The Benefits of Keeping a Journal
So, you’ve finally dusted off your trainers and decided to start exercising on a regular basis but do you have actually plan for what you want to achieve, or are you just aimlessly trying different things in the hope that something will work and give you results that you want?
If you have you have read my post Often all you need is a little Motivation and did all the things I recommended in it, then you already know what type of exercise you want to do, where you are now in terms of fitness and why you personally want to start a regular routine.
Now, I want to share with you the benefits of keeping a journal of all your training efforts and how it can really help in keeping you on track for achieving your ultimate fitness goals and that stronger sexier self that you deserve to be.Goals
When you want to change major things in your life you need to have a plan of action and specific goals that you want to aim for. Getting a healthier and fitter lifestyle is quite a big change especially if you are normally someone who is a bit of a ‘coach potato’ that lives on processed or junk food because you don’t have the energy to do anything differently.
If your main goal is quite a big one that can make a significant change for the better then it will take time to reach it. So you need to break the ultimate goal down into much smaller and more achievable ones first. This way it is easier for you to constantly achieve the mini successes throughout your journey. Doing this not only makes you feel good about yourself and the mini achievements you make, but also greatly helps in keeping you constantly motivated to get to the finish line.
So you need to start a journal, now you can either do this by writing in down in a notebook, starting an Excel spreadsheet on your laptop or using one of the numerous fitness apps and forums that are available online. If you’re a sharing kind of person who would like to try and motivate others whilst you are on your personal journey, you could also start your own blog or website to log your progress.
Whichever way you choose it is going to help you achieve your short and long-term goals, as it makes you accountable and gives you a written record of all the hard work you have done so far. From this you can monitor how much progress you have made, be able to see what’s working and what is not and where you might want to change things.
What to log exercise wise…
If you are going to do some weight training then it is fairly simple to log and the main things you want to include are:
1- The date you exercised.
2- Different exercises performed.
3- How much weight you lifted
4- How many repetitions and how many sets you did.
5- The amount of rest you had between sets.
6- Whether you found them easy or hard to do.
If you are doing a cardiovascular type of exercise then how you get the information will vary depending on whether you are using the equipment at a gym or not. Most aerobic equipment will give you a reading of the different things you need to log, though it’s not always totally accurate for each individual. I personally prefer to wear fitness tracker like the Fitbit Charge whenever I exercise, as it will give you more accurate information that is specific to you. Whatever type of cardio exercise you do though you or however you measure it you want to be logging the date and the following things:
1- Type of exercise
2- How long you did it
3- The distance you covered (if applicable)
4- Your heart rate
5- Calories burnt
Other things to note down…
Make a log of the time of day you trained and how much sleep you had the night before, a fitness tracker can also record both of these for you.
Also jot down whether you have been eating properly and the mood you were in before you started and during the exercise. I have found that the time I choose to train along with my sleep and eating habits can make a big difference to my mood, motivation and training intensity. So, logging these down will be useful so that you can identify when you perform at your best and whether you need to get more sleep or address your nutritional needs.
You also want to log along your journey your weight and measurement changes and progression photos if you choose, as you start to see all the changes.
Finally make sure you write down how you feel after the exercise and how good it felt to have done something and completed another small step.
It’s for your benefit
Be truthful in your log, as it is primarily for your benefit no-one else’s and can greatly help you in the long run. Even if you do have a bad day and don’t actually complete your planned workout or don’t give it as much enthusiasm as usual, still write it down as it all helps and is a good reference to look back on. Remember though if you are constantly not working out as hard as you could, you may to look at why, because if you constantly don’t put in enough effort your progress will be a lot slower.
As you can see by keeping a detailed journal you will be able to monitor how much you have achieved and also work out where you might want to make changes in your routines to get better results. It is also a good reference to see if you need to include more rest days in order to let your body recover properly and therefore prevent injury.
I hope that you found this information useful and start logging your fitness journey. If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to leave them below as I’d love to hear from you…