I always bring my notebook to the gym.
Only idiots forget their notebook at home. You can’t have an effective workout without being able to see where you were last week, so you know exactly what to shoot for this week. If you have all the numbers memorized, good for you.
I don’t memorize. I like to focus on my intensity, and lifting more weight than I did last week.
I just finished a 10 week cycle of a 3 day split workout. Monday Wed Fri. I really liked the progress I’ve made, so I’m going to continue for another 10 weeks. I just printed out fresh sheets, hole punched and reinforced, and popped ’em into my binder.
While doing this I had the chance to look over some of the older logs I’ve kept. The oldest one still in here is from late August-late October 2011. Only about 8 months ago. I was comparing some numbers…
My best Leg press in October 2011 was 560 for 12 reps. Not bad. This month I’m up to 870 for 9 reps. Woah.
Overhead dumbell press. It was on a smith machine in October 2011, around 45 per side, for 9 reps. This month I’m up to 65 per arm, for 6 reps to failure, using dumbells. Not too shabby. I have moved OH presses over to the smith machine again, since the heavier weights are very difficult to balance safely.
Bench Press went from 50lb per side for 11 reps, up to 75lb per side for 5 reps. Not necessarily an improvement in force x distance, but back in October, I don’t think I could have eeked out more than 1 rep at 75 per side.
Not everything increased as much, but for the most part there is improvement in all compund lifts.
I am most happy with my deadlift progress. My highest deadlift at the end of October 2011 was 120 per side, for 4 reps. I’m up to 130 per side for 4 reps now.
It’s not that impressive by the numbers, but my form has seen a drastic improvement, and I am performing very slow controlled reps. Actually, all my lifts are done slowly now. You reach a much more intense feeling of muscular failure. I like it.
Keeping a log keeps you on track, and keeps you from putzin’ around in the gym. You get there. You know what you are doing. You do it. You get out.
You can easily forget what you used to lift. If you don’t write things down, you tend not to notice the little fluctuations that occur. If you had a bad day, or you ate a bunch of crap, or whatever, you can see it reflected in your numbers. If you had a really good day, and you friggin owned at the gym, you can take your log book and brag about it to your friends!