I have always struggled to find an easy to use, yet accurate method of tracking exercise sessions, whether they be resistance training or cardiovascular in nature. Various attempts at simple or more complex spreadsheets, dedicated apps, or even pen and paper have inevitably been shelved due to an inability of myself or the tools to do the job the way I have in my mind.
Enter Day One, primarily a journalling app, which is both a Mac and universal iOS app that I have found to be an ideal solution for this purpose. I tend to input workout data on my iPhone and review on my iPad.
As far as my workouts are concerned, these are generally either home based resistance training sessions conducted in the early morning darkness of the back yard (EZ bar, dumbbells, resistance bands, anything else I can dip on or hang from), or sprint running sessions in similar lighting (or lack thereof) at the local high school. Either way, I do find it beneficial to track these for self satisfaction at having completed another session, as a reference to check progress, or to set weights for the next session.
Though a whole post (if not a series) is required to adequately describe my use of the app Drafts, this is the starting point for the resistance sessions. They are titled according to the type of workout, for example Weights for time – 21/16 or Weights for strength. The 21/16, refers to a 2 lap circuit, the first of which has 21 repetitions, with the second set containing 16. I generally do 4–5 exercises per session.
Once the exercises and weights for each are written in Drafts, it is simply a matter of starting the stopwatch, and noting whether the repetitions were met in one effort or broken up into multiple efforts to reach the rep total. For example, if Deadlifts took, 3 efforts to reach 21 reps in the first round and 2 efforts to reach 16 reps in the second, we then have as follows
Each exercise and results are completed in the above manner in Drafts. Upon completion of the session, the time is then recorded in the title of the Draft, thus for a session of 19 minutes and 6 seconds, the title appears as follows:
Weights for time 21/16 – 19:06
I have included a screenshot below of a completed workout, which was a 16/9 circuit that day.
As I mentioned above, these sessions are undertaken at the local high school oval, where at 5am it is pitch black, and I am relying on my inherent knowledge that the track is flat and even, as I certainly have no way of seeing where my feet are being placed – I guess it makes things a little more interesting.
These sessions are therefore titled School Run in Day One and are originally generated in Runkeeper, which gives me total distance, total time, and average min/km pace (though average pace is really not important as a large part of the total time is spent walking to the school oval for the sprint repetitions) Calories burnt are really not of interest to me. At the completion of the session I snap a screenshot of the Runkeeper summary, and add this to Day One, along with manually recording the sprint repetitions.
The screenshot below shows a session which involved six 30m efforts and two 200m efforts.
Overview of Entries
Once each session is completed, and sent to Day One from either Drafts or the Runkeeper screenshot, Workout tags are added to both types of session, with a second tag containing either Weights or Walk_Run, to enable a second level of filtering.
Advantages of Using Day One
Ease of Use – Primarily I find Day One to be the best means of recording workout information due to it’s ease of use, which is certainly enhanced by using Drafts and Runkeeper in combination. I acknowledge the simplicity of information I record may be limiting for those used to maintaining a more detailed exercise log, however the more time I have to spend on data input increases the likelihood I will not record anything at all.
Additional Information –
Along with the actual workout information contained therein, Day One automatically time and date stamps the entry, which I find quite helpful as I do not want to spend time adding this when it can be automated. Though not critical, it is a nice addition to have the location and weather also recorded (perhaps using a cold day as an excuse for poor performance?)
The information recorded in Day One can be modified or viewed on all Mac / iOS devices through Dropbox or iCloud syncing, with entries able to be exported as a PDF file also. Markdown is supported for text entry, and a nice touch is that hashtags in text are converted to native tags when entered in Day One.
Though there a many uses for Day One, the outline above demonstrates what has been working really well for me for some time now. I do also use it for it’s intended purpose of journalling, even if my entries are few and far between.
Day One is available at the App Store now.