Tracking your workouts with a workout log template is one of the most effective and simple ways to help ensure you maximize your results. If you are working out for fun, or to maintain your health and fitness, a workout log can be overkill. But if you want to change your body, whether it’s to improve strength, build muscle, lose fat, or increase performance, tracking every set of every exercise of every workout is the fastest way to help you get the best results.
Over the years, I’ve used tons of different workout log templates to help track my workouts. I’ve also experimented with several different workout logs as I was creating my BuiltLean Program. While there are endless fitness apps that make workout logs digital and dynamic, call me old fashioned, but I prefer writing everything down on a sheet of paper.
The workout log templates below are my favorites, but I am biased because I created them from scratch and tweaked them for years.
Here’s some more information so you can understand how to fill out each workout log properly along with some tips:
The first workout log isn’t really a workout log, but a 12-week training calendar to plan out your workouts. Again, if you are just working out to stay fit, this is probably unnecessary. But if you are trying to create a specific result, planning out your workouts and adding progression is absolutely essential!
In a perfect world, your training regimen would change overtime so as to keep the body guessing and prevent overuse injuries. So over a year long period you could change your regimen from an endurance focus, to strength, to hypertrophy, to power. You could consider focusing each 3 month period on a certain theme, or change the theme every month (technically this is called a macrocycle, mesocycle, and microcycle periodization approach).
How to use the training calendar – fill in the workout name under each day you plan to complete it, then mark days where you will not be working out as “rest”.
The most common way of creating a workout log is to have a single workout on one sheet. So for example, if you are doing a full body workout, than all the exercises, sets, reps, rest periods for just that workout is included in the sheet.
In this particular log, I include a section for workout parameters such as primary muscles used, total # of sets, total # of reps, and length of workout, a warm up section, an aerobic/intervals/stretching section, and a comment/notes section.
The downside of this template as you will learn from the next workout template is that each workout is on a single sheet. If you do a workout 4x, then you will have 4 different sheets, which can become annoying as you need to flip back and forth between the sheets to see how you are progressing.
How to use the daily workout template – before starting your workout, fill in the sheet with all your workout information, leaving just the boxes in the center of the sheet under “Exercises” blank. When you are at the gym, fill in all the blank boxes.
Workout Log Note: “TR” stands for Targeted Reps, or the number of reps you plan on completing for a given exercise set, “AR” stands for Actual Reps you complete, and “W” stands for the weight you used, and “RBS” stands for Rest Between Sets. Finally, brackets are used to connect exercises that are completed as circuits. If all these terms are getting you confused, check out this list of strength training terms on BuiltLean.com.
What if there was a way to combine most of the information in the preceding daily workout log, but include the same workout 4 times on one sheet for easy comparison?
Well, that’s exactly what my monthly workout log template is able to accomplish.
The reason I call it the “monthly” workout log template is that if you complete 1 workout per week, then you are done with the sheet after one month. Given that research has shown the effectiveness of a given workout can diminish in as little as 4 workouts (for those in shape), 4 is a great number of times to complete a given workout before recycling.
This workout log is my favorite because you are easily able to track the sets, reps, and weight you complete from workout to workout for a given exercise, which makes creating progression in your workout a breeze! In fact, this makes the sheet downright brilliant! I must give credit where credit is due because this template was based off a workout template created by Alwyn Cosgrove in his “The New Rules of Lifting” book.
How to use the monthly workout template – before starting your workout, fill in the exercises you plan to complete along with the targeted sets and reps. Within the first Workout 1 row, you will write down the actual weight and reps you completed for each set. You will then move on to the next exercise and fill in the weight and reps for each set for the row Workout 1. If you intend to pair exercises together in a circuit, you can use brackets as I show in the example sheet, which I filled in.
Workout Log Note: You’ll notice that I have 10 exercise rows and with 5 sets across, which equates to 50 total sets that can be completed on this sheet. For your workout, you will likely only use about half, or less of the sheet. I included these extra exercise \rows and columns to give you more flexibility when creating your workout.
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I hope you use these templates to help get your body to the next level.
Let me know what you think of these templates and if you have any questions!