1. void11's Avatar
    Since this is Health & Fitness month at Crackberry, I thought a review of the WorkoutJournal would be in order. In the 9 years or so that I've been working out, the physical notebook has been my go-to tracking method. I've tried using my Dell PDA and using my laptop with Excel but always ended up returning to the trusty old notebook. With the recent release of WorkoutJournal, I decided to give technology another try.

    First off, I found this app to be very easy to use. When you are tracking your workout info, you don't want anything complicated and time consuming. To get started, select the day you want to record from the integrated calendar. Once you've selected the day you'll be given a screen that's split into two sections. The left side is where you will track your workout and the right side automatically displays a number of recent workouts where you have the option to open one of them or copy that day's workout to another day.

    To track your workout for the day, click on the "Add Exercise" button and you get a wide ranging list of common exercises to select from. Can't find what you're looking for or prefer a different name? Select any exercise from the list to add it to your workout journal for the day and tap on the name. Now you can edit the name to whatever you want. This is the one feature that is not obvious and has resulted in a number of negative reviews in App World. With the list of exercises to select from, there is the drawback of no search function. You have to scroll through a long list but this is a minor quibble.

    Once you have selected your exercise(s) to track, you have the option to add the weight and reps for a set. Once you have the first set added, you can copy it for the corresponding sets. What I do is record the weight I expect to do and then edit the set after Ive completed it to add the number of reps. You can do it however you want. The one minor drawback I found with this is the limited options in terms of the virtual keypad. You get a number keypad from 0 to 9 and A to F but no period. This is a minor issue for those who use 2.5 lb incremental dumbbell changes. Ill set my PowerBlock dumbbells to 47.5 lbs each but I enter it in WorkoutJournal as 475. Again, this is a minor thing but would like to see a period added to the keypad.

    I should note that just prior to using WorkoutJournal, I had been using Awesome Timer to time my rest periods (Ill do a review of that later). WorkoutJournal has a small countdown clock built into it. You can set the rest timer for each exercise. I like to set the rest period for each exercise before I start my workouts. The timer is very basic but a welcome feature. If youre the type who likes to use different rest periods within a specific exercise, you will have to manually adjust the timer each time. If you are using WorkoutJournal to track a Tabata-based workout, I would suggest supplementing with Awesome Timer since it has a Tabata timer built in. The one additional function I would like to see updated on the timer is an audible queue for the final few seconds so I dont need to stare at the screen the whole time. This is a biggie for me.

    Some additional features I like about this app include the ability to change the order of the exercises by simply tapping on the up or down arrows for each exercise. If youre like me and prefer to enter all of your exercises in advance, you have the option of easily deleting an exercise from the list that you opted to skip. Lastly, one of the features that really appealed to me is the option to enter a comment for not only the overall workout but for each exercise. This feature is something that is less friendly to do on a traditional notebook. Last night I made note that I did 4 slow negative reps at the end of my last set of pull-ups (or pronated grip chin-ups).

    I want to point out two missing features that are very much needed to make this app 5 stars for me. One feature is the ability to suspend stand by mode. While the rest timer is running, your PlayBook can still go into stand by. I dont like having to keep tapping the screen to keep the device active or swipe the screen to wake it. Its an inconvenience I would like to see fixed. Secondly, the ability to export to a file is very important to me because if something happens to my PlayBook *knock on wood*, I would lose everything I entered. One of the things I do with my notebook is flip through the pages to see what I did months or even years ago.

    With all that is said and done, this is an excellent app made even better with the $1.99 price tag. This adds yet another useful functionality to my PlayBook. I would like to point out that I exercise at home. Im not sure how safe it is to use a PlayBook to track your workouts in a commercial gym.
    02-03-12 10:52 AM
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