Not long ago, the famous Cooper Clinic [founder: Kenneth Cooper, M.D., author of Aerobics and other fitness books] made an offer to the nation by way of the Sunday newspaper supplement, USA Weekend. Free of charge, you were invited to create your own training log and health profile through Cooper's web site.
What was intriguing is the information you submitted was automatically converted into a training value according to the Cooper points system. So I filled out the forms to find out if I thought it was worthwhile. Unfortunately, before the first week was over, a notice of discontinuance came up when I accessed Cooper's web site. Apparently, they were overwhelmed with responses and their system couldn't handle them. So they discontinued the offer. Too bad. From what I saw, it looked like a heck of a good resource.
I believe that keeping some sort of training log is necessary for most people. Without one, most workouts end up being hit or miss, and naturally there is no frame of reference if you want to know how you were doing a month ago, two months ago, two years or more.
My own logbook is anything but fancy. It's a simple 5 x 7 pad. The Cooper Clinic method required more involved record keeping than I normally do, but from what I saw I think it might have been worth the extra effort. Nevertheless, my little notebook records have served me well so far.
For something more formal, you might want to check out the new logbook Dave "The Blond Bomber" Draper offers at his Iron Online web site. If you've read his books or have seen his web site, you know his material is first rate.
Bill Phillips came out with a training journal for people taking the Body-for-Life Challenge. I've looked it over and it's a good one, but designed exclusively for the Body-for-Life Challenge. I wish it had been available when Patty took the Challenge in 2000. Phillips simplifies things to begin with, and with the training journal, BFL seems more foolproof than ever.
Bottom Line: Most of us need training records of some sort. It's an old story: If you have no record of where you've been, and have no plan for where you want to go — chances are you're spinning your wheels.