Thursday, 2 January 2014

Keeping Track of Progress: The Benefits of Keeping a Workout Journal

I've mentioned in previous posts about the importance of being specific with goal setting and having measurable goals in order to track your progress. One of the most beneficial ways to track your progress is by keeping a workout journal. This can be as simple as jotting down your daily workout activities and nutrition in a normal diary, or can be as complex as recording precise nutrional details, calorie intake, heart rate intervals and % of heart rate max, as well as an exact detailing of the workout(s) you complete. 

There are loads of options available when it comes to purchasing a workout diary. There are simple diaries focused on general fitness goals, or specific diaries that allow you to focus on reaching specific training goals. These are a few of my personal favourites:

The workout log from Fitness Guru comes in two colours, black and pink. At the top of each page it allows you to record general details such as date, gym and training partner, along with more specific details such as weight, timings, motivation and sleep. 

There is then a section for nutrition. This allows you to record food and drink intake as well as pre and post training supplements.

The main focus of the page is then on recording your training routine in detail. Firstly there is a section for recording cardio, and has space allocated for distance, time, speed, intensity and calorie expenditure.  The second part of the page has space allocated for recording strength exercises. Including several columns for kg/reps. Lastly at the bottom of the page there is a notes section, where you can record any extra details of your training or nutrition for that day.

The workout log from Fitness Guru costs £14.90 and is a very good price for the detailed content it involves. If you have never kept a workout diary before, I would highly recommend this as a good way to get started! It's simple to use but allows you to keep track of all of the information you need to stay focused on achieving your training goals!

Another alternative is the Body Minder Workout and Exercise Journal. This journal is easy to follow but allows you to keep a more detailed account of your training. It includes both daily records and weekly schedule forms to enable you to keep track of how you are progressing from week to week. On each day, there is space for specific exercise details, including equipment settings, sets and reps, heart rate, muscle groups used and much more! It also has space to record non specific daily activities such as walking the dog or playing sport. This really is a fantastic way of tracking your progress! The more specific you are with your details, the more you have to compare and the more you will be able to notice your progress! The weekly schedule forms also allow a much easier way to track progress rather than just comparing everyday. Comparing weekly will enable you to see real progress, in comparison to the small changes that may seem insignificant if you are comparing everyday. 

There is also space available for recording nutrition. The Body Minder Journal allows you to record your meals as well as nutritional supplements and vitamins taken. The best thing about the Body Minder Workout and Exercise Journal that really makes it stand out is all of the additional extra's you get with it! It provides heart and blood pressure range charts to enable you to understand your results, even if you are a complete newbie to fitness analysis. There are also food counts on over 100 different foods, progress charts, personal game scores and fitness expenses as well as space at the back for holding notes. If you want to be detailed and specific, and really track and monitor your progress, then this is the workout journal for you! The only downside is the price. At £25.95 it is a lot more pricey than the workout log from Fitness Guru, however, for the detailed content it includes, I would highly recommend it and agree the price is worth paying!

Lastly, the other alternative is keeping your own workout journal. You can take inspiration from other workout journals when deciding what to include and can purchase a simple day to day diary to record your details. This is beneficial if you want a diary completely specific to you! It is also a good idea if you want more space to record details! You can purchase a diary with a whole page a day, giving you plenty of space to record every detail each day. However, it is a lot more time consuming to make, and in my opinion a lot harder to stick to! If you know you have to write up all of the details everyday it may put you off and lead to you giving up with tracking progress. The workout journals above are easy to complete, and the perfect size to fit in your gym bag and carry round with you at all times! If you have never completed a workout journal before, then now is a good time to start! Make it your new years resolution to complete a workout journal all year, and at the end of the year you can look back at how far you have progressed and really notice the changes!

The Workout Log from Fitness guru is available at :
The Body Minder Workout and Exercise Journal is available at: 



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