See How A Printable Workout Log Can Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals
A printable workout log can be one of the most valuable tools you will ever add to your fitness program. You don't get anywhere in life unless you have a goal, right?
And, not just some vague or ambiguous dream – but a clearly defined, measurable goal. Well, improving your health and getting fit is no different. You need a goal, you need a plan, and you need to be able to track your progress. It's really not as complicated as it sounds.
In fact, using a workout log makes it easier. It's one of the best ways to stay on track, identify problems, and keep you motivated. Whether you are trying to get into shape – or stay that way – logging your information can be critical to your success. Let's take a closer look at some of the benefits:
Benefits of a Printable Workout Log
Memory. Your memory can fail – or even mislead you – especially if you perform a lot of different exercises in a single session. It can be hard to remember how much weight you lifted or how many reps you completed. Oh sure, you're not going to forget your milestones, but can you actually recall every detail of every workout? By logging the information in our printable workout log, you will have an accurate record so you won't waste time trying to figure out how much weight to put on the machine or how many extra reps you should add.
Track Progress. Setting a goal is the easy part, but sometimes you may get stuck along the way. Instead of moving forward, you plateau. You are still making time to exercise and eat right, but that ultimate prize doesn't seem to be getting any closer. A journal will help you track your progress so you can see where you stopped pushing yourself – where you became comfortable, settled, and maybe even lost sight of your goal.
Motivation. Let's be honest, one of the hardest parts about exercising is motivating yourself to actually do it, right? Sometimes it may seem like you have so far to go that you are discouraged before you even start. But, even if weight loss and health improvements come slowly, they do come! And, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to look back a week, month, or even a year later and marvel at how far you've come.
Consistency. The best results require consistency, and a workout log will provide you with an accurate view of just how consistent – or sporadic – your fitness program really is. Have you slacked off recently? Are you working out less often? Are the sessions shorter? Are you neglecting certain elements?
Learning Tool. If you keep a detailed workout log (recording virtually everything), you will have a lot of data to analyze. You will have all the information you need, right at your fingertips, to make sure you get the most out of your fitness program. By looking back and comparing sessions you can:
Track good and bad workouts. Were there certain things you did before or after the session that may have caused you difficulties – pre-workout nutrition, water, sleep, warm-up (or lack of), time of day, day of week, or even personal distractions?
Identify areas that need improvement. Do you have weaknesses that may be affecting your overall workout or increasing your risk of injury? What can you do to improve these areas?
Explain an injury. By reviewing what you did (or how you did it), you may be able to identify what caused an injury or strain and what you can do to protect yourself in the future.
Determine changes. If you haven't been seeing results in a particular area, maybe it's time to stop doing what doesn't work and find something that does. Even a negative experience can be a learning opportunity.
Track your sleeping patterns. Sleep is critical to your health, and if you aren't getting enough quality shut-eye, it could be a big barrier to your success.
Recognize patterns. When you analyze data over a period of time you can begin to see patterns or habits that may be affecting your workout – either positively or negatively. Maybe you socialize more between sets when you are working out at a gym. Or, maybe your push yourself harder when you are listening to certain music or playing a particular playlist.
Some people prefer to work with a fairly basic log that simply records exercises, weight, reps, time, distance, or incline. Others like to include more detail. While it may be a little more time consuming, it is most beneficial to record as much information as possible.
You might not think that a rainy day, or an early morning, or even eating a peanut butter sandwich on your way to the gym is important, but these little details may actually prove to be very significant. To reap the most benefits, use a printable workout log that allows you to document a lot of information.
Write your fitness goals at the top. The front of your journal (or binder, or file) should have your main goal prominently displayed so you see it regularly; but, you should also include a weekly goal at the top of each sheet (if you are using a weekly log) or at the top of Monday's paper (if you are using a daily log). There is no need to write your goals down everyday unless you want to.
Record the date: day of the week, day, month, year. Also include the time.
Record your weight. Some people like to weigh themselves before every workout, but once a week is also fine.
Indicate whether you are doing cardio or resistance training.
List the name of every exercise, and write down the weight and number of reps for each set. If you increased the weight or reps, you may want to indicate this for easier reference later. For a cardio workout, make note of time, distance, incline, and speed/intensity.
NOTE: Record ALL exercises, even those done during the warm-up, cool down, or stretching. It is also helpful to pre-plan your workout and list the exercises ahead of time.
Describe how you are feeling. In the comment section, or on the back of the page, write down how you were feeling before and during this particular workout. Were you tired? Were you a little under the weather? Were you stressed or distracted? Frustrated? Energetic? Happy? Were there any circumstances that may have affected your session such as a personal issue or an overcrowded gym?
Record your hours of sleep, your water intake, and possibly your pre and post-workout nutrition if desired.
If you are doing a cardio or interval training session, you may want to record your heart rate at various times during the workout.
Indicate any physical issues. Do you have a sore knee? Did you strain your neck? Did you cut your finger on a kitchen knife making dinner the night before?
Record the length of your workout in our printable workout log. This will help you know if you are working slower or faster than usual, and will also help you determine how long a particular workout will take to complete.
Rate the intensity of your workout. Basically, you are giving yourself a grade. Remember, some workouts are naturally more challenging than others depending on the body part being trained, whether you are doing cardio or resistance, as well as your personal preference. But, consider your expectations for that particular workout and grade it as honestly as possible.
Download Our Free Printable Workout Log
Keeping a workout log requires a little bit of time and commitment, but if done properly, it can be absolutely invaluable in helping you reach and maintain your fitness goals.
Keeping a workout log can be rewarding. It can give you the fuel you need to keep pushing forward. When you start to doubt yourself, when you are ready to throw in the towel, or when you think that your efforts are in vain, you can look through previous entries to realize how much you really have accomplished. There is no greater motivator than success!
I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum