Workout logs - how do you do it?


Double-Digit Post Count
After finding no good sources on the web I thought I'd ask all of you to share how and what you log:

What do you log? Sets, reps, rest, food, sleep, location, sensations, exercises, warmup, hand positions... ???
How do you log it? Abbreviations? Symbols? Iphone, notebook, tatoos...
Did you stop logging something and why?
How and how often do you use/'mine' your training log?
When you 'mine' what do you find?
Do you plan ahead and log in the same format? If so: how? How far ahead?


I log everything in a Moleskinne annual calendar.

Non-exercise I log:
everything I eat, where I am (I travel a lot) and  on occasion what I weigh + body fat according to an omron handheld device.

I don't weigh my food, but I try to gauge portion sizes and composition across macro nutrients. Every now and again I will pick meal, write down "225g lean beef, 300g brown rice, 300g assorted veggies" and then test if that is actually what it weighs. Over time I've become pretty good at being right.

Exercise-wise I log: 

Where I exercise and start and stop times: "CPH 14:05 - 15:15"
Warmups: exercises, weights used, time spent and if anything out of the ordinary, how I felt about it. I also log if I'm changing technique or practicing something in particular. "DL warmup: 3x5@60kg III - practiced 'tension' - 9min" where [sets]x[reps]@[weight] followed by a roman numeral for minutes of rest between and after set(s)
Actual exercises: as warmup above, but also with the addition of perceived percentage of 1RM and a description of how I felt and a reflection on my technique. "DL: 3x3@140kg V -18mins -80%max. Practiced 'relaxed' thoracic - still felt weird. Weight heavy and slowed down above the knees, but otherwise solid."

How I mine and plan:

For the past year or so I've fleshed out my macro cycles + diets a year in advance along with goals for that year and each cycle. I'll decide on what to train, how often and what my goals are for that cycle. I'll physically draw it on the yearly overviews in my Moleskinne book, outlining something like: "Meso 3: Easy Strenght 3xWeek, DL-150kg, BP-100kg, SQ-150kg. 15% body fat. Warrior diet." As a result I've become WAY more modest and realistic about how life screws up a plan. I've also made more progress.
I usually look at my notes most in the beginning and end of a macro cycle: when I'm still dialing in a new routine or when I'm about to 'climax' a cycle. I'll look at similar past cycles to see how they played out, where I got tired etc.
I'll look at my training log when deciding how to plan ahead and - very much so - if I'm deciding to change my plan for some reason (I decided to go to the Superstrength seminar in Boston this May, for example, so I decided to just simple&sinister for 6 weeks prior to that instead of being in the middle of a powerlifting cycle when I went over there.)


Things I don't log, but maybe should, include: sleep, DOMS, mood, what I did during any particular day, supplements (I know: stupid).

It would be really interesting to hear how people who've logged for decades does this...






More than 500 posts
Ulrik, you do a really good job logging you training! I feel like I could take some pointers from you and probably will.


I simply log by writing warm up, then warm up sets then main sets. Then I write down cool down and stretching. If anything out of the ordinary happends I write that too. But I keep it very simple.I write up what program/cycle I'm doing too.


I feel like I could probably take more notes of recovery things. I remember that Dan John wrote about quantifying rest, I'll see if I can find the article. Take more notice of diet and how it relates to performance. Cues could also be a good idea when testing for technique and results.


Good topic Ulrik!



Double-Digit Post Count

You're way ahead of me!  The only things I log pertain to my workouts.

The only things that I log are the main sets (with time, weight, reps, max HR, and avg HR for each set) and any additional "easy strength" type work that I do.  Of course all of this is done in a spreadsheet so that I can go crazy with charts galore! :)

But it really is satisfying to watch the average HR trend downward across weeks of performing TGUs with the same weight in the same or less time...the swings are another matter, those charts look like a roller coaster ride.

I log everything into a "Google Drive" document that I can access from my phone at the gym, and upload all the data to a spreadsheet on my computer later when I want to chart everything.  It is definitely overkill, but I like to be able to see and track progress.


Jason Paul

More than 300 posts
I guess I try to keep it simple. I'm currently doing S&S, and after a workout, my log looks like this:

Swing - 24kg - L,R,L,R,L,R,L,R,L,R

TGU - 24, 24, 24, 24, 24

I'm writing them down as I do them, so it's more about keeping count during the workout. However, it will change slightly when I start working in the 32kg, and it will look more useful.

If I'm timing a workout, I just writing the time down next to the notes above.

I also write my bodyweight at the top of the page on Saturdays.

In addition to this, I have been logging my food into MyFitnessPal. I don't weigh my food either, just estimate.


Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I log my workouts via Google Drive. That way I can get to it anywhere(phone/pc/mac). I log the day and sessions. I dont log food anymore but I did when I was trying to get to a certain weight.


Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I use a calendar app to manage goals and day-to-day tasks like diet, workouts, etc. It’s stored in Dropbox so I can get at it from any computer. I don’t worry about the format as long as I understand what I did. Here’s today’s:

warmup: crawling, naked tgus, 16kg armbar
goblet 3×5 (16, 24, 32)
swing 2h 40kg 5×10, 32kg 5×10

Naked means without weight, not actually naked. :)

I don’t have any schedule for going back and looking at it, but it’s great to have it there so I know whether I’m truly making progress.

Logging heartrate sounds like a great idea. I should get a decent heartrate monitor.


Double-Digit Post Count
Thanks for all the input guys!

I've tried logging in various aps, google spreadsheets etc - but for some reason I can't seem to consistently maintain the log. I simply want to log more than is convenient to write on a phone while in the gym.



Double-Digit Post Count

Longtime lurker so thought I'd finally contribute.. :)

I log using Evernote, where I got a dedicated notebook for 2014. I'm using a free account as it provides everything I need.

As it's cloud based I can access it from my mobile, laptop or computer (even at work!). Another great feature, is that I have recently started working privately with a SFG so I'm able to share all my log details with him before each session (meet every 4 weeks).

I create a new note for each session (normally daily) which is normally named something like: 24th March 2014 - Original Strength - Simple & Sinister (24/24). I'll use an * to denote that I'm working towards a heavier weight e.g. (24/16*) means that the majority of sets was done using a 16 but at least one set was using the 24. This allows me to get a fairly  quick overview where I started move up in weight as I look through my notes.

Each note is divided into sessions (normally do morning / evening session)as I have to work around family life - got 2 boys under 5) with some commentary of how I feel etc at the bottom.

Sample entry:

Morning Session:
Original Strength Resets  Standing Cross-Crawls  Segmental Rolling Upper body  Segmental Rolling Lower body  Neck Rolls  Hard Rolls  Rocking  Neck Nods  5 x 6 Point Bird-Dogs x 3
  Leopard Crawling (Backwards & Forwards) x 1
  Baby Crawling (Backwards & Forwards) x 2

Evening Session:

32kg TGU Practice:
2 x Up to Step 3 (1/2 to Hand)

3 Rounds of ( ~10min):  5 x Prying Goblet Squats  5 x Halos  5 x Hip Bridges

Simple & Sinister (~18:56min):- Swings (24kg) = 100 in  08:18 min - (100x1H)- 60 sec Break- TGU (24,24,24,24,24) - 5x1 -  09:40 min

Modified Hurdler Stretch x 3 x 45sec
QL Stretch / Twist

Did not get a lot of sleep so not going all out with S & S tonight. Only managed 2 reps on right-hand side with 32Kg TGU. Keep trying and aim to progress to standing in the next couple of weeks.

S & S:
Swings: Both grip and form felt much better. Took my time to get the form correct.
TGU: Felt fine and almost too easy.
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