Benefits Of Keeping A Workout Diary

If you are embarking on a new workout routine, it is tempting to just knuckle down and get going. Well, you want to test all your brand equipment and show off what you already know from watching TV. Sadly, you will have wasted your money because you will be less likely to stay motivated and exercise once that nice new smell has worn off. Keeping a workout journal and tracking your fitness will adjust your focus away from the novelty of working out onto the real purpose for buying all the fancy home gym equipment. Getting results from your workout.

workout diary, apple, weight

It Lets You Be True To Yourself

Hitting the gym without a proper plan is not likely to yield the results you are hoping for. If you are just starting out, it can become overwhelming and you will be tempted to skip exercises you find them taxing. However, after spending time recording the routines and sequences you will be more motivated to follow them as you mentally tick off each step in your log and this will help you relieve stress.

Helps You Be More Disciplined

The problem most people face is maintaining consistency across all their workouts. You may feel geared up initially but as the days progress and other priorities take over, you may begin to get the ‘I don’t feel like it,’ feeling and persuade yourself that a break or a change will be okay. This happens to almost everybody and knowing how to pick yourself up from this point and refocus is important. Try reminding yourself of the achievements of your favorite athletes and the fact that they don’t deter from their routines. Not even for even a day. They stick to their workout habits to reach their goals and this should be your mantra too. Recording your progress can help you get back on track and as you think about the targets and goals you want to reach revive your focus.

If you don’t have a proper plan, you are more likely to get distracted and skip important workout exercises and interrupt your overall progression. However, if you plan to workout for an hour and have pre-planned exercises, you will focus on finishing on time.

woman and trainer at the gym

Get To Know The Bigger Picture

In your workout diary, write about everything. Each day’s entry should include the smallest details such as your diet for the day, your fluid intake, sleep patterns, stress levels, stamina, mood and so on. All these things combined will help you decide which combination of exercises works best to yield results and keeps you fresh and energized throughout the day. If a combination of exercises and diet is not working out, or you feel your body is not getting enough rest, you can tweak the routine and make adjustments for better.

Be Aware Of The Patterns

An ideal combination of rest, exercise and diet is necessary to reduce stress levels and increase your productivity. You might feel good on some days, and on others be struggling to cope up with your schedule. You might not be the best on some days, but if you note down everything, you will be able to recognize a pattern and find the cause. It could be stress, your other priorities, a change of diet, poor sleep patterns or any combination of these things that negatively affect your workout schedule. Noting down as many details as possible can help you dig into the problem for you to avoid it in the future. This will help maximize your productivity and minimize the ‘bad’ days. Finding a pattern and making changes to adjust it is the best thing you can do to perfect your workouts.

fitness gear and a notebook

Helps With A Reality-Check On Other Things

With workouts, of course your body is getting stretched to its maximum. This means your body needs extra care to recover from a workout. How you treat your body impacts on how you are able to perform in the upcoming days. If you make a proper diet chart and stick to it without any cheat days, have a tool that monitors your heart rate and stress levels, keep a note on the number of hours of sleep or rest you are giving your body, you can create the best plan for a productive and healthy workout. This will also help you plan your workout for the subsequent months. If you are just starting a diet chart will reveal your eating and lifestyle habits so that you can make the appropriate changes. Noting down details about your meals, rest timings, warm-ups and cool-downs in your workout journal helps you prepare a workable plan.

Helps Document Your Feelings

Other than all the practical numbers you write, you can write your emotional state. If you are feeling great after an intensive workout, writing about it will motivate you later. If you had a rough day it is a place to vent your feelings so you can move on and focus on your workout.

breakfast and notebook

Tips For Keeping A Fitness Journal

Keep the journal as simple as possible. It doesn’t need to be lavish in its details or complicated in nature. There are plenty of online trackers or if you prefer, keep your own hand-written notes in a notebook. The important thing is that you have recorded the details and noted the important milestones. Here are some ways to keep an exercise journal in different media –

  • Hard copy: folder, simple journal, scrapbook, exercise book
  • Soft copy: Excel spreadsheet with templates
  • Online: personal blog, fitness Apps, website, forum and communities

It is important to keep details of previous, current and future exercises in the journal. With your past exercises well-documented, you can strive to push yourself further and slowly move out of your comfort zone.

Having the journal at hand will help you understand whether a particular set of exercises are working for your body or not. For example, if you have tried a set of exercises for about 2 months and see no visible progress, you should chalk out a new workout plan and ditch this one. However, if there is even a slow progress, you can give your workout longer to allow your body to adapt and show some improvements.

fruits, bottle and notebook

Tips For Weight Training Journal

Having a journal and updating it daily helps a long way with your strength training and circuits. When you make a note of the exercises, weights used, the number of reps and so on, you can judge effective your overall experience was. If the workout was easy, you can add a few more tough ones or more weights to make the next workout session more intense. If you don’t think you were in good shape after working out, you can make an informed decision as to whether to continue or change your exercises or reps. Either way, progress should be tracked and there are several things you can record in your workout journal –

  • Number and name of exercises performed
  • Date and time of workout
  • Number of reps and sets
  • Weights used for the exercises
  • Level of difficulty
  • Rest intervals
  • Heart rate monitoring

You can even keep track of other parameters that will help you build a good workout plan –

  • Energy levels (rate from 1-5)
  • Bodyweight (or BMI)
  • Sleep hours
  • Food intake (rate from 1-5)
  • Motivation level (rate from 1-5)
  • Overall mood (rate from 1-5)

When you are investing time, money and effort into working out, you need to know if it is working or not. Just as you don’t remember every journey to work you ever make, you will not remember all the details of every workout. Instead, when you try to recall details they become generic and roll into one workout routines with all the details of success and failure lost. Keeping a journal will help you identify what works and what doesn’t so you can keep your motivation and progress steadily towards your goals.