The Importance of Performance Tracking

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Good morning, friends!

So, something awesome happened last night: I deadlifted 200 pounds! Woohoo!

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For those of you who CrossFit, 200 pounds isn’t all that impressive, but, for me, it was pretty darn cool, especially since I increased my deadlift weight by almost a third! My previous 1 rep max was 155 pounds, so that’s a 45-pound increase! Crazy, right? I’m still impressed with myself. I honestly didn’t think I had it in me.

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Last night, we had 20 minutes to work our way up to our 1 rep max for deadlifts. I knew my previous 1 rep max was 155 pounds back in December, so I wanted to beat it. Knowing my previous 1 rep max was really motivating and it set the bar for my performance last night.

In the past few months, I’ve seen a lot of improvements with regard to my physical fitness because of CrossFit. Some of them are pretty obvious to me, like how I look and feel, but some are fairly subjective, which is why I record my CrossFit workouts in a little notebook after each class. (I also track my running workouts on DailyMile.com.) Doing this helps me keep track of my performance to see where I’ve progressed or where I need to do some work. Let’s just say the weights, clock, and 20” box don’t lie!

I keep track of my workouts in an old school notebook, but I know there are a lot of CrossFit/WOD apps out there that do the same thing. I think as long as you record the key info for your workouts on a regular basis, it’s an effective way to track your progress and, hopefully, motivate you to continue to improve. Personally, when I achieve a new PR, I’m only satisfied for a little while because then I want to surpass it.

When I first started CrossFit, my little notebook had no organization at all. I just wrote down the workouts, my times, and weights with no rhyme or reason. Nearly four months later, I realized this is no way to track my progress, so I started to organize them last night. Here’s how I set up my notebook:

  • Squat, deadlift, press, etc.
  • Olympic lifts
  • Benchmark workouts
  • Hero workouts
  • Other WODs
  • Run & row times

I’m trying to keep things simple, so I include the weight, time, and date with each of my workouts. CrossFit friends: Does this makes sense? Am I missing anything? Is there a better way to keep track of my workouts?

Dinner

BLTs were on the menu for last night’s dinner, but I wasn’t in the mood for a sandwich when I got home from CrossFit, so switched things up and made a huge-ass salad with all sorts of goodies.

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In the mix: greens, tomatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, avocado, hardboiled egg, bacon, truffle oil, and balsamic vinegar. I {heart} monster salads.

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I finished off the night with a piece of toast with peanut butter and butterscotch chips on top. I also {heart} dessert.

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Three Questions Thursday

It’s Thursday again! Here’s the next edition of Three Questions Thursday! Keep those questions coming!

Do you run in the same shoes you Crossfit in? I was (Merrell Gloves) but just came down with a stress fracture in my foot so no more running for a while and Crossfit with a cool new boot on! I’m trying to decide what shoes to use when I’m better. Love the minimalist shoe but worry that I’ll get hurt with them again. Never a problem in my ‘regular’ running shoe. Thoughts?

So sorry to hear about your foot! I hope you heal quickly and you’re are back up and running again soon!

I wear two different kinds of sneakers for my workouts: New Balance 880s for running and New Balance Minimus 20s for CrossFit. (Click on the links for my full review of each of these shoes.) I run in the Minimus at CrossFit, but we typically don’t run more than a mile or two at a time in a workout. If the WOD has more miles in it, I’ll bring my running sneakers to wear during it. For long distance running (pretty much anything over 3 miles), I wear my 880s since they’re more cushiony and supportive than the Minimus.

I know a lot of people run long distances in the Minimus, but I haven’t worked my way up to those longer miles yet. I’ve struggled with running-related injuries in the past, so I actually don’t think I’ll increase my distance in the Minimus anytime soon and plan to stick to regular running sneakers for my long distance runs.

My boyfriend is thinking of doing Crossfit and wants me to join too! I know you and Mal do it together- how would you say that impacts your relationship?

Mal and I think CrossFit is great for us! It’s something we both really love, so we enjoy doing it together and we always have something to talk about. Let me tell ya, there’s a lot of CrossFit talk happening in the Haupert household on a daily basis. Murphy is so sick of it! But, in all seriousness, it’s been amazing for our health and wellness. Since we started CrossFit, we cleaned up our diet, drink less (except for last weekend), and sleep more (we need rest up for the WOD!).

Socially, it’s been great, too. Before we joined CrossFit 781, we didn’t have a lot of friends who were into health and fitness, but now we have a whole crew of buddies to share our passion (and like to go out drinking).

Is that a metal straw in your picture? And if so, where did you get that?!

Yep, it is! It’s a stainless steel straw, and I use one everyday in my iced coffee and my smoothies when I drink them. I used to use a plastic straw every morning and just throw it away, but what a waste. I love these stainless steel straws because they are both environmentally and budget-friendly. You’ll never have to buy straws again and you’ll keep all of those plastic straws out of our landfills! You can buy these stainless steal straws from my OpenSky shop!

Question of the Day

How important is it for you to track your fitness performance? What’s your system for keeping track of your progress? How do you use it to motivate yourself?

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70 Comments

  1. As a runner, my stats say it all. Yoga is a lot harder to track performance wise but I don’t like to think of that as something I need to compete with myself on – although it is amazing to get an advanced pose for the first time, like finally landing headstand when it had previously been way out of my reach!

  2. Congrats on the new PR! I like to keep my wods + runs + yoga in order of day too just so when I look back I see why I may not have performed so well. I even include on the page if I was battling a cold or not. Maybe that seems a little OCD but it helps me out 🙂

  3. I use Daily Mile to track my progress. It is mostly beneficial for my runs, but I do keep track of all of the workouts I do.. even if there is no mileage . When I was doing a NROLFW.. I kept track of my weight for each exercise in a notebook so I could see that I was getting stronger!

  4. Every-time you show that salad with hard-boiled eggs and bacon I start crazing one. I might have to put that on the meal plan for next week! I’ve always been much better at tracking running workouts than strength, I just don’t have a good system for it.

  5. My box includes Beyond The White Board (BTWB) http://beyondthewhiteboard.com membership as part of our fees, its like ~$30 for individuals a year a believe. I really love the website, they have tons of work outs pre-load, videos from again faster on form/technique integrated into the website, rankings and the ability to log everything from how many squats you did to did you throw up to what brand of fish oil are you taking. You may want to check out the free trial. Congrats on your new PR! I am a dude and just started and I am only a few pounds ahead of you haha. Like you I also do WODs in a NB minimal shoe but any running I do in traditional Brooks shoes. CrossFit really is like some kind of fitness fad black hole, pulling all fads into it gravity field and I am not really interested in running long distances with the POSE, Chi whatever running method. Unless I am sprinting, I am heel striking and I need some cushion.

  6. Hurray for “huge-ass salads!” 🙂

    We write our workouts/cals burned on a calendar in our workout area. It’s nice to be able to look at a full month of exercise to show we’re on the right track and that this truly is a lifestyle.

  7. congrats on your PR!!! Thats awsome!! our box is using April as “improvement month” and we will be using 10 min to stretch out our “trouble spots” and 20 min to hit a PR on a specific exercise…tonight its to PR a clean!

  8. I track everything! It’s my type A++ personality 🙂
    I have a running notecard where I track race times to map progress and I also track workouts and weight in a daily planner.

  9. You make a really good point. Sometimes progress can be obvious (faster times, heavier weights, feeling better) but I like the idea of seeing the overall progress and really comparing specifics from start to finish. I’m almost surprised CrossFit doesn’t have an online tracking section for progress!

  10. Tracking my progress is a huge motivator for me: it’s proof that my hard work is paying off! Also on the days I’m not feeling very motivated, seeing that I’ve lifted a certain amount / run a certain speed in the past is proof I have it in me…regardless how I feel at that moment.

  11. Okay, you’ve got me convinced to do crossfit to benefit both my body and my relationship- thanks :). Though I am nervous about how to handle marathon training AND crossfit this summer…hopefully I can work something out.

    Made your pancakes this morning! Posted about them! They were tasty and I was impressed that only one fell apart. I don’t have a food processor and just used my hands to mush everything together. Worked like a (messy) charm!

  12. I really need to do a better job of tracking my progress. I teacher cardio and strength training classes. I really think I can go up in my weights during the classes (I always use 8 and 10) but I don’t want the members to feel like they have to lift heavier (or maybe they should too!)

  13. I could never remember to track my WODs until I got an IPhone app for it! I have “myWOD”, but there are several options out there. It’s so much easier than remembering to write things in a notebook (for me anyway) and it’s all organized for you.

  14. I also record my crossfit in a tiny notebook without much order to it but I’ve been thinking of printing out a chart and cleaning it up also. Most poeple at my gym have a binder with a chart listing all the major strength lifts and olypmic lifts, then columns next to it to record 1 RM for different dates. Then behind that is a bunch big boxes where you can write the date and what the WOD was with weight/ reps/ time etc. It seems to work really well for people and I think I’m going to make something like that to use.

  15. Performance tracking really can make such a difference in training…I actually just found an awesome tracking log at Barnes & Noble for strength training, and cardio. Congrats on the PR, the Cohasset run is so beautiful! I run that route a lot, wish I had made it for the race this year!

  16. I find tracking my workouts SUPER motivational. My husband doesn’t do it. I feel like if I didn’t track my miles, I wouldn’t even bother running. Same with other goals — like box jumps per minute. I was making him video them last night. I definitely agree that working out together REALLY gives you something fun to talk about. It’s bonding!!

  17. Congrats on the 200lb deadlift! And now I think you can hopefully answer something that’s been plaguing me for a while:

    I see all kinds of standards for how much you should be able to deadlift/press/squat for each gender at various levels of fitness, and all the numbers sounded INSANELY high to me. Then I realized that I’m comparing it to the weight I can deadlift/etc for 15 reps x 3 sets, which is VERY different than 1 rep to exhaustion! Can you compare the 1 rep to what you do when you deadlift sets? I’m very interested to see the difference!

    1. @Laura: Hmm… it’d be hard to compare since one is a one lift max versus multiple reps. Plus, I’m a lot stronger than I was a few months ago when I did a zillion deadlifts at Body Pump, for example, so it’s hard to say. I definitely wouldn’t be able to deadlift 200 pounds for multiple reps!

      1. @Tina:

        I do 90lbs when I do three sets of 15, so I’m hoping it’s at least 150lbs for one rep? One of these days, I just need to suck it up and try a one lift max! 🙂

  18. Great Job! 200 lbs sounds like a lot to me- thats awesome!
    I have been using photos as my track keeper.. I know I need to start keeping better track of things here soon- but I’m not so good at staying on top of it.

  19. I just started tracking my Crossfit workouts, and I’m so happy to see results! I did Annie two nights ago in 6:13. I did ALL double-unders, whereas two months ago my time was 9 minutes something for doing double singles. This is so motivating to me. I record all my times for running on my blog, too, and it makes me work harder when I see improvements. I love it.

  20. I track all my workouts in Dailymile, too. I use it mainly for running, but also for cross training, too. I like the idea of recording my mileage to see how much I can do in one week! It’s actually really motivating!

  21. I use my Race times as a guide to see improvments and also I write down how many pull ups I can do. It is really great to be able to add reps with pull ups and push ups I think it is an easy guage of fitness and strength improvements.

  22. If I didn’t keep track of my workouts I’m sure I would quit! I think it’s related to my OCD with making lists for everything too. If I don’t see the progress in front of me I can pretty easily convince myself it didn’t happen.

  23. Congrats! That’s awesome! I always love tracking my runs for the same reason, because it’s interesting to see how my pace improves or decreases based on other things I’m doing at the time.

  24. Check out wodbook.com They sell journals for CrossFit – and they include place to record PRs, 1 rep maxes, etc., as well as daily workouts, and even include a bunch of benchmark WODs.

  25. that’s an amazing deadlift! If you have an iphone (there may also be apps for other phones, I’m not sure) you should check out the myWOD app, it’s great you can track every WOD you do, your records, max weights and common WODs. I’m obsessed with it and its great to look back and see how much improvement you’ve made.

  26. I love to track my fitness stuff – which is usually running or walking and I track it either by wearing my Forerunner or by entering the activity on GarminConnect.com This helps me keep track of what I’m doing so I know if I’m hitting my mileage goals for each month plus I can see if I’m improving in time/distance etc…

  27. My system is fairly simple, but it seems to be effective. I only track my running progress, and I focus mainly on recording my time for runs and calculating my mileage splits. I usually run at a 8:00 pace, so I try to stick to that when I’m running longer runs. On shorter runs, I routinely push myself to cut a about 5-10 seconds off each mile’s split when I can, and at the final .10 miles of the run I up my speed to have a strong finish. That burst does something to my improve my speed over time, but I’m not quite sure why.

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