Exercise Diary

I strongly believe in supplementing karate traininig with free weight training and aerobic fitness training. Keeping an exercise diary is a great way to stay objective about your workouts and helps in identifying areas that you may be neglecting.

I have found a very simple, but effective diary available to download for free at topshareware.com. After installing it open the program and click the “setup” tab in the lower left corner of the window. Then click on “exercise”. At the bottom of this list is a blank tab where you can enter whatever you would like. I have added “kata”, “makiwara”, “heavy bag”, “jump rope”, “chishi”, etc to mine. The set up is pretty intuitive and I have not had any problems.

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One response to “Exercise Diary

  1. I think the exercise diary is a *very* good idea. I use i-cal (since I’m a mac-user) to keep a very spare one. I use a special colour for workouts (I also use it for work stuff) and I add a note after each session, saying things like “karate” or “gym with Emily, squat work sets 2X5X100”. When I run I record the number of miles, when I’m doing sprints it’s the number of reps – that kind of thing. If I wanted I could go back and add up how far I’ve run, and how many training sessions I’ve been to since April 2006!

    Sometimes I make a note if the workout was bad (“ran 3 miles, terrible stitch at the end. Maybe I ate too much before?” “Couldn’t seem to throw Pete cleanly without adding a tenkan today”) and if I manage a PB on some worthwhile weights exercise (like benching, squatting, deadlifting – I probably wouldn’t bother for a tricep extension) I write that in. Often, if I experience more delayed-onset muscle soreness than I expected I’ll go back and add that to the note, and say what I think caused it (this week it was those pec-flies of yours Emily!) so that I know to do more in future.

    I should probably keep a more detailed diary for my barbell strength-training, just to make sure that things like my back-squat and deadlift numbers keep going up, but even in this spare form, the diary has two good uses.

    First, it motivates me. I-cal displays the entire month at once, in 4 week long rows, and it’s easy to skip back to look at the previous month, so I always know if, say, I’ve been running 3 times a week for the last two months, but that if I don’t run tonight or tomorrow I’ll only manage two this week, and that’s just the kind of fact that can have me strapping my running shoes on. Or if my gym dates got cancelled once too often this month compared to the last month – I-cal makes sure I know about it. In general it gives me a kind of birds-eye perspective on my training over time: I can also look and see how long it’s been since I had a rest day, and whether I was running less last semester than this one, and that means that there’s less temptation to think “why run tonight, what difference is that going to make?” because I think of tonight’s run as being part of a much longer-term project – one that makes a BIG difference.

    The second good thing is that it provides some data to work with when I’m looking for an explanation for some puzzling fact. How come I was so exhausted at karate tonight (is it because I squatted my butt off on Tuesday and ran sprints last night?) Why does my knee hurt? (Did I up my mileage by more than 5 last week?) Why did I lose/gain a few of pounds over the last few weeks (is it because I’ve been expending more/fewer calories compared to the month before?) Memory is not an especially reliable thing when it comes to recalling how hard you worked out five weeks ago. But I *know* how many times I ran during that week, and the week before, and the week after, and the same weeks in the previous year. It means I’m not just guessing or indulging in wishful thinking when I compare this week’s workouts to a previous week’s.

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