One of the most important reasons CrossFit and CrossFit style training is so successful is because we get a ‘measurable and repeatable’ result at the end of each day. While step 1 is just showing up and putting in the work, the real key to getting better over the long haul is to track progress over time.
In the beginning, folks had to just use the whiteboard and compare to other people in the gym that day. Some people went as far as keeping paper training logs. Nowadays, there are websites and apps that do it all for us!
The power of using your own personal log (versus a ‘leaderboard’) is that it highlights that this journey is about YOU. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you finish in the group, but how you are you getting better over time. It will help motivate you by showing how far you have progressed. It will show you where you can get the most benefit (by working on areas where you can improve the most). And it will help you learn from the past, so you don’t keep making the same mistakes.
Talk to anyone who has been logging for 5-10+ years, and they’ll tell you how motivating it is to look back on those earlier days and see how far they have come!
Log early and often. Many people don’t like to log when they start because they feel they are so far behind the curve. Don’t listen to this inner voice! Your future self will thank you when you get to see how far you have come!
If you are someone who doesn’t like to log, YOU NEED TO AT LEAST LOG YOUR BENCHMARKS. These are things like heavy squats, and ‘CrossFit Classic’ workouts that show up about 2 times per week (and repeat 1-4 times per year). Put in what you did, and write a sentence or two about how it went, what you learned, etc. Even this minimal amount of logging will be hugely beneficial in the long run!
“What gets measured, improves.” You will get the most benefit by logging every day you come into the gym. Make it part of your routine! If you can, check the app before coming in. Then always budget time after class to put in the info before you leave. Take notes about how you felt, what you learned, how you broke it up, why you used the progressions/loads you did, etc.
By spending a couple of minutes logging at the end of each workout, you’ll create a ‘history’ that you can reference for future growth as well as a fun tool for staying motivated! You’ll see trends like how your performance is affected by sleep or a particular food. You’ll see where you need to improve so you don’t keep getting frustrated by the same movements over and over.
You don’t have to wait until your next workout to start logging. Use that big ‘ol lump of neurons between your ears to remember your last few workouts and log those. If you know your score on benchmarks, log those as well.
Remember, this isn’t about how you stack up against others. It is you versus your former self.
And keep in mind that with consistency, your scores today will crushed by the future you… but you’ll only get to see that if you start logging!