Project managing your workout

I read a long time ago that the most important activity in working out (training) is documenting efforts and measuring results. By far, this outweighs diet, workout regimen, or gym equipment. Simply because, measurement activates us to become more mindful, and thus, not only make better decisions about our workouts but better decisions throughout the day.

In other words, the most important strategy in working out is the ‘management of working out’. From building the right daily habits like waking up early and eating healthy, to keeping track of what you did and when you did it.

Enter Asana

“Asana keeps your team [and you] organized, connected, and focused on results.”

Asana is a freemium priced project management system powerful enough to be used by Dropbox, UBER, AirBNB, and Pinterest to name a few. Yet it’s philosophy and UXUI super simple enough for a novice project manager to manage things like groceries, house chores, and a workout regiment.

Note: In the last decade of working with project management systems, I’ve concluded that Asana is superior than its competitors. I’d be willing to defend this POV in a cage match.

Here’s how I use Asana for my workouts.

Asana - workout projects   Asana - workout schedule   Asana - workout task

  1. Create a separate task for each workout day (example Day 03 // Back and Biceps)
  2. Get into the details of the day within the description area
  3. Do not set a date or assignee. This will just complicate things
  4. Add your workout notes inside the comments, I usually do this between sets and transistions
  5. Workout and repeat

Additional thoughts

Recurring tasks?workout notes
When I first started, I added recurring dates so that when I checked off a task, another-one would be created for a future date. Typically, this is a good idea for most recurring tasks within a project, but because I workout quite regularly, religiously in fact, I didn’t find the need to check off tasks as complete. Also, with every new task, I’d lose any notes I made in the comments section.

Using iOS Notes
Another important piece of this puzzle is that I have a backup of my workouts in a Notes document. I simply edit on top of previous workout notes, and only once completed my workout, I copy and paste into the Asana task’s comment box. Commenting gives me historical data.

After a while, I got better and better at abbreviating my workout notes. Below are two examples.

Asana - workout - back and biceps

Curles: L-R 10x30x2
L-R: Alternating between left and right arm within the same set
10x30x2: 10 reps, 30 pound weights in each hand, two sets

Bulgarian split squats: L,R 15×40, 10x30x3 EH
L,R: Alternate left to right with each set (not within each set)
EH: Each hand
15×40: 15 reps, 40 pound weights
10x30x3: 10 reps, 35 pound weights, three sets

Final thoughts

A few friends have smirked that project managing workout seems like overkill, and that it would take too long. First off, it takes very little time at all. What took the longest was researching and identifying what and how I wanted to work out. The rest was clockwork. Of course, having a system in place allowed me to try and measure different systems and continuously tweak to find what worked best for me. – Always keeping track and optimizing for best results.

“What is measured gets managed.”
– Peter Drucker

At the end of the day, the surest way to improve anything wether personally or professionally, is to measure, manage, and continuously optimize. This is true in all areas in life – especially your health.