Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Technology And Organization = Better Workouts

Taking on the Maximum Strength takes some time out of your schedule, that is, if you do the workouts plus all of the recommended energy workouts. So as to not get bogged down by the time requirements I had to make sure I got myself organized. Here's how it's going down, as well as some suggestions.

Keep a Workout Log
I decided that the old-school sheet on a clipboard log needed to stay old-school. I didn't want to be carrying around this clumsy thing all over the place, and I figured that I needed something a bit more up-to-date. I needed something that I could easily document my workouts, and be able to access from anywhere. In comes Google Docs. If you're one of the few people that doesn't use any of Google's services then you might want to check these out as your bound to find something helpful for many parts of your life. For example, take a look at this very simple workout spreadsheet created in Docs. You can modify your workout while at home, at work, or on vacation. Now you never have to worry about forgetting your workout when you travel. You're welcome.
You're probably thinking that's great that and all, but how will you get this workout log into the gym? Well, you have three options here:
  1. You can, of course, print your workout at any computer. Simple enough
  2. With all of the advancement of cell phones (they're really computers first, cell phones second) you can use this to carry your workout log. If you have a Windows Mobile-compatible phone or a Blackberry phone, you can download your Google Doc, transfer it to your phone that has a spreadsheet program, and voila, you have your workout in the palm of your hands
  3. The most convenient (in my opinion) is to view the Google Doc as you're in the gym through your cell phone if you have Internet service. Internet cell service is becoming cheaper every day and you might already have this to check your work email. So why not use it to view something other than porn (but of course, that's not what you tell your boss)
Food Preparation
If you think that you can accomplish your goals of leaning out, getting bigger, or lifting a 1986 Camaro above your head just to impress the mobile home crowd without a solid nutrition plan, then just keep spinnin' those wheels. Of course, part of any good diet is food preparation. If you had to prep each day's meals you might as well set up a desk in the kitchen and work from there, 'cause it's gonna be a while. And after you get tired of doing this day in and day out, you'll start buying McBurgers with a heaping side of McFries, McPie, and before you know it, you'll be the new McPoster Boy. Here's what you can do:
  1. Make a meal list before you go to the store. Don't mess around. If you do this, you'll stick to your plan and not buy all the crappy fatty snacks
  2. Take a day to cook and prep all of your meals for the week. For my wife and I, who don't like to freeze food, we cook twice a week
  3. Allow yourself to cheat 10% of the time. If you eat six times a day, that's 42 meals a week. 10% of that is 4 meals a week. Cheat up to four times a week and you won't get those constant cravings and you'll actually stay on your planned diet
  4. Eat healthy food that doesn't taste like a tadpole-filled rubber tire. Learn from the  Precision Nutrition eating plans. They'll show you how to cook and what foods to eat. My wife and I swear by this. The nice thing is that after a while, you'll learn to take your favorite recipes, make them healthy (or less heart-attack inducing) and still enjoy your favorites on a regular basis
Listening to music during your workouts can have several benefits like not having to listen to Ozzie Osbourne's Crazy Train every single damned morning for six months straight. Trust me, you can't make the music stop by pounding a dumbbell across your face, no matter how hard you try. Another benefit is you don't get to fall into the chit-chat conundrum and waste your time instead of working out like a madman or madwoman. Some other quick things you can do:
  1. If your mp3 player allows, get wireless headphones. There's nothing like having to stop in the middle of a set because you got a dumbbell stuck in between your headphone wires. Not good
  2. After you've gotten your futuristic headphones, signed up for Internet service on your phone, point your browser to Pandora's music service. It's basically a free radio station that you create from your favorite artists or songs and continually train by telling the service which songs you like and don't like. This way you don't have to sit at your PC to download music, set up a playlist, and wait for the songs to be transferred to your mp3 or music-enabled phone. Rock on...
So there are just a few short recommendations for getting your healthy lifestyle in order and reach your goals. Now quit thinking about getting organized and just do it!


  1. I caught your link off of a comment on Eric Cressey's blog. I'm 1 week ahead of you on the Maximum Strength program, so I've been reading the posts with interest. I had wanted to blog about my progress with the program but don't really have the time, so it's great to see someone else take the initiative.

    I made myself a google spreadsheet to track and share my results. If you're interested, check it out

  2. The spreadsheet looks very organized, good job. Because I can't remember all of the pre-workout drills, much less in sequence, I include it in my spreadsheet.
    Being that you're just ahead of me, feel free to post about your experiences.