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I Used A Workout Journal For A Month - Did It Benefit My Training?

Have you been training consistently, heading to the gym day in, day out, only to find you’re not making any progress? The pesky plateau is all too familiar for most of us, but could logging your sets, reps and weight help you overcome your stalled progress? Grenade® Content Manager, Ruby McKenzie, used a workout journal for a month to see whether it benefited her gym sessions. Here’s what she thought!

“There are two kinds of gym goers: you either turn up, get sh*t done then swiftly leave, relieved that the torture of a 6am weight session is well and truly behind you. Or, maybe you’re the organised type. The kind that packs their gym bag the night before, plans out their sessions beforehand and even logs their progress.

Now, as much as I like to think of myself as pretty organised, I tend to wander into the gym without a solid plan, instead, relying on how I feel and what I feel like doing that day. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I found I was gravitating towards the same machines and the same exercises, simply because I didn’t think to plan beforehand. And, I had no idea whether I was making any progress either because I’d usually forget what weight I managed to lift the week before!

So, when I saw Grenade® ambassador and Personal Trainer Chelsea Anderson’s Instagram story, showcasing her super, duper organised workout journal, I thought why don’t I give this ‘logging your workouts’ thing a go?! And I’m so glad I did!

The journal I used allows you to note what you’re training that day, what exercises you do, including reps, sets and weight, and there’s a cute lil section for cardio too if you love nothing more than a sweaty HIIT sesh. There’s also a page for you to set goals – you can note down your current measurements and PBs and then see if this improves as you log. Pretty cool, huh?

Here's the journal I used and what discovered while logging my workouts.


The first thing I noticed after just a few days of logging my workouts was how much faster my sessions now were. Having a solid plan cut out my routine wander around the gym, trying to decide what exercise I wanted to do. Instead, I was a woman on a mission, heading from machine to machine without the usual faff of ‘Do I want to use the machine or dumbbells?’. No faffing meant speedier sessions, and, despite spending a little less time in the gym, I felt more productive. I could see exactly what I’d done that day, which was very satisfying.


Logging my workouts definitely made me push myself that little bit harder. For the first time, I was tracking the reps and weight of every single exercise, so, it automatically made me want to do better next time. If I managed eight reps on an exercise then, next time, I’d push myself to do 10. Survived 15 minutes on the rower? Well, get ready for 20 minutes of hell next time!

This was probably one of my favourite things about logging my workouts – I’m naturally a pretty laid back person so find it quite hard to be super competitive, but logging everything made me push myself to do more reps, last a little longer on the bike or lift the weight I previously would never have tried because ‘There’s no way I’ll lift that!’. It was great to test myself and it definitely made my sessions more interesting.


When you’re in a rush or unprepared, it can be so much easier to just stick to what you know. But, pre-planning my sessions? Well, it made me try all kinds of new things! Exercises I was familiar with from circuit classes, for example, but wouldn’t really think to add into my everyday routine. The practice of actually sitting down and planning my sessions made me think about how I could spice up my workouts, rather than sticking to my usual route around the gym.


So, as well as speeding up my sessions and adding a lil bit of variety, I also managed to sneak in a cheeky PB too! I’d been struggling on hip thrusts for a while, failing whenever I attempted to go that little bit heavier and often choosing to stick to a weight I knew I could lift cos ‘cba’. But, as I said, the process of logging my reps and weight made me so much more competitive with myself. And this definitely forced me out of my comfort zone, which was what was holding me back before.


If you’ve read this far (well done), then you’ll already know that I absolutely would 100% recommend logging your workouts. It’s something that I’d always considered but always been too busy (lazy) to do! But, having seen so many improvements in my sessions, I’ll definitely keep it up.”