Write your scores down after each training session and set up a
system that helps you easily refer back to your numbers.
It’ll mean the next time you show up and you’re working with
90% of your 5RM back squat, instead of feeling and looking perplexed,
you can smile at your coach and confidently tell him
how much weight you’re about to put on the bar.
It will make his day.
I can speak for all strength coaches when I say this:
When a coach asks a client a question like ‘What’s your 1RM clean?’
and is met with a blank stare, a part of their soul dies.
And if the response is ‘Which one’s the clean again?’
the coach probably wants to set the building on fire.
Now obviously this doesn’t apply in the initial few months of training
when someone’s first learning the ropes,
but if you’ve been lifting for years and can’t remember what a thruster is,
your coach is resisting the urge to throw things at you.
Appreciate their restraint when they don’t, for it is considerable.
Also, qualitatively speaking, WE DO NOT care what your numbers are.
We don’t even really care how you go about remembering them—
whether your write it old-school with pen and paper,
keep a bunch of spreadsheets on your computer (like me),
or download the newest fanciest WOD tracker app doohickey.
The important thing is that you DO remember your numbers—
no matter what fitness level you’re at!
3. For the sake of your fitness!
Being aware of how much you can back squat, front squat,
strict-press, snatch, etc. is going to help you continuously
make strength gains in the gym.
Let’s say, for example, in tomorrow’s lifting session
you’re supposed to hit 15 total back squats at your 5RM,
and you have no idea what a heavy back squat is for you—
let alone a 5RM—then you’ll essentially be playing the
guessing game during your strength session.
You might end up going too heavy, or too light, or
wasting valuable time figuring out how heavy you should be lifting
that you might even run out of time to finish your working reps.
Bottom line: You will not get the most bang for your buck
if you don’t have a good understanding of what your body can do.
Similarly, when it comes to conditioning, if you know for example
exactly how many pull-ups you can do when you’re fresh,
or what your best power snatch is, it will allow the coach to
help you scale the workout properly so you’re able to
preserve the intended stimulus of the day.
What’s the intended stimulus of the day, you ask?
Each workout we do has a specific intention.
For instance, “Fran” (21-15-9 of thrusters and pull-ups) is meant to be a sprint
not unlike a middle-distance time-trial (800m to 1600m) for a seasoned runner.
Done correctly, Fran should fry your lungs and full-body muscular endurance.
It pushes you DEEP into an oxygen deficit in about a 2-6 minute time span—
we’re talking acid buildup everywhere, blood pH plummeting, muscles on fire,
lungs feel like they’re bursting, tunnel-vision-world-going-dark kind of situation.
If it takes you longer than 6 minutes to complete, this stimulus is blunted.
In other words, a 15-minute Fran ends up being a strength-repeatability workout.
While this isn’t inherently bad, it’s not an optimal use of the training stimulus.
To help you scale Fran properly, it’s imperative you know your numbers and skill level:
You need to be aware of what a heavy front squat, thruster and press is for you,
as well as where your pulling strength is at.
In short, knowing your fitness numbers will ensure your fitness is always improving!
2. For the sake of your happiness!
PRs do two things:
- They drive people nuts on social media when you constantly post about your #gainz
- They make you feel warm and fuzzy inside
Since people who don’t get excited about #gainz are haters, let’s focus on the latter…
It’s human nature to be excited about tangible achievements.
There’s nothing like the feeling of doing something you didn’t think you’d ever be able to do,
whether this means getting your first pull-up or muscle-up,
or hitting a back squat personal record.
Our clients who are in tune with their bodies and their improvements are
the ones who are the most likely to continue to commit to a fitness plan
month after month, year after year.
Further, once you’ve been training for a while, PRs happen less and less frequently.
But even if you’re plateauing in one area, you’re probably still improving somewhere else.
And being in touch with where you’re at will help you appreciate wherever you’re improving.
That’s one great thing about training so many disciplines at once—
there’s always something to work on, and seemingly unrelated skills
have more carry-over than you’d expect (like pull-ups helping your deadlift).
If you have no clue where you’re at, and you show up everyday like a blank slate,
you’re essentially stripping yourself of many of the joys that
go along with working hard on your fitness.
1. For the sake of your coach!
When all 10 people in a class know their numbers,
everyone benefits from better coaching.
One person in the class oblivious to what’s going on has the potential
to interrupt the class and essentially hijack the coach’s time,
leaving 9 others to their own devices.
Meanwhile, when the coach doesn’t have to spend time talking about
scaling and helping people figure out how much weight they should put on the bar,
it frees him up to give ‘higher level’ coaching cues, be it strategic or technical.
So at the very least, even if you’re not sold on keeping track of your numbers
for the sake of your fitness or your happiness, do it for your coach!