Designing a mobile app for logging workouts

Screenshots from weights log app

At its core weight training is about progressive overloading. That is, progressively increasing the stress on your body (typically by lifting heavier weights, or the same weight more times) to increase your strength. It’s therefore important to log and be able to track your weight training sessions and exercises. This is so that you know how much you’ve previously lifted, how you’re progressing and most importantly what you should be lifting for a given session and exercise. I’ve seen more and more people bring their mobile phone into the gym, so as an interesting design challenge I set out to design a mobile app for logging weight training sessions. As mobile design is of course quite different from desktop design, I used the following design principles:

  • Keeping input to a minimum – you don’t want to be tapping out lots of information in the gym between exercises.
  • Keeping the app tightly focused around logging workouts (rather than for example also including weight training advice for beginners).
  • Keeping the app simple, for example having a clean, focused home page.
  • Using smart defaults to minimise initial set-up.
  • Providing flexibility, for example allowing users to log by routine, or by individual exercise.
  • Avoiding complexity on a small screen by allowing users to export data to a tablet or desktop for more detailed analysis.

I used Axure and the useful UX@Me iOS widgets to create the interactive mock up you see below. Click / tappable items are highlighted. If you’re on a mobile, you can also view the prototype without the iPhone frame.

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