Should I Keep a Workout Log?

Should I Keep a Workout Log?

Should I keep a workout log? Well are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced lifter? What is your end goal? Are you ok with not going up in weight each week? You have to ask yourself all of this. I will go over it all in this video. I would also love to hear if any of you have workout logs and if so at what age did you start your first one.

Make sure you like the video share the video and subscribe to the channel. And if you would like me to answer any of you question please ask them in the comment section.

workout logbook, workout log book, workout journal


  1. you still need to log what you’re doing because if you went in and just trained hard, you could essentially give it all you got each and every time and never grow even if you ate more food. this is because your body has no reason to grow. the stimulus isnt the workout, its the progressive overload. if you did 225 on incline and went back to do that week after week, why would your chest grow? you have to FORCE yourself to lift heavier weights and you do that by slowly adding weight to the bar. next time try micro-loading 226 or 227.5 or get more reps with 225. eventually you get stronger and as long as you execute good form and eat, you will grow. PED’s help too if you’re getting old…

  2. I don’t like them particularly, for big weights i.e. squats and deadlifts, it could be useful for measuring small increments. However, people use them for side dumbbell raises (I’ve only upped about 4kg in 8 years of training on this exercises). People spend too long faffing about writing logs down when they should put the focus into training with more weight and more reps etc over time. I know for myself, once I progress to 130kg for 8 reps on bench press, my shoulders begin getting bad pain so I have to lower it or change exercises.

  3. I still have the problem of mentally getting over "not progressing" in weight or reps from from previous attempt at the certain lift. This is helpful in understanding that its not all about the PR’s

  4. I use a log book for my workouts but I also write down notes. Saying whether use more or less weight next time or change the amount of rest between sets.

  5. "The success of a workout or a set is more dependable on the amount of the intensity you put into it, not necessarily the weights you use". – Meadows, 2018.

  6. John, I’m currently doing your Creeping Death program, and in many exercises you replace the decline press with other exrcises for women, is there a reason why you recommed women not to train the lower chest??

  7. some people need them , some people do not… i used to do computer programming so i have this brain that can remember a crazy amount of things… i never forget what i did the last week.. i still remember sentences from books i have read over ten years ago. but when i lose my keys… hahahah. can never find them and yes I just use my intuition while training and stick to a basic 3 week training program that my russian friend told me about , top secret mass gaining routine. exercises can be rotated in or out every week as long as the workout feels like it counts right.

  8. I’m jusing a training log. But it is more than just repetitions and weights. My diet is recorded, my sleeping times, perseverance training and special events outside the gyms. I think everyone should have a log. If they are lucky enough to find a competent trainer (e.g., you), they can find the best training more quickly. Lastly, I would like to mention that one should always remain with the truth. You only deceive yourself. For me, the log is like a diary. No photo can replace these records, these are only snapshots.

  9. How do you log it. I looked up pictures and it not helping. I want a good design that says how much weight I lifted how many times and how the work.out it and date I did it. Do you have a video on that of how you do it personally.

  10. Progression by poundage alone is flawed in reality especially for the advanced lifter. One just needs to do the math. Let’s say someone is doing 300×5 in the bench press. I "small" 2.5lb increase in weight per week actually comes out to a gain such that the lifter is performing 430×5 in one year’s time. Not likely. 🙂

  11. excellent explaination John about just beating numbers and effort used ….This has made me rethink a few things. Thanks

  12. I’ve been looking for a video like this. I tracked everything for about 2 years then I realised that every time I go into the gym I give it everything I have so why write every little detail down. I stopped logging my workouts and have still progressed a lot over the past year. I figure like you said here that as long as the last rep is as hard as it can be then I am recruiting all the muscle fibres anyway. That wouldn’t change if I wrote it down on paper! Thanks for this video.

  13. When do you pass beginner stage? I’ve always thought 1-3 years beginner, 3-6 intermediate, 6 plus years advanced.

  14. I’m a beginner (less than 2 years training), and I’ve been using a workout log since I started. Not only do I record all the pertinent numbers, I also note how I felt and if I want to work on something technical. For example, after squats, I might write down "keep knees in line with toes at the ends of sets next time," if I noticed that my knees were cheating in a hair.

  15. Great Advice!! Form over weight is always great. I tore my shoulder once by not following this Advice.

  16. i kept a log book for years…then, i found that "listening" to my body was the best way to seeing growth.. NOT hitting a body part because i have to on a said day…but doing what i felt that day, i.e. if i was weak or sore that day, id swith from a power type workout, to a lighter weight hypertrophic workout.

  17. "You don’t qualify for progressive overload without perfect execution" – Heard Joe bennett say this on a video recently. This video from you backs it up and proves that chasing numbers is not always the BEST thing to be focusing on for sure!

  18. Yes I understand about the ego part of it raising the weights but changing your weight lifting exercisers around to confuse the muscle Workout log

  19. I never make progress unless I write it all down.
    really like the way you break it all down in this video.
    I built a really basic online exercise logger and calorie counter at (I always forget my log book)
    Love the advice about keeping proper form over additional reps. Set my self back 6 months with pumping out a few extra sloppy reps 2 Christmases ago

  20. I write my stuff down for over 3 years now, every-single-DAY! Not on my phone or my computer, but in a paperback! Most of the time, if the weight/amount of reps felt light, heavy or moderate I write down a number on a scale of 1 to 10, so that I can measure next time how ”heavy or light” the sets/reps where.
    My food is tracked by myfitnesspal., just saying.

  21. I’ve been training for years on and off. I have never kept a log on how much I am lifting (I would know roughly what my PR is). Recently I watched Dorian Yates Interview and he mentioned he still has his old workout logs. So I have decided to keep a log. I’m trying to find a suitable workout app!

  22. Hello john, one question, You train with an established routine or By intuition?and All series go to failure?? thank you very much, keep it up!!!

  23. This one really spoke to me John. I’ve been OCD logging for 20 years now chasing numbers (weekly weights, or reps per sets). I may try a month of intuitive or maybe just one training session a week pick a different day and do something intuitive. I just keep getting bombarded by add weight every week! "gurus" and the feeling like if I’m not pro-gressin and re-gressin.

  24. Probably the first time someone explains it in a way that makes sense, and not just saying nonsense like,"Well I just workout to how my body feel."

  25. its perf fine to measure weights lifted on a timeline, although linear progression is not the only tool to track progress.

  26. I personally keep a workout log for a bunch of reasons. For one is so that I can look forward to and visualize the sessions throughout the week. But my favorite reason why I use a workout log is so that I don’t perform too much or too little volume. If I’m doing 10 sets of 10 push-ups and inverted rows as a superset, I’m doing EXACTLY 10 sets of 10 push-ups and inverted rows as a superset. No more, no less.

  27. John,

    Please consider doing a video or a written response on the best way to track macronutrients. (i.e. Should we "count" protein that comes from carb sources or only from our animal or whey sources? How does this affect the way we should utilize tracking apps like Myfitnesspal?)

    This is something never talked about in the fitness community and you’d be doing a great favor by giving us your take on it.

    Thank you for all the great info!

  28. actually just started one of your programs with your lifting style. Say its 3×8 and you are last set and going and realize you might end up with 11 for that last brutal tough rep. Would you rather someone stop at the 8 and add more weight and do another set to fail closer at 8 or just get that 11 at failure and call it a day?

  29. So what comic book was hiding in the log book in the thumbnail!!? You have that "im really focusing on this text Mr physics teacher" nailed perfectly from years of practice 😉

  30. How long should you stick with a particular exercise if you’re not seeing progress before changing things up? A couple weeks?
    Months? EX: I’ve consistently been 3 sets x 10 reps of 95lbs on the incline bench for the past 6-12 months, I don’t have extraordinary goals to be benching 300lbs or anything, but I feel I should be pushing myself more. I guess what I’m really asking then are what are the best strategies to progress for increasing weight? More weight but less reps (to failure with good form of course), or adding another set? Or have to experiment and see?

    I feel my religiously meticulous keeping of a log book for years has in a way even hindered my progress at this point as it’s not really a motivator anymore- and I feel I am more or less am just going through the motions of using one. Thank you for your post- I’m going to seriously re-evaluate how I use mine and IF I will even continue to use one.

  31. Couldn’t agree more. I see far too many people mis-use log books and strive for beating numbers without considering the execution and intensity of the sets/reps performed.

  32. I use to use an app to keep a log of everything. Now I use a training log pad and pen. My memory is terrible. I find it very helpful and useful, yet other guys in the gym have different reactions. I don’t use it to show off, I use it to improve myself. I love it when I can move up in weight and improve.

  33. would love a video on training progression through different training ages. How a beginner/intermediate/advanced person should train, all with the end goal of bodybuilding. I know most of your programs are designed for advanced bodybuilders so it would be interesting to see how you would program for beginning bodybuilders and intermediate bodybuilders alike.

  34. I agree John I don’t keep a log, but I see some in the gym with books and iPads looks like over kill to me, now I go off intensity like you said if I don’t come out the gym feeling like I’ve been battered by Mike Tyson then I’ve not been giving it my all…

  35. Another great thing i do iny log book is write down how my body felt that day/week/month…if my shoulder has been giving me i fit for the month i knock off 10-15% on my bench/ohp for the next month to give my shoulder less stress but im still putting in the work….

  36. Log books have always caused me to stress, wast time, and over analyze everything to a point where it’s no longer enjoyable. It’s much easier when I do a basic mental outline of what exercises I’d LIKE to hit that week, and then I tailor it that day if something feels off. Intensity was always important to me though, no matter what.

  37. if you have been training less than 5 yrs min you need a training log no if’s but’s maybe you need one or else you are wasting you’re time. if you have been training 10+ years like me than it’s up to you personally i just ditched my log and the concentration and pump i’m getting is unreal. You don’t have to worry about writing down everything you don’t get stressed if you don’t "hit it" that particular workout. all you’re focus is on the muscle where it should be

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