Creative, Low Tech Workout Journal

What system do you use to track your workouts?

One of my ladies has been struggling with keeping a consistent self care schedule. She is very smart, organized, driven, and runs her own business, so she can set her own schedule. Over the past year she has been coming in to see me about once a month for a movement + massage session. Her goal was general relaxation, and to reduce the chronic tightness and pain in her neck. While she was going to weekly yoga and Nia classes, and walking, she was doing no specific strength work or release work for her neck.

Together we went through a few gentle, easy, neck release moves, and the Five. During her massage we worked on general relaxation with a focus on her neck. She agreed to do her exercises at home, for five minutes twice a week. I emailed her exercises and sent her on her way. When she came back the next month she was disappointed that despite coming up with a plan, she was not about to find the time to do her exercises.

In October she decided to put a reminder on her phone, and when the bell went off she would do her exercises. She did do her exercises a few times that month, then she would just start ignoring the alarm when it went off. She then picked two days (Sundays and Wednesdays), but when I checked in with her she was still struggling with consistency. She felt frustrated that she could be so organized at work, yet fail what seemed like a simple task – take care of herself by doing just a few easy exercises twice a week (does this sound familiar ladies?).

Last month I emailed her to check in, and she was so excited to tell me about her new system. She came in last week with this beauty:

Emily's workout calendar 4.17

Y’all know how I love a paper calendar right? Oh man did this bring joy to my heart! She gives herself a green sticker for her classes, a yellow sticker for walking – half sticker for short walks, full sticker for walks over 10,000 steps –  and a red sticker for her strength work on her own. She is on a roll for April!

Her calendar is simple and easy to use, and is a colorful visual reminder of her success. With a quick glance she can see what she heeds to do to round out her program for that week.

What I love about her story is she was motivated to learn new exercises, she saw the value in adding strength work to her current cardio and flexibility routine, she was motivated to do the work (reduced neck pain and tightness), but still faced roadblocks. Rather than getting frustrated and giving up, she found a solution that works for her!

What do you use (phone apps, paper journal, organizer) to track your workouts? Leave me a comment below about what has helped you be successful…


Anne McCranie is a Portland (Sellwood), Oregon based Personal Trainer and Licensed Massage Therapist. She works with her clients one on one, and in small groups to build strength and mobility, and alleviate chronic pain.

Contact her today for your complimentary consultation (503) 705-4762.

July Five Exercises For Upper Body Strength, Core Strength, And Hip Mobility

Your July Five are here! The photos below are meant to jog your memory about moves we have done together. Click here for detailed instructions. See if you can do one minute of these every day this week.

This month I have extra special guest fitness models Kelsey, Ella and Josie. The weather has been so nice we headed down to the waterfront for these photos.

kelsey's girls 7.16

These girls like to do Pilates at home with their mamma. Look how good they are at the bear crawl!

Bear Crawl:

If you are older than seven this move may prove more difficult than it appears. Start on hands and knees, lift your knees off the ground and try moving forward, back and side to side.


Kelsey's girls bear crawl 7.16


Bird Dog:

Here’s mamma and Josie doing bird dog, our stabilization move.

Kelsey's girls bird dog 2 7.16 7.16


The pedestrians and cyclists have become more interesting to Ella…

Kelsey's girls bird dog 1 7.16 7.16


Medicine Ball Push Up:

And now the ladies demonstrate both a straight leg and a knees down version of the med ball push up.

Kelsey's girls med ball push up 7.16

Kelsey's girls med ball push up 2 7.16

Look at this sweet face!

Kelsey's girls med ball push up 3 7.16


Criss Cross:

This elbow to knee move works your obliques.

Kelsey's girls bear criss cross 7.16


I didn’t get a great shot of the ladies doing pigeon so here is Suzanne demonstrating this version, using a block to allow her hips to relax.



Anne McCranie is a Portland (Sellwood), Oregon based personal trainer and licensed massage therapist. She offers weekly classes and one on one personal training. Call her for your complimentary consultation. (503) 705-4762

Top Fitness Apps For a Healthy 2014

Here we are in February already!. How are you doing with your 2014 goals? Here are a few of my favorite fitness apps. Did I miss any? Leave a comment below and let me know about your favorites.

7 Minute Workout

“I don’t have time to workout.” Well you have seven minutes don’t ya?

Includes a warm up and a variety of upper body and lower body exercises you can do using minimal equipment.  I did not care for the dinging during the thirty second intervals. I did like the little party at the end. This app would work really well for those who have strength training experience in a class or with a personal trainer, know basic moves like wall sit and side plank and just want a quick and simple workout.

Overall rating: 8

Couch To 5K

“I just signed up for the Shamrock Run and have not put on my runners since 2013”

This is a progressive periodization program that will have you running a 5K in two months. I like that it includes a warm up, and jogging/ walking intervals. Marathon coaches like Jeff Galloway use the run/walk technique to train injury free. One of my clients has been using this app since January and so far he has not missed a training session! This is great for those who are looking to ease back into running without getting injured.

Overall rating: 10

My Fitness Pal

“I need specific guidance on nutrition, calories, activity, tracking my progress with hard numbers to see my results.”

This app does everything except drive you to the gym. You start by entering your age, weight and desired result (weight loss for example). You are given a calorie count for the day. You input your food and activity and it adjusts your numbers throughout the day. If you are into graphs, pie charts and numbers this is for you. Want to meet friends for happy hour? Check your numbers to see if you are allowed that glass of wine or dessert.

Overall Rating: 9


Fit Radio

“I need a stream of music set to a certain beat to keep me motivated during spin class.”

Music mix that gives BPM (beats per minute) so you can match your cadence to the bass line on your favorite tunes. Variety of music styles, the sample I listened to on the “classic rock” station included a pumped up version of Pat Benetar’s “Hit me with your best shot” into Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax”. I like the seamless flow from one song to the next, however the club like quality of the music did feel a little too much like a spring break party in Cabo (gee you’d never guess I’m almost 40 by that statement).

Overall rating: 6


Stand Up Paddle Two for One Rental – One Week Only!

Gorge Performance is offering a two fer deal on a Stand Up Paddle rental this week only!

For $35 you get two boards, paddles and PFD’s for the day. No expiration on the certificate but you must rent the board Monday thru Thursday.  You can even walk the board down to Willamette Park to put in – just north of the shop.

I have no affiliation with the board shop other than I like these guys, they are just across the river on Macadam, and they took our group out for a fun lesson last summer on the Willamette (see photos).  Our group had loads of fun and you really get a full body workout – abs, legs, back, arms.  I think of this more like kayaking than surfing.  Plus the balance element – excellent for core strength!  We tried SUP in Hawaii this February but I was less successful at catching waves.  I prefer the relatively flat Willamette.

I would love to do another group paddle this summer – I’m thinking July or August so keep your eyes peeled here, or contact me if you are interested.  503-705-4762