One of my tips for taking up 5 healthy new habits in 2017 was to keep track. I believe that in fitness, or just in general in life when you have certain goals which you want to achieve, keeping track of your day to day progress is a great help.
First of all, it keeps you motivated. Because you have to track and write down everything you do, whether it might be what you ate that day or what kind of workout you have completed (depending on the kind of fitness journal you keep). And if you eat too much naughty foods or skip your workouts one too many times, it will be all there, glaring at you black and white. A lot of times I feel a little lazy and think about skipping the gym – but then I always remember: I will then have to write in a rest day and having too many of them will make me feel guilty and regret giving in to my laziness later.
And your fitness journal can be instructive for you as well. You can look back at your routine going back weeks or months and carefully inspect what worked for you and what did not, so you –or your trainer- can decide what are the things you need to change in order to keep improving and to keep getting closer and closer to your set goals.
What do you need to get started?
To answer this question, first you have to decide whether you want to keep a paper-based or an electronic one. Different methods work for different people best – some like paper and pen but some prefer having it with them on their phone at all times.
If you go with the more traditional method, you will need a –preferably sturdy- journal or notebook and a pen for starters. I would recommend a relatively smaller size, so that you can throw it in your bag and take it with you anytime, and jot down your records during your workout or right after.
If you prefer the modern way, all you need is to open a new document or notes for this purpose on your phone or laptop and start recording! The benefits of having it all on your computer or phone is that you can easily insert progress or food pictures if you like, or healthy recipes you have just found much faster as if you were keeping a paper-based journal.
What should I write?
There are different approaches for fitness journals, based on your goals and your habits ~ and also, it is a process of finding out what works the best for you. In general, there are two categories content-wise for fitness-related journals: nutrition and workouts.
For those who feel they are struggling with their diet, whether it might be eating clean and choosing the right foods or getting the right number of meals in at the right time, we recommend keeping a food journal. In your food journal you can register all the foods you ate each day, meal by meal. The details depend on you and the fitness plan or program you are following: some people register all the macros and calories precisely for each meal, while for some people it is enough to write down what food they ate exactly. You can also either mark the specific time (e.g. 08:00 am) or simply name the meals (e.g. breakfast). Just make sure that you register every food and drink you consume, including snacks as well! It is also a good idea to keep track of how much water you drink.
The other way (although you could definitely combine the two!) is to keep a workout journal. In a workout journal you can keep track of your daily workouts: either exercise by exercise, noting the number of sets, repetitions and the weights you used – or if that’s too tedious, you can just note what muscle group you trained that day or what kind of workout you had (e.g. spinning class). For your workout journal you can add detailed workouts you love or would like to complete later, inspirational quotes that you like or even regular journal entries about how you feel that day, how you feel your fitness journey is going, what your goals are and how you are getting closer to them time to time. The workout journal is also the perfect place for keeping track of your measurements.
We hope this article can help you get started with keeping track and motivating yourself and getting closer to the goals you set for yourself. Happy journaling!