As the days grow longer, the sun shines brighter and the weather feels warmer, normally we'd be looking forward to spending more time out and about. But spring this year looks a lot different. In the face of COVID-19's global outbreak, we are all challenged with the prospect of having to stay indoors this spring.
For many people getting fit and staying fit can feel like an impossible task: especially when the opportunities to snack on chocolates, sweets and other indulgent treats seem endless!
Say no to food temptation and stay on track with a fitness journal! It will help you to stay focused and make sure you see results.
While this may not be the most glamorous subject, it’s important to keep a record of what you’re doing and how you feel about it, because in six months’ time you’ll look back and feel amazing about how much you’ve improved!
Did you know that your fitness plans can yo-yo? Many often start a fitness plan with great enthusiasm only for it to tail off. Or they have an inconsistent approach to fitness and end up feeling frustrated.
Why Athletes Keep a Fitness Journal
Most athletes keep a detailed fitness journal that their coaches review. There are some coaches who regularly monitor their athlete’s journal and others who only request it when there is a problem, such as injury or poor performance.
The four key reasons why competitive athletes keep a fitness journal are:
- To be held accountable to their training regimen
- To assist their coaches and trainers with injury prevention
- To monitor their progress
- To help them and their coach reflect and research factors that are contributing to success or failure
Fitness Journals aren’t Just for Athletes
You don’t have to be a professional or competitive athlete to keep a fitness journal! Use it as a way to keep you on track to achieve your fitness and nutrition goals. It could even help you to:
- Get fit
- Stay fit
- Lose weight
- Prioritise fitness
Why a Fitness Journal will Work for You
A fitness journal can help everyone, regardless of their fitness level. This is because:
1. It will help you be honest with yourself and understand why you are reaching, (or not reaching) your goals. This will help you to push yourself and make progress
2. It will help you to keep moving forward. If life or injury gets in the way of your exercise plan, the journal will help you to get back on track
Keep your journal simple by focusing on:
- Day and date: You can use a snazzy app, a diary, a desk calendar or a note in your Outlook calendar
- Feelings: Always do this at the end of the day. A simple happy, sad, or indifferent will do (you could even use smiley faces!). In this section, add any special notes or major events
- Activity: List the time, duration, type and intensity of the activity
- Body assessment: Do you feel any pain or excessive tiredness? Did a particular exercise feel uncomfortable or do you feel amazing?
- Nutrition: Did you eat well? Put down a number from 1-10, with one being terrible and ten meaning you were perfectly on target
After six weeks you get to do a bit of detective work! It can be fun to look through and evaluate patterns in your behaviour. With a fitness journal, it’s simple to detect problem areas or successes at a glance.
Here are some common fitness roadblocks and patterns that people discover when keeping a journal:
Exercise patterns: Try to see when you’re the most active. Many people discover that a particular day is important, for example Monday. If you look at your journal and see that weeks that start with a Monday workout result in more workouts for the week, then you should try to always make time for a workout on Mondays!
Decline in activity: If you notice that your activity level declines as the week progresses, then it is important for you to find out why. Are you sore, tired or just busy? Your fitness journal will help you to create a plan to stay consistent
Distractions: Life can be hectic and full of surprises, but do you notice that a certain family member or friend is disrupting your workout plan? If so, ask them for support or invite them to join you
Emotions: Certain types of exercise can affect your emotions. Maybe you notice that every time you do a certain workout, you feel uplifted for the rest of the day. Now that you know, why not fit it into your day to boost a low mood or motivate yourself? Alternatively, if you see that you tend to feel low on gym days, you could replace it by exercising outside or at home.
Finding out what works best for you is the key to prolonged success.
Your Fitness Journal is All About You
Your individual success is down to you. Once you start to keep a regular and honest account of your fitness, you might see that yo-yo activity levels will be a thing of the past! Take control of your fitness plan with a journal and learn how to work with your personality and time commitments so that you can reach your goals!