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Training Diaries

Training Diaries
Training Diaries

Training Diaries:

If you are serious about becoming a superstar bodybuilder, it is essential that you keep a faithful and detailed training diary throughout your bodybuilding training. “By keeping a training journal, you will increase your awareness of what you are doing in your bodybuilding,” says three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane.

Seven-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger further stresses the value of maintaining a comprehensive training log, “Write everything down. Unless you take accurate notes about your training and record the results you receive from it, you will have difficulty in determining which training techniques work bet on your unique body.”

Ultimately, you will be successful as a bodybuilder only as a function of how quickly and thoroughly you learn precisely which training and nutritional practices work best for you. Your search will be filled with cul de sacs, but you can limit these dead-end experiments by keeping a detailed training diary.

As you update your training log, it’s vitally important to refer back to your recorded notes from time to time. I don’t think it would be excessive to review these notes weekly, and certainly, you should review all of them each month. This will give you a clear indication of which training routines, exercises, and techniques—to say nothing of which nutritional variable—are working best for you.

Referring to your older records can also be quite inspirational because they allow you to graphically note your progression in training poundages and intensity levels. From day to day or week to week you probably won’t be able to see much progress. But over a period of several months, you will be able to see that you have made significant strides. It’s not uncommon for an experienced bodybuilder to gain 50-60 pounds on selected basic movements (e.g., squats, benches) over a one-year period. And when you see results this great, your enthusiasm for each workout will be greatly increased.

At the most basic level, you should record the date of each workout, the exercises performed, the weights used in each movement, and the sets and reps performed. You can do this in any type of notebook, particularly in the inexpensive bound ledger books available at office supply stores. Or you can use the convenient Muscle & Fitness Training Diary (contemporary Books, 1982) that I put together for use by serious bodybuilders.

When recording your workouts, you should use a type of bodybuilding shorthand that looks like this:

1.     Bench Press: 135 x 12: 165 x 10: 185 x 8; 205 x 6
2.     Dumbbell Incline Presses: 60 x 9 x 8 x 8
3.     Flat-Bench Flyes: 10 x 8 x 8 x 8

In the foregoing example, you might have done 12 reps with 135, 10 reps with 165, 8 reps with 185, and 6 reps with 205 pounds on the bench press. This was followed by three sets of dumbbell incline presses using a steady weight of 60 pounds in each hand for successive sets of 9, 8, and 8 reps. the chest routine was concluded with three sets of 8 reps each of flat-bench Flyes using 40-pounds dumbbells in each hand. I think you will agree that this is a pretty simple system.

If you feel like further simplifying your notes, you can use abbreviations for different exercises. Here are some samples:

·        DB Flyes = Dumbbell Flyes
·        BB Presses = Barbell Presses
·        F China = Front Chins
·        PB Necks = Presses Behind Neck

I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with many more of these abbreviations. As long as you know what they mean when you review your notes, anything is fair game.

Many other variables can also be recorded in your training diary. One of these is your daily food and food supplements intake. If you decide to record your nutritional program, you should be careful to note the time of day each nutrient was consumed, plus the amount of each food you eat. This will allow you to later determine how many calories or grams of protein at what times of the day led to a particular change in the appearance of your physique.

I’m also a big believer in recording your morning pulse rate, your pulse rate when still in bed just after you awaken. An abrupt increase in morning pulse rate is a sure indication that you are overtraining and should cut back on your workouts a bit. If you happen to have the equipment to take your blood pressure, morning blood pressure spikes are also a sure indication that you are entering an over trained state.

“Write down how you felt before and after your training session,” advises Frank Zane, “Note anything unusual that occur in your body, such as injuries of exceptional strength or weakness in any movement.”

Here are some other factors that you might wish to record in your training log: sleep patterns that might have an influence on training energy levels, your daily mood shifts, emotional drains, unique stressors, the length of time it takes to complete a workout, the type and amount of aerobic exercise you are engaged in, and any other factor that might conceivably have an effect on your bodybuilding progress.

As a concluding tip, Boyer Coe (IFBB Pro World Grand Prix Champion) suggests, “Try placing a star after each exercise in which you will increase your training poundage at your next workout. I find that this is an excellent way to increase my own workout enthusiasm level. Whenever I can glance at my training diary and see that I’ve started two or more movements, I know I’ve been making great progress. And that in turn fuels my workout enthusiasm to keep training hard and make even more gains in muscle mass and quality!”
Training Diaries Reviewed by Bodybuilding Gym on 04:00 Rating: 5

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