An exercise goal pattern that seems to be working well for me

Previously when I used beeminder for exercise tracking the only thing that really worked well for me was “time in the gym”. Unfortunately, I’m not going to a gym any more (I was using my office one, and I quit that job), so I’ve had to find something else that worked.

I’ve previously tried just tracking amounts of particular exercises as a continuous quantity. e.g. for most of the time I’ve used beeminder I’ve had a pushups / week goal. The problem with this was that I found that it would always end up skirting the horizon of any exercise and doing the minimum amount required to not derail, and just doing 10 pushups in a day is worth a lot less than a quarter of doing 40. Additionally this meant that I frequently didn’t have any rest days, which was suboptimal.

A thing I’ve been doing recently that seems to be working really well is to have a supplementary “exercise” goal that is measured in discrete chunks of work.

The idea is that each type of exercise I do (regardless of whether it has an associated beeminder goal) has a discrete “unit” associated with it. e.g. most bodyweight exercises (pushups, leg raises, squats, etc) the unit is 40, running the unit is 7 minutes, biking the unit is any bike ride (I could theoretically abuse that, but in practice I find I don’t). The exercise goal is then discrete - I have to do a complete unit or it doesn’t count.

This means I never bother to just do 10 pushups - if I’m doing 10 I might as well do 40 and get to count it for the exercise goal as well.

The way I’ve got it set right now my weekly rates for my pushups and running goals (the only two specific ones I have) aren’t enough to quite make up my weekly exercise goal, so I end up either forced into doing a variety of additional things or simply get ahead of my goals sometimes.

Right now I tend to be significantly ahead on my exercise goal while skirting relatively close to the boundaries for the ones I want to specifically track. I think some of that is that I’m tracking those ones in part because they’re the ones I tend to keep putting off, but even with being a week ahead on exercise it still seems to work for getting me to do more of them on any given instance.