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Old 11-25-03, 05:57 PM  
Joanna
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The 'Everything Workouts Journals & Logs' Thread

By popular demand…

1) What is a workout log? Why do I need one?

A workout log (also called a journal, tracker, database or calendar) is a paper or computer record of the workouts you have done in a week. Some Vfers use custom systems that allow them to also track other information such as diet, mood or personal habits. There are several reasons why you might want to keep a log:

* If you are participating in a check-in on the forums, a log allows you to remember what workouts you did that week.
* Some Vfers keep a log for trading purposes. If they find through their log that there are some tapes they never seem to do, they might decide to trade them for something else.
* Many Vfers like to keep their routines well-rounded. A log can allow them at a glance to see how many cardio, strength, stretch etc. workouts they have done.
* A log can help you focus your training goals. If, for example, you do a month of Pilates workouts, then a month of traditional abs, you can compare the results you got.

2) How do I keep a workout log?

There are five main ways: using a calendar, keeping notes, using a commercially available book, customizing your own book or using a computer-based system. Below I will describe each system and the advantages and disadvantages. I will also include a few comments for other Vfers from the various threads on the topic. Many people contributed long and wonderful descriptions on their workout logs---in the interests of brevity I did not quote them all, but at the end of this FAQ you will find links to all the threads where these comments appeared, and they are delightful reads.

**

Calendar: This is the simplest system. You simply buy or make a blank calendar, and in the square for each day, you write down the workout you did. The advantage is the simplicity of the system. The disadvantage is that sometimes you might want the space to make more notes, and like all paper-based systems, it can be time-consuming to compile a report based on your notes.

Here are some comments from Vfers who have used this approach:

From Txkimmers: I have picked up my daytimer again and have been logging my workouts there. I have looked at workout logs but never seem to find just what I am looking for. Also my needs are embarassingly simple, all I need is one line to record what I did!

From Lydia: I just note what video I did in my weekly/monthly planner in the appropriate time slot. It's simple and right now that's what I need.

From Redflame: I LOVE me my calendar! I have them back 11 years. I like a calendar with big boxes for the days, and I do EXACTLY what you said by putting different methods in different colors for quick reference. I can look at my calendar and see that I am getting a good variety, or not enough, etc.

From Debbie: using a desktop calendar. I LOVE tracking my workouts this way. Sherry, I do use color gel pens for each type of workout. Plus, I have a sticker theme for each month.

From Loretta: For a few years I've been printing up a calendar with my planned workouts on it and then writing in what I actually did. Sometimes I will put specific tapes for my planned workouts and sometimes I will just put "cardio" or "strength" or "yoga". Sometimes I will just leave it blank if I don't have a specific focus beyond consistency.

**

Notes: This involves writing whatever notes you wish to keep on scrap paper, in plain blank notebooks, memo pads etc. The advantage is that it is a simple system to keep and you can keep as detailed notes as you wish. The disadvantage is that it might be hard to keep track of loose papers, and it might be hard to see your progress if your notes are random and differ in length and style.

Here are some comments from VFers who have used this approach:

From Lisa: I've been using the blank side of stuff I've printed out but no longer need for quite a while. I use a page for each week and keep it in a 3 ring binder.

From Sherry: I currently write down my weight, measurements and workouts in a blank journal book.

From Barb: I have a little 3x5 top-spiral notebook (I'm on my second one). I simply write the start date at the top of the page, and note my workouts, MON-SUN. Sometimes I add info about the weights I've used, for example, or some interesting detail about the workout. Whenever I take measurements, I write them in the book.

From Kathryn: I use a stenographer's notebook, or notebook of about the same size. I write in date and exercise (or "off"). I keep track of weights used for resistance training, step height for step, use of weighted gloves or not for kickboxing, etc. I also write in notes like "good weight" or "go up" or "hard" or "YEOW"

**

Commercially available books: These are journal books that have blank space in them for you to record your workouts, and often, they are attractively decorated with inspirational quotes or other information. The advantage of using these are that they are generally attractively produced and they are all laid out for you---no need to fiddle with spreadsheets or computer files. The disadvantage is that they can be a little pricey and not very customizable. This might be overkill for some people, but for others it is a very convenient option. Here are some titles that Vfers have used:

The Ultimate Workout Log by Suzanne Schlossberg
The Weider Weight Training Log by Daniel Leversque
Walking and Cross-Training Log Book by Walker’s Warehouse

Here are some comments from Vfers who have used this approach.

From Suzanne: I have used for the last few years the Ultimate Workout Log. The only thing I don't like about it is the lack of space to write stretching stuff.

From Charlene: With a couple of breaks for different systems, I have been using The Ultimate Workout Log for a LONG time now. Each one covers almost six months, and I have quite a few old ones kicking around. It has separate sections for cardio, weights, and a stretching checkbox, plus you set goals for your week, and track intensity levels. I also sometimes put a stamp on each day I workout on a calendar, so I get the nice visual effect.

From Loretta: I tried the Ultimate Workout Log, but I felt too constrained by the format, nice as it is.

**

Customizing your own book: This involves using a spreadsheet or word processor to create your own template. You might, for example, create a weekly log page that you can then photocopy ad infinitum and use as your template. The advantage is that you can design it to look just the way you want, and customize it to track only the information you want to track. The disadvantage is that it is time-consuming to set-up.

Here are some comments from Vfers who have used this approach:

From Mary: I actually make custom, hand-made books and just did an exercise log as a birthday gift for a friend! Stupidly, I didn't manage to take a picture of it before I sent it off, but it had a gorgeous Asian-themed print cloth cover and a bunch of custom contents based on what I know she likes to write down (weight circuit, general calendar, food intake, measurements) I really enjoyed making it and I know she'll use it like crazy.

From Kyrin: I buy a DayRunner PRO tabbed, month-in-view calendar and the PRO lined notes…This year, I've sandwiched 12 notes pages between each of the month's tabbed calendar pages. Then, I took the whole thing to a print/copy center and had it put into a comb binding--which you could do with anything, thus creating your very own workout journal in your preferred style. (Colored pages, cartoon/clip art inserts, etc.) I track my Good N.E.W.S. information--nutrition, exercise, water, and sleep.

From Palegirl: I make a sheet for each video I have with a full breakdown of each exercise in the first column, then each time I do that video I put the date at the top of the next free column and fill in the weights I use as I go along. I can see what weight I used for each exercise the last time and then if I think I should go heavier next time I put a "+" and if I went too heavy and should go lighter I put a "-" otherwise I stay at the weight I'm at.

From Laura: I finally put my own together. I just couldn't find one that I liked. Basically it has three sections: Food - I track what I eat (along the lines of the book Outsmarting the Female Fat Cell ). In that section I track the water I drink and fruits/veggies (not that tracking fruits/veggies has encouraged me to eat more of them... Exercise - I track the exercises I did for the day and keep a running total for the year of video days and water aerobics classes. Quiet time/Bible study - I simply track whether I did it or not. In addition, I have a place for notes/thoughts/observations in each section.

From Mary: I made a blank workout sheet using Excel. I don't keep it on the computer (I'd never remember to do it, then), but print out the sheets and keep them in a large 3 ring binder near my videos. I make a slot for date, type of workout, title, workout time, and leave a blank slot for any comments I had about the workout or how I was feeling that day. I try to note my maximum heart rate, but often forget to do this.

From Diane: I have a 7 day type calender my son made for me in excel, it has boxes for cardio, and each muscle. I just check what I did and if I am motivated the times and tape. It is sooo easy to see at a glance if I hit every muscle twice. I keep them in a 3 ring binder

**

Computer-based system: This involves keeping your workout notes on a computer file such as a spreadsheet or a database program like MS Works, MS Access, Filemaker Pro or HanDBase. There are several advantages to this type of approach: it is customizable, you can search your records quickly and generate reports, you don’t have to worry about storing a binder or calendar, and you don’t have to purchase endless refills when you run out of writing space. For people for whim neatness counts, this is also a good approach. The disadvantage is that it can take a certain amount of technical proficiency to set up.

Here are some comments from Vfers who have used this approach:

From Joanna: I have never been able to keep a paper log. The idea appeals to me but it always seems to get messed up somehow and make me feel anxious. What I have been doing for a long time now is keeping track on the computer. I have a simple database where each complete workouts gets one record in which I note just the name, instructor, type. length, and number of times done that year (I reset this field every Jan 1 after archiving the year's totals). Then every time I do a workout I just change the number int he times done field. I can easily sort to view only workouts of certain type, or sort them most done to least done etc. I use a program called HanDBase that can synch with my PDA, so I can edit the info. on the go to.

From Lisa: At the moment, I'm using iCal on my Mac to track rotations and whether I did the workout that day or not I've set up a different view for each of the rotations I would like to try this year and used the To Do list to record whether I completed the workout or did something else. It's not as scientific as a database but it does mean I can set up a reminder 30 minutes in advance to help me get into the right frame of mind to work out.

From Ponytail: I typically use the calendar offered on Cathe's website to log my workouts

From Alta: I prefer The Athlete's Diary for keeping detailed records of my workouts. I'm a geek and like all the charts and graphs! It's one of the few fitness programs that has a Mac version as well as a PC one. Last year I got the Palm version, too. You can HotSync (download or upload) your workouts. The Palm version doesn't have as many bells and whistles (charts and graphs) but it is still fun and useful.
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Old 11-25-03, 05:57 PM  
Joanna
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3) Are there any free ones I can use?

Here at VF there are several downloadable templates:
http://www.videofitness.com/workoutlogs/

Keep a food and exercise journal on-line at Fitday:
http://www.fitday.com

And some miscellaneous ones:
http://www.kasenterprises.com/exercise.html (printable)
http://www.womensexercisenetwork.com/fitness/log.html (on-line)
http://www.diet-tips.com/tools/downloads/fitnesslog.htm (printable)
http://www.upmc.edu/weightloss/tools...ercise_log.htm (printable)
http://www.health-fitness-tips.com/downloads/ (printable)

And my own HanDBase template, available for download, with sample data, here:
http://www.ddhsoftware.com/gallery.h...865.95.119.218

4) What threads can I consult for further info?

Workout logs?
http://69.93.245.62/forum/showthread...=&pagenumber=1

How do you track your workouts?
http://69.93.245.62/forum/showthread...ht=workout+log

Decent on-line workout/food logs?
http://69.93.245.62/forum/showthread...hlight=journal

I just installed Diet and Exercise Assistant...
http://69.93.245.62/forum/showthread...threadid=35672
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Old 11-29-03, 10:06 PM  
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Nov 29/03: Updated the thread to include more info. on The Athlete's Diary as per Alta's request.

I have had NO feedback at all on this thread. Doesn't anyone have any comments?

Joanna
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Old 11-29-03, 11:26 PM  
Lianne
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Oh, Alta's prompt reminded me of some software I used for a few months at the beginning of this year:

www.crosstrainer.ca

I really liked it - a little too much, in fact; I was spending too much time making charts and stuff and spending even more time on the computer. I decided it was overkill for me and quit using it, but my dh still uses it with some of his clients.
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Old 11-30-03, 05:11 AM  
kyrin
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Quote:
Originally posted by Joanna


I have had NO feedback at all on this thread. Doesn't anyone have any comments?

It took me a while to get rid of the Thanksgiving mentality and refocus... :rolleyes:

Joanna, thank you for compliing the workout log information! I've already made my workout log for 2004, but now I'm thinking of "tweaks" that I can do to the system. Vidiocy expanded...
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Old 11-30-03, 06:28 AM  
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Joanna,

I just wanted to thank you for your dedication and hard work. I really appreciate your time and organizational skills! Many of us have benefitted from your efforts!

I'm thinking of ordering the "Results for Women" journal from Energy for Women magazine. It has sections for exercise, food, a diary and photos. I'll let you know if I like it.

Thank you so much!
Sherry
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Old 11-30-03, 07:34 AM  
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What a Great Thread

What a great idea you had - excellent for giving people ideas and letting them know the range of what's available to them.

I use a piece of software that is excellent and I highly recommend it for those who want to track their workouts in detail. Its called MySportTraining. They have an excellent program for those who have a pocket PC, that syncs with the computer, but I just use the Windows version. It allows you to create all your workouts in detail, recording reps, times, weights, etc. and then keep a record of what you do.

The report functions are a little weak, but it keeps the information in an Access database, so if you know how to use Access you can build your own reports if you want to print other things than the program allows you to.

If anyone wants to have a look its at: www.mysporttraining.com

Thanks for all the info Joanna - great idea!

Jodi in Montreal
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Old 11-30-03, 08:34 AM  
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Track That + Mood, Blood Pressure, Vitamins, Supplements, Meds, & Health Conditions!

Wow! Joanna, this was fabulous!!!!
I hadn't seen this thread until today, or else I would have responded sooner. But I'd like to add an online web log that I found yesterday. It's called Health A to Z . Check it out at: http://www.healthatoz.com

My husband, who tracks his Blood Pressure on his palm pilot, was wondering if there was anything that would allow us to track out nutritional supplements/vitamins. Well-- I don't really know how I lucked up into finding HealthA-Z-- I guess it was some fancy web surfing. But not only can you track your exercise and diet, but you can track your supplements, medicines, your mood, you can keep a journal, you can track your blood pressure, your cholesterol, your pregnancy, diabetes, asthma, arthritis and osteoporosis- plus a host of other conditions. The list goes on-- and you can do this for your whole family. Now-- they don't have a "fibromyalgia" category, but that's fine with me, because I can track my joint & muscle pains in the much related "Arthritis" tracker. I track my BP in the Cardio Health tracker. The Fitness Tracker tells me my BMI, how much weight I should lose, and how many weeks it should take me. My exercise info flows automatically from one tracker to the other, so I don't have to type it in multiple times. And the site can create charts and graphs to show my progress.
All the while, I can access articles and tips on improving my health on every page. My only gripe with this particular website is that sometimes it loads information too slowly. Also-- you may not want to put ALL of you medical information out there on the web. I don't care if my weight or bp is known, but I'm not too eager to put every bit of personal information on the internet-- so I don't.

That's all! Hope somebody finds that website useful.

Faith
(Who also logs the videos she does in a Daytimer type calender/appointment book-- because it's inspiring to see on paper, all those dates filled with various workouts.)
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Old 11-30-03, 08:50 AM  
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The President's Challenge!

Okay-- so I WASN'T finished! So sue me!
Here's yet another place online where I log my workouts: http://www.presidentschallenge.org I log on here because earning medals for my accompliishments is my incentive. I started doing it with a group of old co-workers and friends I formed into a team. But once we disbanded, my hubby and I kept doing it on our own.

This log/program is from the President's council on physical fitness. Remember that annual fitness test you had to take in gym class? Well, those same people have a different challenge for adults, where you get points for logging in how many minutes/hours of various activities you've done for the day. It can be anything from walking, housekeeping and gardening to aerobics, running, trampolining, dancing, "Rollerblading," kickboxing and weightlifting. I put my AWT tapes, like the Firm and Cathe, in the circuit training category. (I recently asked them to add rebounding. They said they would consider it.) Once you get a certain number of points, you earn a bronze, silver or gold medal. You can mail in for the certificates, ribbons, medals or t-shirts, (for a small fee, of course!) to commemorate you accomplishments. I have earned the bronze and silver medals, and am working on the gold. The medals and certificates are signed by the current president of the U.S. from whenever you finished your workout, which is an incentive or a deterant to some people. Since I earned mine this summer, they are signed by G. Bush on the back. But love or hate the current president-- it doesn't matter. Just as with the Olympics-- if you are the one who earned the medal, that's all that matters. My two medals reflect a twenty pound weight loss. Is there any better reason to log on to this web site than that????

Happy Logging!

Faith
(Who's husband logs on at www.runnersworld.com. But that doesn't allow for video workouts, so most of you may not be interested.)
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Old 11-30-03, 09:18 AM  
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Joanna, this is wonderful and it's re-inspired me to get back to working on building a database that I can work on using my Mac and my PC. The hardest part for me is categorising all of my workouts. About half of them are easy and the other half are much less straightforward.
ATB,
- Lisa
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