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workout log

What Is A Workout Log And Why Do You Need One?

Are you finding it hard to know whether you are making progress in the gym? Do you forget the reps and sets you had performed in your previous workout? Then what you need is a workout log.

You may have had this realization several times when you hit the gym.

You walk into the gym and start lifting the weights. You feel good as you are warming up for your actual reps and sets.

Now you want to lift weights but you don’t remember how much you had lifted the last time you workout out the same muscles.

It has been few days and you are unsure. Maybe you had bench pressed 200 lbs for 7 reps. Or maybe it was 210? You are not sure.

You start out lifting 200lbs for 8 reps and start to feel good that you are progressing.

But then doubt creeps in your mind and you feel that maybe you had lifted 210 lbs for 7 reps in your last workout.

So you may have not actually progressed but lost some progress.

This is a common mistake made by a lot of gym goers who do not record their workouts in a workout log.

What is a workout log?

A workout log is a journal where you enter the details of each workout that you perform.

You could use the text editor on your PC, or an app on your phone, or a simple thing like a regular notebook.

My personal choice is to use the paper notebook where I can quickly jot down the workout details as I actually workout.

So at the end of each exercise, I write down the date, the number of sets and reps that I performed with the weight that I lifted.

What are the benefits of using a workout log?

It will help you increase the weight that you lift

As you keep working out every day, you might be lifting the same weight with each workout and not making progress.

This is because when we workout at the gym we tend to lift weights we get comfortable with.

A workout log can help avoid this problem because you will track down the number of sets, reps, and the weight that you lift.

This means that the next time you workout, you can check your workout log and then strive for an additional rep, or increase the weight by another 5 pounds.

This will help you push yourself and make the necessary progress in the gym because you are using a workout log to track your progress.

It will help you avoid getting distracted

When you go to the gym there is a chance that you may spend some time chatting or on your phone.

Such distractions will cause you to lose focus and not make the desired progress in the gym.

When you have a workout log, you know exactly what workout you need to be performing and with what intensity.

This will help you avoid getting distracted and focus more on your workouts.

It will help you avoid getting injured

The easiest way to get injured is to not be in control of your workouts in the gym.

You may try to lift more weight than what you can. Or you may skip on your warm up sets. Or your focus may be off causing you to use bad form.

A workout log can help you avoid such problems because it will tell you precisely what you need to do.

So you always know the weight that you need to lift and the warm up sets that you need to perform.

Also, as we have already seen, a workout log will help you focus on your workouts so there is a low chance of injury due to bad form.

It will help prevent overtraining or undertraining

When you have a workout log, you know exactly how many sets and reps you need to perform.

One of the mistakes gym-goers make is that when they feel pumped up they try to perform as many sets and reps as possible.

For natural lifters like us, this can turn out to be counter-productive because it will lead to overtraining.

And with overtraining, you will get issues such as feeling tired, not making progress in the gym, risking injury and feeling depressed and demotivated.

Also, a workout log can help you avoid undertraining.

Since it will show you exactly how many sets and reps you need to perform, if you are feeling lazy or tired after just a few sets, it will clearly point out that you still have some sets and reps to go.

It can help motivate you to keep working out

For us natural lifters, progress when building muscle can be quite slow.

A lot of people can get demotivated and quit working out because they don’t seem to be making the progress they want.

A workout log can help keep you motivated because you are tracking the exact number of sets, reps, and the weight that you are lifting.

So when you feel you are not making enough progress, just check your workout log and you will see the incredible progress that you are actually making in those numbers.

What can you use as a workout log?

Below are some of the instruments that you can use to log your workouts.


This is the traditional way of logging your workouts using a physical notepad.

It is a cheap way of logging the workouts and you can add as much detail as you want without any restrictions that you may find while using an app.


It has become common to use your mobile phones in the gym whether to listen to music or track your workouts.

There are several apps for both Android and iPhone that can be used to log your workouts.

The advantage is that you don’t need to keep a physical notepad and pen and can use your handy mobile phone itself.

Some apps that you may find useful are GymHero or JeFit.

What should you add in your workout log?

When you log the correct information in a workout log, it will help you know exactly how you performed your last workout.

Then you can use this information to understand how you are going to perform your next workout. And you can even try to improve on your previous workout.

There are some parameters that are absolutely essential and you need to track them in your log.

  • The number of sets that you are performing for each exercise.
  • The number of reps you are performing in each set.
  • The amount of weight that you are lifting for that exercise.

Other than this you can also add in information such as the warm-up sets you perform, the rest time that you take between sets or the effort that you required to complete the set.

You can add as much information as you wish that you may find useful for tracking your workouts and making progress in the gym.


I hope you now know what a workout log is, how useful it can be for your workout progress, and how you can make use of one.

A workout log can help you track the progress you make in the gym in addition to helping you avoid injuring and overtraining.

You can make use of a workout log with the help of a simple notepad and pen or go digital by using a workout log app in your phone.

Your workout log should contain the useful information such as the exercise you perform, the number of reps and sets you managed to perform, and the weight that you are lifting for the exercise.

If you have any questions regarding how to create a workout log, please write a comment below.

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