Keeping a fitness journal

Today’s the day—start logging your notes and celebrating your progress

Keeping a record of your exercise can be motivating, it can help you measure progress and much more. All it takes is setting aside a time to write down a few notes.

Why keep a fitness journal?

Whether you work out on your own, with friends or with a Personal Trainer, there are benefits to planning and tracking your exercise in a fitness journal. Kirk Erickson, Director of Healthy Living at the Forest Lake Y says, “You can’t measure what you don’t track. A fitness journal helps you know when you’re making progress.”

It can also help you:

  • Clarify your goals and what you want to work toward
  • Plan out specific times during your schedule to set aside for exercise
  • Keep you motivated
  • Help your workout time be focused on working out, instead of thinking of what to exercise
  • Notice any patterns—about what you like, when you’re successful and more

What should you put in a fitness journal?

There are lots of different things you might put into a fitness journal—the key is adding the things that will be most helpful for you. While there are several pre-made options you can buy, it’s just as effective to make your own in a notebook or keep track in an online document or app.

Your journal might include:

  • Inspirational quotes or images
  • A list of your fitness goals (check out these tips for creating goals)
  • Planned workouts (try this core workout if you’re looking for ideas)
  • Actual workouts, including things like miles, reps, length of time, time of day
  • Notes on what you eat before and after a workout
  • Notes on how you’re feeling before, during and after your workout

Tips for using a fitness journal

  • Be honest—this is a tool for you and only you
  • Try to remember to use it regularly
  • Keep it in view—it can be a visual reminder to do your workout, and add to the journal
  • Review it on a regular basis to track your progress and shift your goals, if necessary
  • Celebrate your successes

Kirk suggests you give yourself some leeway when getting started with a fitness journal. “It’s a new task, so keep it simple at first so that it’s easy to stick with it. You can add more details once you’re in the habit of using a journal.”