The beauty of CrossFit is the fact that everything we do is measurable, observable, repeatable ranging from workout times to max effort sets to max lifts. In my opinion you should record everything, not only to check on your progress but also looking back at all the hard work you put in can be very fun and motivating.
Like I mentioned in a previous blog, class workouts can sometimes be a chaotic mess with people wanting to beat each other. While it is fun to have a friendly competition you are prone to cheating, cut a rep here and there to beat your friend. While it feels good to beat someone (not truly when you cheated) you are actually only cheating yourself. Whenever you repeat that same workout now all of a sudden you have a score worse than the score you posted 9 months ago.
Beating a previous time on a benchmark workout feels really good, you have a goal to strive for. You are not going to notice changes from week to week or even month to month. Seeing a benchmark workout that took you 15 min last year cut down to 12 min brings a sense of motivation to continue the work you put in each week.
Most class workouts or individual programs have percentage based strength work, whilst most certainly remember their best lifts. Do not forget we do a lot of different lifts within CrossFit. If the strength portion of the class asks for front squats at 75% it can be reassuring you do not mix it up with a different lift by checking your log.
There are many different apps available nowadays. Old fashioned writing in a notebook has its charms but I prefer logging on an app. More accessible, you never run out of pages and the most rewarding of all, most apps have a tally. Seeing the total number of a movement can be an indicator of how proficient you have become.
After going through a workout or even in the middle of a workout I make a plan or have a rough idea what I would do differently next time this workout comes up. Just a note for a workout you did months ago could make a difference. Or using a piece of equipment that helps your performance like a belt, writing down what you used within a workout could spare you disappointment later on. Let’s say you did Fran in January using a belt and lifting shoes, you got a time of 4:10, in August your box scheduled to retest Fran and you got 4:05 while not using a belt. If you only recorded your time a 5 sec pr can be a disappointment, looking back to the note you made about the used equipment and seeing you did it without a belt can be a huge indicator why you only made such a small improvement.
Your log can be an amazing tool to set goals (annually) and see the small steps you make towards that goal. Let's say you wanna deadlift 500 pounds before december, your log can be an invaluable tool seeing if you put in enough work, or the right amount of work towards that monumental goal.