Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Workout Organization

Happy Hump Day everyone! I had another long day today but I'm trying to squeeze in a quick post before bed.

After my sister's post yesterday about how she wanted to makea workout binder, I got to thinking about my organization as far as fitness is concerned. I definitely never used to be organized, I just kind of went
to the gym and did what I felt like and then came home. I think that's 100 percent fine too, but I find (for me) if I have some plan in action before I will usually push myself more even if I am tempted to be lazy.

Right now I have a couple of different organizational systems going on. The first is that I always plan my workouts in my plan book at the beginning of the week. That helps me prioritize getting in a workout even when I may have a lot going on during a week. If something is in my schedule I am more likely to stick to it.

The second thing that I just started doing is for my elliptical work outs. I had scrap pieces of paper everywhere that had my elliptical "plans" on them and I could never find one when I actually wanted to go to the gym. So I decided to type up my elliptical workouts and put them
on a ring:

Then, I can just grab one of them and stick it in my gym bag. This gives me a lot of flexibility and it's so easy to add on new work outs when I get bored of the old ones. Having a workout on the elliptical has made a huge difference for me as far as enjoyment of the elliptical. It keeps things way more interesting and ensures I will be challenged during my workout. The process of making one took about 4 minutes (I had all the workouts typed for the blog anyways) and it
saves me a ton of searching time before the gym.

I don't tend to keep too close track of my cardio workouts, but when I started getting serious about strength training a few weeks ago I decided I needed to write down what I was doing for a couple of
reasons. The first is that I want to make sure I am balancing my different muscle groups. In my lifting class I have an instructor telling me what to do, but I am on my own on Friday or Saturday when I
do my third lift so I need to know what muscles I have targeted that week so far and how much so I can organize a good work out on Saturday. If I get my quads really strong but never work my hamstrings I will be off balance, which can cause problems in my knees and let's be honest- knees are not something I need any additional problems with! I also
record my strength training because I want to make sure I am always progressing with weights and it's hard to do that if I don't write down what weights I was using the previous time. Enter: The little pink notebook.

Yup, I totally carry this baby around with me at the gym. I write down all the machines I use, what exercises I do, how many sets, how many repetitions and what the weight is. I also figure this will help when I am transitioning into lifting 3 times a week by myself at the end of February. Plus it's nice to see how much heavier my weights are getting :)

Do you organize your workouts at all? It all seems a little "strict" to me, but yet it's very easy and does push me to do new things.


  1. I love the idea of the elliptical workouts on a ring! I don't bring anything with me to the gym, but I usually go in with a plan, even if that plan is as unstructured as doing a certain amount of time on a machine. I have my training plan for my next half marathon on my iCal and in the Moleskin that I always have on me! I also write down whatever cross training and weight workouts I do in the Moleskin.

  2. My workouts are given to me...but I use a VERY SIMILAR little notebook (mines green though) in which I record all the food I eat! It stays in my purse!

  3. promise you won't laugh.... i put my weight and workouts in a spreadsheet. i have 3 year's worth. ok, you can laugh :)
    and i plan my workouts but i don't write them down ahead of time, i just know when i go what i am going to do.

  4. I just recently started writing down my weight workouts at the gym too! It's great! Today when I was doing workout A again I could look back on the weight I used last week and determine if I should use the same again or more. It was great!!

  5. I need to jump on the bandwagon! Both in committing to lifting and in recording what I do. Good for you!

  6. The book of elliptical workouts is a great idea! I should probably keep track of my strength training so I would be more motivated....

  7. Do I use something to organize my workouts?! Fo sho! This is where my anal organization skills come out. I am always keeping a schedule, mapping things out, keeping track of stats, etc. I save my workouts on two different word documents; one is a calendar, the other is more statistical word document. lol. I am anal and love it! But, I love the idea of putting workouts on cards and or in a binder. I have many swim workouts that I have thought about doing that with, and laminating them so I can take them with me to the pool!

  8. You are so great! I can't believe how organized you are with your workouts, I'm impressed. I just go to the gym, and do whatever I feel like doing on that particular day. I think my Type A comes out in other areas of my life, but good for you. You have a goal, and you're going to achieve it! I think you probably do that with most of your goals. Good work :)

    Have a great day Kelly

  9. I have a binder that I keep training plans that I've used or want to use. I also have a printed calendar that I keep track of all my workouts on. And I was just thinking about doing something similar to what you did for your elliptical workouts with my treadmill workouts. See, you are not alone!

  10. I track the mileage I am running, but nothing else besides that... but I am kind of focused on running right now with my half this spring & full in the fall. I like to track my weekly mileage. My official half training starts on Feb 7th and the Hal Higdon grid then becomes my bible!! I wish I had kept the grid from my marathon training back in 2006 - it's fun to look back and see the progress I've made!

    When I am done w/ the half & marathon, I def want to branch out & do more strength training & other things like biking and swimming. When I get to that point, I def need to take a more organized approach!

  11. Great idea withe the elliptical binder. I always get so bored on that machine... I should try mixing it up with workouts instead of just "QUICK START" and chug, chug, chugging through it.

    I've always wanting to be one of those people carrying a notebook around the gym...

  12. I guess I'm not all that original in my workouts because I don't think I NEED to organize them :S I guess I always do the same old thing, and since I work out from home there is only so much I can do I guess.

  13. How very teacher of you with the index card ring : )
    I think I may steal this idea, but also make my notebook.. I can't decide. Truthfully I can't see myself bringing either of these to the gym.. I like to carry nothing: I go with the bear necessities: ID and iPod. Maybe this will change when I'm out of college..
    I have just recently though started recording my workouts on runner's world training log. I used to do this on a little calendar, but I like how this log automatically logs the weekly/monthly/yearly totals.

  14. I am a major organizer. I love spending time doing it too. I totally agree. If I don't have a workout planned then I leave feeling like I didn't really accomplish anything. I rarely show up to the gym without a plan...usually in written form. I love your little notebook you have. Very smart.

  15. when i was actually good about lifting weights i definitely carried my sheet around with me. i had a few different weight routines on different pieces of paper (to rotate lifting routine every few weeks) and would bring in the one i was doing. so, not dorky at all to me :)

    i also have to type up a spreadsheet sometimes for when i do speedwork on the treadmill. i get lost trying to add up where i should be distance and/or time wise so this way i can just refer to my spreadsheet and remember how many reps i have done. yeah, major geek.

    cool about hawaii! i was just curious :) we haven't figured ours out yet at all... go figure!

  16. I just have my training plan that I check off.. So funny that a teacher of little ones was all ABC'd out :)

  17. When I used to strength train more, I had a notebook to keep track of what I was doing. Now I am just using my planner.

    I also saw a great notebook by Flogg that looked real helpful.

  18. I like your method! I always write down my workouts after I complete them- that's all I really do though. I need to get more organized!