Trying to stay on top of a hard-to-shape physique is tough enough – don’t make things any more complicated than they need to be. Careful organization is the key to success. A clear and concise fitness log will give you the ability to diagnose weight gain plateaus and declines at a glance, an ability that will serve as your secret weapon in the pursuit of greater bulk.
Begin with the Right Supplies
Take good care of your fitness log and it will take good care of you. It needs to be small enough to carry around, large enough to allow for detailed notes yet simple enough to motivate you to use it every single day. It needs to be sturdy enough to hang out in your sweaty gym bag day after day.
Start with simple forms. Regular lined notebook paper will work for most purposes, but many bodybuilders prefer to use printed forms designed specifically for bodybuilding. You can even use invoice sheets and other bulk forms from office supply stores for an organized look at a good price. Make sure to include prominent dividers and break your notebook up into weeks or months. Do not shy away from helpful features like color-coding and descriptive tabs or sticky notes.
Knowing what to Include
Gaining weight and muscle mass involves a delicate balance between eating, exercising, and resting. The nutrition section and exercise section truly go hand in hand – some bodybuilders keep separate notebooks for each, but we suggest recording these data sets side by side in your fitness log.
The nutrition section is easy. Keep track of what you eat, and try to estimate your overall caloric and nutrient intake. Always stay on the lookout for a better weight gain meal plan, and hold yourself accountable to the plan you choose to pursue. You can’t spend all day reading over nutrition labels so keep a separate set of records that contain your favorite snacks and their nutrition information. This way, you can go back and correct your estimates when you can find the time.
The workout section is no more difficult than the nutrition section. If you work out more than once a day, keep track of each workout separately. Include the exercises you did, the approximate time spent doing it, the number of reps you completed, and the weights or techniques you used. Don’t forget to record those stretches and warm-ups.
Don’t forget to write down your ideas and observations along the way! Take note of any boosts or declines in energy, any stress that might be affecting your performance, any minor changes to the techniques you use, etc. Even the simplest piece of information can yield valuable insight next time you’re chasing down the root cause of a plateau or looking for new ways to push your boundaries.
Include an “overview” section at the end of each month, and a mini-overview section at the end of each week. This is where you will put your total gains and benchmark measurements. The overview section is also a great place to write down observations and ideas to facilitate improvement during the next log cycle.
Making it Personal
This is your fitness log. It contains more information about your body and your psychology than a billion textbooks could ever teach you. The tips in this guide are only the beginning – your fitness log is sure to evolve as your body and mind evolve. You won’t stay a skinny guy or gal forever, so bulk up your fitness log as you bulk up your progress.