Maintaining a fitness plan can be as hard as sticking to the most recent fad diet. When you get bored and motivation becomes difficult to find, or when there’s a sudden change to your circumstances, then it becomes pretty easy to forget your workout regimen.
A fitness journal encourages you to stick to your workout routine. A fitness journal is not only meant for competitive athletes. You can keep one even if you are an amateur. If you are hoping to stay fit, lose weight, or get fit, then take a few minutes every day of the week to document your efforts in your fitness journal. Doing so will help you to visualize your progress as you move towards achieving your goals. Also, when it seems like you are almost giving up, or if it appears that you are not making any positive results, a look at your workout journal will help you evaluate what you might do in a different way.
How to Keep A Fitness Journal?
Never Leave Anything Out
Write down every single exercise in your workout plan. Do not forget the sets, reps, tempos, rest breaks, equipment settings or weight settings. Your log becomes very detailed when you can recreate a year’s workout down the line without forgetting or missing anything.
If you are a user of wearable fitness trackers, pulling in some of the biometric information contained in it (recovery, peak, or average heart rate, for instance), can provide more context around the task you are performing.
Your journal should also contain a baseline for yourself. It could be body fat percentage, mile PR, bodyweight, or even personal records on your most favorite exercises. On top of building off on your workouts or looking back on them, it will ease the process of tracking your progress over time, remind you of your set goals, and motivate you to work towards them.
Get in Touch with Your Feelings
Keeping track of your feelings, and performing session-session creates opportunities to jump forward and push your pace, as well as times when you might gain from a bit of added recovery.
You can log some of these information as a rating of perceived exertion (RPE). RPE describes how difficult you felt the training was using a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the most difficult. With this measure, you can determine if the same exercise is getting more difficult or easier, and if you should move on or take a break. Maybe it was 300-pound deadlift 8 out of 9 weeks ago, but it’s now a 5 or a 6? This could be a good cue to add some more plates to the bar.
Also take note of some specifics such as pains, increased tightness, or your activities prior to the training (maybe you took some extra beers, or you slept well at night?) for a clearer view of your performance.
A fitness journal also helps with injury prevention. If you record the way you feel with each lift, not only how tough it was, but also how you felt after each lift, you can identify what lifts may not be right for you. Maybe you feel aches after pronated pull-ups? You can do a neutral grip some other time.
Take Note of the Good
We’ve strived to recreate that workout that gave us a good feel, or that exercise we wish we could recall exactly how to do.
Exercise sparks creativity, and the more you enjoy a particular activity, the more likely you are to come back to it, and also build off on it.
The gym is a perfect place to contemplate and brainstorm if you work out alone. Log in your best thoughts not related to fitness; maybe you’ve stumbled on the best book to read after dinner or you finally found the best gift for your partner right after lifting a few dumbbells. If you allow your best thoughts during a workout go to waste, well, that’s a waste indeed.
What are the Benefits of a Workout Journal?
If you are keeping a fitness journal, then you have to be honest with yourself. You must have a good understanding about those factors that are contributing to your success and your struggles. Logging your daily activity in your journal will motivate you to move on and work towards your goals. Other benefits of logging your routines in your fitness journal include:
What’s the Right Way to Track Your Workout Routine in a Fitness Journal?
Maintaining a fitness journal is very simple and requires just a few minutes of your time. After you’ve completed your workout, take some time to document the following information:
Keeping Record of Your Meal Intake is Also Important
Tracking your meals and drinks is a very important element of your fitness journal. If your nutrition is already tracked in your food journal, adding notes about your fitness regimen and level of activity won’t take much of your time. The best way to achieve your fitness goals is by identifying what’s getting into your body. A bad diet is hardly undone by exercise, no matter how intense or how much. But with a fitness journal, you can create a balance between a nutritious diet with the muscle-toning, calorie-burning discipline of a workout regimen.