SOAP: Not just for bathtime!

by MarthaFitat55

Inspired by Catherine’s piece on creating a SOAP note for herself as a cyclist, I decided that almost six years after making a decision to train regularly and cultivate functional fitness as an ongoing goal, I too should write a SOAP note for myself.

First a quick recap. Catherine describes a SOAP note thusly:

“It’s a method that health care providers use to write notes on a patient’s medical record. SOAP stands for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan. Roughly it involves getting a description from the patient about their current condition, noting the results of observation, testing and physical examination of the patient, offering some suggestions about diagnosis and possible causes of current problem, and finally a plan for treatment. Sounds like a reasonable system to me.”

And it is. I found it an enlightening exercise and one I plan to share with my trainer as we look to the year ahead.


  • 58 year old female presents today for an evaluation of powerlifting practice
  • Reports she has been weight training for almost six years and would like to improve her overall flexibility now that core strength has improved significantly
  • Self-identified strengths include willingness to learn, general upper and lower body strength, overall comfort with cardio exercises, adaptability to home-based modifications,
  • Self-identified weaknesses include lack of comfort with complicated exercises, fear of reinjuring hypermobile hip joints, and concerns with impact on fitness level and consistency in practice due to gaps in training


  • Head – is capable of understanding complex directions when she practices patience and increases focus
  • Eyes – tends to carry out certain movements with eyes closed to minimize distractions and to avoid chalk dust; notes she recognizes that this can be a barrier re addressing safety concerns
  • Ears – listens to trainer, tries to block the sounds of others in the gym to increase focus
  • Lungs – has tendency to exercise-induced asthma when working out in cold weather (includes brisk walks in winter when going uphill)
  • Heart – in great shape for 58 but recognizes more cardio would be of benefit for overall heart-lung function
  • MSK (musculoskeletal) – can deadlift with ease 175lb (3X) (Personal Best 231 lbs) and can squat a weight between 175 and 200 lbs fairly confidently although fears of hip reinjury can interfere with progress; core strength has improved significantly based on progress with increasingly complex planks
  • Neuro – plans approach for lifts and squats, is able to self assess areas which need tweaking, has adopted techniques to address attention and focus
  • Psych – gets anxious about losing ground when off for recovery or when trying something totally new


  • Powerlifter: past beginner level and approaching intermediate skill level, more than ready to advance to greater skills and weights with commitment to a consistent routine
  • Human: knowledgeable of options available; needs to increase confidence by recognizing existing skills and strengths developed in the past six years


  • Continue to weight train
  • Identify new goals for the coming year
  • Establish routine for maintaining/ adding complementary activities such as swimming and walking to support cardio development and yoga to support flexibility
  • Implement safety check to reduce/eliminate fears about certain exercises
  • Remember to always stand up
  • Have fun

Have any of you readers decided to create a SOAP note? Let us know in the comments!