Do You Keep a Fitness Journal?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Many of us have come to appreciate one of the most valuable tools in our arsenal to lose weight and reclaim our health and that is by keeping a food journal. Tracking calories and nutrients allows us to become more aware of our food intake, portions, and most importantly to ensure we are getting the proper nutrients our body requires.

However, according to The American Academy of Family Physicians, keeping an exercise journal is a huge motivator for many when it comes to physical activity.

So why is an exercise journal so important?

In our busy lives it is so easy to forget what we do from day to day, much less from week to week or for that matter month to month. But having a fitness journal allows us to review where we were in the past and to develop a plan where we would like to be in the future. It can also help us to determine why some days are harder/easier than others.

Your journal doesn’t have to be anything too elaborate. It can be as simple as a spiral notebook or if you do not want the paper trail, make notes on your my Fitness tracker page in the notes section.

Below is a list of some of the things you may want to include:

  • Type of activity performed Cardio, strength training, yoga, Pilates or a combination of these exercises.

  • Time spent exercising This can be tracked in your cardio tracker or quick track on your my Fitness Page.

  • How you felt during the time you were exercising Were you tired even before you started? Did you have to cut your time short due to fatigue? Did you feel energized during your workout? How did you feel when you were done?

  • Sleep patterns Many times the first sign of overtraining is a disturbance in our sleep pattern. If you begin to experience a change in your sleep habits, you may need to allow a few days off to allow for better recovery.

  • Refueling If you exercised for an hour or more did you eat/drink to refuel your glycogen stores after your workouts. What food or drink did you consume and how soon after your exercise session?

  • Weather Conditions If you exercise outside, include the weather conditions. We know that heat, cold, humidity, wind, etc, all can have a great effect on our workouts.

  • Strength Training For those who strength train, make sure you update your strength training routines on your fitness tracker to include the current weights, reps, and sets that you do for each exercise.

  • Mileage Runners should keep track of their daily and weekly mileage. Most training programs do not recommend increasing your mileage or time greater than 10% each week so that your risk for injury is lessened.

  • Injury Documenting an injury will allow you to see how quickly you recover or to know if you need to see a doctor for an issue that is not resolving.

    I am a big believer in keeping an exercise journal. Not only is it another motivator, but many times it can help me pinpoint any issues that may arise. Keeping a log, while tedious for some, is just another tool to help many of us stay accountable.

    Do you keep a fitness journal, if not would it be something you would consider doing? Do you track your fitness on your my Fitness Page? If you have kept a journal, are you amazed at the progress you have made over time?

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    11JAYMIE11 1/22/2020
    I have logged my exercise but haven't kept an in depth journal. After this article I am going to try it! Report
    CECELW 12/13/2019
    I don't journal. it's boring. I won't stay consistent Report
    I just use the SP tracker but often include info in blog about exercise Report
    Interesting. I track my fitness minutes but not much else. May want to start doing that. Report
    I track my fitness here. Report
    Thanks Report
    I have a fitness, food and emotions journal, makes it easier to see when things are going haywire or great~ Report
    So much logging to do, but oh so important Report
    A fitness journal sounds like a good idea. You could go back over the weeks and see how much you have increased your time. It might help with procrastination! Report
    I do spark's fitness tracker, & find if I enter it on the 'feed' does 2-3 things @ once: records it (awarding points) on fitness tracker; includes in feed (&more points for posting), and thus does more 'social' engagement.

    I USED to do a paper wall calendar w stickers, long ago, I'm thinking I'll do that again and ALSO I've been into the bullet journal-ing trend, so I'm going to look up some 'spreads' others have made. Report
    thank you Report
    I use my smart phone and a paper tracker. I also put stickers on my wall calendar as a visual. The paper gets my thoughts out. The wall calendar helps with accountability, if I don't see a sticker by Wednesday then it is time to get a workout in. Report
    Only track my steps each day - I did journal for a while, but have stopped. I had a small notebook in my gym bag - need to find it and start using it again.
    i chart on the fitness tracker. it helps a lot to see the graph at the end of the week. Report
    I don't keep a fitness journal, but it sounds like a good idea. I use the My Fitness page here, except through the Start page, because that's easier. Thanks for the great article! Report
    I type in my activities, but never bothered to talk about the weather outside when I walked or any of that other stuff. I'll have to think about how I want to change that. Report
    I actually use 3 fitness journals. I use the SP fitness tracker to share what I have done for team members. I have a monthly and weekly calendar to hard copy what I have done for miles and kettlebell training. I also print out and staple a few months worth to write my planned training sessions of my kettlebell strength training cycles. Report
    I am a newbie to fitness journaling. I keep track with the SP fitness tracker. Report
    I use the fitness tracker on SparksPeople but need to get back to my written food and exercise journals. Report
    I do! On SP pages! Report
    thanks for the link, nancy! i guess i already am keeping a pretty good fitness journal based on how you describe it! Report
    Fitness journaling I had not thought of - keep the food journal and what a help that has been. If I could just be more consistent with tracking in the nutrition tracker I think I could move ahead faster in my weight loss.... so I am sure it will be the same with the fitness :) Report
    Yes they are very motivating and I use stickers etc. as a reward. Report
    Sparkpeople is my fitness journal. Report
    I never even thought to keep a fitness log. The food log has worked out so well for me, I think I'll try it out. :) Report
    No, I do not keep a journal. Report

    The first I ever started to track a fitness and food journal is here at sparks..

    I love it and I want to keep it up and hopefully find alternative foods then I have ate before.

    I want to feel good and healthy and fit my clothes Report
    No I should, will start today if not too busy thanks as a reminder. Report
    I keep track of every workout in 2 places - my book and SparkPeople. Though it's more like a summary of what I've done, not too much details, only the first two - type of activities and time spend. Report
    I know it is important to keep track. At 61 yrs old I have forgotten so much. But, I am not a journal person. I have tried and tried - just not a journal person. I do not mind keeping track here where I can just click something and move on. Report
    I lkie to make a notation on the calendar. E for exercise of any kind I did that day and a O for doing nothing. Report
    I keep a fitness journal it motivates me. Report
    I use the Fitness tracker--but that's it. Report
    I use SP Fitness tracker and it really helps. Report
    Keeping track by writing everything down adds to my stress level. Report
    I just started putting my fitness goals in my blog space to keep me accountable from day to day. I have to check in to post my daily numbers. Seems to be working for me! Report
    I do keep somewhat of a tracker with Spark People...but not every day and not completely...I think I need to spend more time in doing sd. Thanks for this entry

    Ruth Report
    This is a good blog! I do keep an exercise journal in a notebook, but I don't keep all the information that they mentioned in the blog, such as weather, sleep patterns, how I felt during exercise, etc. I should do that! Thanks for this info!

    Pale Report
    I do track both my strength training and cardio on the Fitness Tracker...I love seeing when the minutes add up... Report
    I am a journal junkie, self-proclaimed. I thought I had every kind of journal known to humans. But this is a new one. I never thought about a fitness journal, tracking what I did. I eat pretty much the same thing every day due to health issues, but the fitness journal would be a good one to show my family doctor as well. Yes, I have plenty of empty journals just waiting to be opened and used. I will start one. Report
    I use the SP Fitness Tracker but more importantly I use my SP Blog as a fitness journal to track my exercise regime, I track the exercise, the time spent, the miles (if running), and total calories burned. Then I usually give a quick review of how the day went for me. At the end of each week I do a week review summing up my weaknesses/strengths and my weekly weigh in number.
    I find it helps keep me motivated AND accountable. Report
    All the time, It is rather imperative to do so... I use the SP tracker, my watch coach tracker, and use my notebook journal, with the tracking sheets from my gym. I love pushing the envelope to the next level. From strength, Cardio and resistance training, the logs keep me from backing off, and keeps me moving forward. Report
    I have a little notebook that I take with me to the gym that I keep my times for the treadmill and elliptical in. With this, I can see how my times have improved. I also use the Fitness Tracker. Both of these really help. Report
    I have been using three tracking tools on a daily basis......
    - SP fitness tracker for general exercises and nutrition tracking.
    - "SportsTracker" for tracking distance walking, running and cycling with a Garmin (405) GPS.
    - "The Journal" for general diary, memories, writing. Report
    I used the SP fitness tracker, I have slacked off at times, but it is a useful tool. Report
    I use SP Fitness tracker. I started on SP about 2 months ago and instead of exercising for weight loss, I now track to see how many minutes I do every week. This keeps me honest! Report
    I tend to pay more attention to things written down, things I can visualize. I will start this practice. Report
    I, too, use the SP Fitness Tracker. I have been using the notes section for over 6 months; I find it helps if I'm doing the same DVD for a longer period of time. Now that I'm doing strength training, I add those videos as well. Report