How to Track Your Workout at the Gym as an Absolute Beginner

I started working out this spring for the first time at my local Good Life and one of the first things I knew I wanted to do was to know when I could ramp up my sets and reps. I’m a big user of the Apple iPhone Reminders app so I figured I’d put it to good use recording my workout:

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But why track your workout like this? Because working out is a long-term activity. Tracking your stats in a simple, easy way like this will help remind you where you’ve been, where you’ve gotten to, and provide a clear path of improvement so you’ll be on an upward workout trend and not plateaued or even going down (how would you know without tracking)? You’ll feel good about continuous improvement and more confident because you know where you’ve come from and where you’re going.  I think most people would find tracking their workout tedious on paper or they just don’t know what workout app to use, etc. So I figured I show how it can be done with an app that most people have already.

So, what you have above is a Gym tab in the Reminders app and I simply list all my exercises in the order that I do them. I also record any pertinent settings for the machine (like Level 12 and target heart rate 150 for the bicycle). Then I record the sets and reps (“10,10,10,10” – ie. 4 sets of 10 reps each). I record the workout count (“x4”) meaning how many times I’ve done it (usually indicates once per workout). I also record the weight.

See how compact and easy it is to review your current workout when you record it like that? And it’s in the Reminders app that I use for everything else so it’s easy and convenient to use.

For the record: I’m not a licensed gym trainer, physiotherapist or doctor. The ideas in this post are from my personal experience and I hope they can help some beginners as well.

Following I’ve included some personal thoughts, recommendations and anecdotes about my experience at the gym since I’ve started. I hope it helps someone out there get started as well!

Continue reading “How to Track Your Workout at the Gym as an Absolute Beginner”

Weasel, a flexible program for investigating deterministic computer ‘demonstrations’ of evolution

Update 2011-03-08: Turns out the available download of this tool is some old school windows program that won’t run on my 64bit windows 7. I sent CMI a message asking if it was open source or maybe if they had an updated package.

I was very intrigued about this tool I heard about from CMI,

In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins described a computer program and the results that he claimed demonstrated that evolution by random changes, combined with selection, was virtually inevitable.

The program described herein mimics Dawkins’ program, but also provides the user with the opportunity to explore different values for the parameters such as the mutation rate, number of offspring, the selection coefficient, and the ‘genome’ size. Varying the values for these parameters shows that Dawkins chose his values carefully to get the result he wanted. Furthermore, the user can see that, with realistic values for the parameters, the number of generations needed to achieve convergence increases to such an extent that it shows that evolution of organisms with long generation times and small numbers of offspring is not possible even with a uniformitarian time-frame. And this is with a deterministic exercise, which cannot be a simulation of real-world evolution anyway. The program also allows the user to set up a target amino acid sequence with the mutations occurring in the DNA base pair order. Since there is redundancy in the triplet codons, the dynamics of the convergence are different to a simple alphabetical letter sequence. The program also allows for the user to include deletions and additions, as well as substitutions, as well as variable length in the ‘evolving’ sequence.

You can also try the app for yourself.

There is no spoon

Web developers rejoice! You are going to love this: Spoon.net.

Web developers rejoice! You are going to love this: Spoon.net.

This is a brilliantly polished, snappy service that delivers an app of your choice, virtualized, to your computer where you can run it as if you had installed it yourself without actually installing it.

It works better than I can write it. It works like a dream.

Check out their developer page where they explain what’s going on.

You may tear up the first time you see this. I admit I was little teary eyed.

I was also blown away, amazed and speechless.

It made me ask: What have we been doing all this time?

You owe it to yourself to check this out if you find yourself working to support different browsers and versions.