You may not realize the importance of keeping an exercise journal when you first start going to the gym. As a more casual lifter you might be more motivated by having fun and using the gym as more of a social outlet. However as time goes on, an exercise journal will be crucial if you want to keep up your progress in the gym and continue to improve your physique. There are many reasons why it’s important to keep an exercise journal and we’ll discuss some of these below.
Keeping an exercise journal can be great for motivation since your goals are clear on paper. It also helps that you have to write something down each day. You want to record the specific weight you lifted along with the specified sets and reps. You should also input how easy the weight was to lift. Did you struggle on the last rep or was it a piece of cake? The more detailed data you can document, the more it will help you down the road.
An exercise journal will be able to clearly show you the progress that you have made since the start of your fitness plan. This can be a great motivator but can also be helpful as it shows you what changes you might need to make to keep getting bigger and stronger. Remember, in order to progress you must push yourself harder.
Find out what’s working and what’s not working by looking at your progress on certain lifts. For example, maybe your squat hasn’t increased much in the past 3-4 weeks. This tells you that you should be paying more attention to this particular exercise. This will help to strengthen your weaknesses and will help you build a better physique overall.
I’m sure most people can’t remember how much weight they lifted the last time they went into the gym, or what type of workout they plan to do next. By keeping an exercise journal you completely eradicate this problem since you know exactly how much you lifted and what exercises you’ve done in the past and which ones are coming up on your next workout. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.
By keeping an exercise journal you are essentially planning your workouts. By planning your workouts you are able to compensate for any mishaps that may occur. For example, maybe your gym is closed next Friday, or you will be out of town and unable to get your workout in. This will allow you to work around this and rearrange your sessions. You are also making your goals seem more realistic since they are written down. In a way this finalizes the goals and holds you accountable to achieve them.
It’s also important to document any changes if you decide to take a new supplement. This will help you decide whether a specific supplement is working for you or not and could ultimately save you a lot of money. Another journal idea would be a mental journal. It’s important to document how you feel throughout the workout as this can definitely impact your gym session. Write down what you ate for your pre-workout meal and how you felt during your session. Did you have a ton of energy and a killer pump or were you sluggish and tired? Recording all of these detailed items will reap rewards down the road by giving you the data needed to keep improving!
In addition to this, you can also keep a food journal to monitor your meals and overall calories. By doing this you will be able to see if there are any flaws in your diet. Often when you are not making progress in the gym it’s because you are making poor choices nutrition wise.
The moral here is that documenting your progress (whether it be physically, nutritionally, or even mentally and emotionally) is paramount if you want to keep improving. Journals allow you to see what needs more attention and what needs less. If you’re not keeping a journal you’re only operating at a fraction of your potential and aren’t using all the tools available to you.
Access our free exercise journals and start tracking your workouts today! You may also be interested in our free diet journals for tracking your diet!