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    sbhikes's Avatar
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    How do you keep track of your progress?

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    I'm not a very organized kind of person, but I think I need some way of keeping track of what I'm doing in the weight room. I thought a little notebook maybe? But what do I write down?

    I'm curious what ways do you keep track? Little notebook? Just your memory? App on your phone? What kind of details do you put in your notes? Don't keep track at all?
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 195 x 3

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    Owly's Avatar
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    I use an app that helps calculate my percentages and tracks my workouts, but I also write it down in my notebook. That way I can make notes on how I was feeling, any form issues I need to work on, and so on. I am trying to integrate my food journal into the book for this month too so I can see how dietary choices interact with my workouts. I also log bodyweight and have a phone app to track my cycle, so I have a lot of data I can analyze to see what's affecting my health and performance.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

    Owly's Journal

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    I have a very basic spreadsheet with 3 columns: date (all days), planned exercise, completed exercise.

    I plan exercise and rest days at the start of each week and fill in the 'completed' exercise column when things get done. Not much, but enough for me. I keep this on my laptop.

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    a training log is great. i use a 50 cent lined notebook for mine...no need for anything fancy.

    you'll want to include the date, the movements you tried, how many sets, how many reps, and any notes on that movement or the workout overall. here's an example:

    Thursday 11/1/12:
    squats: 45 lb/empty bar, 2x8, warm-up
    125 lbs. 1x5, 1x5, 1x4, 1x3, 1x3, work sets
    stalling at same point as last workout; recheck form and/or try more rest between sets

    bench:

    etc, etc.

    basically, you want to have something that you can look back on to help you notice trends, see what you need to work on, etc.

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    adamm's Avatar
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    I created my own excel spreadsheet. I do the basics.

    Monday:
    Bench Press: ____________________
    Incline Dumbbell Press: ______________________
    Pushups: _____________________
    Flys: ______________________

    Tuesday:
    etc

    All I record are things like:
    Benchpress: 200 x 3 x 5, 215 x 1
    Incline Dumbbell press: 65 x 3 x 10
    etc

    Pullups: 6, 5, 3 (etc)

    I may put an "!" afterwards if it was a very challenging set or if my form broke down, but I don't need much more than that. It is enough to show me where I was and how much to ramp up, but not so much that I get sick of note taking.

    As I add and remove exercises, I just update the spreadsheet. I keep my old sheets behind the current one.

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    I've been using journals for the last 6 years - usually ones I bought at Target for a few dollars.

    Each week, I write out what exercises I intend to do, and then what I actually do (or, if reps were already down, I check off that I actually did them).

    It doesn't take much time - and it only takes a bit of practice to get in the habit.

    What can be really helpful is that, if you are so inclined, after a few months you can look over the thing and get a pretty good sense of what kinds of improvements you are or are not making relative to whatever goals you have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philosopher Dan View Post
    What can be really helpful is that, if you are so inclined, after a few months you can look over the thing and get a pretty good sense of what kinds of improvements you are or are not making relative to whatever goals you have.
    Agree!

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    sbhikes's Avatar
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    Thank you. This is so helpful! I was really at a loss on how to organize the information.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 195 x 3

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    Owly's Avatar
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    Also agree! And you definitely don't need to record as much as I do--I'm just kind of a nerd about my workouts.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

    Owly's Journal

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    I have Evernote on my computer/smartphone, and I made a notebook there to keep track of what I do. I like it because I can just put the data in my phone as soon as I'm done working out, and Evernote automatically synchs it with my computer at home. And if I want to take a picture of something (like my coach showing proper form), I can take the pic with my phone and put it right in that Evernote notebook.

    Then at home I can look at that notebook on my computer, and add things if I want, or plan out my next workout, and it will synch back to my phone.

    *Small advert for Evernote: it's a nice, simple software that lets you create (and share if you want) notebooks, and it automatically synchs smartphone and computer. Besides my workouts, I keep my shopping list in a notebook, and a list of what fruit/veg should be bought organic, etc. End advert.* And no, I don't work for them or get paid by them!

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