Keeping Your Goals in Mind
Having goals is important. The more specific they are, the better. Keeping your goals written down and in a visible place helps remind you why you are doing all this work in the first place. And as you reach each of your goals, you have a visible reminder that you did it - you are awesome. I recommend keeping the front few pages in your journal dedicated to your goals so as you cross them off and replace them with new ones you can remind yourself just how far you have come. Let it motivate you to the next level.
Chart Your Progress
It can be hard to remember what you did in your workout later in day, let alone days later. When you write down what you did in a workout immediately after, including how you feel about it, you will be able to see your progress as you refer back. Maybe you cut off a minute in your "Fran" time, or you added a round to your "Chief," or you added 15 pounds to your front squat. Maybe you cut 2mins off your 5k time. We live in a fast paced world and the details are the first things we forget. And as a CrossFitter, you do far too many workouts and exercises to be able to keep track of all the details. Let your workout log do it for you. Besides, then you'll have more memory space for other things, like where you left the car keys.
People are always telling me that just knowing they are have to write something down changes what they do or don't do. Who wants to have a written record that they didn't finish a workout? Or that they only put in 50% effort? This concept applies for both online and book journaling. Logging in a book keeps you accountable to yourself, but keeping your log on the online forum adds extra spice to your level of accountability because it is a public forum. Some may find it easier to stay more consistent with attendance and effort because they know people (especially your coaches!) read the online logs every day.
As you start to look back through your journal, you will notice trends in your body and in your workouts. You will see how those late nights affect your workouts. You can play with how soon you eat before or after a workout and how that makes you feel during your workout or during your recovery. You will have a place to figure out what works for you and learn from your good workouts, and even more from your bad ones. Acquiring this kind of awareness can benefit your workouts as well as your overall health and well-being.
Write it down! Start with your workout and how you felt about it - if it works for you, try to also journaling your diet and sleep. Use Evernote, download an app, or write it down in a good old fashioned notebook with pen and paper and leave in your gym bag so you have ready access to it. No matter what the method, try it out and see how it helps you further yourself in your fitness efforts.
For those of you who already keeping track, this month is jam packed with some repeat WODs, so keep your notes handy!