Gym Tips #6 – Record, Review, Record…The importance of gym notes

Notepads come in all shapes and sizes, from little detective flip pads to A4 diaries. Over the last few years I’ve used both and a range in between. For the record I’ve settled on the most practical A5 size with ring flip binder and a plastic cover. The hardback is better and more durable but I’ve always felt like a bit of a schoolboy writing my notes into a proper book, a bit too formal for a busy gym. The ring bind allows you to keep the size A5 by folding the pages around. The plastic cover is a lesson you will learn through spillage, my god I’ve spilled a lot of crap on my gym book, that coupled with the fact it’s usually in my gym bag makes the plastic essential.

All of this probably sounds a bit mad, but you should be proud of your gym book. If used correctly it will be the key to your success!

There are a number of mobile apps out there these days which allow you to track your progress in terms of reps, weights and comments and if you’re a tech guy or girl by all means go ahead. For a person that’s quite heavily involved in new technology in their career, I’m painfully old school when it comes to certain things and having a note book just happens to be one of them! 😊

Anyway regardless of where you record your progress the key piece for me is that it’s not at all about the numbers. If you were to observe me in the gym you would see me writing in my notebook after every single set without fail. If you were a casual observer you would think:

“Wow that guys a f**kin lunatic for writing in his book every 2 mins, does he have the memory of a fish or what’s his f**kin problem…pfffft notepad w**ker”

The key piece is not the recording of the reps or the weight but how I feel or how the set went after every single set. It’s notes to myself so that next time I go to workout the same body part I know what I need to do. Whether you’re programme is 6/8/10/12 weeks the amount of times you work out each body part will prob be between 1-2 times the number of weeks of you’re programme. For example on an 8 week programme you will usually work out each body part between 8 and 16 times during the 8 weeks (Usually closer to 8!) This means that you really don’t get that many opportunities to in the gym to make the weights count. Smashing every workout is not the goal. Smashing every set is! I write in my notepad the things I need to to make sure next time I work the same exercise I know exactly what I need to do. For me it’s the best way to keep pushing myself. Looking back at my notes from last week I can see that I dumbbell pressed the 47.5 Kg’s for 6 reps to finish my first exercise.  Awesome 47.5’s are pretty big particularly without a spotter but then right beside I see in big capitals “UP WEIGHT”. This means that after I finishing last week I was not maxed out, I could have lifted more, it’s a reminder that next time out I need to up that weight…50’s for fun!!some of my more common phrases:

“UP WEIGHT” – higher top weight next time out
“UP START WEIGHT” – Top set was good but first set needs to start higher
“FORM OFF LOWER WEIGHT” – the weight is too heavy which is affecting my form
“GOOD” – Nice set, keep it same next time out
“SORE…..” – lower back, elbow, shoulder – anything which affects the outcome of the exercise
“F**kin smashed” – Perfect, well done

If I didn’t have those notes, I wouldn’t push myself as hard because it’s easy to forget what you did and where you could have done more.

Record it all, you won’t regret it!

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