Logbook: Your Most Powerful Tool in The Gym

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There is no tool more powerful than your logbook. I’m not talking about an app on your phone. I’m talking about classic pen and paper that you bring around with you in the gym. In this article, I’ll be talking about the 10 reasons why your logbook is the most powerful tool in the gym.


1. You’re honest with yourself

You can try cheating the logbook, but you’ll only be cheating yourself. Every data point of entry you enter is a direct reflection of how your training is going to go or how it went. “I don’t feel like training today” doesn’t become a problem when you already have your exercises written out. At this point, you know you must get them done. Your mind will always find some excuse to rationalize a way out of the problem. Don’t listen to it when the answers are on your paper.

2. Your goals are clear and defined

On the very first page of the logbook, you should have your goals clear, defined, realistic, and quantifiable. You’ll see those goals every time you open your logbook and it’ll remind you of the importance of training at a mental, physical, and spiritual level. Without goals, your training is lost in vain. Make these goals realistic and they’ll be easier to hit.

3. Goals have a clear-cut plan

Think of your goals as the overall strategy in your lifting journey and think of your plan as the tactics to achieve your strategy. One can’t function without the other. Your plan can consist of daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals that you set out to achieve. If you can’t quantify these and make them realistic than your overarching goal isn’t clearly defined enough. Go back to the lab to decide what you want and reverse engineer to figure out what you must do to make it happen. This is only possible if you write it down in your logbook.

4. Your present self is inspired by your past self

When looking at past exercises and weights being lifted, you’ll notice how much more you’ve done over the course of 3, 6, and even 12 a month period (if you’ve properly used progressive overload of course). When you first started, you might not have been lifting heavy weights on your Deadlift. You were stuck at one plate. But 12 months later you’re at 2 plates and change. Looking back on your logbook you’ll be self-inspired by your own progress and only want more of it!

5. You can write detailed accounts

The best part about the logbook? I’m sure apps implement this function as well; but with your logbook you’re able to go as detailed as possible about your workouts, sleep, diet, exercises that were causing you pain. If you’re already writing down in detail workouts that aren’t the best, then ask yourself this one question: “Why?”. Keep asking yourself this question and deep as possible into your own mind, for you already have the answer, and you already have the solution.

6. Your logbook tracks Progressive Overload

How do you know if you’re getting faster, stronger, leaner, etc if you’re not tracking it? It’s impossible really. Progressive Overload is the ability to adapt your body with acute stimulus usually 2-5% more stimulus than the earlier workout. This comes in the from of adding a new repetition to an exercise or as simple as adding 5lbs to the bar. In either case, your body adapts to a new set of stress that will force it to tear muscle fibers and have new ones being rebuilt with proper sleep, nutrition, and supplements. Progressive Overload is only possible if you properly track your workouts and beat previous records. “If you’re not beating the logbook, then you’re just beating your meat” – Someone important

7. Your logbook is also a psychological release

You’re human. I’m human. We both get angry, disappointed, frustrated, and many more emotions. These are simply a feature of being human. For some, this can bog them down, but when you have a logbook you can also use it as a psychological release. Johnny made you angry at work today. Why? Write it down and find out. You might be surprised that it could be a reflection of yourself that you see in him. It’s scary going down that road but knowing what triggers your negative emotions is the first step to addressing them and dealing with them like a proper human being.

8. Safeguard against injuries

What do you do when you have an exercise that causes you pain? Do you ignore it? Do you address it? The best thing to do is to address it, write down where it hurts and at what point of the movement it hurts. This will show you to do your own research and experiment with what works for you, and it gives you a chance to heal the problem. If you ignore the problem, it doesn’t mean it’ll go away.

9. Your logbook is Accountability

As a Personal Trainer myself, the first thing I teach my clients is how to use a logbook. After the first consultation, I get them to buy a cheap little notepad from the dollar store so that they can keep track of their own records when they train solo. If you’re a Coach or Trainer yourself, then invest some time in teaching your clients how to properly use a logbook so that they can get the maximum benefits of your teaching along with their own personal accountability.

10. What separates the Boys from the Men

You’ve seen the “Big Boys” in the gym. The real men. The wolves of the pack throwing 45s around like they’re 10s. Those are the men that people in the gym are intimidated by (they’re always the nicest) but also respect. You’ll also notice those are the same guys that carry a logbook around wherever they go regardless of the training day. They have detailed accounts of their workouts because results matter. I’m a result orientated guy. If you’re not getting results, then something is off with your training, and it’s probably your lack of a logbook.


There you have it, the 10 reasons why you should get a logbook. I hope you learned something from this article. If you enjoyed it, please share it with your friends and family.

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