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7 Reasons Why You Should Be Keeping a Workout Log

7 Reasons Why You Should Be Keeping a Workout Log

Looking to maximize the time you spend at the gym? For a moment, forget the latest and greatest in supplements and workout gear, or the most recent fitness fad to hit the late night infomercial circuit. Something as simple as keeping a workout log can help you stay focused and keep you motivated as you chase down your fitness goals.

Here are 7 ways that writing out your sessions at the gym in a workout log can help you get faster results.

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1. It keeps you honest.

How many times have you walked into the gym without a clear plan of what you wanted to do? Did you complete your workout efficiently? Or did you skip out on some exercises and sets because you simply weren’t “feeling it”? Having your workout written out ahead of time in your exercise log eliminates the mental struggle we engage in, the back-and-forth where we try to legitimize ducking out early.

2. You’ll make better goals.

The only thing worse than not setting goals is setting unrealistic goals. Creating ambitious goals that stretch you to your limits are great, but massive and ultimately unrealistic goals leading you to fall short only serve to discourage and demoralize. Seeing how quickly (or alternatively, how slowly) you progress at the gym provides you with the feedback necessary to set fitness goals that are realistic, and will keep you from prematurely discouraging and demoralizing yourself.

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3. You’ll get inspired.

One of the most rewarding aspects of keeping track of your workouts is the ability to periodically flip through and look over the work you have done. You’ll see results where you burst through plateaus, where you ran longer and faster than you ever thought possible, where you strung together 14 consecutive days  of workouts. These feats in your fitness past will fill you with a sense of pride and remind you just how capable you indeed are. More importantly, it will give you that jolt of fire in your belly to get back at it.

4. You’ll find patterns.

Noting your workouts, as well as your diet, rest and stress levels will allow you to find patterns for why you feel like a beast some days, while on other days you are shuffling along, barely interesting in going for a walk, let alone the gym. How many times have you not felt the best at the gym, and not really bothered to ask yourself why? Odds are you passed it off, and trudged along with your day, not bothering to investigate why you felt off. Usually the reasons aren’t completely apparent; a bad night’s sleep, poor nutrition the day before, and so on. Having all of that information can allow you to establish patterns so that you can maximize the days where you feel like a boss, and minimize the ones where you don’t feel so super. Think of it as the ultimate feedback loop for your physical fitness.

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5. You’ll exercise harder.

An aspect of keeping a workout journal that most people don’t necessarily think about is the desire to write out a good workout each day. I cannot count how many times the thought of having to write out a bad workout actually kept me from having one. Dips in motivation and focus will happen at the gym, but often the trepidation of detailing a less than stellar workout will overrule the yearning to bounce early.

6. You’ll have a plan for your goals.

Not only can a workout log help you craft better goals, it can also be the battle plan for achieving them. Whether the goals are ultra short term (that day), or the big audacious long term goals, you can track and measure all of them within the pages of an exercise log. Your log doesn’t need strict set and calorie counts; it can also be a blueprint for your goals.

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7. It’ll give you a chance to vent.

Track your fitness regimen, and then write out how you felt that day, including your mood, any extra factors that affected your workout, or anything else that is bouncing around that brain of yours. Your workout log gives you a chance to vent, and provides a judgement-free sounding board for how you’re feeling.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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