One of my favorite ways to stay motivated for exercise and fitness is keeping track of my progress. In fact, there are quite a few benefits of keeping personal fitness records. But, how important is it to the average person?
It really depends on who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish.
For many people, it doesn’t matter how many push-ups they’ve done or their maximum lifting weight. However, these kinds of things can weigh heavily on motivation to continue.
The Importance of Tracking Personal Fitness Records
So, I suppose this is a bit of an opinion piece. Because in reality, keeping track of your records in fitness doesn’t necessarily affect the outcome.
It’s not like you won’t succeed unless you hammer out some numbers in a spreadsheet.
However, I can breakdown a few points that show why someone would want to track this information. And as long as you’re honest with yourself while jotting down this data, you can reap several benefits.
Getting Inspired to Continue Progress
For me, personal fitness records inspire the continued effort into various exercises. This is because I am working on becoming better than I am. And, my memory isn’t what it used to be.
For example, my record for using the ab roller is only 10 reps. Since my core is a problem area for me, I am inspired by this number to do better.
I’m sure I can do more than 10…eventually. I am quite competitive when it comes to myself. These numbers fuel that need to one-up myself and improve my body over time.
Knowing Your Limitations
I have a habit of pushing myself way too far when it comes to certain routines. This has nearly landed me in the hospital on more than one occasion. By knowing my limitations for certain exercises, I reduce the risks to myself.
Let’s take the ab roller example. I can really try to crank out 20. But I know that my max is 10, so going too far might make me sick to my stomach. Something else I’ve done in the past.
You can work to surpass your personal fitness records. But when you push too hard, you can actually hurt yourself quite a bit.
Identify Areas that Need Attention
When you keep track of your exercises, you can easily identify what parts of your body need the most attention. For instance, I know I can do about 18 sit-ups before it feels like my abs are on fire.
If I’m able to do a handful of reps with one exercise but crank out a lot of another, then I know what areas need the most attention overall.
I can easily whip out 50 jumping jacks without breaking a sweat. But thanks to keeping personal fitness records, I know my core needs an incredible amount of work in comparison.
And lastly, who doesn’t want bragging rights? Of course, no one really knows what you can do until you actually do it. But, if you’re honest with keeping track, you know you can perform the activity.
I know how much weight I can move during the Machine Fly. And I proved that point to my son when we were at the gym and he scoffed at my ability. This is because I am well aware of what I can do as I keep track of all my exercises.
Now, you probably shouldn’t go around bragging you can lift so much or that you can crank out hundreds of push-ups. In reality, I’m not one to brag, myself.
But if the conversation comes up, you know how far you can take specific exercises.
And yes, my son started the little argument by laughing at how much I can press before I actually did it. I was just defending myself by proving him wrong.
How Do You Track Personal Fitness Records?
There are quite a few ways you can keep track of records, nowadays. And there is no right or wrong answer here. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with and what methods work best for you.
I talk about Exercise.com an awful lot. Mostly, because I loved the platform back when it was WeightTraining.com and had a better social element.
In this case, Exercise.com has a great platform for keeping track of personal fitness records. You can also see how you stack up against others using the website.
You simply log your workout routine with all the different exercises you perform and the system will do the rest. Plus, it will replace your records when you beat them along with a timestamp.
In fact, I’m currently working on breaking some of my records later this month.
Using a Spreadsheet in Google Docs
You don’t have to use Exercise.com to keep track of records. You can go with something more simple and merely enter them into a spreadsheet in Google docs.
Personally, I have spreadsheets for a myriad of purposes. I like coming up with different formulas and creating forecasts of just about anything.
I even have one that will give me an estimate of how much I’ll weigh at any point in the year.
You can get all kinds of fancy with a spreadsheet. And Google Docs can do a lot as a free system you can use from just about any web browser.
Writing Them Down in a Notebook
There’s nothing wrong with going even more basic. If you have a few spare notebooks lying around, you can easily turn one into a personal fitness record.
In reality, this is what people used to do before the Internet became the data-driven monster it is today. Even I find solace by going old-school every now and then.
I even have a pen and notebook next to my keyboard to keep track of notes and things I come across online.
My point is that you don’t have to rely on the Internet to provide you with record-keeping tools. Plus, you can take the notebook with you to the gym and keep track as you perform various exercises.
Using a Sticky Note
So, I use a sticky note to plan out my daily workout routines. I’ll jot down what I’m doing and how many sets I’ve done. Then, I’ll transfer them to Exercise.com.
However, you can simply write down what you’ve done and then stick the note to something like your monitor or refrigerator. It can be a reminder that you are working to surpass a personal record.
I know people who leave notes for themselves all over the place to help in dieting. In fact, my friend, Chris Desatoff, leaves notes to help curb snacking.
But, you can also use these notes to inspire exercise and working out.
Anything to Keep Yourself Motivated
My point when it comes to personal fitness records is to find something that motivates you to keep moving forward. Too many people will give easily without the right motivational tool.
Keeping track of your best is just a way to gamify the exercise and inspire you to do better. For me, it’s like keeping score. And I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when I break my own records.
How do you keep yourself motivated for fitness?