It’s testing time at school, we started reviewing for the SOL tests (it stands for Standards of Learning….how ironic) as well as exams. Mostly I’m just trying to keep their attention long enough to get a thing or two into their brains everyday. Although a pain, these tests do give us some valuable information–whether or not our last 10 months of teaching efforts have been in vain. As teachers we wonder this often…is what I’m doing working?
When it comes to exercising, we often ask the same questions. “Is this working?” Sometimes changes in our workout performances can be so minor that they don’t seem like anything at all. Sometimes we just don’t pay attention to how far we’ve come (or haven’t come) and lose motivation to continue on. I’ve talked about keeping a food journal before, but the same benefits can come form a workout journal. It’s simple enough, just write down what you did, how much time it took, or how much weight you lifted. Another useful piece of information may be how you felt during and after the workout. By doing this, you can measure your performance by looking back over your records.
In Crossfit we do benchmark workouts, meaning these workouts come up every- so-often so we can measure how we did this time against how we did the last time we completed the same workout. I just completed one of these benchmarks this week and was happy to have improved my work capacity by 25%. Without that journal I wouldn’t have been able to measure this improvement and wouldn’t have walked away with such a sense of accomplishment. Journals can also hold you accountable, maybe it took 28 minutes to run a 5K 6 months ago, this time you can try to shave some time off the clock and improve upon your time.
In conjunction with a food journal, you can check for correlations between the food you eat and how you feel/perform during a workout. When I am feeling less energetic or weak, I start keeping a food journal to see how my energy correlates with the amount and quality of food I am eating. Just 2 weeks ago I used my workout journal and food journal collaboratively to decided exactly how much protein, fat, and carbohydrates I needed to be eating each day to feel my best. As a result, I have felt strong and energetic for the last two weeks straight, I don’t have to leave my bad and good days to luck, I can control the way I feel physically with science. Keeping this kind of data is just one big science experiment, and who better to have as the subject than yourself?
Maybe you don’t have a group of workout buddies, a coach, and a gym to hold you accountable, use this tool as a great substitute. Start competing with yourself and improve your performance and your HEALTH. If you’ve got any questions about exercising or exactly what you should do, just shoot me an e-mail, I’d be more than happy to help: firstname.lastname@example.org