To the Gym! One Day in a Row

Gym at the SkyclubYou would think being retired and having a gym two blocks away, I would spend more time there. Well, think again. It’s a great gym, all up-to-date equipment, TVs on the cardio machines, clean, and usually pretty empty in the middle of the day. It seems to take a gargantuan effort to get myself there. I’m happy to say that finally, today, I made it.

Using Apps At The Gym

When I was going to the gym regularly, I had a routine for my workouts – 3 sets of 10 reps with such and such weight. That’s fine, but from one time to the next, I would forget how much weight I used the last time and in the middle of sets, I’d think, “did I do two or three sets already?”  I think we can agree that that’s not good. So I made a spreadsheet with my workout routine, put it on a clipboard and used that to keep track and it was helpful. Fast forward a couple of years. As we know, there’s an app for everything, so I figured there had to be an app for tracking workouts. No surprise, I found an abundance of apps.

Many of the workout tracing apps have lots of bells and whistles that I don’t need. Things like videos demonstrating the exercise, pictures of equipment and very muscular men and women. I did find an app, though, that I totally love. It’s called Strong.

My Go-To Gym App – “Strong”

In the app store you can download a free version of the Strong App to give it a test run. I did that and liked it so much that I bought the full version.

Strong app screenshot of "Select Routine" screen
Select Routine

Nifty Features

First of all, the app is relatively simple in that it doesn’t have videos or diagrams of all the exercises and weights machines. You don’t need that. Strong comes preprogrammed with a few preset routines, such as “Legs”, which includes squats, leg extensions, leg raises, calf raises. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, you can set up routines within the app. The interface is relatively intuitive to create your routine and add exercises to it. You can add default numbers of reps and sets for each exercise. It’s not necessary, but if you do the same weight or number of reps and sets (until you build up to a higher number) then recording data is a little faster. The feature shown in the third from the left image below is probably the best reason why I use this app all the time – It tells me what I did (weights, reps, distance) at my last workout. How many times have you gotten to a machine and think “did I do 25 pounds last time or 30?” This takes the guesswork right off the table.

Finally, one more wonderful feature (then I will stop gushing over Strong, I promise), is the rest timer. Tap the little clock face at the top right of the keyboard to start the timer. You can set a default amount of time and if you want the timer full screen or just counting down at the top.

All of your workout history can be exported out in a CSV file that can be opened in Excel or imported into a database. It’s a great way to see your progress over time. Or see when the last time you got to the gym was (November 9, 2016, at least it was in this century).

Screenshot of Profile Page in Strong App
Screenshot of Profile Page
Screenshot of Routine Editing Screen in Strong App
Editing Routine “Total Toning”
Strong App - Enter reps during workout
Enter reps during workout
Strong App - Rest Timer
Rest Timer
There are a zillion workout apps in the app store. Many can be downloaded for free to try out, and if you like, upgrade to the full version for a price. If you are serious about working out at home or getting to the gym regularly then I recommend using a weights/workout tracker app.

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