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I have a program that looks like this:

enter image description here

Roughly, it's a leg day, arm day and cardio day. It was put together for me as part of the "bonus PT sessions" on joining a gym.

What would one normally write in the boxes on the program? Is it simply a tick to keep track of each date you did it, or would you normally keep track of how long each set takes and try to decrease it?

  • I'm not sure what the confusion is. Each column should represent the work done on that day and should be recorded as it is in the image you show. Can you explain your confusion further? – rrirower May 20 '16 at 2:04
  • Oh.. right. I was under the impression the first column was prescriptive. So I'd basically just keep writing, say, '3/12' each day unless I happen to not be able to make that many sets/reps on a particular day? – Tim Malone May 20 '16 at 2:12
  • Without knowing the trainer's intent, that's my interpretation also. Use the form as a way to track your training. – rrirower May 20 '16 at 2:15
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    Focus on increasing the weight over time and not the repetitions. You are also not covering triceps in that routine. Add a triceps exercise in your middle session from here: jefit.com/exercises/bodypart.php?id=7&exercises=Triceps – Gunge May 20 '16 at 9:23
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    You might want to include weight too as that can change over time – A-Developer-Has-No-Name May 22 '16 at 7:43
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Looking at what's in there currently, you'd write in your sessions sets and reps or time for the given exercise, i.e. 3 / 12, 3 / 60s, 30s, etc.

The issue with this way of recording things is that it doesn't really give you much room.

One of the key things when trying to get in shape is to get yourself stronger (everything is easier when you're stronger), and one of the best ways to do this is to constantly increase the weight that you're lifting.

What I'd suggest you do instead is buy a cheap notebook and record your workouts in that.

The benefits of a notebook are you can record a lot more information about weight, sets, reps and times, but you can also record other things that may be worth noting...

Didn't sleep the night before and really struggled with the workout? Write it down!

Stretched your chest at the start of the session and found the lat pulldowns a lot easier? Write it down!

Did some hip flexor work at the end of each session and found your squat for improved? Write it down!

Tried to perform a 50kg snatch without any training and dropped the bar on your neck and shoulders, popping one of them out of joint? Write it down! (To paraphrase Dan John, surgery is God's way of telling us we did something wrong).

This may seem like a lot of notes to take, but there's nothing quite as motivating as flicking back through your notebook at the end of a session and seeing that you just benched more than you ever have before.

Success leaves clues (another Dan John-ism) and everyone is different. Record things, look back and figure out what works for you.

  • Thanks for going into detail on such a noob question, Dark Hippo. I love the notebook idea. Will be trying it today! – Tim Malone May 21 '16 at 3:00
  • No worries :) And there are no noob questions, only noob answers ;) – Dark Hippo May 22 '16 at 12:20
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So I'd basically just keep writing, say, '3/12' each day unless I happen to not be able to make that many sets/reps on a particular day?

Indeed, but you'd better aim at getting these numbers up every session if possible. Always doing the same amount of sets and reps will bore you at some point, and block your progress in your training.

Or you can continue with the same volume of training, but keep track of the weights you use, and try to increment from time to time.

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