I love data! If you’ve seen me at the gym, you’ll know I’m always tracking my heart rate with my Polar watch and chest strap. If you’ve seen my social media, you’ve probably seen countless pictures of rower monitors so I can keep track of how I did and try to improve. I even connect my phone to the rower to use an app that gives me more data than the monitor provides. Most nights I track my sleep. Call me a nerd but data really interests me. Without it, I’d have a hard time figuring out if what I’m doing is actually making me better or not.
“…the methodology that drives CrossFit is entirely empirical. We believe that meaningful statements about safety, efficacy, and efficiency, the three most important and interdependent facets of any fitness program, can be supported only by measurable, observable, repeatable facts, i.e., data.”
Greg Glassman, Founder of CrossFit
When you first start CrossFit, you get to live in “PR City” for awhile. Personal bests seem to happen every time you walk into the gym. Experiencing those PRs becomes addicting as we strive to get better and better all the time. If we strive to get better, it’s important we have a method of qualifying that.
Why bother tracking your workouts? While celebrating your PRs and bragging to friends about your Fran time is great, tracking offers so much more. Tracking will:
- Help you identify weaknesses in your training by showing you what kind of workouts may need improvement or what movements you may need to practice more
- Show you how to appropriately challenge yourself by giving you a history of weights, times, notes, etc. from past workouts which will allow you to gauge how to push yourself more
- Help you develop and track goals in the gym
- Serve as inspiration as you look back at how far you’ve come
- Actually show you if you’re getting “fitter” with empirical data
Unfortunately, unlike many other sports there isn’t just one metric to track in CrossFit. We don’t have a specific device to track the hundreds of movements that we are trying to improve on. The Girls, Heroes, benchmarks, 1, 3, 5 rep maxes? How do we track all of this and see improvement?
For years, I put everything into a small book that I kept in my gym bag. I was diligent about making sure to write down all my workouts and my times, weights used, rounds, etc. Unfortunately, if I wanted to see how today’s effort compared to the last time I did that same workout, I would have to flip through the hundreds of pages of my scribbling and hope I was able to find that last time. Not the easiest task! From there, I kept notes on my phone but unfortunately I ran into the same problem scrolling through so many notes in order to hopefully find the one I was looking for. Getting a new phone or updating software always proved a problem as I’d unintentionally delete many of my earlier workout logs.
So what to do? How do you keep track of it all? Luckily the same software we use at APACHE to reserve classes, pay bills, sign up for events, etc., Zenplanner, includes a wonderful workout tracker. We manually add every workout, max lift, row effort, etc. into the system to make it easy for you to track your results.
At the end of your workout simply click on your face on the screen in the main room and you will be prompted with a simple pop up window to add your time, rounds, weight, etc. You can even add a note to say how you felt or how you may have scaled the workout. If you’re in a rush, simply add your results on the Zenplanner app or on your desktop computer. All this data is stored for you for years to come.
If you want to see how others are doing on the workout you can take a look at the leaderboard on your app and even give them a virtual “thumbs up” or add a message of encouragement. You can choose to have your workouts not show up publicly too but we’re all family and would love to cheer you on. (just uncheck public)
Overall, data rocks! It is critical to your progress as an athlete and will help you and gym continue to improve your level of fitness.
Check out the Zenplanner app here: iPhoneDroid
Any questions? Ask any of us and we’d love to help.