Doctors, weight loss experts, and personal trainers alike agree that keeping a fitness journal is a key component to sustained success in any exercise program. This is because a journal not only allows you to chronicle overall progress towards your goals, but also encourages general accountability and boosts daily motivation. After all, it's much harder to skip a workout when you know you have to record your lame excuses in black and white later on.
A fitness journal also helps you determine when it's time to change up your routine. When you run the exact same distance or lift the exact same weight day after day, your body quickly adapts to the activity and becomes more efficient at performing that particular task. This means you burn fewer calories for your efforts, which can cause weight loss to stall. Seeing your numbers on paper will serve as a reminder to run farther, lift more, or try a different activity altogether.
Now that you're on board with the idea of a fitness journal, you might be wondering what kind of data it should contain. Most people like to keep things simple by sticking only to details about exercise; however, some folks find it helpful to include additional notes regarding food intake, bodily aches and pains, or even mood during the workout. The breadth and depth of the content is entirely up to you--as long as you're able to stay fairly consistent with your entries.
At a minimum, here's the kind of information a good fitness journal should have:
- Type of activity (e.g. jogging, spin class, aerobics)
- Duration (e.g. 30 minutes, 1 hour)
- Distance (if applicable)
- Speed/intensity (e.g. 8mph, vigorous, moderate)
- Calories burned
For strength/weight training:
- Muscle group targeted (e.g. abs, biceps, quads)
- Type of exercise (e.g. curls, squats)
- Number of reps
- Number of sets
- Weight load
At Push Pedal Pull, we offer complimentary fitness training logs (pictured left) to our customers. Simply stop into one of our stores and meet with one of our specially trained fitness experts. They will help you overcome any barriers you may be facing and achieve your personal fitness goals in the comfort and convenience of your own home.
If you choose to create your own fitness journal in a notebook, on a spreadsheet, or in a dedicated fitness app, remember to review your progress frequently and make appropriate changes to ensure you're always challenging yourself to do more.
Now we'd like to know: What's in your fitness journal and how has the information helped you reach your health goals?