When I started my weight loss journey and fitness journey a couple of years ago, I relied heavily on my Fitbit to help improve my weight loss and fitness level. I used it to track my weight, calories, workouts, water intake, body fat, and more. But I eventually found I needed to better use the data on my Fitbit with a free printable fitness tracker and a printable weight loss tracker.
Losing weight and getting in shape is very hard. And no one thing is the secret to success. There are many things that I did to lose 80 pounds in 8 months. And one invaluable tool for me is a workout log.
Before I started working out, I wanted to be sure that I had the best information about exercise. I wanted to know how much exercise and what type of exercise I need.
Weekly Physical Active for Adults
According to both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Mayo Clinic here are the minimum weekly exercise requirements for adults. However, beginners should start slowly and progress when they are ready.
You need a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. Or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Or a combination of moderate and vigorous activities. If this is too much for you, the American Heart Association says that you can break up the minutes and do shorter 10-minute sessions a few times a day.
For weight loss and greater health benefits, the recommendation increases to 300 minutes of aerobic activity.
Remember that this is a weekly requirement. It is best to spread out the minutes over a week and not be a weekend warrior.
Beginners, especially overweight beginners, should start with low-impact aerobic exercises. Low-impact aerobic exercises include:
- Elliptical training
High-impact aerobic exercises include:
- Jumping rope
- Aerobic dancing
- Tennis (singles)
- Hiking uphill
It is recommended that you perform strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least twice per week. The ideal weight is one where your muscles will be tired after 12 to 15 repetitions.
You can use your own body weight (e.g., push-ups), resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines when strength training.
Why Use a Fitness Tracker
Research has shown that a fitness tracker can promote physical activity as well as boost your motivation to workout.
Consequently, you are more likely to continue to workout and meet your exercise goals and improve your fitness level.
Another study found that writing down information as opposed to typing it can boost focus, retention, and most importantly for health and fitness, gives you the opportunity to process this information.
In order words, you can use a digital fitness tracker, but to better process and analyze the information, go back to old-fashioned pen and paper.
My workout tracker became my dashboard that I turned to see what is working and what I needed to change. I had daily exercises, weekly workouts, and monthly statistics and at the end of the week or month or 3-month period I used a simple action plan method called Start-Stop-Continue.
- Is there a new exercise that I should start? Am I getting bored with a workout?
- Is there something that I should stop? What is not working for me?
- What should I continue? What’s working? What am I enjoying?
You now have an easy way to continually improve from your free fitness tracker.
Another way to view your workout tracker is as a habit tracker. A great way to develop and stick with new habits is to use a habit tracker. According to James Clear, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Atomic Habits, using a habit tracker is one of the best ways to see the progress you are making and that you are on the right path.
Guess what? Your fitness log is also your habit tracker. Although it will take some time to see and perhaps feel the progress you are making, you will have the proof on paper every day!
But be patient. A 2009 study found that on average it takes 66 days to break a bad habit and adopt a new habit. However, there were huge individual differences; anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for a new habit to stick.
Keep tracking to increase your chance of successfully meeting your fitness or weight loss goals.
Features of the Best Fitness Trackers
I looked at a lot of free printable fitness trackers and couldn’t find the perfect one for my needs. So I designed my own to include these features:
Your workout tracker should be versatile. We all have different fitness goals and sometimes our goals change. And as such your tracker should be versatile for you to use over a long period of time.
For example, you may count steps, train for a 5K race, or focus on strength training. My free printable fitness tracker has large blank spaces that allow you to record whatever you want, whenever you want.
There is no need for you to get a new workout tracker every time your workout routine changes.
You will have 4 weeks per page and you can print as many as you want. I keep mine in a binder.
Easy to Use
You can quickly and easily record your actual workout; cardiovascular exercise, steps, strength training, flexibility, (e.g., yoga or tai chi) on the day you performed it.
Spend your time exercising, not writing, so only brief notes are necessary. For example, for cardio, I would simply write – aquafit 50 minutes. For strength, I list the exercise, weight, repetitions, and sets. Of course, you will have your own abbreviations.
I also used emojis for good or tough workouts to visually gain further insights from my exercise log.
The workout tracker includes space for daily activities, but of course, you don’t have to exercise every day. In fact, you should avoid strength training on consecutive days.
Ability to Summarize
I think a key feature of a workout tracker is to be able to see a daily, weekly, and monthly summary of your workouts to track your fitness progress. You can add up your minutes, steps, repetitions, steps, weight, and more.
As you read earlier, you can spread your physical activity out over a week, so you’ll have all seven days of the week to record your workouts and balance your workout schedule.
Your Free Printable Fitness Tracker
I do know that exercising consistently is hard. Life always intervenes and unhealthy habits are easier to do than healthy habits for so many of us. But a workout tracker is one of the best ways to help you stay on track and meet your daily goals, weekly goals, or monthly goals. You will definitely increase your chances of success of getting fit and more physically active .
Get your free printable fitness tracker today. Leave your email address for an instant download and start tracking your way to success today!
P. S. Check for an email from Healthier Millie in your Inbox and Spam. The fitness tracker is for your personal use.
This post focuses on my fitness tracker, but I also recommend that you use a weight loss tracker where you can also track your body measurements, fat loss, and other health goals. Click here to get my free printable weight loss tracker.
I also use my Fitbit as a food log, water tracker, step counter, and more. Click here to see how I use my Fitbit for weight loss.