Q: Is it worth writing down your workouts?

The fat above your neck can be a cruel mistress, forgetting the things you want to remember and remembering the things you want to forget. If you want a testament to its inaccurate recall, just try to remember the name of that random person on last week’s Zoom call. Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of writing things down – a tactic that may seem like it’s for newbies but is actually for anyone who’s serious about getting results. Okay, so you’ll probably never forget a one-time personal best, but did you do 3 or 4 sets of 12 reps on deadlifts last week? Even if you’ve got a Rain Man-like memory it’s tough keeping track of exercise particulars from week to week, never mind year to year. A tap of your smartphone or a scribble on paper will keep your workouts forever honest. Don’t fret about your brain getting mothballed – exercise actually helps keep your memory sharp, found research in the journal, >Hippocampus. This tactic is also incredibly useful if you want to know why you’re not getting any leaner. If you simply look back into your exercise and diet logbook then you’ll know exactly what you did back when you were consistently tipping the scales lighter. Keeping records is an excellent time capsule of what works specifically for your unique physique and lifestyle. That said, it’s far easier if you’re following a workout routine designed by a professional so you already have a written account of what you’ve been doing and are going to do. You can then slide that into blocks of time throughout your year so you know what you’ve done when, but it would only take a minute or two to write down the end results you achieved with those routines. That way you can look back every six months and figure what your patterns of achievement are in response to various regimes. This offers a twofold benefit because evidence of improvement is crucial for keeping your enthusiasm high. Your workout log gives 100% objective feedback and looking back at how far you’ve come is sure to spur you on. Detailed notes also allow you to put your finger on the ouch if you’ve become injured. It allows you to look back on your routines and see where you may have overstretched yourself. When used properly, detailed records offer you the chance to take a preventative approach to injuries rather than reactive one. You should be taking a rest week after every 4-6 weeks of training and a workout log will help you count off the days until you’re due a week of couch surfing. While it’s tough to justify doing the same thing for your nutrition, it does remain an equally, if not more effective tactic for improving your physique. Writing things down is always the safest and cheapest route towards mapping your improvements so you’re on track to hold your frequently inaccurate memories to account because your memories are famous liars who love to trick you.