Keeping an exercise journal is an important part of any successful fitness plan.
It not only provides accountability, an exercise journal provides the necessary encouragement to continue working toward your fitness goals.
Record what type of and how much exercise you did. Keeping record of the workout you did may help inspire you to do more.
Conversely, if you find you are consistently keeping with a healthy exercise routine, reading over past entries might inspire more trips t the gym. It can be easier to keep the momentum going if you reinforce your previous successful days. Keep track of your range of emotions from day to day. Quite possibly your mood might coincide with, or alter, the exercise you choose.
Keeping track of workouts is highly effective if you are trying not only to maintain a fitness plan, but to encourage weight loss, as well. In a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, it was reported that people who kept a food journal lost twice as much weight as those who did not keep record of what they ate.
The same might be argued for an exercise journal. Seeing your exercise accomplishments in black and white promotes positive self-esteem, reinforcing the cycle of positive behavior.
Reaffirming Your Vows
Even a lifelong commitment to a consistent exercise routine deserves recognition every once in a while. Checking in with an exercise journal, even periodically, will help you remain faithful to the relationship and further monitor your progress, if only for a short season. Consider your journaling a reward for your diligent effort. Sometimes the smallest details are lost in the crunch of the daily grind. Jot down your workout as soon as you complete it, ensuring you don’t forget what you did and how you felt.
Tips for Getting Started:
Your exercise journal need not be fancy to be effective. It can be as simple as a spiral notebook! If you choose to personalize it, you might consider write affirming words on the front or just inside the cover. Let these thoughts or sentiments be bold statements about who you: “strong, determined, goal-oriented, focused, controlled, poised, graceful, thoughtful, quirky, original, giving”. Anything that evokes positive self-image will do.
Be diligent about maintaining your journal. Record your workout right away before you forget what you have accomplished. Record the time of day, the type of workout you did, how long you participated, and how you felt throughout. It can be short and simple:
“6:00 am: went for a run for 30 minutes. I felt sluggish and tired. Next time, I’ll grab a banana on the way out the door.”
Doodle pictures along with your findings. Make it fun and whimsical so you are more inclined to revisit your journal often.
Give yourself permission to fall off the wagon once in a while. Just because it is in black and white does not condemn you to a whole day lost. Pick up your pencil and record how you might avoid any negative thoughts or behaviors before your next entry.
Be honest. Your exercise journal is your own and for your own benefit. It is can be as superficial or as intimate as you design it to be. Aspire to be healthier from wherever you are starting, without judgment.
If a three-ring binder just sounds too archaic, create a spreadsheet for yourself. Chart and graph your progress over time and maintain it on your personal computer or PDA. You can read over your journal periodically to stay motivated.