How I track my workouts with Google Keep

Leaving the social media platforms for more productive and peaceful days (with the enlightenment of a good friend), included me unsubscribing from my previous workout tracker app, Hevy, which also featured a social platform.

Google Keep has been a wonderful alternative, providing everything I need to plan and track my workouts, as well as visualizing my progress over the months and years with a great way to save and search for my progress photos by muscle group. The workout logging has been easy, smooth, fast and efficient. I had better experience with Google Keep than any workout logging app I've tried (and I've tried almost every Android app out there), and this one's free!

So what are the basic benefits of Google Keep?

  • It's free.
  • Unlimited notes / tracking.
  • Cross-platform (adding MetCons through my laptop is easy-peasy!)
  • Data stored on the cloud and synced across devices instantly.
  • Archive function (for Workout History purposes). 
  • Search function (for History / PR search or find a Workout Template to do real quick) .
  • Labels, pins and color-coding notes for organizing.
  • Can add tickboxes, notes, images (progress photos!), audio recordings (workout notes?) drawings/handwriting.
  • Reminders that sync with Google Calendar (one of my favorite features).
  • Only need a @gmail account (which you probably already have).
  • Has a Share function if you want to share to social media or keep a copy elsewhere as text.
  • Has a Dark Mode. 
  • Android Widget with the planned workouts for the day (or any label you want to appear)

The workout templates can be formatted however you want them and it's very versatile. You don't have to worry about an app not having your favorite exercises on the database nor creating custom exercises, and you can log your reps/sets/weights however is more convenient for you.

This is how it works for me, and feel free to be as creative or different as you want with this:


First we need organization before starting to track our workouts.

  1. I've created easy to read labels by adding Emojis and numbers (1, 2, 3 etc) at the start of each label to have them appearing in the order that I want them.
  2. I currently have 8 Labels:
    1. Workout Logs: This is where the tracking happens.
    2. Warmup/Cooldown, Skill Training, Muscle Focused PPL, MetCons, Repeat WODs, Challenges: These are my templates. With exception of MetCons (because they're only done once), templates are saved to be reused every day or every week (so I don't have to recreate them).
    3. Progress Photos (optional): I name the notes by date of photo taken, then I add the photo and a note for what the muscle group is. So when later on you want to compare your gains to a specific muscle, you can just search with that muscle group.
    4. Workout Notes (optional): I haven't created this one, but it can be useful to some. You can log any notes you may have for any session / day, if it didn't go well because you didn't get enough sleep, or skipped an exercise because a muscle group hasn't recovered yet, or adding any personal records you've hit for reference later, or what needs to change for next time (different grip etc).
  3. You can filter the Search function by Label and type (images, reminders, lists = tickboxes).
  4. You can archive any workout you've already logged or a template you no longer want to use by clicking the Archive button on your computer, or swipe right on your phone.
  5. You can change the view of the Label by List view or Grid View.


Tracking a session on the fly is easy (just go to the label or use the Search function), but if you're planning most of your workouts, you can add Reminders. These will notify you at the specific date and time, and sync to your Google Calendar, but most importantly, if you add the time right on each workout template (from warmup all the way to cool down), you can have the order of execution of multiple sessions visualized by going to the Reminders tab.

Designing the Template

You can use simple note taking (like I have for Martial Arts for instance where I only track the name of the lesson from the course and the time), or you can use tickboxes. Tickboxes also come with sub-tickboxes, so your main tickbox is the name of the exercise (for example Weighted Push Ups (10kg)) and sub-tickboxes are the sets with their reps (for example 1 x 10). You can leave the reps empty, or you can add them beforehand.

I add them with this format:

  • 1 x (empty reps to be added later)
  • 2 x 10 (predefined reps, you can still change it on the fly during the workout)
  • 3 x 30s ("s" for seconds, or "m" for minutes, "h" for hours etc)
  • 4 x 24kg x 10 (4th set, 24kg weight (kettlebells, dumbbells, weight vest etc), 10 reps)
  • 40 Push Ups or Rowing Machine: 20m (single set tickbox of 40 reps of Push Ups, or single set of 20 minutes rowing machine, no need for sub-tickboxes)

The first number before the x is the Set Number (so First Set, Second Set etc). I leave the number of reps or the time in seconds or minutes at the end, so if I need to change the number of reps or time after I'm done with that set, I can do that easily.

For Pyramids, you can skip the set number. So my Pyramid Squats sub-tickboxes go like this:

  • 2
  • 4
  • 6
  • 8
  • 10

And I just tick the boxes as I go.

I also have specialized sub-tickboxes, for instance, for unilateral exercises, I don't specify numbers for sets, but L or R for Left or Right, like this:

Pigeon Pose

  • L - 30s
  • R - 30s

Or for my YTWL Shoulder Complex:

  • Y - 8
  • T - 8
  • W - 8
  • L - 8

You may also add a SS1, SS2 etc tag on the main exercises title tickbox to distinguish multiple supersets, like this:

  • Push Up (SS1)
    • 1 x 10
    • 2 x 10
    • 3 x 10
  • Tricep Dip (SS1)
    • 1 x 5
    • 2 x 5
    • 3 x 5
  • Straight Arm Plank (SS2)
    • 1 x 1m
    • 2 x 1m
    • 3 x 1m
  • Side Plank (SS2)
    • 1 x L - 30s
    • 1 x R - 30s
    • 2 x L - 30s
    • 2 x R - 30s
    • 3 x L - 30s
    • 3 x R - 30s

MetCons like Double Murph, you can specify the total reps of an exercise on the main exercise title tickbox, and then the breakdown of the sets in sub-tickboxes, like this:

  • Push Up - 400 reps
    • 1 x 25
    • 2 x 25
    • 3 x 25
    • 4 x 25
    • etc
  • Pull Up - 200 reps
    • 1 x 10
    • 2 x 10
    • 3 x 10 
    • etc

The tracking

Now, I have labels for templates, and a label called Workout Logs. Since I'm reusing the same templates, what I will do when I need to start tracking a workout (either on the fly or setting it up as a Reminder), I click on the 3 dots to bring up the menu, and select Make a Copy. Then I tap on the current label the workout is on, and uncheck the current label and select the Workout Logs label. This will move the copy of the workout to the Workout Logs, and keep the original template intact.

If it's a workout on the fly, go to Workout Logs label to start tracking. If you have multiple reminder templates for the day, go to the Reminders tab and start tracking from there, so it's easier to follow the sequence of multiple workouts by order.

I use tickboxes (exercise name) and sub-tickboxes (sets and reps) for most of them, and I just tick as I go through the sets during my workouts. Ticking the main exercise tickbox will automatically tick all the sets below it (good for that Pigeon Pose or YTWL Shoulder Complex shown above).

There's Undo button for everything, and you can change the rep number even after completing the exercise if there's any typo (you can also un-complete the set if you checked the box by mistake). You can also add sets and exercises as you go, or delete those you don't want to do (or just leave them unchecked).

At the end of a set, if you've hit a personal best, you can add something like "PR" at the end of the set/rep to mark the number as reference for next time. You can use the Search function with the PR tag and the name of the exercise to find the personal record.

The Timer

You can use your phone's built in Timer (or any app you want, or your smart watch) for stretches, planks, skill holds etc, rest timers, EMOM and AMRAP timers for MetCons, cardio and the stopwatch for the full session timer if you need that (even though I need timer and stopwatch for EMOM and AMRAP, I like to take my time on training skills and not worry about the clock). 

The stopwatch can be stopped and resumed if there are interruptions during your training. In my Android I'm also capable of creating Preset Timers by name of function. I have a 30s for Stretches, 1m for planks, 20m for EMOM/AMRAP, 10m for Meditation etc.

You can also see and set the timer while tracking on Keep simultaneously, by using the Split screen function on your phone, so you can see both apps at the same time while logging.

Finished Workout

When you're done with a workout, you can specify at the end of the note title the date if you like (although if you have a Reminder, it will automatically log that for you), or the total session time, if that's important to you. You can also add a progress photo there, and you can share the workout wherever you like (it will share both the complete and incomplete sets/exercises, and will be specified as such with [x] and [] respectively).

After you're done with the workout, if it's in Reminders, you can Mark it as Done so it goes away and the Reminders list moves on to the next workout. After that, you can go to Workout Logs and swipe right or click the Archive button to archive the workout so they're not mixed up with the new ones you will add to your Workout Logs.

If you got interrupted and you want to finish the rest of the workout later, don't mark it as done, just leave it in your reminders, so when you come back later, you'll see it in your Reminders tab, and you can open it up from there so you can start ticking off the rest of the exercises by picking up where you were left off.

Disclaimer: This YT channel & Blog are a documentation of my health journey. The content is based on what worked for me and is for informational purposes only, not a replacement for medical advice from a professional. I’m NOT a doctor, nutritionist, dietitian, coach, nor a personal trainer. Furthermore, we are all different and my results may not reflect your own. Any action you take upon the information provided by ZenGainz is strictly at your own risk.