Why you need to log your workouts and how to stop hating PRs
Do you know why we make workouts that have scores?
It has much less to do with competing than you might think.
The reason the workouts have scores is so that they are ‘measurable and REPEATABLE’. It is NOT about beating someone else at the gym that day or seeing how you stack up amongst everyone else in the world that did the same workout.
It is so you can see how far YOU have come.
If you are competing against anyone, it is yourself of yesterday.
By repeating a workout that you did 6 months, 12 months, or more, ago, you get to see how far you have come. You will be reminded of why you put in the work and sacrificed the time.
Research has shown that when we obsess over milestones and goals in the future, or when we are always trying to compare ourselves to others, we are very DE-motivated. All we see is how far we still have to go, notice how much someone else beat us, or fume when someone we usually best got ahead.
Very few people can thrive for years always being caught up in the ‘chase’. That path leads to burn out and frustration.
What has been proven to be much more motivating and positive: to constantly be reminded how far you have come.
The progress you have made is tangible. It is proof that you have been doing something right. It is direct evidence that you have control over the outcomes.
This is one of the primary reasons why we repeat workouts. On average with Thrivestry, 4-6 workouts per week are ones we have done in the past (with 1-3 ‘new’ ones). Two of these ‘repeats’ are usually benchmarks or ‘CrossFit Classics’ (workouts that have been around for years and that get repeated 2-4 times per year). It takes much more planning and organization to find the right workout from the thousands in the ‘codex’, but it is worth the effort because…
Repeating the workouts allows you to see how far you have come.
BUT you must do one thing to get the benefit…
YOU HAVE TO LOG YOUR WORKOUTS!!!
Do not log your workouts so you see how you stack up against others. Do not log your workouts to remind yourself of how far you are from your goals.
Log your workouts so that you can look forward to beating that score some day. Log your performances so that you can look back at this score and say ‘wow, I have really come a long way’.
And log your results ACCURATELY no matter how you did. Even if you are disappointed today, that score is just an old finish line to crush the next time you do it!
CrossFit.com was a blog format back in 2004 when I started (more than 14 years ago at the writing of this). They would post the “WOD” and folks from around the world would post their results to the comments. When I started, anywhere from 30-60 people would comment. Here is my result from my second CrossFit Workout ever:
Fran on July 7, 2004 “Day late on the WOD… 12:18 needed an assist on the P/Us after #10 in the first set. Thrusters were limited to 50lbs (all the weight I had)”
It is pretty cool to look at that and be reminded how far I have come. No matter how out of shape I become, I am still going to have to try pretty hard to be worse than that (and I was a black belt and amateur MMA fighter at the time, haha).
Take the time to log your workouts, here are a few points:
- Use Beyond the Whiteboard (my favorite), Sugar WOD, Train Heroic, a file on your phone, a paper journal in your gym bag… just use something!
- Log your lifts and your benchmarks at a MINIMUM but give some effort to logging everything for 6 months.
- Take copious notes about how you felt, how you broke it up, how you scaled etc.
- 3-4 times per year (at least), go back through your training log and look back at how far you have come.
- When you see a workout that you have done in the past coming up, look up your old result ahead of time, and make an effort to do the workout that week.
Write Your Story
Every day of training is a day when you are living the story of your life. Make sure you write that story down to learn the hard lessons and remember where you came from.
Your future self with thank you.