Charting your Workouts

This past weekend, I celebrated a major milestone birthday and it got me thinking about the last decade of my life and how things have really changed. Ten years ago, I was basking in college glory by eating whatever was convenient and exercising by walking (instead of driving) to a destination. Boy, has life changed!

Getting into a fitness routine was a huge challenge for me and I continue to fluctuate with consistency. However, one key factor was trying out a number of mechanisms for tracking my workouts and finding the process that worked.

Using a Notebook

I started out with just doing the old-fashioned method of grabbing a notebook and keeping it in a convenient place. Each page included a week’s worth of workouts. This method provides a convenient way to jot down your workouts and the flexibility to include any type of workout or workout note.

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Using an App

What didn’t work about my notebook method was the fact that I was constantly on the go, which did not always include carrying my little book along. One thing I did carry was my smartphone, so I looked for an app. A quick Google search rendered recommendations for apps such as MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper.

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Using a Spreadsheet on Google Docs

I liked the convenience of the apps, but was not satisfied with how I entered my workouts on the apps. It just seemed like it only provided about 75% of the functionality that I really needed. So, I went back to the drawing board and made a list of the things that were most important to me.

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Those included:

  1. Seeing how much mileage I was running
  2. Tracking what non-running exercise I was doing
  3. Figuring out how many treats (think cookies, candy and cake—oh my!) I was consuming

At the end of the day, it just made sense to create my own workout chart, and I did so with a simple spreadsheet and my everyday Google Drive account.

While it seems simple, it is exactly what I was looking for and helps keep me on track. On a weekly/monthly basis I am able to ensure that I’m meeting my fitness goals, which include running a certain amount of mileage on a weekly basis, diversifying my workouts so I can target toning different zones and minimizing how many treats that I consume! Google Drive, which I access on my computers, tablet and phone, is always accessible. No matter what I am doing or where I am, I can log my progress.

Most importantly, I have found my sweet spot with this system and it keeps me on track during the crazy work week, vacations and wedding planning. What works for one person may not work for another, so implement a “trial and error” process and try out a few options. If you cannot seem to find something that works for you, be creative and try to create your own process!

Let me know in the comments below: how do you track your workouts?

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