I’m appreciative the Authors’ Lounge invited me to share the context for these 6×9, almost pocket-sized, journals I created for strength and cardio training. I designed these distinctive fitness journals after finding the fitness apps on my devices lacked the crucial metrics for tracking my progress in building strength.
Shortly after Covid-19 resulted in local gyms closing, I converted a small bedroom into a home gym. At first, my gym contained our Peloton spin bike and a few small hand weights. As I researched home gyms and equipment, I came across several articles recommending strength training to build muscle, even prioritizing it over cardio for older folks like myself.
The logic was sound. As we age, we want to maintain our ability to manage our daily living tasks independently, which includes small things like carrying grocery bags and laundry baskets to more physically demanding activities like yard work or other household chores that require bending, turning, carrying, pulling, etc. While cardio exercise is very important for the health of our heart muscle, it’s the rest of our muscles throughout our body that are frequently ignored when our fitness regimen consists solely of spin classes and HIIT workouts.
Building muscle through a combination of free weights like dumbbells and kettlebells in addition to using our own body weight to perform exercises like squats and push-ups trains the core muscles to enhance our spine’s stability. Those who suffer from back aches often have an underlying weak core. Other exercise regimens like yoga and Pilates are great for core strengthening too.
As I continued researching the optimal workout at home to build strength, I found many free workouts on YouTube that helped me identify the correct form for each exercise and the equipment I needed. Now, I have a range of kettlebells and an adjustable set of dumbbells. I also use resistance bands and a ballet barre which I frequently use for push-ups, preferring higher reps at an incline before moving to my knees as I have yet to master the classical push up from the floor.
As I began lifting weights, I realized I needed to establish a consistent and repeatable routine. I started by performing push exercises on day one, pull exercises on day two, and then cardio on day three followed by a rest day before repeating the sequence again. The exercise apps on my watch and devices were great at keeping track of my heart rate, max output, and calories burned. However, I was not keeping track of the reps for each exercise and how much weight I pushed or pulled with one or both hands. That’s when I realized what many bodybuilders have known for decades, tracking these metrics are more important if I’m serious about making strength gains by slowly and safely adding more weight or reps to my routine. It was a result of my personal experience in establishing a strength training routine that prompted me to create and publish the Track It journals.
As pictured, each journal is identical, only the cover differs. The black and white cover features images of men and women weightlifting while the turquoise and orange cover depicts a jump rope and a dumbbell. Each journal has 120 formatted pages to prompt the recording of every exercise performed with the number of reps and weights used. On cardio days, the page includes space to record those sessions too.
You can note the type of cardio performed, duration, distance, calories burned, and heart rate so that all fitness metrics are kept together. Each page includes room to record current weight, body fat, total exercise time, and the time of day you exercised. These journals are designed to stay in your home gym next to your equipment or slip into your gym bag,
With 120 pages, there is sufficient room to create and instill a new, healthy fitness habit. As a recent customer shared with me, he purchased 3 Track It journals to cover his workout goals for the year. Of course, you don’t have to wait until the New Year, to start tracking toward a healthier version of you.