Workout Journals Are Important
Have you been struggling to make gains at the gym? Do you feel like a hamster on the wheel, continually going through the motions of exercise without seeing any real results? If so, you are not alone. Many people who commit themselves to a regular workout routine give up after a period of time because they fail to see results.
Workout Journal Basics
Look – I’ve been hitting the weights for a long time and know exactly what it is like to plateau. And while kudos should be given for just showing up in the first place, the real reason you are making the effort is to achieve various milestones. Here, we are talking concrete things that you can see when you look in the mirror, such as weight loss and muscle gain.
If you are stuck right now with your fitness goals, I am going to give you 7 solid reasons why you should start using a workout journal. Some of these reasons may strike you as common sense while others cause you to pause in reflection. Read them all in order to fully absorb their deeper meaning.
Let’s jump right in!
1) Accountability buddy
A workout journal creates a built in “accountability buddy”. When you write down the exercises you have done at the gym, you reinforce desired behaviors.
Over the course of time, this can help to reinforce consistency – which is a critical component of goal attainment. This point is particularly true if you are just starting an exercise program.
2) Task completion
When you use a workout journal consistently, you create a sense of accomplishment through the psychological construct of task completion.
This helps to build your self-esteem and remind you while you are engaging in positive self-care activities in the first place.
3) Identification of challenge areas
One of the tangible benefits of keeping a workout journal is the ability to look back at challenge areas. Some people rate their workout experience at a level of 1-10, using intensity as a general guide. The higher the number, the better.
If you are noticing a pattern where you are scoring yourself 6 or below, the journal can help you to better understand why. Is there a nutrition issue going on? What about hydration? Are you getting enough sleep? Your training journal can help answer these questions.
4) Track progress
One of the things I like about using a journal at the gym is the ability to track progress. Simply put, writing down the types of exercises you are doing and the weight being lifted can be super helpful for future planning. Much of this has to do with the concept of progressive overloading – which is a 25 cent term of progressively adding on more weight.
If you want to make gains, don’t rely on your memory as workouts tend to blur into one another over the course of time. That’s why using a journal rocks!
5) Creating change
If you have been working out for any amount of time, you probably already know the importance of changing up your workouts from time to time. This is necessary in order to challenge muscles and spark new growth. A journal can help you in this area by creating awareness around the specific exercising you have been doing.
For example, if you have noticed that you keep doing the bench press week after week as part of your upper body workout, it might be time to swap out that activity replace it with something like pectoral flys.
6) Scheduling time off
One major reason people don’t see the gains they desire from working out is simply because they don’t give their body time to heal. As a general rule of thumb, you should try to take off one week for every eight weeks of consistent weight training.
A journal can help you keep track of how often you have been going to the gym and remind you when it’s time to take a break. Pretty straight forward, huh?
7) Reach goals
One final benefit of keeping a workout journal is that it can help you reach your goals. Real, lasting gains happen through hard work. When you write down what you have been doing at the gym, you psychologically commit yourself to obtaining the fitness goals you are working towards.
In addition, the journal helps you identify new goals that you can work on in the future!
You don’t need anything fancy to keep a workout journal. I personally use a lined notebook with a pen pushed into the spiral. Some people opt for something a bit fancier, like the Body Minder. This journal is a kind of fitness diary that also holds a nutrition section. I’ve included a link below for you to check out.