Back in March, I joined a gym for the first time. My goal was to be able to overcome some issues I was having, as well as start consistently going to the gym. So I choose to work with a personal trainer to “force” me to go every week, and think of what exercises I have to do. That has worked out well, and I’m quite happy.
For the first months, I only went to the gym once a week, and that was the same as the session with the PT. So I did not have to keep track of anything, as that’s part of what the PT is there for. However, for the past three months I started visiting the gym twice a week, one time with the PT, with time by myself. That means that I also have to keep track of the exercises, weights, repetitions, etc.
In the beginning, I had quite a simple plan in terms of what to do so I just had a note on my phone and I would update with the weights that I was using on the day itself. Sadly, that was not great to keep track of the progress. In addition, I did not enjoy the fact that I had to be using the phone during the hour I was in the gym. I could’ve used a paper, but moving that around, as well as finding a minimally nice place to keep it is not nice.
Since I use an Apple Watch to track my workouts, I thought: there must be apps to track this on the watch while doing the workout. I searched and found some. Some only worked on the phone, like Strong, others also worked on the watch. Unfortunately, most of them are subscription-based, and I don’t think paying 7-10 EUR monthly to keep track of the two workouts I do per week is worth it.
After some experimentation, I found GymBook, an app that seems to be developed by some folks in Germany. There’s a free version, but you can also pay around 9 EUR as a one-time fee to unlock the remaining features, which I did. I’m usually not opposed to paying for something like this, as it is useful and it’s great to somehow support the developers.
The app does all that I want and need: create workout routines on the phone, as well as create exercises that might not exist in their library. There’s plots with the progress that I’ve made over time, and it works from the Watch too. What I now do in the gym is simple: start the app on the watch and it just guides me through the exercises I have to do. If I start doing a different weight with different repetitions, I can just directly change it in the watch, and the workout is automatically updated for the next time.
In the end, I just need to open the app on the phone so it synchronizes with the Watch and adds the actual workout to Apple Health and all the other shenanigans. Oh, and the app also has an automatic timer between sets that fires off by vibrating on my wrist, so I don’t need to be looking at the time either. I like it: no need to be carrying the phone around, and it’s also easy to update on the fly.
If you’re looking for a gym app, I recommend GymBook. Other than that, I can say I do feel stronger than when I started in May. I’m very happy with the progress, and my PT is trying to convince me to go three times a week 😅, as well as speak Dutch with him!