Keeping a Journal – Evidence Based Fitness

By Coach Paul Smith

The CrossFit mantra that has always really stood out for me is “CrossFit provides….an Evidence based fitness”.

So what is meant by evidence based fitness? Put simply, by tracking how you look, feel and perform over a given period of time you can see in black and white whether your fitness and health has improved.

It is safe to say that CrossFit is a statisticians dream. Every workout is based on trying to improve your stats, whether it is your Fran time or CrossFit total. All this information is evidence of a physiological /neurological improvement over time. Basically, every rep, kilogram, round or second counts if you want to make those slow steps to improved fitness.

I hold my hand up and say “Yes, I’m a CrossFit geek”. I love filling in my stats after workouts and comparing my times, weights or reps etc. I use this information as a tool for working out where I need to improve, as well an accurate guide as to what weights, box heights, bands or progressions I need to think about before I begin a workout.

There is great value in keeping an accurate log of how you perform during your time in class, which is why the CrossFit Avon coaches always encourage new and established members to start a journal and keep it up to date. Keeping a record of your weights, bands, exercise substitutions and injuries also helps us as coaches make sure you get the most out of your time in the box. If you have easy access to information relating to the weights you used the last time you did a 5×5 Back Squat session or which band you used for pull ups, it helps the coaches a great deal. It allows for classes to flow, adequate scaling to be considered and your overall safety to improve whilst in class. It also helps the coaches make sure you get the most out of a workout which will allow your skills and overall fitness improve at a greater pace.

Of course, my geekiness means I don’t just have a notepad I have an official WOD Book. WOD Books are great fitness tools as they allow you to record a whole host of information as well as the all-important times, weights etc. They include Paleo/Zone nutrition information, weight conversion charts, Wendler 5-3-1 strength cycles, a comprehensive list of WOD’s separated into categories and space for you to record things such as sleep quality and quantity and overall mood. Some of these stats may seem a little inconsequential but they all help build a detailed picture of how you are looking, feeling and performing. We have our very own CrossFit Avon branded WOD Books (which even include pictures of our members on the cover), speak to Charlie if you want to get one.

If you decide to just use a diary or notebook, then we suggest using the front to record you workouts chronologically and have a strength section at the back. Here you can have a squat page, a deadlift page, an overhead page and Olympic Lift page. Then put all the 1-1-1-1-1, 3-3-3-3-3, 5-5-5-5-5 workouts there, so you can quickly reference them at the beginning of class and know what you are aiming for. Also consider writing some of the above detail after your workout (recent sleep, diet etc.) so you can start to see which variables make the biggest difference to your performance.

So, if you haven’t already, start a journal…..or buy a WOD book of course (currently available at all good CrossFit boxes…e.g. CrossFit Avon).

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