Have you been struggling to see results from your health and fitness plan? Does it feel like you’re putting in a lot of effort, but not really getting much return on that effort? Are you frustrated that things just aren’t going according to plan?
If so, don’t fret. You aren’t alone. As it turns out there, there’s one strong commonality amongst those who do see results from their fitness routines, and by utilizing this technique yourself, you can greatly increase the chances that you reach your end goal!
What is this missing element?
A FITNESS JOURNAL.
If you don’t have a fitness journal yet, it’s time to get one because the benefits of regularly writing in one will surprise you!
Here’s what you need to know.
You Need to Get the Right Journal for You
A journal, as it relates to health and fitness, can be an exercise journal, a food journal, or even better, a combination of both. It’s a book, paper, or even just a file on your smartphone where you can track what you are doing throughout the day as it connects to your overall efforts to improve your health.
As you may have guessed, a food journal involves tracking the foods you eat while a workout journal involves writing down what workouts you do at the gym, box, or at home.
This should be done daily in order for it to be most effective.
Your Journal Keeps You Accountable
So what are the benefits of using a journal?
First, it helps you remain consistent in your fitness routine. One study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine noted that when subjects kept a food journal while on a weight loss plan, they nearly “doubled their overall weight loss results” compared to those who kept no food journal.
Researchers of this study suggested that the two biggest contributing factors that determine whether or not someone sees successful rates of weight loss on their plan is if they keep records of what they ate and how much support they received from others.
When you know that you have to write down what you ate (or didn’t eat) and how much or little you worked out, it may make you think twice about doing something you shouldn’t. Especially if you have been doing everything else well, then a mistake feels that much more discomforting when you ruin your progress.
You Become More Introspective
Your journal also helps you reflect. By taking the time to write down what you eat or how you worked out, you reflect on your efforts from that day and ask yourself a series of questions: Were they sufficient? Could I have done better? What could I do differently tomorrow? This reflection may seem trivial, but it can really make a difference in your effort to achieve long-term goals.
Journaling also provides you with a record to look back on when needed. For instance, if your motivation is low and you are not making any progress, just look back through your journal and you may find common themes in your habits. You would be able to see for certain that progress has been made. Sometimes we get stuck in the day-to-day, where it can be challenging to see results taking shape. But, when you look back over a greater span of time, such as a month or even a few months for example, you can accurately see what great progress you have been making! This can be enough to keep you pushing forward!
It is the Best Assessment Tool
It also use to evaluate whether you may need to make some changes in your routine and habits going forward. For instance, should you try something different with your workout approach? Do you need to adjust your meal spacing a little because you always want to snack at 11 am and can’t wait until lunch?
Journaling gives you an accurate look into how your fitness journey is progressing because finding your perfect program takes tweaks and time. You need to constantly be adjusting your process based on the advancements you are making, or lack thereof, and if you have no record of what you have been doing, you have no way of adjusting.
Research also indicates that when people stop journaling, this can increase the risk of relapsing into old behaviors and you can end up gaining the weight lost. This is why if you’re thinking about journaling, you need to commit to the process, which will only bring about positive change.
So, How Do You Get Started WITH YOUR FITNESS JOURNAL?
Now that you know that starting your own food and fitness journal can help, how do you start one?
Here are the top must-haves for a food and exercise journal:
- Total calories consumed per meal (be sure to weigh or measure your food)
- The macronutrient breakdown (carbs, fats, proteins)
- The time you ate your meals
- What foods you consumed at every meal
- Your emotional state (this is a great way to identify emotional eating)
- The exercises you perform each day
- How many reps and sets were done for each exercise
- The amount of weight you lifted
- How much sleep you had the night before
- How much water you consumed for the day
- What you had to eat before the workout started
- Your daily and weekly goals and achievements
While you don’t necessarily have to monitor all of these indicators, it does help to keep track of these factors. This can allow you to spot trends in your workout sessions and learn how to better adjust and adapt to encourage the best overall performance possible.
Using a workout journal definitely does take some time, but it’s time well invested. If you don’t start using one, you may find that progress continues to elude you. It probably will only take about 10 minutes out of your day to document the steps you’re taking to become a better you, and isn’t this a small inconvenience for a greater reward?
To help you get started on your journal, try our RIMSports Journal for FREE!