One Simple Habit That Guarantees Consistent Gains

Keeping a record of what you do and how you do it is vital to bodybuilding success. I think keeping a journal is one of the best things I’ve done to help myself consistently improve. If you keep track of what you’ve done in the past, it will be easier for you to see what works for you. You can then repeat these actions to insure your future success.


“The palest of ink is better than the best memory.”

I’ve never understood why people want to come to the gym time after time, repeating exactly what they’ve done before. That is not progress, my friend.

In order to improve and make gains, your training must be progressive in some manner. You can make progress 3 different ways:

1. Do more weight than the previous session

2. Do more reps with the same weight

3. Do more work within a set time frame

If you don’t remember exactly what you did in your previous training sessions, how do you expect to exceed it?

I’ll be willing to bet if you just finally discipline yourself to start keeping a training journal, you’ll increase your gains within 30 days or less.

You’ve known for years you should be keeping a training journal and you’ve told yourself you’re gonna do it…but you still haven’t done it!

Just do it, OK?!!!

Tips on How To Keep a Good Journal

1. Write down the time of day you worked out.

2. Write down how much weight you used in your exercises and the number of reps.

3. Write down how the movements felt, i.e. “50s are too light.”

4. Write down how you looked and what was going on in your mind.

5. Write down what you wore or what music you listened to.

6. Write down what you ate and when you ate it.

7. Write down how you looked when you woke up, went to sleep, etc.

8. Write down how much cardio you did.

9. Write down how much you weigh.

10. Write down the other aspects of you life i.e., if you had a good day, a bad day, it was raining, you had a fight with your girlfriend/wife, etc.  This will help you attribute outside factors into your performance in the gym.

Let’s suppose you had a bad workout on February 1st and you can’t figure out why since your diet and supplementation were the same as your last training session. If you see an entry in your journal that you got a bad grade on a test that morning or things at work weren’t so great, you might find the reason your training sucked that day was that your head wasn’t into it. This would stop you from radically changing your training, diet or supplementation based on inaccurate in incomplete information.

A training and dietary journal will be your best friend when assessing progress as long as you’re consistent in following it and making it a habit of your training.

Trust me – if you’re not writing it down, you WON’T make the progress you could be if you were disciplined enough to do it each and every workout.

Test it out…try it for 2 months and you’ll be blown away by the difference.

I know it’s simple, but sometimes it’s the simple things that make the biggest differences.

Train Hard,

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Leave A Reply (35 comments so far)

  1. Jeff Jorgensen
    6 years ago


    You are spot-on with your comments about keeping a training journal. I've kept one for years and when I think I've had a bad lifting day I only have to refer to my log of six or twelve months ago and smile about my progress, even if I just completed a less-than-optimal lifting day.

    I often think of a quote from Jim Rohn (the legendary motivational speaker) who said "It is easy to do; but it is also easy not to do."

    Prior to each trip to the gym, I update and print a new sheet for my upcoming workout. Included are two quotes at the bottom of my workout spreadsheet:

    "Do not fear going forward slowly, fear only to stand still."
    "Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance."

    I just added a third comment from your recent post:

    "The palest of ink is better than the best memory."

    Why anyone would spent hours at the gym (over several days, weeks, or months) and not track their progress is beyond me. I find it inspiring to view progress in my training log knowing that I'm not just "working out." Rather, I am making progress toward my fitness goals.

    I developed a spreadsheet to log my workouts electronically based on my hand-written copy either I or my trainer complete during each workout. I track most of what you mentioned in your recent post — but I'll be adding a few things to enhance it even more.

    Thanks for your inspiring inputs.

    Jeff Jorgensen
    Sacramento CA

    • Rick Gray
      6 years ago

      Hey Jeff, thanks for your thoughts. I like the quotes – think I'll add them to my training log myself! I also like Jim Rohn…great thinker and motivator.

      We've got a training journal on the drawing board to produce and make available to customers at some point this year. It'll be a great size, hold TONs of training sessions, and we'll sprinkle it with thoughts like you shared and I covered in this post. So many projects, so little time!

  2. Christian
    6 years ago

    Second time that I have heard that this week. I have been tracking weight and body measurements. The suggestions you have in this article are solid and I will start applying them. Thanks for the simple but useful ideas.

  3. david
    6 years ago

    I keep a log not as detailed as you suggest but it works for me mybench squat deadlift all are adding more weight I do tip #1 old guy training

  4. SONNY
    6 years ago

    Absolutely Rick the numbers don't lie! Most people expect to c visable signs before they beleive that theres growth going on. I always here people say that they are bodybuilders-not-Powerlifters, But its PROGRESSIVE-OVERLOAD-TRAINING, U need a reliable form of data that says your moving forword

    • Rick Gray
      6 years ago

      Yep, without the data workouts tend to meander around the same weights and exercises without focus or progress. I think if people would focus more on their spreadsheets and journals and less on the mirror, 2-3 months later they could look in the mirror and really like what they see A LOT more than if all they pay attention to is the mirror by itself!

  5. Brady harris
    6 years ago

    Thank you rick, I need more hypergain and I re ally want to try jacked up! The tips and info you send has been so enlightening keep up the good work!

    • Rick Gray
      6 years ago

      You're welcome Brady. Glad you're getting some good stuff from the content. Are you in the Hyper Gain Customer club? If so, it'll show up automatically. If not, it's the best/cheapest way to get Hyper Gain. (you'll also get to see our cool new bottles that started shipping this week – they're a HUGE improvement over the old design). We've just setup our new email and ecommerce system so we don't have it setup yet, but if you'd like to pickup JackedUp for a really good price, call the office on Monday and ask for the JackedUp Preferred Customer special to go out with your Hyper Gain order – it'll save you a few bucks.

  6. David Bradd
    6 years ago

    I have been training with the aid of a written schedule for a number of years and I wouldn't do without it. Not only is it a reminder of personal progress but it is also the missing training partner. The target for each exercise is at least the previous recorded achievement. and hopefully better. I train on my own and without this approach my performance would suffer. It is tough but then so it should if improvements are to be accomplished. Needless to say I agree with your comments and I'm still going at 68 years of age.

    • Rick Gray
      6 years ago

      Hey David, that's awesome! I always like hearing about guys still out there hitting it hard after so many years – it's inspiring! And I agree, the training journal is a training partner that's always honest about where you are and what you need to do to grow.

  7. M. Jamal
    6 years ago

    Like the quotes shared by Jeff. Inspiring.

    Hey Rick, spot on.

    To be honest I'm always amazed how many guys come in and out of the gym for months and never
    bother to track what weights their using. Some see me take notes and give me a weird look, but hey
    this stuff came in real handy recently…

    …last year my training fell off and I just got back into it about 2 or 3 months ago. Many times I kept
    thinking it'll take me months to get back to lifting the kind of weights I used to lift. Gladly I got my
    earlier training logs from over a year and I'm not far off.

    I don't track everything you mentioned, mostly tracking what exercises I'm doing, rest time between
    sets and weight plus on every set I mark out whether I feel I could up the weights next time. So when
    I hit the gym next week I see those notes & know which exercises I should start at higher weights.

    Right now I'm at a decision stage: the routine I'm using is designed for 5 days but my work schedule
    means I can put in 4 days or training a week. Time to re-design my workouts.

    M. Jamal

    P.S. Looking forward to the ASR training journal. I normally do mine on my laptop then print it off with
    the exercises, number of sets + warmup setup, weight & start date.

  8. Sayed Munir Sadat
    5 years ago

    Thanks Mr. Rick for your great inputs all the time.

    Here I would ask u for more like if u could facilitate some pics of performing correct exercises each body part that will add up to the best growth, since mostly people don’t thing about the way correct to perform the each body part workout.


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    4 years ago

    Thanks!!! Now I’m in the process of organizing my training schedule; I really appreciate all your help.

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