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Home Training Living in Fitness The Gym Notebook

The Gym Notebook

The Gym Notebook


Whenever I’m at my local gym I always notice people using “gym notebooks.” After years of seeing these notebooks around I actually began to consider getting one myself. But did I really want to be the guy that was jotting down notes at the gym? I typically jot notes at work and when I can’t remember birthdays. Now I was going to be doing this between sets?

Don’t get me wrong, I know the obvious pros of keeping an exercise log. I can write down the exercises which I do, the total amount of weight that I lift, the length of breaks that I take etc. The truth is I can remember all of these stats without a notebook – and I don’t consider myself to be brilliant. Most of us do the same essential exercises for each muscle group. For example, it’s hard to mold a chest workout that doesn’t have some sort of bench press, or a bicep workout that doesn’t contain a type of bicep curl.

Have you really forgotten what you benched last week? I personally think that most of us don’t forget but there are exceptions. I have looked around my gym and noticed this same guy, Tony, always writing down that he has benched 200 lbs. for 3 sets at 10, 8, and 6 reps. Tony has been doing the same damn thing for 4months! If I can remember,  I know he remembers what he did the past 16 weeks without having to write it down!

I do admit that I have lifted with Tony on three occasions. All three times we did the same chest workout with one single change! For example, instead of a flat dumbbell fly we would do cable flies. (Tony also had stale conversation while working out – he told me about the same “hot girl” over and over and then would transition to “how big his chest has gotten.”)  Needless to say, lifting with Tony was neither fun nor effective.

Does not having a notebook keep me from training as hard as other people? I know that it doesn’t and I also know that my workouts are very effective. I have taken notice that a majority of people actually do keep “gym notebooks”, but it does not mean they are training at a higher level. In fact, I usually see people who are new to the gym using them, while those who I have seen lifting for years have long abandoned their gym logs in favor of their brains.

I can easily remember a workout which only has one or two variable exercises each week. For chest I am always doing incline press and incline flies as a priority – followed by a flat press. It’s not hard to remember at least two other new exercises each week and the weight at which you did them at. Further, it’s not even hard to remember up to 8 different workouts as you have most likely been doing them for quite some time!

Keeping a gym notebook is essential if you’re a trainer simply because you learn a number of new workouts every day. For the rest of us I believe that it is not a necessity. I put a number of new exercises into my workouts each week and can usually remember everything. If something does slip my mind it never affects the difficulty of my workout as I always know plenty of other exercises.

For those of you who use a notebook - if a new exercise pops into your brain tomorrow while you’re working out then you should simply work it in and think “outside of your notebook.” You don’t even have to write it down for future use. This is not a bad thing! You will be doing something new from time to time and the variance will actually be good for muscle growth as you will be attacking the muscle in a new way. Afterwards try leaving your notebook at home, maybe you will enjoy lifting just a little bit more without having to constantly jot down notes.

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