Whether you’re just starting out on your fitness journey or you’re a regular gym bunny, it can be motivating and inspiring to track your fitness activity and progression.
You might be training for a race or simply aiming to beat your personal best. Perhaps you’re simply starting out in the world of fitness and want to see how you progress over time.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to track your own personal workout and fitness activities, here are lots of ways to document your journey both manually and automatically.
How to track fitness activity + progress
Old school – pen and paper
If you’re not tech savvy or you simply prefer to write things down then a pen and paper are pretty much all you need. Just seeing your progress noted down in black and white can be really motivating when keeping fit.
Perhaps keep a separate notebook dedicated to tracking your workout progress or add your times/distances to your usual weekly calendar to keep track.
If you use workout equipment with a digital screen then you’ll see your time/distance when finished so you can note down these scores. Otherwise you’ll need to time yourself, count your reps or workout your distance for whatever activity you are doing.
You can find lots of calorie calculators online for every type of sport if you want to note down calories expended.
To track your walks or runs with ease then try the website and app MapMyRun. I used to find the website really useful over a decade ago and it’s still useful now.
Before I had a smart phone I’d use the website to log my street runs as the mapping is really easy to use. It lets you know elevation, distance and all sorts of useful information if you love running on the streets.
You can even see running routes uploaded by other users if you need inspiration or want to find a run nearby for a certain length.
Multi sports watch
If you take part in a variety of activities indoor and out, then it could be worthwhile investing in multi sports watches which can accurately and automatically track analytical data for a wide range of sports.
They can come with or without smartwatch features and tend to have a GPS system to give you data on your distance, speed and pace as well as mapping your activity.
A multi sports watch will link to an app/website and all the information will automatically upload meaning you can see the data instantly and not have to manually record it.
One great thing about sports watches is you can choose a water resistant version if you love to swim. No more remembering to count laps in your head as you swim as the watch will track your distance in the water so you can just enjoy the swim!
iPhone Health app
It’s amazing how many people I speak to who don’t realise their iPhone has a built in Health app that tracks daily activity in the background!
It’s most useful for counting steps, flights climbed and tracking distance walked each day, especially if you carry your phone with you everywhere.
If you’re trying to up your step count then this built in app is great to keep tabs on how many you’re doing each day.
Other phone models also have built in health tracker apps, so see what yours can offer you today before you buy anything else.
There are loads of fitness apps and if you use a gym then it’s a good idea to see if there’s an app that links to their equipment.
At David Lloyd I used the LFconnect exerciser app to scan each machine when I used it to automatically upload my workout and all the data to my iPhone.
I could also manually add workout information that I completed elsewhere to keep all my data in one place.
It was great to see how many calories I was burning per week and the overall distance covered in handy bar charts that I could set to weekly to compare.
A classic pedometer
Most smartwatches and smartphones have built in pedometers nowadays, but if you’re without and you’re a heavy walker then you might want to rely on a traditional pedometer to count your steps each day.
If you’re not tech savvy or don’t have these smart devices then a mini LCD pedometer is a cheap and easy way to track your steps walking, jogging or speed walking.
If you’re a fan of Excel then you can get your geek on with your workout and progress tracking! I’m sure there are lots of templates online for free that will get you started, but a simple date column and stats columns will do.
Once you have a few weeks’ worth of data then you can easily create graphs to really see your progress visually!
There are lots of wearable devices on the market today, like the Fitbit, which are wearable wristbands that track certain activity, health and sleep.
Some are simple pedometers, but others are more advanced and can track a variety of sports including swimming.
They’re usually cheaper than a smart watch, but they might not look as good or have as much functionality. However, you can choose to personalise your fitness tracker with some accessories such as these from this Australian business who offer phone, smart watch and fitness tracker accessories. A new strap for your Fitbit could make it look as good as the latest smartwatch!
Ultimately, how you choose to track your own workouts and progress is down to personal preference. Some people choose to jot it down in a workout journal for simplicity and because it’s cheap, but others love the automation and ease of a fitness gadget.
Whichever way you choose to track your physical activity, just make sure you use it to motivate you and reach your goals!