Discover how your strength training diary transforms you from Horace Wimp to weight lifting warrior.
"The Diary of Horace Wimp" is a 1970s pop classic written by Electric Light Orchestra front-man Jeff Lynne. A top-ten hit in both the UK and Ireland, Lynne's lyrics tell the tale of a repressed and shy man who overcomes his timidity to "make a stand and be a man." Discovering his inner-warrior, the bashful Horace does just that as he meets a girl and makes her his wife.
I confess it's one of my all-time favorite feel-good songs. But what does this ELO tune have to do with your training?
Well, just like in the song, I'm here to show you how your diary can transform you from wimp to warrior.
I am assuming you keep a training diary or some way to record your workouts. If you don't, then now would be a great time to start because you're going to want to see the progress you make - and the only way this can happen, is by keeping a log of the weights you are lifting. Without them, your efforts are doomed. Seriously, record-keeping and reading your results is really that important.
To illustrate this, I want to tell you about Mark McCormack and a cunning bowling experiment.
For those that don't know, Mark McCormack was the founder of the sports management industry and used to market the achievements of superstars like Bjorn Borg, Sebastian Coe and Jack Nicklaus. In his book The 110% Solution, McCormack tells a fascinating tale about reading results and the value of feedback.
An executive, looking for ways to drive home to his employees the value of feedback, took them bowling. For a while they bowled normally and the usual competitive dynamics developed - everyone wanted to win. Then later in the evening, the executive had a curtain drawn across the lanes which allowed the ball to roll through but blocked the view of the pins. Suddenly the employees were bowling blind and could no longer keep score. The result? Teamwork fell apart and the employees grew annoyed and frustrated. The executive apologized, but he had made his point: being unable to keep score and measure your results is the equivalent to bowling in the dark.
Now, you don't have to be a high-flying business executive to realize there is a strong link between this story and your training. Without this vital and necessary feedback, i.e., your weight lifting results, you become like those frustrated office workers blindly bowling in the dark.
You need to keep score.
So how do you keep a record of your training results? Simple. If you want to go high-tech, you can download an application for your iPod or smart phone like Gym Buddy. Or if you want to keep things old school, get a notebook.
In your notebook, write down things like your body weight; your tape measurements; how you feel; your workouts - including reps, weights and sets, etc. This way you can quickly hunt through your strength training diary records and spot those times that yielded the stellar results and those occasions when you scrapped and struggled.
The payoff? You succeed in your quest to become a weight lifting warrior.
Now let's check out Jeff and the boys...