exercises. It's easy to lose track of what you are doing. If you've written it down, you can always ensure you have a record of your results.

- it acts as a motivator. If you have to write down "3 x 5 x 135" for three weeks in a row for your squat, you're admitting your stuck. That alone might push your to up the weights, change the workout, check your other habits.

- it gives you a strong measure of control over your workouts. If you lose track of what you do, you no longer control your workouts. It's going from training with a goal and tracked progress to just exercising without structure.

Most people will tell you that you can't just remember it and write it down later. That's not strictly true, but it's not as convenient. The "remember it" method works best if you know exactly what you did, can visually remember what you lifted, and didn't need to track lots of variables. Also you'll need to write it down can't remember for long. Just write it down.

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