Should I keep a fitness journal? It’s a question I get asked quite often by my plus size personal training clients as well as though I encounter online who are just making their start with fitness.
In most cases, absolutely yes. Provided you don’t become a slave to your fitness journal and let it rule your life and/or emotions. It can be so very easy in the quest to improve ourselves to get obsessed with the statistics – letting a slight dip in performance set us spiralling off track.
The reason I like to keep a fitness journal or diary is so I can see my progress over time. Yes, I said over time. Not every workout. Some days are just crap. It can be for a whole host of reasons – you slept badly, you are under increased stress at work, the kids are driving you bananas or you haven’t eaten for ages – it could be so many things. Not every session will be an improvement on the last and it’s important that you know that is okay. It’s normal.
So, as I recommend with most ways of tracking progress on your journey – don’t be worried too much by the little up and down variances – we’re looking to make a real lifestyle change here – crap workouts are part of life. Doing something probably made you feel better though, it’s just not your personal best performance. It still counts, even if it’s not perfect. I promise.
What to Record in a Fitness Journal
If you’re keeping a fitness journal, here are a few things you might like to consider recording:
- Your fitness goal/s – try to just have one or two at a time so you can really focus on working toward something. Having too many goals will send you in many different directions and it will be challenging for you to make meaningful progress toward any of them
- Your starting point for you goal/s. If, for example, you want to be able to perform 20 pushups on your knees without stopping, what can you do right now? Try it out and record your starting point.
- The types of exercise you’ll need to include in your regime to help you reach your goal/s.
- Each workout in as much detail as is appropriate for your goal/s. You don’t have to write down every number but include what is important to track your progress toward your goal and things you think you might like to know later
- How you felt before and after your exercise session as well as how much sleep you had the night before
It’s not meant to be a tool that causes you stress or that you need to spend hours filling in (or analysing) but it cane be a great motivator to look back at how far you’ve come once you’ve been working out consistently over a period of time.