Exercise Tracking

The fitness world loves to track. We track progress, food, and of course exercise. Keeping a record of everything can be very beneficial to your overall fitness program.

Why Track?

By writing down your exercise history, you can become more aware of exactly what you’re doing. In combination with Goals and Progress Tracking systems, Exercise Tracking can help provide a full picture of fitness and help with assessment. Using these as guides is helpful to assess a chosen plan to determine if the program is working and how to progress further.

Additionally, if you’re ever feeling disappointed with how your progress is doing, looking at your tracking can be a great boost of motivation. You can easily see the improvements you’ve made over time, and be inspired to continue.

How To Track?

Some key pieces of information that are important to capture are date and day of the week, exercise name, weight used and number of reps for each set you perform. This helps to capture relevant data to can see progression over time.

When it comes to physically taking down exercises, there are a few options. Some opt for a small notebook, full size paper in a folder, while others go the technology route and use their phones or tablets. No matter which route you take, you have choices of how to format your Exercise Tracking.

List

A list may be the most basic and popular way to track workouts. Most people use a small notebook, or the note taker on their phone. Simply write down the exercises in order, going down in a list, making sure to grab the key pieces of information above. For a guide, check our our sample list below. As shown, it can get a little long, so if you decide to go this route just make sure to have enough paper on hand.

Chart

Keeping an exercise log written in chart form can be a little easier to keep track of than a full list. As demonstrated below, the chart takes up fewer rows than a full list, showing a full day’s exercise all in one quick glance, rather than flipping through pages. Two days’ worth of exercises in a chart can fit into the same space as one exercise on a list. This may require a full piece of paper, or a larger notebook, in order to fit all of the information in an easy to read way. The act of writing down what exercises is also easier, since the headings show exactly what pieces of information are important, rather than having to remember each line. Depending on what is in your workout regimen, you can modify the chart headings and columns to suit your needs and make it as easy as possible. For cardio work, we stuck in distance in the weight column, and time in for reps, but you can organize it however you want with a simple excel spreadsheet.

Apps

A new trend is to utilize technology as a quick and easy way to get a little more insight into workouts. One easy way is to use a note taker or spreadsheet app to make a list or chart more accessible. Full fitness tracking apps, can take this one step further, providing a full picture of exercise history. Apps like Fitocracy, our personal favorite, make it easy to track your workouts, and go back and chart your progress over time. You can click on one exercise, and see a full description and video of how to perform it, along with your full history for just that one move, including your personal records. Rather than sorting through pages and pages of notes, free mobile apps and websites like this make it really easy to see all of the details.

No matter what tools you decide to use, the most important thing is that you have fun. Exercise, enjoy it, and if you do something to keep track, you’ll be able to quantify and see how far you’ve come.

Sample Trackers:

LIST:

  5/2/15 - Saturday

Dips

  Set 1

    Bodyweight

    15 Reps

  Set 2

    Bodyweight

    15 Reps

  Set 3

    Bodyweight

    15 Reps

Bench Press

  Set 1

    115 lbs

    8 Reps

  Set 2

    135 lbs

    6 Reps

  Set 3

    Bodyweight

    15 Reps

Treadmill

  Set 1

    2.10 miles

    20 min, 15 seconds