A workout log is a free and easy way to track your fitness goals. This record of your daily activity keeps you accountable and helps you see progress if you begin to doubt your success. A separate workout log tracks your aerobic and strength-training sessions and, typically, you can personalize the logs with your favorite exercises.
You can find free, printable workout logs on your home or office computer. Programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel already contain workout logs. You choose which type of log you desire, whether it is to track strength or aerobic activity, or both, then you enter the machines to match the ones at your gym or home workout area. After you print the log, which contains blank spaces for dates across the top, keep it in an easily accessible area, such as your gym bag, or attached to your refrigerator. That way, you can fill it in as you work out, or soon after when your weight amounts and repetitions are fresh in your mind.
Types and styles of workout logs vary dramatically, so you are sure to find one that fits your needs. Look to professional websites such as ExRx.net, the American Council on Exercise and the National Institute on Aging to find free, printable logs. Some of these cannot be changed to include your personal exercise favorites, so choose wisely. Also, look for logs that are simple and easy to use. For example, ones that have a few columns for exercises, weights, sets and repetitions -- but not a lot of area for other explanations such as rest time, unless that is an important part of your training progress. Filling in the workout log should take less time than the actual workout.
Fill It In
It is your responsibility to fill in your workout log so you want to make it as convenient and accurate as possible. You can select a log that has weekly or monthly columns. Print enough pages so you do not have to return to your computer each time you need a new log. The easier you make this process, the more likely you will use the log to your advantage. For your weight-training logs, record the exercise, weight amounts, and the number of repetitions and sets. On your aerobic training logs, write down all aerobic activity, even if you walked the dog. When tracking calories, all movement counts. If your goal is flexibility training, create a stretching log and check off the stretches each time you perform them.
Keep your workout logs as a record of your progress. After six weeks, review your workouts to see where you've made improvements and to identify areas that still need improving. This is also a time to adjust your workout routine to avoid plateaus. If you notice unchanged weight loads, or consistent repetitions, it is time to vary your workout routine. The same is true for aerobic workouts. If you notice a plateau or that you always do the same exercise for 45 minutes on the same days, mix things up and try a new aerobic exercise. Logs are also used to track aerobic classes, so find the one that works for your needs, print it and use it.