SS 242 – Journaling for Athletic Performance w/ Lachlan Rowston from The Mind Muscle Project

Episode 242 Show Notes

Today, Grant and Heavey discuss the power of journaling with Lachlan Rowston, host of The Mind Muscle Project Podcast. He is also the author of The Training Journal. Plus, more information about Laphroaig, specifically, about the region where it’s made.

[10:00] A Little About Lach

Lachlan owns three CrossFit gyms, has been in the competitive CrossFit world, and even coaches. Aside from his popular podcast, he is also an author. As busy as he can be, he thinks that he works just as hard as anyone else. But it’s all about where you put in that hard work. This involves setting up the right structures, systems, managing his day, getting the right team, and utilizing technology.

If you’re interested in building wealth and creating freedom in your life, Lachlan recommends listening to Naval Ravikant’s podcast, Naval Podcast. Naval is the CEO and co-founder of AngelList, a popular online portal for Silicon Valley investors to invest in startups. 


[12:55] On Writing The Training Journal

Lachlan has always known the power of journaling. The first taste he had of journaling was the 5-minute journal. It started as a to-do list and from there, eventually developed into free-form.

Taking the structure of the 5-minute journal, Lachlan wanted to apply this in the context of training and health and fitness. As a result, he designed the journal to achieve a training goal in 100 days.

They designed a structure that would target five minutes of writing in the morning and at night. All the writing is targeted toward that specific goal.


[17:00] SMART Goal Setting

One section of The Training Journal includes general instructions of what to write and not to write, with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals in mind. They help people get a clear understanding of how to specifically set their goals.


[18:52] The Training Journal: The Morning Check-In

Lachlan prides on The Training Journal as the first of its kind. In the morning, you reinstate your goal. Then you’d write down certain aspects you’re aware of that contribute to the success of your training day. For instance, it could be having a flexible work schedule, an understanding partner, or a great coach. 

Then you’d write tasks that you need to complete to support your goal. There are certain aspects outside of training that can contribute to the success of your training. That may be doing rehab work or buying a new pair of shoes or to making sure you drink enough water before training.

The next section is to write down the struggles you encountered that day in your training. Whether you didn’t have enough time and or were running late or forgot your socks. It could be something more serious like an injury. For instance, you may have hurt your knee so you need to go easy on your knee.

Finally, you write down the solutions to your problems. Buy a new pair of socks or make a physio appointment. 


[20:26] The Evening Check-In

At this point, training is finished. There would be three questions. Did you work hard today? Did you work on your weaknesses? Did you move as well as you could have?

These three questions were actually gotten from an interview they did with one of their guests. Although by answering yes or no, you could also choose which level of effort you worked from 1 to 3. So either you did 1 out of 2 or 3 out of 3.

Next, is the mood/motivation level for the training. The number one indication in the athlete’s readiness to training or performance is based on the mood they’ve had during the session – pre, during, and after.

If you can crush workouts with the right mental attitude, it can go a long way. But that runs out eventually. But mood is a really important indicator of how well things are going.

Lastly, you’re going to write down your wins for today and then your closing thoughts where you can write about anything you want.

Basically, the morning journal is a pre-training session while nighttime journaling is the post-training session.

[23:00] 3 Benefits from Journaling

The first benefit of journaling is a mental declutter. The human brain is not designed for memory retention. What it’s designed for is creativity, problem-solving, and innovation.

Being creative is choosing a different way to do something you haven’t thought of before. It could be as easy as choosing a different route on your way to work. It helps get all that clutter off your head.

When you have more headspace, you have more creativity and innovation. You can make more progress in whatever area in your life that you feel like you’re stuck in. You need that mental space to push forward in that area.

Try to get out of your normal environment and this allows your brain to just open up and be creative.

Having to be accountable is stressful but because you write things down, work through these things, and focus. Yet, you’re able to reduce stress and increase accountability. And combining both is what makes this so powerful.

[27:33] The Power of Gratitude Journaling

Heavey found a Pilot Randomized Study of a Gratitude Journaling Intervention on Heart Rate Variability and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Patients With Stage B Heart Failure

They did a controlled trial of people near-death with Stage B heart failure. They found that those assigned to gratitude journal each day, recording 3-5 things they were grateful for no matter how small, showed improvement in general gratitude score and reduced inflammatory biomarkers and increased parasympathetic HRV response.

[28:35] The Power of Awareness

The first step in the change cycle is awareness. Having awareness around the mental thought or where you feel you’re stuck is the first step in changing. A good way to do that is to write it down. This is good practice to have a list of things you want to change. This is about having discipline and an easy way to take action every single day.  

Anytime you create action, action creates motivation. A lot of times though, we think we need the motivation to take action. But we need action first because it drives motivation.

So take action as easy and quickly as possible. The easiest way to do that is to journal. Just start writing.

[34:00] Create That Separation

When you open your journal, you want it to just be a journal and nothing else. Have another notebook for a to-do list. For instance, what happens is when you have your to-do list on your phone, you’re most likely to end up on Instagram or YouTube. Or you end up answering text messages. There are things that get in the way between you and that journal or that to-do list. 

Lachlan also recommends that if you download the digital version of The Training Journal, have it printed because you want to create that separation from the digital world.

Grant suggests you literally keep your device away so you’re able to free yourself from distractions. Heavey adds how there’s something intimate about using pen and paper.  Lachlan’s theory as to why this works is because, on a subconscious level, you’re articulating your thoughts in a very distinct way because you know you can’t erase it. So you know that you have to be more purposeful when articulating what you’re putting on paper. There is a process of having to slow down, declutter, and be more intentional about what you write.

[37:45] Condensing Content from the Podcast

Lachlan actually raised over $33,000 to make The Training Journal happen on Kickstarter. This was actually released in 2017. He had been doing the podcast for five years. They went through about 200 episodes of content and made a short list of 40 different shows they really enjoyed or they thought they got the most value from. They listened to all the podcasts and got all the best points. They would write down quotes and information.

There were about 23 entries from different episodes and they came up with a page of the most important things they got out of each episode. They took each 1.5-2 hour-long episode into half a page of good information. As people go through the journal, they also learn about nutrition and mental strategies, recovery techniques, etc.

Check out The Training Journal on and get 30% off.

[41:05] Scotch vs. Whiskey

The region that Laphroaig is manufactured is called Islay. Laphroaig is a whiskey and a scotch. There are different regions within Scotland that produce whiskey. Grant clarifies that scotch is a type of whiskey and Islay is a type of scotch. But Islay is actually a region.

In Scotland, the regions have a lot of impact into the style of scotch being made there. And scotch is always pretty much the same thing – multi-barley aged in casks and in bottles. But why do they taste all so different?

[43:30] The Taste Difference in Scotch Bottles

The biggest one is the peat flavor, which makes the #1 biggest change from bottle to bottle. That comes from how they finish the malt. So they take the barley and add water that starts to sprout which makes the malt. 

If you don’t dry the wet stuff, it becomes too far down the process. These days, they use different kinds of drying techniques. While back in the day, you’d have to build a fire and make it hot. 

[44:35] Where is Islay?

Islay is an island around the coast of Scotland. Other than Islay, all of the islands are grouped together in another region called the Highland. There’s so much scotch made in Islay that it gets its own region name. The first reason for this is the peat (a fuel source they have a lot of access to) that burns very well. It makes great fire. It’s smokey and has a unique characteristic that gets imparted into the barley. When they make the malt and dry it with peated smoke, it soaks up a lot of that flavor that actually comes through after distillation. Other regions don’t use peat most of the time.

[45:40] Where the Barley Comes From

In the past, barley is grown near the distillery. They harvest it there and everything is done locally. However, there are now eight major distilleries on the island. A lot of the barley comes from the mainland of Scotland. This means that a lot of the peated stuff is coming from elsewhere. But there are a couple of bottles that are actually being done there with the peat and the barley from Islay. Laphroaig uses Islay peat for their barley but they bring in barley from the island.

Kilchoman is a newer distillery on Islay, which was established in 2005. But they have a bottle and so does Bruichladdich, which makes a Port Charlotte bottling where everything in the bottle is from Islay. 

[47:30] Why the Big Difference in Flavor?

Grant explains the difference in taste among scotches. First, is the process of how they’re using peat or not. The second factor is where they’re aged. If they’re aged on Islay where there’s a lot of wind or aged right on the coast. The wood is porous so there could be a lot of salt and moisture in the air. And the age of the components could vary. 

And so the flavor really comes through where you get some of the brininess, which is very different from the Highland bottles as they’re aged in a very different location.



The Mind Muscle Project Podcast

The Training Journal by Lach Rowston (Go to and get 30% off)

Naval Podcast

Pilot Randomized Study of a Gratitude Journaling Intervention on Heart Rate Variability and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Patients With Stage B Heart Failure

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris

Check out the gear page for everything Strength & Scotch! You’ll find a listing of all the supplements and other programs we’ve discussed on the show as well as our killer t-shirts!


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