June 6, 2015

opex, opex fitness, formerly opt, exclusive training, remote coaching, program design, coaching education

Are You Tracking What You’re Actually Doing in Your Gym? 

When it comes to working out, most people fall into one of two camps:

  1. Those who log their results
  2. And those who do not

Which camp do you fall into? And how is it working for you?

Chances are…if you are not tracking the work you are doing in the gym…you are not reaping the full benefits or progress you could if you were keeping tabs.

How do I know?

People who write things down are, statistically, more likely to achieve the things they aspire to achieve, and accomplish the goals they wish to accomplish.

Want to get stronger? Improve your fitness—not remain stagnant? Stop wishing for change and start experience it?

Tracking your progress—and/or having your clients track their progress—is only going to up the ante.

Have you ever heard of the Harvard University Goal Study?

In essence, it goes something like this:

In 1979, interviewers asked new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program and found that:

•84% had no specific goals at all
•13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
•3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them

In 1989, the interviewers again interviewed the graduates of that class.  You can guess the results:

•The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at      all.
•Even more eye-opening: the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much   as the other 97 percent put together.

While this study is centered on setting goals; the same mentality can be applied to your training.

When you keep up with what it is you are doing in the gym, there are multiple advantages that separate you from the avergage gym goer.

Know Where You Were & Measuring Improvement. Logging and tracking your results becomes like a time capsule for your time in the gym. Think about it: You spend a lot of time there, and like watching your own kids ‘grow up’—it’s sometimes hard to see the day to day changes, as opposed to when your parents come for their bi-annual visit and notice the noticeable changes in their stature, growth and development from this time last year. It’s easy to forget where you once were. A log allows you to reflect and acknowledge progress each and every step along the way. In addition, it gives you a baseline to work from—knowing that even 2-weeks ago, you bench pressed 185 for 5-reps with a 20X1 tempo, and this week, you are aiming to bench the same amount of weight, but this time with a 40X1 tempo. It allows for progress while preventing you fromovershooting (for instance: slapping 225 on the bench this week and attempting the same rep-scheme, or warming up with 135 lbs. on your backsquat when you know your 1-rep-max is currently 165 lbs.—that is not a warmup weight).

Awareness. Piggybacking off of the above point of not overshooting, keeping track of your results creates awareness and confidence in your capabilities—no matter the workout thrown your way on your program. Say you are prescribed to row for 5k at your MAP-10 pace (formerly “Zone 1”) today. Having logged and tracked your workouts, you know your MAP-10 pace—regardless of the time domain. On the flip side, if you really have not been testing or training within different zones and modalities of training, you may fail to have the awareness over exactly what pace you should keep on that row. Recently a client of mine rowed an easy 5K row at a ‘MAP-10 pace’ of 1:55/500 m. When the prescribed 60-minute row came up, he said, “I can’t hold that pace for 60-minutes.” Obviously he did not know what his true MAP-10 pace was, which is a pace you should be able to hold for significantly longer than an hour, and therefore worked too hard on the 5k, which would show up over time as lowered readiness for the next training sessions. Each and every day of training is the opportunity to create awareness of where you currently sit on your fitness, strength and skill spectrum. Create baselines—and continue to refine and grow from those.

Validity. Tracking results allows for validity in your progress—or lack of progress. Are you really getting stronger? Is your aerobic capacity really increasing? After all, isn’t the point of training to ultimately get better and improve—not stay stagnant or plateau? Keeping data—for yourself and your clients—is a barometric measure from week to week to validate improvement. You squatted 375 last week with a 40X1 tempo, and 385 lbs. this week with a 20X1 tempo—you’re getting stronger, right?! Or are you? Slow down that tempo for the 385 lbs, and then see.

Consistency. Logging and tracking is hugely beneficial for training consistency, and a methodical, progressive approach to training (as opposed to randomizing your training). Logging prevents you from overtraining any specific movement or body part, as well as progressively building upon the weights, rep schemes and tempos you use from week to week.

Recently one of our CCP Coaches, Troy Venuto, owner of South Baltimore CrossFit, shared with us his success story of logging and keeping track of his own clients’ results, here.

More on his story and measures of tracking and testing his clients’ progress later this week, but the bottom line?

Through his data collection at his box, he’s learned the power of proper progression and tracking the results of his gym, while concurrently teaching and leading his clients to do the same.

Write it down.

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