One of my favorite sayings is, “If you fail to plan then plan to fail”. Nothing is truer when it come to your workout. If I had to pick out the person at the gym least likely to be meeting their fitness goals, it would be the person wondering aimlessly from machine to machine, exercise to exercise, with no real rhyme or reason.
There are lots of ways, styles and methods to developing a workout plan, especially weight training. That is where a personal trainer like myself can come in handy. Whatever your method, you need a place to document your plan. For some people a basic notebook will suffice. I like a little more structure, so I buy workout logs. There are many on the market, but I am going to share 3 with you today.
For a beginner who wants to keep as much information in one place as possible, I would recommend Daily Planner Workout Journalby Alex A. Lluch. It has space for your cardio, weights, relaxation exercises, water intake, vitamins & supplements, energy levels, etc. You can really pack in a lot. There is even a fold out graph at the beginning to chart your weight loss progress. It would also be good for a beginner to weight training who may not need as much space for their resistance exercises. This same feature is a drawback for those doing multiple sets and many exercises per body part. You run out of room very quickly with that type of plan.
The more experienced sister in iron might prefer the Oxygen’s No Pain No Gain Training Journal. It has room for 15 exercises per day and 8 sets per exercise, which is a sharp contrast to our first reviewed log. However there is only a small section at the bottom for cardio exercise and notes. Important to know if you do a lot of athletic activities other than weight training. Also there are none of the added trackers like water or vitamin intake.
My favorite of the three (and I have personally used all three) is The Ultimate Workout Log: An Exercise Diary for Everyoneby Suzanne Schlosberg. I think this is a nice balance between the two listed above. There is more room for weight training exercises than the first Daily Planner but unlike the Oxygen log, there is plenty of space for cardio, notes and goals. As a bonus each day has a fit tip or trivia question to help you learn more as you move along on your fitness journey. There are also weekly wrap up pages to summarize what went well and what you need to work harder on. All in all, I think it is the most well rounded log out there.
Based on your goal find a log that is right for you. It may be one of the three I have used or it may be some other version, perhaps a homemade one. The most important thing is to have the log, to have a plan and to go back and review your logs to see your progress and how you measure up to the goals you have set for yourself. I even recommend putting that picture of yourself just starting this journey, your “before” picture, at the front as added motivation.
So tell me, what is your favorite method for planning and keeping track of your workouts.