Reach Your Goals with a Workout Journal

Whether your goal is to tone up, slim down, or increase muscle mass, keeping a journal can help. Research shows that the act of simply jotting down your actions on paper is key to reaching your goals. Those who keep track of their workouts on a regular basis are going to see enhanced overall results, because they’ll know precisely where they stand at all times.

Improving your fitness level is like any other goal in that it’s best to first set general long-term goals, and then break those down into smaller short-term goals. Specific goals should then be broken down into actionable items. For example, if your long-term goal is to increase your arm and shoulder strength, then your short-term goal should be something specific and measurable, such as strict pressing a 30lb bell. The action items you would list in your journal are the steps you take towards this specific goal. Success, failures, strong days, weaker days – should all be recorded. Even notes on your frame of mind and diet could be useful for your training.

Remember, action steps should be manageable, yet challenging. Don’t go to easy on yourself, but don’t set yourself up for failure.

Just as you must have a thorough plan in place for each time you hit the gym, you should never go without having a clear record of all the achievements you’ve made.

Keeping a journal can help you get and stay motivated. Journaling can ensure that you push yourself as hard as possible for each workout session so that you can beat your last session’s performance. And, if you ever feel your motivation start to wane, you can easily look back over your journal and see just how far you’ve come.

Things to include in your journal:

Specific Exercises
Keep track of the specific exercises you completed. This will save you the pain of trying to remember what you did last week. And, will allow you to track which exercises had the most noticeable impact on your body.

Each person responds differently to various movements, so keeping a record can help you learn best which ones work best for you.

Reps and Sets Completed
Unless you have a much better memory than I do, it can be difficult to keep track of the number of reps and sets completed.  These variables will be changing as you make progress toward your goal. If you don’t keep track of them, you could stagnate.

Another key element that must be tracked in your workout journal is the amount of rest taken between sets.  Rest is vital to monitor because this is a strong indicator of how intense any given workout is.

If you’re using shorter rest periods, you’re going to notice that you get a greater metabolic boost from the workout session and build up a higher tolerance level to fatigue. This can become very important for helping to foster better overall fat loss results.

Also make note of your sleep habits as well as your nutrition - both of these can factor into your energy levels.

Overall Energy Levels
You’ll want to make note of your overall energy levels.  Reviewing your journal can help pinpoint patterns or specific low energy periods and what may be contributing to them.

There are many options for starting and maintaining a fitness journal. You can create your own fitness journal by simply using any notebook. Keep it simple so you can maintain it over time. You can also buy a formatted journal. makes 6 and 12-week formatted journals called Fitbook that you can buy online (available on Amazon). You can also print out online formatted exercise planner templates. Good luck and feel free to contact F3 Training with any questions about keeping a workout journal.

F3 personal trainers encourage clients to keep a record of their workouts. Speak to your trainer today about addressing your goals in a workout journal.

Glenn SethComment