Measure Everything

I’m amazed that people spend so much time going to the gym, yet fail to take the extra minute or two to incorporate practices that help them get the most out of their time there. One thing that people tend push to the side is keeping a thorough log of their gym routines.

In order to truly get the most out of each workout, its important to establish a measurement system. This can be done by logging the details of each workout. Why is it important? For starters, it helps you remember the exercises you did last time you were at the gym. More importantly, it enables you to track your progress. Tracking progress is important for assessing the effectiveness of routines as well as serving as an indicator for when components of a workout or specific exercise should be adjusted. Some examples of adjustments are increasing the weight for a lifting exercise or speed on the treadmill.

In terms of what to measure, you should attempt to record the necessary details of each exercise that facilitate a consistent baseline from workout to workout. I’ve outlined two examples below to gain a better understanding of what I mean.

Weightlifting measurement:

  • Name of exercise
  • Number of repetitions
  • Number of sets
  • Rest time between each set
  • Machine setting (seat height etc)

Treadmill measurement:

  • Incline
  • Speed
  • Time elapsed

Although it may seem tedious to measure these things, the returns you receive are worth it. Without this information, its hard for us to determine whether our training is effective and when we should increase resistance (which comes in many forms). Both of these are necessary for achieving maximum effectiveness in the gym. Bottom line: if you want the most out of your workouts, a good place to start is keeping a comprehensive log.