Fitness is an important tool for boosting physical and mental wellbeing. Developing a fitness routine into your everyday life is a commitment, and it can be a difficult one to stick to, especially when trying to fit it in between work and family time. Journaling is certainly not just for writing your work tasks or shopping list down. Creating a specific fitness journal for your workouts and training is an effective way of keeping on track and smashing your fitness goals. Essentially the definition of fitness journaling is tracking your fitness goals and routine within a journal format.
Journaling for fitness has many benefits, helping you to stay consistent and motivated, whilst also improving the quality of your workouts.
What are the benefits of fitness journaling?
Scheduling and accountability
On busy weeks, you might find yourself missing an exercise session. You might even find yourself missing out on many, until you lose your motivation to continue.
Fitness journaling allows you to structure and schedule your exercise routines, so you have clearly defined dates and times for your workouts. Once your fitness goals are written down, you face an extra level of accountability if you don't stick to them.
Tracking your progress
After several months of fitness journaling, look back on previous workouts and see how far you’ve come. This is another great motivator to continue with your routines.
If you’re new to fitness or are aiming to lose weight, it can really help to record your progress. There will always be aspects of exercising that are difficult. Recording setbacks along with achievements can help you stay disciplined, even through challenging moments.
Setting fitness goals
Once you have a steady exercise routine going, it’s time to stretch yourself. One of the benefits of a fitness journal is that it provides designated spaces for you to set goals.
Maybe you want to run a certain length each day, or complete more pushups. Whatever you’re aiming towards, journaling for fitness is the perfect way to hold yourself accountable for goals.
By having your goals written down, you have an incentive to complete them. Don't set yourself too much too soon, though. Break those big goals down into smaller micro-goals.
Fitness journals are a great motivation tool. The more consistent you are with your exercise routines, the more motivated you will feel to continue with them.
A fitness journal will provide many opportunities to review your achievements and plan future workouts, encouraging you to keep going.
Tracking the small details with your fitness routine
Keeping a fitness journal can help you keep track of the smaller details. The benefits of this may be for those of us that are more advanced in their fitness training, or athletes.
By keeping track of the smaller details, you can see how your training and fitness is effected. For example, if you are noticing that your morning workouts don't feel as effective as your evening workouts, then this could warrant a change. Another example might be that you often feel bloated and sluggish after a certain type of food, and therefore you may wish to omit this food type or not consume it around your training time. Another example could be that you are feeling over anxious and agitated when you drink too much coffee before a workout. For women, an example might be how you feel with your training around your menstrual cycles.
Keeping track of the smaller details will help us evaluate our fitness and training.
Recording details of your exercise routines
Another benefit of journaling for fitness is that you can record your exercise routines in finer detail. You might choose to focus on physical feelings. How did your workout feel? Did it work well, or did a particular exercise slow your routine? Did you find yourself becoming tired or out of breath? You could also record changes in weight or improvements in your overall well-being.
Mental benefits are also important to record in your fitness journal
How did you feel before and after the workout? Have your anxiety levels lowered? How has your mental health improved throughout your workouts? Asking these kinds of questions can help you to pinpoint what exercises and routines have helped you the most.
You can also combine journaling for fitness with mindfulness journaling, paying closer attention to your feelings and the movements of your body whilst you exercise. This can help to balance your mind as you work out.
7 Quick Tips for Fitness Journaling
For a quick reference guide on how to fitness journal effectively, see the below tips and strategies.
Choose the right journalChoosing the best format for you is key. A physical journal or notebook normally works best, but an app may be better suited for you if you feel as though you would forget your journal.
List your fitness goalsKnowing what you want to achieve in fitness is key. You need a specific fitness goal (e.g. run 5k or lost 10lb of weight), otherwise you won't have anything to work towards, and you won't know once you've completed your fitness goal.
Create an area to track food and macronutrientsIf it works for you, keep track of what you are eating and what macronutrients you are consuming. This is more important for a weight loss or weight gain goal. If tracking calories and food intake is a trigger for you, then there is no need to add this in as part of your fitness journal.
Keep track of how often you exerciseWhen you get to the end of the week, it is useful to look back at your fitness journal and see the days you were able to work out. This can be quite motivating.
Keep track of how you feel and your emotionsNote each day how you feel, and how it may have impacted your fitness goal on that particular day.
Make it part of your daily routineMaking it part of your daily routine means that you are more likely to make this a lasting habit. After all, fitness and health should not be just a 6 or 12-week plan, but instead it should make up part of your life.
Personalise your fitness journal with different pen colours, stickers, or labelsMake fitness journaling fun and personalise your journal.
How to use a goal planner for fitness journaling
It's all up to you. You can tailor your fitness journal to suit your needs. Want to focus on structuring your workouts and setting goals? Why not create a highly organised system, utilising daily, weekly and monthly goals! On the other hand, you might prefer to focus on recording your feelings as you exercise. There's no right or wrong way to journal for fitness.
Goal planners are perfect for fitness journaling. That's because goal planners provide plenty of space to track your progress over time - both short-term and long-term.
You can use a goal planner to plot in daily routines, plan weekly and monthly goals, categorise goals by level of importance, and review your monthly progress.
Do fitness journals work?
Ultimately, as with any long-term activity, journaling for fitness requires dedication and consistency to reap its full benefits. The more you put in, naturally, the more you will get out. Making fitness journaling part of your everyday routine maximises its benefits.
Remember, fitness journaling is meant to support your fitness routines, and should be adapted to fit your preferences. If setting goals just isn't for you, try journaling about your feelings during exercise sessions instead. There isn't just one way to use a fitness journal.
A fitness journal and pen might seem unusual tools for a workout routine, but just a quick five minute session each day is enough to fill in the details. Consistency is key to journaling for fitness, the more you plot in workouts and record your progress, the more motivated you will feel, and the more benefits you will receive.