As you get started on a fitness journey, you’ve probably looked up the importance of a good exercise regimen, a healthy diet, and a more active lifestyle. What you probably haven’t heard much about is the importance of keeping a fitness journal to keep yourself on track.
Here is how to get started with a fitness journal and the benefits it will bring.
How to Start a Fitness Journal
Starting a fitness journal is simple and easy. You either buy a pre-organized fitness motivation journal or a blank notebook if you are interested in designing your own layout.
As you get started with your fitness journal, try to include the following.
Before you even begin to track your workouts, it’s important to clarify what your fitness goals are and the deadline you plan to reach them by. Your goals can include changes in your diet, your exercise routine, or your weight.
Each time you do a daily workout, write down the date, day of the week, start/end times, the exercises you completed, and the reps of each. This can be altered depending on your specific workout. For example, if you’re a runner, you can write down your average speed while running, your peak heart rate, and your total distance traveled.
In order to track your progress, you’ll need to know specific body measurements. You can include your weight, BMI, length measurements, and calories consumed each day. Then, go back and measure these at least once a month to see how close you are to achieving your fitness goals.
Diet and Sleep Info
Your eating and sleeping habits are just as important as your workouts when it comes to fitness. As an added element in your fitness planner, you can keep track of what you eat, your water intake, how long you sleep, and your sleep quality. This can help you identify patterns that can help you work out more effectively.
Benefits of Keeping a Fitness Journal
1. The Key to Celebration
“Progress equals happiness.” -Tony Robbins
One of the most encouraging acts you can do in your life is to track your progress. If you’ve set goals, it’s absolutely crucial for you to know if you’re moving any closer.
As Tony Robbins, a top-notch motivational speaker and author, said: Progress is happiness. It’s one thing to crave progress and another thing to start measuring it. That’s when the workout journal comes in handy.
When you’re able to see just how far you’ve come by looking back in your fitness journal, you’ll feel more motivated to keep moving forward.
2. Better Guidance
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Imagine if a coach could analyze your whole progress, your weaknesses, and your strengths in less than 5 minutes.
If you have paid to be coached by a professional in the fitness industry, why not make his/her life and your progress easier? If your trainer knows where you’ve been struggling, and where you’ve been excelling, s/he will know how to guide you toward better results.
3. Reduce Reliance on Willpower
The last thing we all want is to put more stress on our plates. Why should we consciously note down our progress and add an extra task?
A workout book can actually lessen the willpower that we need to get to the gym. The fitness journal takes the decision weight off our shoulders that is needed to start the task.
When you plan your workouts in advance through your journal, your mind will already have the habit embedded in your routine.
You can also check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination. This can help you learn to stop procrastinating and get to the gym when it’s time.
4. Helps You Face the Truth
A fitness journal will help you analyze what you’ve really been doing to achieve your fitness goals.
Some people think they simply have “bad genetics,” yet when they look at what they’ve really been doing through the fitness journal, they may see that their eating and exercise habits haven’t gone in the right direction. This can help eliminate excuses and get you moving on a better path.
5. Creates Accountability
By looking at our past achievements, we can set the goal to achieve more. A fitness journal can foster our ambition by keeping us accountable for what we did yesterday and what we plan to do tomorrow.
6. Recognize Patterns
Have you ever wondered why you feel a lack of motivation one day and then feel like exercising for two hours on another? A fitness journal can help you see patterns in your behaviors. In the end, what gets measured gets managed.
7. Experience Joy of Task Completion
You know that feeling when you cross off something on your to-do list? It’s possible to replicate that same feeling after going to the gym with your fitness journal.
If we write down the results of our training, we get a dopamine rush. It makes us feel that we’re in control of our destiny.
8. Prevent Excuses
If you’ve noticed that you haven’t made any progress recently, look at your fitness journal. It’s most likely not your genetics.
If we write our progress down, we can see what works and what doesn’t, which can help prevent excuses.
9. Minimize Injuries
Do you feel a sting after doing shoulder exercises? Make a note in your fitness journal.
Before starting the next workout, go through the old workout and act accordingly. Often, injuries accumulate after multiple workout sessions. We can minimize the occurrence of injuries by writing it down in our journal and noting what isn’t working for our bodies.
10. Look and Feel Like a Pro
If you have a fitness journal to track your progress, you’ll feel more dedicated to your workouts overall. Looking and acting like a professional becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
11. Determine the Value of Your Time
Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. -Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s Law also applies to your fitness results. If you don’t give your workout a maximum duration, you may not end up using your workout time wisely.
Pre-determine the sets, reps, and exercises that you want to do beforehand to make the most of your time.
12. Focus on You
While I’m a huge believer in motivation through a competitive spirit and external factors, in the end, this journey is about becoming a better you—a healthier, faster, stronger and better person altogether.
The fitness journal can help you keep your focus on where it should be—on you. In the end, all the notes that you take are focused on your progress and your decisions.
The reason most people don’t have a fitness journal is that they assume it’s not worth it. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There are plenty of reasons to follow a fitness journal. From creating motivation, to helping you stay on track, to being a facilitator for personal growth, having a fitness journal is an absolute necessity if you’re serious about reaching your fitness goals.
In the end, having a fitness journal for goal setting can really make all the difference for your physical and mental health.
More on Reaching Your Fitness Goals
- 15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year
- 6 Fitness Apps That Make Working Out Too Fun to Skip
- 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Keeping a Workout Log
Featured photo credit: dylan nolte via unsplash.com
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