Here’s the latest edition of the UNIT 22 Blog, in which Head Coach Jamie talks about the importance of tracking your training. Enjoy the read and let us know what you think in the comments box.
I’ve been training for nearly half my life. I can vividly remember the first time I picked up a barbell at around 15, my parents had paid for me to have some PT sessions so that I could put on some size for rugby.
My PT at the time, Tristan, took me underneath his wing and off we went, I can even remember the exact two sessions I repeated for over 5 months whilst training with him. Classic two-day bodybuilding split of day 1 chest and back, day 2 legs and shoulders, I could even tell you the exact routine, sets and reps!
One of the biggest things that I learnt whilst training with him was that he always tracked every session. All the details logged in a ring binder file with my name on it so that we could periodically look back at the progress I’d made gaining weight and increasing my strength.
It’s something I wish I’d done consistently throughout my training because I know that when I’ve been tracking my sessions and following a plan, I’ve been able to clearly see my progress over previous weeks but also become more invested in my training.
Maybe you have never tracked your training before, which is fair because it’s not necessarily something that is immediately impressed upon you when you begin your training.
Instead, have a think about this – if you were to save for a holiday (goal), before you started saving would you look at your previous spending on your bank statements (tracking) to see where your money goes every month, identify how much you could save (training) then bank that every time? Or would you say to yourself I’m just going to save (training) bits of money here and there when I have it available?
Both ways will save money, but which way will lead to you being more adherent to saving money? Which way is a more productive way to save money? Which way will leave you wondering why you haven’t saved as much as you needed when it comes to paying?
I can guarantee that the first method will be far more successful in the long term, and this planned approach to tracking should be how you approach your training. It will allow you to become more invested and enjoy the process. Your time spent in the gym will become more productive because you have an end goal in mind, you have a clear plan in your head of what your session will look like, and you know what you have done previously.
Whilst the program is delivered by the coaching team at UNIT 22, all of our weekly programming is available for you to view on BoxMate. It is an incredibly useful tool for both coaches and members to use.
From a coaching perspective, if you have logged your most recent rep maxes in BoxMate, when we program a session with specific percentages in mind for you to hit, these will automatically populate your app for you follow. It also adds more purpose to your training sessions, giving you clear instructions on the intended stimulus, tailoring it to your ability and no-one else’s.
Sometimes it can feel like a relentless battle, staying consistent on those mornings when you really don’t want to get out of bed, especially if you feel like you’re not getting any stronger or fitter. Tracking your training allows you to look back through your training journey and see how far you’ve come.
I can look back to particular points throughout the 14 years I’ve been training and see just how far I’ve come both physically and mentally, all through tracking my training, the parts I’ve tracked anyway…
It can also be a way to focus your energy if you are training through an injury. If you have a clear plan as to what your session looks like then you can train with intent, you have goals or where you were pre-injury that you want to get back to and then eventually beyond those.
Tracking your training allows you to dictate what progress markers you wish to use, which could include:
- Adding weight to a specific movement
- Performing an old rep max for additional reps
- Reducing workout times
- Improving your resting heart rate
- Increasing your total weekly training volume
- Decreasing your body fat percentage
- Improving your technique
- Performing a new skill
- Noting that you’re finding more enjoyment through sessions you previously would’ve avoided
Tracking your training is so much more than just logging a score and filing it away until it might crop up again in the future. Tracking your training is helping you collect all the data you need to constantly make progress and help you recognise just how far you’ve come.
Sometimes it can be difficult, especially if your goals are long term, to stay focussed on training. By tracking those short term wins it can help you stay accountable and consistent, whilst also ensuring that you are constantly forcing your body to adapt to the demands placed on it by your training.