I have always written clients’ workouts down on with pen and paper. I know plenty of trainers who use online training apps, or bring their iPad or tablet along to sessions and keep track of their clients’ progress that way. I suspect I’ll always be a written-down-on-paper type of trainer – there’s something about being able to hold it in your hand, to scribble notes, or change things up by erasing or crossing something out. And since planners are still such big business, I know I’m not alone.
That’s why I wanted to give you guys these free strength training journal printables that you can print out and take along to the gym with you! This is based on what I use with clients and how I also track my own workouts (okay, okay, I scribble mine in a notebook, but only because I hadn’t made a pretty, professional printable before!!).
Why is it important to write down your workouts?
Keeping a strength training journal will help you in a few different ways. First up, it saves you from getting to the gym and looking around, thinking, “What should I do today?” We’re all busy and having your workout written out ahead of time saves you precious time in the gym – you don’t have to think about what to do, or where to go next, because you have it on paper in front of you.
It’s also important to keep a training log so you know you’re getting a good variety of exercises, working out in different ways. It’s so easy to get into a routine at the gym, always doing the same exercises, often in the same order, with the same weights. Without a trainer there to tell you what to do, a routine becomes second nature. Unfortunately, it also means you’re unlikely to progress in strength or endurance if you’re doing the same workouts over and over. Spending a little extra time each week planning out what you want to achieve in the gym makes a huge difference in how quickly you can achieve your fitness and strength goals.
Finally, keeping a training journal is a great visual reminder of the progress you’ve made. It can serve as a motivation to look back at early entries and realize how far you’ve progressed in weight or intensity with various exercises. And it also makes it easy to pre-plan workouts, to be able to look back on your progress and see what your next goals can be.
I’ve created two printables for you, so you have a couple of options based on your own preference. The first is a single page A4 print out so you can plan a complex workout, or have extra room for notes. If your workouts tend to be longer, or you need extra space to write down a description, this is a great option for you. (Just click on the image below – it will open as a pdf which you can save and print!)
The image below shows what the single page strength training journal printable looks like after it’s been all filled in. (I used this full-body workout as my example.)
If you don’t need as much space, or you just want a more compact view for your training log, you can also use this free printable with four entries on one page. (Again, just click the image to go to the free pdf for printing or downloading.)
This four entry version of the training log is closer to what I use for clients – I have my own shorthand for many exercises and workouts, so I don’t need as much space when I’m writing out a program. Here’s what workouts on that four entry option look like written out (and the second workout is this one here, if you want the link):
I hope you find these helpful for keeping track of your workouts! And if you’re looking for inspiration, check out all my workout posts here, as well as the workouts for runners round ups, which you can find here.
Do you keep a training journal for your strength training?