Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Kelly had touched on keeping an athletic journal a few days back and a question was posed: Just how do I go about keeping it all straight anyway? With a protocol as varied as crossfit, it can be difficult to track benchmark workouts and Personal Records(PRs). If you're new to working out, a month's worth of recorded CF may be a little difficult to decipher. Here are a few tips that can help you keep yourself organized.

1)Make recording your sessions routine. Just like waking up and brushing your teeth is a habit, so is keeping an accurate journal. Find some time directly after your workout (while the effort is still fresh). If you CF and then eat breakfast, use those few minutes to jot it down. If you CF and then shower off, hop out, get dressed and take five. It doesn't really matter, just make it consistent. If you put it off until later in the day (or worse, the next day), chances are you won't remember some of the more pertinent details. Do it now!

2)Keep it simple! The best methods of recording are also the most simple. Allow one page per day. Have 3 sections for each day you record.

The first section will be for warm up. Put things you did that were skill related or a warm up drill you liked and will use again. This may be a brief section. It doesn't do a lot of good to write down every last detail know you did some squats and pushups and probably some jump rope, no need to write that down everyday. As you look back over your log, see if you can mix up your warm-up skills from day to day and week to week so that you always have several in rotation. This way you get to practice a variety of skills on a regular basis. If you would like a warm-up progression for a technical movement (like, say, the Clean and Jerk) ask your coach!

IE. -Worked on snatch tech. with stick
-Practiced Pistols with a partner

The second section is for the main workout. Put down the movements and weights used, rep. scheme and the time of completion (if applicable). Over time this will allow you to get a feel for what weights you are comfortable working at with any given movement, how fast it takes you to perform certain distances rowing or running and about how fast certain workouts will take to perform. When you look back over the months, most movements should start to be performed with more and more weight, times to complete distances will fall and you can start to strategize how long your workout will take. Fairly simple here:

Squat 5x5

Five rounds for time of:
Row 250m
Push press 60kg x 10
Time: 10:42

The third section is for finishing or cooldown movements (did I hear a hollow rock?) and final thoughts on the workout. This is important. Make sure you pick one or two elements of your technique and jot down a line about how you can improve it. Don't get too carried away. We can all find deficiencies and things we wish we could have done better. Pick one or two and leave it at that. Include something positive about the workout also.


-Losing lockout in overhead squats...keep arms straight!
-Good squat depth today...kept weight in heels really well.

3)Make a list on the back few pages of your book. Reserve this space for benchmark workouts and individual efforts (like your max squat) that you like/are important to you (the girls, your 20 rep squat best, max time holding the silly ball overhead etc.). Every time one of these workouts comes up write down your effort and the date. Keep your best effort and the last attempt (hopefully they are the same date). When one of the benchmarks/lifts comes up again you can quickly reference your back page cheat sheet to see what your previous time was, without wondering when the last time we did fran was.

Another approach that I personally find to work best is to make a mini-calendar at the back of my book. I give each month about a third of a page (so reserve 3 pages worth). Label the month in pen and the year in pencil (if you have a big book). Every time I set a new PR I write it down in the corresponding month. I then have a monthly highlight reel that takes all the guesswork out of my times/bests. It also easily allows me to see if I haven't been practicing something regularly. If I look over my monthly logs and see I don't have a score for a particular movement or workout, it's time to start putting some attention to those areas (again ask your coach if you want to work on something or do a particular benchmark...we are often open to suggestions! Open gym time on Saturdays is also an ideal time to test yourself). Once the year rolls over you can erase the yearly date and start over, or start the new year with a different coloured ink.

There you have it, journaling made easy. Remember:
Make it a habit
Keep it simple
Keep an easy reference table of repeatable workouts/maxes

Have fun!


1 comment:

Gio said...

Great post Boz. We've emphasized logging for every client/member in our box. Can I post this in our site with your permission?

Thanks in advance bro.