Why you should log your workouts.


“Log your workouts on Beyond the Whiteboard.” I say it at the end of almost every class. To those who don’t log their workouts, I’m sure it’s annoying to hear.

Why you don’t do it:

“I’m not good enough yet to start keeping track.”

“I’m just here to get a good workout. This isn’t a competition.”

“My weights aren’t heavy, anyway.”

“I don’t want everyone to see my score.”

Why you should do it:

You are good enough to start keeping track. In fact, it’s more important in the beginning than it is for the seasoned athlete. This is when the accountability is so important. This is when you are struggling just to get to the gym, let alone excel at the workout. You may look back at that, one day, and not understand how that could have been your reality. But you’re not quite there, yet. Keeping track of what you’ve done in the gym is a great way for the beginner to learn the lingo, familiarize themselves with the movements, programming and structure of what we are doing in the gym. If you ask the veteran CrossFitter what their Fran time, Grace time or 1 Rep Max Snatch is, they will rattle that number off like it’s their debit card pin. Not the beginner. That question is met with a confused and bashful smile. What the hell is an AMRAP or EMOM? Track your workouts and that terminology will become familiar.

We’re all in the gym to get a good workout. That is a poor excuse to not take what you’re doing in the gym seriously. Everyone wants to take their training more seriously, whether it’s something they speak about or not, no matter what level of fitness they possess. Account for what you just did in the gym. You will repeat the effort.

Nobody’s weights are heavy. You will never be strong enough. When I started lifting weights, 25 years ago, the weights were not heavy enough. They still aren’t. That feeling will never change because we can always do more or push harder or get better. Am I stronger now than I was then? Of course. Am I strong enough? Of course not. Start tracking those weights and efforts from day 1. That data will be valuable when that presumable day of being “strong enough” finally arrives.

Some people want the world to see their score. They want it written as big as possible on the whiteboard, even if they cheated. Some people reluctantly tell the coach their score, post WOD. It doesn’t matter which category you fall into. The workout tracking is for you and your coach. It doesn’t have to be about competition. Beyond the Whiteboard is very customizable software. You can set all your posts to be private so no one except your coaches will see it. You can also go in the other direction and share your posts on social media with a setting change or click of the share button. Your BTWB log is for you. Keep your tracking to yourself or shout it from the rooftops.

Why I do it: 

I’ve been logging my workouts since the very first day I did a CrossFit workout on November 30, 2008. Here’s a link to the log.

I have traveled a long way on my fitness journey. I was a skinny, little shit when I started lifting weights in high school. Looking back at my effort in the gym from those days is comical. Of course, I didn’t know what I was doing and had no coaching. Since starting CrossFit years later, I have come a long way, as well. There have been ups and downs but I’ve always been on an upward trajectory. I know this because I can see it. I, literally, can see it with the aid of the graphs and charts on BTWB. Sometimes, when I do a benchmark workout, I look at my previous logs on BTWB and am blown away by the score registered in 2008 or 2009. It is pretty cool to do a workout 35 minutes faster with heavier weight than I did 9 years ago.

I never miss logging a workout. I log them all. Most of the time I log them with detailed notes for future Dan. The workout journal is an important part of my process as a person taking his fitness seriously.

Take notes:

Beyond the Whiteboard has a section for notes. Keeping a detailed record of what you’ve done in the gym can be a valuable tool. Maybe your effort was not what it should’ve been because your knee hurt that day. Maybe you ripped your hands. Maybe you didn’t get much sleep the night before. Maybe your effort was fantastic. Maybe you crushed it and everything felt right. Maybe the nutrition and sleep from the night before made a difference in your performance. If you just log your time or rep count, you won’t remember why your score was off or on. Your notes can be as simple as, “felt off today” or they can be a detailed account of every part of the workout. The notes are for you to consult when the workout reappears. You will have an idea of your workout approach and a game plan for improvement. Perhaps your attack on the workout the first time was not the best way to go about it. Your notes may be a warning to your future self. “Start slower next time.” “Break up the Pull-ups, earlier.” Etc…

Know your benchmarks:

Benchmarks can be your weightlifting and powerlifting numbers. They can be your Fran or Karen time. They can be your max rep Handstand Push-ups or fastest 2k Row. Beyond the Whiteboard has a user-friendly software design which allows you to easily look up these benchmarks. Benchmarks are a valuable indicator of progress or lack thereof. Know them or be able to look them up. A lot of people don’t know their personal records for their heavy lifts. Knowing that number will put you in a very valuable place when attempting to max out. If you have no idea what you’re capable of, you may not get anywhere near your true potential.

Tracking software:

CrossFit Breckenridge uses Beyond the Whiteboard as its official tracking software. You can use anything you want but you should use BTWB. You should use it because it is the best workout tracking software out there. You should use it because all of CFB’s programming is available on the program. All you have to do is open the app and the day’s workout is there, waiting for you to plug your score in. You should use it because your fellow gym members are using it. You can see their scores (if they choose to make that info public). You can comment on their entry or simply click the thumbs up emoji on their post. Maybe you don’t get to workout with Sally anymore because you started attending the 6am class. You’ll still get to interact with her and give a virtual high five via BTWB.

CrossFit Breckenridge pays for your BTWB membership if you are a paying member of our gym. Register for an account through their website. Use the member code: BRECK to associate your account with CFB. Download the app for Android or Apple. Pull out your phone at the end of class and log your workout.

Hold yourself accountable. You are on a fitness journey, whether you just started working out or you’ve been at this for years. Take your effort seriously. At the very least, know your numbers!

–Coch Dan



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