Keeping a fitness journal is a simple, but often-overlooked, tool for making continual progress while staying highly motivated. It’s a secret of elite athletes that, since implementing it myself, I have found extremely valuable. By keeping track of the aspects of your workouts that are important to your goals it becomes extremely easy to make continuous progress and stay motivated to work toward those goals.
One complaint I’ve had from my training clients who have tried journals in the past is that commercial fitness journals often are too big and bulky to carry around. Beginners often feel silly or self-conscious writing in a big, commercial fitness notebook. Also, the commercially available journals often don’t have spaces for tracking information that the client feels to be important. The answer is to forget about those specially-made “fitness journals”. I’ve found the small Moleskine or Picadilly blank or lined notebooks to be perfect. They come in multiple sizes and lining configurations and can be found at most bookstores and art-supply stores. The elastic band that keeps the hardcover ones closed is also fantastic for wrapping around a pen to keep it handy. And the small ones fit perfectly into a pocket.
Once you have your notebook, it’s up to you to keep track of the parameters of your workouts that are important to your goals. If you are weight training, sets and reps are the obvious candidates for record keeping. If you are doing cardio, depending on the type, you might keep track of distance, heart rate, or time. If one of your goals is to change your body size or composition you’ll probably want to keep track of bodily measurements, weight, and bodyfat percentage.
Regardless of your goals, keeping a journal is a sure-fire way to track your progress and stay motivated.