T Nation

Training Log Tips

Hey guys, I was wondering how many of you out there actually use a training log? I mean alot of people say they’re organized and even ‘religious’ about lifting, but in 2 years i’ve seen LESS than a HANDFUL of people using/ writing stuff down in journals at either bally’s or the school gym. [Its actually funny because I only saw about a handful of people actually doing squats or deadlifts at either of the gyms; interesting correlation]

And for those that do, can you give some pointers on how to keep a good training log? Not trying to make this seem like a science, but I want to actually start keeping a workout journal.

I use an excel spreadsheet on a Pocket PC.

Pocket PC’s are the greatest invention there has EVER been. My LIFE is on my Pocket PC.

I’d imagine that you’d have to be a little careful with one at a gym (I workout at home) as shit has been known to turn up missing now and again…

I personaly use a training log daily. I will write out a week or two ahead of time. That way I don’t just do my favorite excercises, or cop out early. Once you get in habit of writing down your routine, you will be able to focus more on the lift it’s self. It allows you to move smoothly. It will also force you to include new excercises. This may be a good way to break any platue you may be fighting.
Good Luck

It doesn’t have to be all that complex. The basic idea is just to remind yourself of the scheme/reps/poundage, so you can improve upon your performance the next time you train (“progressive resistance,” right?").

I note the day and date, as well as the bodyparts trained that day. That info serves as the header. Then I use the left-most part of the page as a column designating the exercise order…A, B, etc. Supersets are listed as A1, A2, B1, etc. The middle column is the exercise name (e.g. “Stiff-Leg Deads”). Here I also note power rack pin setting, machine name, etc. The next columns are devoted to the sets, including set number, weight used, reps achieved. I’ll also asterisk stuff that’s worth remembering (if I hit failure, if a weight seemed too light, if I experienced some sort of pain, whatever). Here’s an example:

A1) Stiff Leg Deads: 1)12/225 2)10/275
3)8/315 4)6/375**
**Felt Light
A2) Leg Curls 1)12/100 2)8/110 3)6/120
(Hammer Machine) 4)12/100

Hope you get the idea. Using this system, I can go dig out my logs from the past 15-18 years, turn to any page, and tell you exactly how each workout went. Weird, but in some cases I even specifically remember the day!

Hope this helps.

cool. thanks guys

I used to bring a notebook and everything, but that just got to be a pain in the ass.

Now I just remember and type it when I get home. Just exercises, weights, sets & reps. It’s pretty easy w/ Westside because its not complicated.

I take an index card and a pencil with me, and before i start working out I write the exercises down i’m doing, and the weights i used last week. after a set or superset i write down the weights i used, and if it was easy or hard etc. usually i just put an arrow up or down, ,so i know for next time if i should be going up, staying the same etc. it usually looks like a chart when i’md one, with the names across the top and the set down the side. weights, tempo, etc. are noted. then, when i get home, say, one a week, i write them all down on a table in word. i know my training logs would get lost if i didn’t type them up. plus, the typing up serves as a reminder and i get to see how my progress is. my log is online, but it’s not updated yet. the FTP server was out on me for a while. but you can see how i wrote it down. keep in mind i’m a beginner and i’m still learning too.


Academic Year Monthly calender log. Can be purchased just about anywhere.

How we write in our training is exactly how I add it here (in my log) on the forum. Pretty simple.

I steal some of my girlfriends lipstick and just write everything out on the mirrors in the gym…

If I don’t have a program on the go I have a general spreadsheet to record Ex. sets and reps and the color of the bunny’s thongs. (kidding) If I’m on a program I do it all up ahead of time. No cheating allowed then.