Exercise Journals: How to Keep Track of Your Fitness Goals
We all have stacks of journals from birthdays, holidays, and resolutions we set to write every day and fell off the bandwagon. Traditional journaling can be hard, as it’s often a big time commitment and requires a lot of regular soul searching (this is why I use this Thought A Day Journal. It helps me keep track of the events of my life without being overwhelming). Exercise journals are a different story though.
Exercise journals can make the difference between accomplishing your fitness goals and giving up. First and foremost, a good exercise journal will hold you accountable to your fitness routine. There are many times that our goals fail because we simply haven’t put them down on paper.
When goals are stuck as abstract fantasies in our heads, it’s much harder to take action steps towards success than when we have a concrete plan of attack. By looking at your exercise journal frequently, you will pinpoint times when your commitment waxed and waned. Are you looking at your journal in November and realizing the last time you exercised was in the beginning of October? That’s a red flag that something needs to be adjusted in your goals or lifestyle that you may not have noticed if you weren’t recording your workouts.
I’m also a big fan of exercise journals as they highlight every baby step of daily progress towards a goal. For example, I keep a running log to track the dates, times, and distances of my runs. Whenever I finish a run, I can easily look back over the months to see how my time is slowly decreasing. Even if the difference is only 1 minute, my long-term journal lets me realize that all of those 1 minute decreases eventually add up to a Boston qualifying time. If you struggle to stay motivated when pursuing a fitness goal, an exercise journal can go a long way in reminding you of the progress you’re making and how that progresses leads to success.
Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of exercise journals, here are some of my favorites to get you started.
What I love about this journal is that it takes both a short-term and a long-term approach. In addition to checking your stats after 13 weeks, there are spots to record your progress every day and week until then. There are 91 individual workout pages and 13 weekly pages to track your exercises, sets, and weight counts. In addition, this journal gives you space to track your meals, heart rate, blood pressure, favorite gyms, and even expenses. This journal is extensive and a great choice if you’re looking to get a full-picture view of your fitness progress.
This exercise journal is not only practical, but also nice to look at. Smaller than the others, this a great choice to bring along with you to the gym. But, if you don’t have room in your gym bag, this exercise journal comes with a free app to help you keep track of your fitness goals on your phone. I love that this exercise journal is so goal focused. There’s a page that allows you to see your entire 12-week goal plan all at once before breaking it down into more detailed weekly plans.
This is an exercise journal that reads more like a book. If you’re looking for information on how to design your workouts, plan your meals, or even check your BMI, you’ll find more than enough of it in this journal. GymPad offers a lot of resources beyond schedules and goal setting, which makes it a good choice for beginners.
In addition, GymPad has an accompanying wall calendar that can be an additional visual reminder of the fitness goals you’re working towards.
This exercise journal is for those who want to track their food and exercise without all of the bells and whistles that the others provide. There are 12 weeks worth of individual daily logs to guide you. Take note that this journal focuses more heavily on food than exercise. While there is sufficient space to record your daily workouts, it may not be as much as you would like should you want to go into detail.
There’s nothing like emojis to keep us motivated towards our fitness goals. With this exercise journal, not only are you able to write down your meals and workouts, you also get to assign an emoji to them to record how you felt about that day’s meals and exercises. While this exercise journal is simple, it allows for soul searching and a way to connect your goals to your bigger picture “why.”
My favorite aspect of this journal is that it gives you space to record your energy levels throughout the day. This information can be key, as you may begin to notice patterns between the food you’re eating, the workouts you’re completing, the amount of sleep you’re getting, and how energized you feel at different points of the day. While this journal doesn’t give you a lot of space to record your stats, it can be a good start to understanding how your habits impact how you feel.
This exercise journal gets a high five from me for being in-depth, yet to the point. There are sections that let you keep track of both long-term and short-term goals, your daily food intake, the progress you’re making on your daily workouts, and more. While straight forward and easy to use, you’ll find Train Train Train covers all of the bases as far as your health and fitness goals are concerned.
It’s not always easy to set fitness goals and stick to them. I hope these journals can be tools that will help you in the process of taking action and staying accountable. I love talking about setting goals and achieving them. For an in-depth look on the topic, head over to Amazon and check out my book, What Next?. To get some more insight here on the blog, take a peek at my other blog posts about motivation and goal setting.
Also published on Medium.