Some years ago I went to Ireland to play golf with several friends. When we arrived to play at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, one of the more famous courses in Ireland, the wind was blowing at least 50 mph. As a result, no players were on the course. Given that was the only day we would be there, we elected to play anyway.
Our scores were high; very high. It never occurred to me to record mine in those conditions. I looked over and saw that one of our players was religiously recording every stroke. When I commented on this he said, “Harry, I always keep score. “While I admire his consistency, there are times when not keeping score is acceptable and this was clearly one of them.
When I go to the fitness center in our community I see many individuals there who don’t keep score – they don’t record any information about what exercises they’ve done or how many sets and repetitions. There are many more in this category than those who do.
Why is this important? First, it’s easy to forget; did I do one set or two of that exercise? Was it 12 reps or 15? Did I use 30-pound or 35-pound dumbbells? What did I use last week or the week before? Am I getting better or have I plateaued?
Most importantly, not keeping score leads to doing the same exercises every time, our favorites. The problem is that our bodies get used to them and the benefits diminish. We don’t fire any new brain cells anymore than we do when we brush our teeth.
I have an Excel spreadsheet listing over 40 exercises along with the body parts being exercised. Prior to going to our fitness center I put a checkmark beside the ones I’m going to do that day. I have spaces to record the weights used, if appropriate, as well as the number of sets and repetitions. I can record 12 days of activity on one page so I can see whether I’m adding variety or not. I tend to use the same exercises for warming up and then add ones I didn’t do the last few times.
I have a Garmin computer on my bike that records all kinds of data. I keep a record on an Excel spreadsheet of miles ridden, average speed, time, average heart rate and cadence. It’s motivating to review the number of miles this month compared to the last.
Several years ago I kept a record for a few weeks of my food and alcohol intake plus the number of calories. Once I had a good idea of what and how much I can eat without gaining weight, I stopped. It’s a tedious process, but my wife still does it.
I weigh myself every day. Weight can vary a pound or two daily, but if it’s more than that, I modify my food intake and/or exercise more. It’s another way of keeping score.