Recently I have started using a great application called Evernote for my personal training journal, notes to myself, reference material and several other things. The more I use it, the more I find ways to use it. Evernote is simple note capturing software that works on WIndows, Mac, iphone, ipad Android and a number of other devices. The great thing about it is that it syncs across all your computers and devices. With evernote, you can easily attach a file such as a sound file, photo, pdf or video.
There is a free version of Evernote that will serve almost anyone's needs, but the premium version is very cheap and well worth it. It gives you a few more features and a lot more monthly bandwidth. With Evernote, you can share your notes and notebooks (folders) very easily with others and keep anything you want at your fingertips regardless of what machine or device you are using.
Evernote is a local, Austin company that has several other simple programs that integrate with Evernote. I have been recommending Evernote to several of you, so I thought I would at least share how I use it for my personal training.
For example, I have a folder devoted to my personal Pekiti Tirsia Kali training and another for my strength and CrossFit training. In each folder, I keep notes from each training session. The notes include any metrics I use as well as my thoughts on the material, strengths and weaknesses as well as future training plans.
Aside from keeping records of what I lifted, the material I practiced, etc. I include my thoughts on the session as well as how to improve. Taking the 2-3 minutes to do this has greatly improved my focus on getting better, provided solutions for issues I encounter as well as produced ideas I had not considered or had forgotten in the past. Ultimately, journalling has produced results. Whether you use something like Evernote, a printed journal or a blank paper notebook, I would recommend you use a template. The template will prompt you to write what is relevant. For example, you may want to include something like the following prompts I use for CrossFit training:
* Skill / Strength:
* Results / Time / Rounds:
* Details / Notes:
* Mood / Arousal 1-10:
* Self Talk:
* Conquering Weaknesses:
* Future Training:
Modify the list to fit your needs or activity. The more you write, the more you will reflect on what you did. This reflection will lead to progress. Although the journal is great to have for reference, it serves me well as a method to regularly analyze my progress.
Back to my procedure... Using Evernote, I will create a note by taking a picture of the whiteboard in our school with my iphone. On the whiteboard, I usually have a few details, such as the workout I just did and my results. I may then type in a few quick things to help jog my memory of the session later. Later in the day, I will open the same note on my computer, paste in my template mentioned above and write out anything else I want to record. If you have good handwriting, Evernote can search your photos and read your script. I usually just copy anything written from the photo, then delete the image when I am done.
When I next train, I can search my notes through my iphone to see anything I want, ranging from metrics, such as weights used, times in benchmark workouts, the number of strikes delivered or even what material I last practiced. I can easily read over my plans to conquer any weaknesses and prepare for the upcoming session. Everything is easily accessed.
Although this post is mostly about getting you to start recording your training in a journal, it must be evident that the discovery of Evernote has inspired me. Now I to do it more often and with more ease. I found that my handwritten notes don't get reviewed as often and text files on my computer are just a hassle since search features and accessibility are not as effortless as they are with Evernote. With every trip to the Philippines, firearms class or something like the recent man tracking course, I will carry a very small notebook to record any important details. The notes in that notebook eventually get typed into my computer. Now a copy will also end up in Evernote for access anywhere. Do you keep a record of your training? What's your method? Let me know in the comments below.
Check out the Evernote website to download the application. They have a great blog that shows the many ways people use it to stay organized.