Organising your time and staying motivated are important in sticking to an exercise program and getting the results you want. The printable workout tracker in this post will help you to be organised with your workouts and to stay motivated by recording your progress. It will also help you with planning future workouts.
First you need a plan
What do you want to achieve from your workouts and what sort of exercise will help you achieve it? This is going to vary a lot from person to person, but here is an outline of common objectives and the type of exercise to achieve them.
Exercise can reduce the risk of a wide range of illnesses and conditions, including heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. For general health, aerobic exercise is usually best. This means exercise in which you can keep going for an extended period because you are getting enough oxygen to the working muscles. Examples of aerobic exercise are walking, running, swimming, cycling, dance exercise
Energy and stamina
Again, aerobic exercise is best.
Firm, toned body
Aerobic exercise will improve your muscle tone a bit, but if you really want to firm up, then strength training is the way to go. This doesn’t necessarily mean using weights. You can do body weight exercises or use bands and tubes.
Bone density deteriorates as we get older and this is particularly a problem for women. Most exercise is good for keeping bones strong, but strength training is best.
Bad posture can be due to all sorts of causes, but usually involves muscle imbalances around the hips and shoulders. Pilates is good for posture correction because it focuses on good body alignment and correct movement patterns.
Sleep and mental health
Any exercise can help you to unwind and relax, but exercising outdoors (eg walking, running, cycling) is thought to be more beneficial to mental health and to help improve sleep patterms.
Being more active and increasing the range of movements you use will increase your flexibility to some extent. You can increase your flexibility further by stretching your muscles when they are warm.
This is probably the most common reason for starting an exercise program. For years aerobic exercise was recommended and this makes sense. The body can only burn fat as a fuel if it’s working aerobically. At high intensity, it isn’t able to turn fat into energy. Research over the last several years has suggested that, despite this, short bursts of high intensity exercise could be more effective for weight loss. Why this may be isn’t yet fully understood. It could be because it increases calories used in the hours after exercise. Or that more muscle repair – and therefore more energy – is needed post workout than with aerobic exercise. However, if a person is overweight, high intensity exercise isn’t the safest option. It should only really be done by fit, experienced exercisers.
Download and fill in the printable workout tracker
Planned workout time
Once you know what exercise you want to do, you need to schedule it into your week. Planning out definite time slots is much better than thinking to yourself that you’ll have a workout when you have some spare time, or when you feel like it.
Then record whether or not you did the planned workout. If you didn’t, make a note of why not. At the end of each week, look over your workout tracker and look for patterns of what times and days you’re more likely to stick to your scheduled workout. Also look for if there are any frequent reasons for missing your workouts and whether there is anything you can do about this.
Workout details and progression
This will help you stick to a set workout plan and to progress your workouts. If you want to increase your fitness level, rather than just getting active, you need to challenge yourself a bit more each week. So make a note on the tracker of what you plan to do in your workout – number of reps and sets or walk distance for example. Then you can increase this a little each week. Examples of progression are:
- For any type of exercise, working out for longer or more frequently
- Increasing reps, sets or resistance for strength training
- For running, walking, cycling or swimming increasing your distance or your speed
Get a copy of the tracker e-mailed to you
Enter your e-mail address below to get a link to the tracker download:
After you sign up, you’ll get 2 e-mails:
The first will ask you for a one-click confirmation of your subscription
Once you’ve confirmed, you’ll get a second e-mail with a link to your download