Why would you keep a fitness journal? What should you put in it? Tracking your meals and workouts is key to a successful fitness journey.
We, humans, love using journals for different things. It could either be for writing down our daily experiences, our thoughts, important details, lyrics to songs, home address, anything that can be written down.
Journals have always been part of our lives and now, you can have an addition of things you do with a journal – talking about your fitness journey.
What Do You Use As Fitness Journals?
The most popular thing to use is a physical journal because it feels more real, seeing your own handwriting and being able to drop it wherever you want. The other things you can use are your apps or computers.
1. Physical Fitness Journals
With a physical fitness journal, there are columns meant for you to write down anything you want. Depending on the creator of the journal, it could be bulky or portable.
It is recommended that you go for a portable one that you can carry around and is easy to flip the pages without feeling bored.
Something like Diet And Exercise Journal: Better Every Day fits this description. It is quite portable and spacious too.
It gives you the space to write every of your daily activity like the food you ate, glasses of water you drank, vitamins and supplements, exercise, steps you took, and your weight.
There is a separate log for each of them which makes your journal look tidy.
2. Smartphone Apps
You can also download fitness journals into your smartphone. This way, you can use the app wherever you go since your phone will always be with you. You can keep track of your eating and exercise habits.
Although, they can be a bit limiting and might not be able to provide all the logs you need. Oh, and then there might be that constant reminder for an upgrade.
You can create your very own journal using a Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheet. Here are lots of free templates you can choose from.
You can also create a blog where you can talk about your fitness journey. Use whichever way works for you.
Things To Include In Your Fitness Journal
You can add anything you want but the most important are day and date, exercise activity, nutrition, body assessment, and feelings.
The day and date are straightforward. You just have to write down the day and date of each of your entries. This helps to improve progress tracking.
2. Exercise Activity
Your exercise log includes how much time you spent on exercising and the type of training you did.
You can even break it down by how many reps and set you performed on each exercise.
The food log includes keeping track of everything you ate as this is an accurate way to know exactly what you are putting in your body.
You can write down the list of ingredients that were used in cooking each meal with their calories.
Or, you can choose to use the calorie counter to round off each meal to see their calories. This is possible with the various calorie counters we have online.
4. Body Assessment
This is telling your journal how you felt after eating or exercising:
- Was the food yummy or yucky?
- Did the exercise cause you any pain?
- Are you getting stronger?
- Did you sustain any injuries?
These are somethings that you should talk about in the fitness journal.
Your feeling should describe how you felt after each day.
- Is it getting harder?
- Are you feeling more motivated?
- Do you feel like quitting?
- Do you want to scream?
Knowing how you feel at the end of each day helps you to know if you are getting better or worse.
When you write all these things down, you will be able to track your progress and know what areas you should improve on.
Updating your fitness journal every day will make your fitness journey smoother and successful.
How To Use Your Fitness Journal To Evaluate Yourself?
Yes, there’s an evaluation involved in any fitness journal. This will help you decide on further actions.
Here is how you can use your journal notes to evaluate yourself:
When you write about what you eat every day, you will be able to improve the supply of nutrients to your body.
For example, you might notice that you’ve been eating more protein than complex carbs or fat. And, keeping in mind that although you are cutting calories, you still plan to make every meal a balanced diet, you will be able to improve on that.
You will learn the number of nutrients in each of the foods you eat. And you will be able to identify which is lacking and make a conscious effort to include them all the next day.
Keeping a food journal will enable you to know where your calories are coming from, if they are empty calories, or useful ones. This way you can determine the nutritional value of the foods you ate.
If you have a little slip where you consumed a whole bag of chips or a large bottle of soda, you will be able to determine why it happened, if it was because of the environment you found yourself at that time, or the particular time of the day.
Knowing these little things would help you observe better and prevent those situations that make you go overboard with junks.
If you are planning to work with a dietician during your fitness journey, a journal will come in handy to discuss the type of food you’ve been eating and when you’ve been eating them.
You also get to practice portion control and splitting your food into several portions throughout the day.
Your fitness journal is a tool to know what exactly you are doing right or wrong. You are more like a detective carrying out an investigation on yourself.
It is easier to identify problems in your exercise routine just by looking at your journal. You can find a pattern when you carefully peruse your journal and use it to improve your fitness journey.
Find a pattern with your journal to discover which days recorded more success than failures.
If you notice that you had more success on a particular day, probably Sunday or Monday, then you make that day your focal point to ensure that the rest of the days go smoothly.
Through your journal, it is possible to identify your distractions:
- Did you have to end a particular session earlier than planned because you had to go pick up some groceries or feed your baby?
- Or did your neighbor come in for a long chat and refused to leave on time?
You probably would have written it down. When you are able to identify your distractions, you will find it easier to eliminate or incorporate them into your routine.
You could also notice a decline in activities if you are being totally honest when writing the fitness journal. You can then be able to find out why by asking yourself questions.
This will enable you to look for ways to motivate yourself on tired days. Or look for how to make your workout routine more flexible if you notice it’s because you are too busy to take out time to work out.
Writing about your emotions will help you to see which exercise makes you happier and motivated and those that don’t.
When you are able to identify those that made you happier, you can incorporate more of them into your routine or try them out on days you do not feel like exercising.
Benefits Of A Fitness Journal
Keeping a fitness journal is very important and has so many benefits attached to it which you will see below and perhaps purchase one and start penning down your experiences.
1. Makes You Accountable For Your Actions
When you have a journal where you jot down everything you did in a day concerning your fitness journey (what you ate, the amount of food, what does it comprise of, how many minutes you worked out, the challenges you met, etc), you are more likely to pay closer attention to things you do simply because you want to have more to write about, especially positive things.
Having it in mind that whatever you do will go into a permanent record, with your failures and success staring right back at you, improving your standards and doing better will be one thing on your mind.
You will want to make sure that you resisted the urge to eat those mouth-watering burgers. And you will also love to write how you were able to achieve an hour of an intense workout.
It motivates you to do more and inspires you to do more.
2. Exact Calorie Counting
With a journal, you are able to put down all you ate during the day, even the spices you used in cooking.
Someone who is very serious about his or her fitness journey would want to jot as they eat or prepare their meals. This helps in accurately counting the calories that go into your body.
If you are too busy to jot down the food as you eat them, using a journal will still help you carefully remember everything you ate throughout the day. Doing this makes your work easier.
You will also be able to see your weak areas, probably if you still use more sugar than you are supposed to. This will help you focus on your weak areas and improve them.
3. Keeping Tabs On Your Progress
Feeling frustrated when there are no signs that you’ve been on a diet for a month is one of the weight loss journey experience.
At times, it feels like you got to a certain point and your body stopped changing. Everything you are doing isn’t making a difference, or so you think.
A journal is necessary for tracking your progress so that whenever you feel this way, your journal will help you clarify things.
Your journal will tell you what you ate in a month, the calories you ate, how you were able to burn it out, the number of times you exercised, etc.
All these are possible only if you had dedicated time to writing everything in your journal.
Another thing is that you will be able to know if you are choosing the wrong diet or method of exercising, and you will be able to make a quick adjustment.
4. Clear Focus
When you have a journal, it is easier for you to set an objective. Before dieting, you are expected to have a clear focus on what you want to achieve.
- Is it a 10-pound size reduction?
- Are you aiming to have learner arms and legs?
- Is it a flat and well-toned stomach?
- Or do you want it to be a long-term fitness program?
These are the things you should have figured out before embarking on the journey. But if you have not, then a fitness journal will help you do so.
With a fitness journal you can write down your goals and the steps you will take to achieve it.
Opening the journal every day to jot down your daily activities will also give you the opportunity of reminding yourself of your goals and objectives.
Aside from patience, being consistent with anything you do contributes to how far you will go in life.
The same thing is applicable to the fitness journey. Exercising once a week will not make a difference in your weight or physical appearance. You have to consistently build yourself to do much more.
A fitness journal helps you to be consistent in your diet and exercise routine. Knowing that you have someone to report yourself to, and who will not judge you should be motivating.
When you are consistent in writing every of your fitness activity, it would be easier for you to see how much progress you are making, and encourage you to stay right on course.
6. Makes You Know When It’s Time To Upgrade
There will come a time when your body becomes aware of your exercise routine and diet and would adjust accordingly, probably with a slower metabolic rate. This is when it will seem like your efforts are no longer visible.
With a fitness journal, you will be able to notice it immediately. This is because you will be able to see the results of your efforts.
If they are static, then you’d know it’s time to change things to speed up your metabolism again.
As you can see, a fitness journal can help you reach your goals faster by keeping you motivated and informed during the whole process.