Disclaimer: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Maybe you’re reading this because you’re stuck in a fitness rut. Or maybe you’re hitting the gym but just can’t seem to lock into a routine. Whatever your reason for wanting to up your exercise game, we’re here to preach the benefits of a workout journal. You might be thinking, “Why would I want to add another step to my routine?” That’s valid, but logging your exercise can actually make your life a whole lot more simple in the long run. Lace up your jogging shoes and let’s run through the benefits of keeping a workout journal.
Get organized and stay organized
We’ll start with the most obvious way a journal benefits your routine: organization. Have you ever noticed how much more productive you are after you make a to-do list? Writing down what you want to accomplish makes it all the more tangible. Plus, you can lay out a schedule to stick to so there’s no more “maybe on Monday” ambiguity. Make check boxes, grids or whatever makes you feel good about knocking out your goals.
Evolve and adjust over time
Whoever the first person was to say “change is good” knew what they were talking about. The whole point of exercising is to push yourself to reach bigger and better plateaus. Logging what you’ve accomplished gives you a baseline to continue growing. After a while, you can increase your reps, weight, mileage or whatever other factors you feel comfortable with. You’ll have all the variables laid out right in front of you to tweak as you see fit.
Create motivational fodder
Since we can’t really rent out a cheerleading squad to spur us on, sometimes we have to be our own source of motivation. When you open up your journal, you’ll have indisputable evidence of the previous days’ and weeks’ hard work you put in. So on the days when your motivation is waning and you’re “not feeling it,” you’ll have an easier time telling yourself you can do it. You’ve come this far already, so let’s keep the ball rolling!
Keep yourself accountable
Maintaining a written record also helps create a nice thick layer of accountability. Rather than having plans and ideas rattling around in your head, they’ll be written out on paper. Consider it a physical manifestation of your intentions, reminding you to take responsibility and hold yourself accountable for your workouts. Whenever you see your journal lying around, it will serve as a friendly reminder to get your sweat on!
Tighten up your accuracy and consistency
Let’s be real: Memories are a complex thing, and they’re not always accurate. That’s why it’s good to have a written record of your workouts — it’s easy to get off track and stray from your routine if you’re going off guesswork. It’s less about stressing every minute detail and more about creating a strong sense of consistency, which is key in any good workout.
Limit and eliminate unnecessary injuries
It’s unfortunate, but exercise-related injuries can happen if you’re not careful or push yourself too hard. That’s why if you notice a discomfort beyond the usual soreness, it’s good to have a backlog of what you’ve done. It makes it easier to pinpoint when you were injured and what may have caused it — whether it be number of sets, reps, or a change in machines or weight.
So grab a sturdy (maybe even sweat-resistant) notebook and pen, because that workout journal isn’t going to start itself! Give it a try even for a week and let us know what you think in the comments.