A simple yet incredibly useful tool to ensure your clients retain a positive mindset, particularly when exercising becomes tough or blips occur, is a workout diary.
Basic in design and easy to use, a workout diary has the power to motivate your clients to achieve more, whether that's measured in terms of a quicker time for a 5K, a few more Kgs on the bench press or a few less Kgs when they stand on the scales. Recording their sessions with you but more importantly, any workouts they execute alone, could give the winning edge they need. So just how does a workout diary help?
What happens if you swap cardio and make your clients do it after resistance exercises for a change, can they handle a greater volume of work? The only route to analysing variations to enable your clients to perform better in their workouts is by them having a record of what they usually do. Often simply by you and/or them looking back at past workouts might establish what they did differently that led to them working at a higher level on a particular exercise or drill.
Staying on Track
Reviewing a training diary can be invaluable when motivation wanes by reminding your client just how far they’ve come already. Cleary then if they were able to make that much progress, there’s no reason why they can’t continue to move forwards.
You will no doubt have informed your clients that progress will only be achieved through effort and key to this is you overloading their physiological systems in order to bring about the adaptations that bring results. Keeping a log of workouts will enable you to establish a definite start point and then enable your clients to check they are regularly making small increases that will guarantee achievement of goals.
Keeping a record of the various factors that could affect or be affected by an exercise programme will enable you and your client to assess how well it suits their lifestyle. The ability to review meals and how they influenced workouts could be incredibly useful. Recording sleep patterns may lead to you changing the time of your clients evening workouts and understanding how certain exercise themes affect their mood could steer the way you design future progressions.
A diary is an ideal tool for venting frustrations, anxieties and disappointments related to exercise journey, enabling your client to view them objectively and so to establish solutions. A useful psychological tool is to subliminally reprimand your clients by putting a cross in their diary on the days they missed a workout as this has been shown to lead to better attendance afterwards.
Occasionally, not just beginners but even exercise addicts perceive they have chalked off a higher volume of work in a particular workout than was actually true. A training diary removes the uncertainty as previous workouts can be reviewed and compared, giving a genuine view of effort.
The dreaded plateau effect can plague regular exercisers as their body becomes accustomed to the workout you have designed for them so mixing things up is needed to stimulate the physiological systems to respond. If your client has an historical record it will be easy for them to look back and find a period where their journey stalled before and discover what changes they or you made that overcame the stall.
I strongly recommend the use of a training diary as it helps to ensure the programme you design for a client becomes something you do with them rather than to them.
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