By Coach Gretchen
Increasing work capacity over broad time and modal domains should be considered an important goal for an athlete who participates in CrossFit classes. But how do you know if you are increasing your capacity to do work over time? One of the best ways to keep track of work capacity is to track your workouts. Tracking workouts does not just mean to write your WOD time on the whiteboard and call it a day! If an athlete really wants to assess his or her ability to do work, and how work capacity is changing over time, keeping good data is imperative for many reasons.
A well-maintained training log can provide a wealth of historical data. The data that an athlete chooses to keep is variable dependent upon his or her goals. A training log that is detailed allows for the athlete to extrapolate data and make decisions about his or her training. Some of the areas of data that could be kept in a training log are: nutrition, water intake, workouts, injuries, personal records, habits, mobility, recovery, sleep, amount of weight lifted for specific lifts, and recording benchmark workouts.
Tracking data that supports workouts can be very beneficial for planning and creating goals for the athlete to work towards. It also helps keep a level of accountability for the athlete. If an athlete works directly with a coach and has data tracked, it allows for specificity to occur when creating goals to work towards within a class environment. Set specific and measurable goals with a target date and communicate these goals with your coach to ensure that you have accountability! Once goals are created, planning and purposeful approaches to workouts will increase the likelihood that a goal can be achieved.
Another benefit to tracking workouts over a period of time is that it allows the athlete the opportunity to celebrate successes along the way. How good does it feel when you hit a PR in the gym? Without tracking, those positive feelings of success may not be as frequent… and who doesn’t want to celebrate successes?! The feelings of nostalgia and looking back to see how far you have come in the gym and as an athlete creates positive associations with hard work and dedicating time to working towards your goals.
The approach that an athlete takes to tracking workouts can be as individualized as necessary. There are many apps, such as Wodify, that an athlete can use to track progress over time. Companies such as Gym Gypsy, have created workout journals specific to CrossFit. You can even make your own tracking sheet! Whatever way you choose to track your data, we would encourage you to spend time being detailed and thorough in order to create an environment that allows for progress monitoring, goal tracking, and celebrating the successes that you have inside (or now at home) of the gym!