How many times have you been to the gym and not known what to do for your workout?
After delving into the Cornerstone Weight Loss Blog many people like you have most of their nutritional ducks in a row for achieving weight loss. Your food tracking is on point, you consistently weigh-in everyday, and you are trending your weight with what you have been eating in order to establish a caloric deficit while staying ahead of your inevitable weight loss plateau.
When it comes to the exercise portion of your effective weight loss program, however, not everything may be put together so nicely.
It seems like sometimes you catch yourself doing the same thing on the same day of the week for months. When you find yourself in this situation, you end up feeling like a hamster on a wheel. If you’re on the treadmill when this happens that feeling hits even harder!
What this short blog post will do is provide a structure for tracking your workouts that you can easily add to your effective weight loss program. By using this simple tracking method, you will transform from someone who often feels lost and stagnate during your workouts, to someone who takes control of your workout and gets better results everyday.
Let’s get to work!
Tracking your workouts
It seems like the flexibility and freedom you get from simply taking notes on your smartphone or on a blank sheet of paper is astounding. You can create whole systems that are completely customized to your liking that will enhance your progress like nothing else can.
Much like tracking your food intake, tracking your workouts gives you such honest insight into the exercise portion of your effective weight loss program, you seem to have no choice but to improve and increase the effectiveness of your weight loss program.
*Side note: if you’re dead set on using an app instead of free handing notes to track your workouts, feel free to say no to this blog post altogether. However, if you’re willing to take the challenge of trying something different, take this workout tracking information for a two week trial. Comment below or email your experience to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It seems like writing down your workouts is a no-brainer and shouldn’t need an entire blog post to get the point across. It may even sound insulting to your intelligence to even bring this up.
That being said, given how obvious it seems to be, how is it such a small amount of you actually do it?
The nuts and bolts of free handing your workout tracker
Before you read the next section please be advised that this is just an example and the person writing this is merely a guide. The most important part of this blog post is not following it like a recipe, but rather absorbing the principles of tracking your workouts. This will help you get better results for your weight loss program and take better control of the time you dedicate to working out.
Additionally, the example used for the entirety of this blog post will be using the notes section of your smartphone. Feel free to follow the same principles if using old fashioned pen and paper.
- The System – In order to be the most effective, you’re going to want to be as organized as possible. In the notes section of your phone, you can have folders within folders that go on and on. A great way to organize your workouts is in chronological order. Create a folder for the year (Ex: Workouts 2022), create a folder within that folder for the month (Ex: March), then create your first set of notes within that folder. You can sort your workout days by date within the set of notes you’re working in.
- Templates – Varying your choice exercises over time is a smart decision and is the effective way to progress your body physically, however changing your choice exercises every single workout is not optimal. For time periods when you will be using mostly the same exercises at increasing levels of intensity, creating templates at the beginning of your notes is a way to save you time and increase your effectiveness.
An example template for a chest and back resistance training day would be:
Chest and Back
Cardio: Jump Rope (minutes):
Barbell Bench Press (rep range: pounds): 15: 14: 10: 10:
Pull Ups (set number: reps): 1: 2: 3: 4:
Barbell Incline Press (rep range: pounds): 15: 14: 10: 10:
Dumbbell Bent Over Row (rep range: pounds): 12: 11: 10: 10:
- Taking Your Notes – In order for workout tracking to actually benefit you, it’s imperative that you create a workout tracking habit. This means that directly after every set (Ex: the set of 15 reps of the Barbell Bench Press shown above) you track it. The more you do this, the more ingrained the habit will become to the point in which tracking your workout is part of your entire working out experience.
An example of how tracking your 135 pound, 15 rep, Barbell Bench Press would be:
Barbell Bench Press (rep range: pounds): 15: 135 14: 10: 10:
- Comparing Your Notes – A few minutes before and at the end of your workouts, take a quick scan of your notes. For example, if you’re about to begin your chest and back resistance training day, check back to the last day you worked out those muscle groups. Look at what can be improved. When you’re finished, compare what you did today to what you did last time. Celebrate your increases. Begin to allow your mind to work on solutions on where you stayed stagnant or decreased.
*Side note: it’s best to just scan the notes. Don’t fret and beat yourself up about staying stagnant or decreasing. Acknowledge your wish to improve and move on. If it helps you, find other areas in your weight loss program where you are doing better or consult your weight loss guide for encouragement.
Use your workout tracker to beat yourself by a little every workout
As you begin to compare your notes at the beginning of each workout, you’ll see places you can improve. It seems best to make very small increases frequently versus making large leaps infrequently.
For example, increasing one set per workout by 2.5-5 pounds every workout can result in massive monthly increases in your exercise output. This also has the added benefit of reducing -if not eliminating altogether- the mental anguish of needing greater leaps in physical and mental effort. It’s these small changes over time that make vast improvements to your overall calorie expenditure that ultimately nudge you closer to your weight loss goal.
*Side note: these small increases can also be in the form of adding one more rep to a set, increasing the amount of time in a cardio session by a small amount of time, and/or increasing the intensiveness of your workout (increased volume over the same amount of time, or shorter amounts of time per the same volume). If you have questions about this, please contact email@example.com or feel free to leave a comment below!
Wrapping it all up
Tracking your workouts can be summarized like this:
- Create a system that you can easily follow.
- Create templates of your current workouts so the system is more easily managed and duplicatable.
- Actually take your notes during your workout.
- Compare your notes briefly before and after every workout.
- Make frequent, small increases every workout.
If you do these things, you will have no choice but to become someone who takes control of your workout and gets better results everyday.
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