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Are workout journals still a thing?

close up view of trainer writing in notebook while woman working out in gym

Journals have lost their touch. Not only training ones but all types of journals. People keep less and less track of what they do daily, how they feel, or how they wish to approach upcoming events.

Running a diary of some sort used to be common practice. Planning events or tracking a workout can still be done via different apps on our smartphones. However, it isn’t the overall experience that it once used to be.

Not to discredit people who tend to their duties through their phones. That’s a good substitution. But those who don’t do it at all could be missing out. Especially athletes who wish to pursue their goals.

Here’s why.

Goal setting

You woke up, had breakfast, and it’s a matter of time before you leave for the gym. What are your goals for today? Do you know?

Not setting a definite goal of what you wish to achieve won’t get you far in life and it won’t get you far in sports either. Having “a feeling” or a vague idea of what your workout should look like is not enough. Plan your workouts.

Don’t develop a habit of taking completely improvised workouts. Before you notice time will slip by and you’ll have months behind you with little or no progress at all. Putting down everything on a piece of paper or typing it on your phone will prevent this from happening.

Write down every workout session, every exercise, every set, every rep. Track the weight you used and how you used it. Was it a “pull” or a “push” day? Did you try setting a new PR and failed? This information will prove itself useful down the road.

Sporty young woman with fitness tracker in gym
Without a definite goal, you won’t make it far.

Once you have all the details written down you’ll be ready for your next workout. Next week, once you hit the gym, you can take a look at your progress. See where you failed, why it happened, and what you can do to fix your mistakes. See what new strategy you can implement and try again. That’s the goal.

Assessment

You cannot evaluate your current status if you do not know where you stand in terms of stats. If you wish to progress you should be conscious of where you are right now. This shouldn’t bother you even though it probably will, at least in the beginning. Accepting that you’re a beginner or that you’re not amazing at something hurts. Just remember, there isn’t an athlete in this world who didn’t start from zero.

You need a benchmark of some sort for assessing where you’re at. Use yourself as the benchmark. Logging your workouts will allow for such a thing. Numbers don’t lie. Once you take a look at your performance time you will find your way to the top way easier.

How else will you know where you stand in terms of your goals? How else are you going to know if you’re ready for a competition? If you lack a coaching staff or a proper team around you then you will have to be the one to track your standings.

Know thyself, as the wise saying goes.

Tracking the weight

Losing weight is never easy. It is even harder without a sense of how much you weigh right now and how much you want to weigh tomorrow.

If you’re on a mission to lose a couple of pounds make sure to track your weight at least once a month if not once a week. Going for anything more frequent than that won’t really help you out since you won’t notice much of a difference during such a short timeframe.

Write the results down in your journal after every weigh-in. Set a deadline and a reasonable goal for yourself. Like this “In the next three months, I wish to lose 20 pounds.” Write down the exercises you will do and the food you will eat in order to lose those 20 pounds. Whenever you lose track of what you gotta do for a particular day you can simply refer to your journal.

Not to mention, tracking macronutrient intake is extremely important if you want to maintain a caloric deficit and lose weight. Without it, the scale won’t tilt in your favor, unfortunately.

A sense of accomplishment

Having written down everything you’ve done for the day can reap positive benefits for your mood. Whether it was a killer workout or your simple day-to-day activity, it doesn’t matter. Once you take a look at how you’ve spent your time it will result in a feeling of accomplishment. Imagine filling a journal with all the workouts you’ve done in a year. Boy, that must be overwhelming.

Sometimes it is hard to feel as if you’re going up the ladder. Things take their time when it comes to training and development. Especially in sports. Seeing how much you’ve grown throughout the years will come as a little reminder that you are indeed becoming better little by little.

To top it off

More than anything, keeping a journal is a lesson in discipline.

The most successful people write down everything they do and how they do it. Even if you never refer back to the information it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is there in case you need it. If you didn’t log the steps you made…you won’t be able to retrace them. So, if you find yourself stuck and in desperate need of a change it might take you a while to find what’s wrong. That can result in huge amounts of wasted time.

Keeping a journal, on the other hand, will prevent that from ever happening. Be meticulous with your craft, regardless of what it is. Yes, plans are fragile things and things do not always turn out the way we want them to, but if you don’t have a plan what are you really striving for? You don’t want to be stuck in a loop either.

That’s why you ought to grab that notebook and start writing! It’s a fairly simple task yet it can be so rewarding. Use that to your advantage.

Thank you for reading.

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