“The methodology that drives CrossFit is entirely empirical.” —Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit
I have had countless encounters with athletes that can not recall what weight they used last week or what their time was on a benchmark WOD. This may not seem like a big deal to some or any of you for that matter, but hopefully through this column I can convey the benefits of keeping a workout log.
Call it what you want, but most of you already know I am very organized, analytical and am OCD about a lot of things, but I have a brain for organization and numbers, and I’ve got to run with it. I am by no means asking you to be that anal about life and your CrossFit experience, but I do want you to understand the importance of being organized and tracking your progress in the gym. Tracking your personal data is the only way for improvement. When athletes become aware of their statuses in the gym, it makes a world of difference not only for you, but for your coach. It allows us to give proper advice to make your overall experience as an athlete a better one.
As the quote from Greg Glassman, reads: everything we do at the box is driven by numbers. Okay, so why is this important, you ask? By not having any reference points for your coach, it is impossible for us to tailor or scale a workout that would yield the best results.
(I.e.: INTENSITY- but that is another article by itself)
Consider these two examples:
Example 1: Push Press 5-5-5-5-5. If your first 3 sets of 5 reps are less than let’s say 50% of your 1 rep max, you’re probably not going to see any improvement on your strength for that given movement.
Example 2: 21-15-9 reps of; Deadlifts (225/135), Burpees, and 400m Run. This should be a 8-10 minute workout. However, it could quickly become a strength WOD and slow down rapidly if that deadlift was 80%+ of your max and you have to resort to completing them in singles instead of unbroken.
It is very satisfying to see improvements happen, whether it is cutting your Mile time by 3 seconds or increasing your 1 Rep Max Power Clean by 5 pounds. Keeping these numbers written down somewhere allows you as an athlete (and us as coaches) to know what is working and what is not. This allows us to make necessary adjustments to individual WODs or the program as a whole to get the desired results.
I would be willing to guess that 90% or more of our community at Stamina do not track their workouts. I would also guess that some of you are thinking “It’s not worth my time. I’m just here to be healthier in my everyday life. And may even ask, “Why do I need to track and record my workout of the day (WODs)?” Well, what is healthier to you? Losing weight? Lower blood pressure? Triglycerides back into a normal range? More daily energy? Whatever your ‘healthier’ is, tracking is vital for that next doctor's appointment for when you have hit one of those blood markers and you can finally ensure you are doing the right things with your diet and workouts. Conversely, if those same markers are staying stagnant or going in the opposite direction, we can talk about making changes.
Whether you want to write things down in a spiral bound notebook, in your cell phone notes, or something else of your choice, it does not matter. We, as your coaches, can not tailor or scale workouts for you properly to help you achieve your goals more quickly without some insight from you. Be consistent with tracking your workouts and I would bet you will find yourself making quicker overall improvements.