February 8, 2018

Performance Tracking

Written by Colin McClain

Performance Tracking

It’s hard to know where we are going if we don’t know where we’ve been. How many of us actually record and track our workouts? One of the most unique and useful aspects of CrossFit is that most of what we do is measurable—“Training refers to activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body (L1 Training Guide).”

We are a society that likes to constantly compare and contrast data, whether it be nutrition labels, gas prices, stock indices. We use numbers, a universal language, to ensure that we’re getting the best bang for our buck, and that we’re making the best decisions. So why not use numbers to help us to understand our work capacity and improved strengths?

Performance Tracking image

For as long as I can remember, I have continually recorded my workouts (the WOD, the weight or scaled movements I used, and the time or amount of work that I completed it all in). Having knowledge of the work you completed not only gives you a basis to compare for future workouts, but also gives you a visual representation of your progress. And progress is something we can all get on board with!

The proof is in the pudding

The numbers are there to be supportive data showcasing our improved strengths and our increased work capacity. It is another form of tracking that doesn’t revolve around the scale or include body measurements.

If when I first start out doing CrossFit, my baseline (500m row, 40 air squats, 30 sit ups, 20 push ups, 10 pull ups) time is 7:28, and 4 weeks later I retest that work out with a finishing time of 5:46, then my work capacity has improved. This idea of test and retest is what allows us to see where we have improved.

Not only would I record the workout that I completed, but also I’d record the movements prescribed or scaled that I used. Maybe my time in baseline got a tad slower than when I first did it. But maybe the first time I did baseline, I did jumping pull-ups and the second time around I actually had kipping pull-ups down. Well, that’s improvement too!

Performance Tracking image

Numbers are helpful

Some workouts list certain percentages to use based off of our 1 Rep Max lift of that movement if we can’t do the prescribed weight. If I know what my 1RM is, then I can find the right percentage to use so that I can get the point of emphasis from that particular workout. Don’t get caught up in the numbers though! Again a change in movement, like from a scaled movement to a prescribed movement, is something that should be noted and celebrated. While it may first adversely affect the pace or time it takes to accomplish the work at hand, it is proof that something has improved-flexibility, strength, work capacity, or etc.

Important disclaimer when tracking workouts…while it can be a great tool to show the progress we’ve made, it can also at times discourage and humble us if we let it. For example, I have in my journal my lifetime PRs. These days with different priorities and just where I’m at in my life, there are some lifts that I’m not even close to hitting those old numbers. But having a firm understanding on where you’ve came from, where you’re at currently, and where you want to go down the road will help maintain a healthy mindset so that you continue to trend up, possibly back to those PR numbers and beyond!

Performance Tracking image

The digital age

As we convert to the new Triib system, we are afforded the awesome tool of having a performance tracker in the Triib App [ Apple | Android ]. Not only will be able to check into classes, but after classes, we will be able to record our workouts—the time we finished, the weight we used, and any other pertinent notes we feel important to add like proper scaled movements. The workouts preloaded, so all you have to do is plug in your appropriate workout numbers.

With the app, you’ll have a library at your fingertips of all your workouts, and lifting numbers. As oldschool as I am, since using the app for the past couple of weeks now, I have noticed a trend of less time spent in my journal and more time spent plugging in my workouts in the app.

So let’s all get on board with making gains, getting better and celebrating our improvements with a diligent discipline of tracking our work. Better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today.

Your first session is free. Let's do this.