Quick Tip: Keep an Exercise Log

Good morning! I know this sounds awful, and I shouldn’t wish my days away, but I can’t wait until this week is over. My work schedule is 1.5 hr later than usual thanks to week-long off-site training, which throws off my workout and study schedule since I’m still getting up and going to bed at the same time for traffic reasons. In addition, this week’s homework includes two chapters of reading (vs the usual one), a test, a quiz, a dissection (sheep brain), and a lab report. Finally, and something I’m looking forward to, tomorrow is WHH and my MIL’s birthday and we have various celebrations throughout the weekend. Everything happens at once!

Tired bunny

Wilbur is tired just thinking about my schedule this week

One thing that helps me not only during my regular weeks, but especially during the crazy weeks, is keeping an exercise log. What can I say? I’m a planner. It helps me look at the week and plan my days off around known conflicts. On crazy weeks I give myself a break and aim to get 3-4 workouts a week. Most times, depending on intensity and other various factors (e.g., if I pull something), I aim for 5-6 days a week.

I made a simple sheet in Google drive that I keep updated throughout the week. I keep four weeks’ worth of workouts visible at a time to make sure I’m constantly mixing it up. Since I only do some workouts once a week (yoga and barre), it also helps to look at when I did it last week so that I’m sure to evenly space things out, if possible. Here’s what I’m currently looking at:

Exercise log

I’ve already tentatively filled in the rest of the week based on what I may or may not be able to fit in.

The thing I love about keeping an exercise journal is that not only does it help me plan (“If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!”), but it gives me a great sense of accomplishment of what I’ve been able to do over the past month. It also helps me see where my training may be lacking and helps me fill in the blanks. On days that I have no idea what I want to do, I’ll look at the gaps. Have I not done strength in a while? Running (not that I’m likely to forget that!)? Yoga?

Please keep in mind that this is meant to be one tool in your toolbox of healthy living tools that you can use, not something to obsess over or feel bad about. I didn’t feel bad about these weeks, for example, when I was clearly ill:

Off weeks exercise log

And I won’t feel bad this week if I don’t get in my usual workouts. I make an effort to be especially mindful of what I eat to “make up” for less physical weeks, so to say, but even if I’m not, it’s just one week. Not a big deal in the larger scheme.

Perhaps you don’t want to keep a nerdy excel-like spreadsheet as I do. You could also do the old-fashioned pen and paper. You could get a little fancier and buy an actual workout journal.

Workout Journal

You could use an app, such as my favorite MyFitnessPal.

MyFitnessPal logo

You could find a free printable one online.

Source

Whatever it is, make it work for you. Perhaps you don’t need or want an exercise journal. That’s fine. I just wanted to share what works for me and how I keep myself motivated, accountable, and making sure I’m as healthy as I can.

Questions: Do you keep an exercise log? Why or why not? If you do,what kind? Are you a tracker and planner by nature?

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8 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Keep an Exercise Log

  1. I keep an exercise log in my Garmin Connect. I’m also a planner and like to get things on the calendar otherwise they don’t seem to happen. I also like to look back at the end of the month and see how much I have accomplished it makes me SMILE 🙂

  2. I keep a running log, more to organize my runs in advance (distance, type of run) than to keep track. But I definitely wouldn’t be able to just go out and run, I need to know what I’m doing.

    • Your running logs (and sneaker logs) are pretty impressive! I love that you plan in advance. I’m sure this has helped not only with training and PRs, but with injury prevention!

  3. […] I think it’s because I’ve been sitting a bit more during the day this week thanks to training. It won’t be an easy run on account of glute and hamstring soreness from Wednesday’s […]

  4. I am a planner by nature, but do not track my workouts. I have tried fitness pal and am not fan. Someone recently suggested the app any.do. Its annoying. For tracking things, sometimes pen & paper are best.

  5. […] kind of measurement of my progress) is a spreadsheet! You may remember me talking about this in my post on keeping an exercise log. I still use this approach nearly a year later because it works so well for me. I’m a […]

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