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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    Been using a journal for years to track my health and what affects me so using a journal when I started fitness again was like second nature. It is great tool to keep you motivated and on track. Report
    I mark on my calendar when I work out and what type of work out I did. It helps keep me going to the gym I pay for every month. I track on SP too. Report
    I have a calander hanging over my treadmill. When I use it I mark off duration and calories burned...I pray for the day when all of the days are filled with red make for the entire month Report
    I have a dry erase calendar hanging in my exercise area. I record what exercise/activity I do and the minutes. At the end of the month I review how I did and make note of any changes to make for the coming month. Report
    I use the sp fitness log every time I do any sort of exercise but I don't log injuries, sleep or how I was feeling. I think I will use the "today's exercise notes" and start doing that, there have been times my body was exhausted or I twisted something and it would be a good plan to log it. I will start today =) !! Report
    I never used one until I started using the sp fitnes tracker. It really helps. Report
    Yes, I use the fitness tracker and a spiral notebook to see my progress. My progress (from being tired, out of breath to more energy) was so encouraging that I ran too fast and too soon and injured my hip so I have to go a little bit slower on my speed and use lower inclines on the treadmill. Report
    I keep track of my fitness & nutrition on SP. I also keep a journal on my fitness only everyday. The night before, I write down in my note book what I'm going to do the next day. On occasions, I change my plans. I find this to work out for me well. I even set my my free weights the night before, so I'm ready to go. Report
    I've kept a fitness & food journal for 3 years. Sad to say that I've become lazy lately and lo & behold guess what?! You guessed it! I've put on 5 lbs! I've decided to get back to basics! Looking back on my fitness journal I've dropped my level of activity by 50%!!!:( OMG - for the life of me I wished I hadn't. At least I know what I have to do!!! Report
    I love the idea of keeping track of the other things like mood, sleep, etc. They definitely affect your training. Report
    I use SP fitness tracker most of the time, but not always. I don't journal, though. Report
    I recently started doing an exercise log even before I started SP. I also log in on the site. Report
    yes I keep a walking and fitness journal also I tract on SP. Itis fun to look back to see what I have done. Report
    I always keep a journal, so add my fitness to the top of each page. I also, write on my calendar, what I do each day, for exercise, and I don't want to see any blank dates, so find it easy to keep fitness, up. Report
    I have kept a log book from the very beginning, of my exercise and strength training. I write out my workouts for the week on Sunday evening so that there is no thinking/planning involved when I arrive at the gym, and I can get right to the workout. It's the only way to ensure that my programs are constantly challenging and they are properly sequenced and balanced. It's one of the important elements in my loss of over 140 pounds and transforming my body from flabby to cut and toned. Report
    I do use the fitness tracker, but I will admit sometimes I forget to log. I think this is a great Idea and I am going to start a small notebook. Thanks Report
    What a great idea. I'm going to start one today. Report
    I keep little exercise notes in my food journal, so I know at least what type of activity I do every day as well as an approximation of my calories burned. I also joined a monthly fitness goal group and keep track of my daily fitness minutes online, then tally up at the end of the month. Last month my goal was 2400 minutes and I exceeded it by 115! Report
    I use SparkPeople for my fitness journal. I'll keep a separate running journal when I start training for my marathon. Report
    I made a chart for what exercised I do and keep track of time distance andI log on SP. I do the same with food. It is very helpful to know, and when I am away from home I can keep track for later logging. Report
    I keep track on SparkPeople. This is the first time for me, but I really like seeing how much I have accomplished! I will continue to track my fitness here! Report
    I have kept notes on my workouts for almost 2 years now. I write the time I spent working out, the intensity (heart rate high), and level on the machine I am using. Since joining in November, I have added that information regularly to the Fitness Tracker, and started to track my strength training workouts as well. I have loved seeing the progress over the months! Report
    I keep track of my fitness by using SparkPeople. It really helps me maintain consistancy in the number of time I workout each week. Report
    I keep not only a journal on here, but I have a book that I write down everything I do at the gym, as well as how much weight I used and how many reps. I love keeping my journal. It shows how I have progressed not only with cardio but with my strength training. I love it. Report
    Just acme back to Spark and have restarted everything. As of today I am tracking all my exercise again. It helped me a lot before and I'm sure it will again. Report
    yes I have one here on my tracker but I also have one on my daily exercise journal at home that way if the power goes out or God forbid my computer crashes or what ever happens I still have a record. Report
    I know I would not have lost as much weight as I did if it weren't for BOTH the nutrition and fitness trackers. I knew I was eating things that weren't the best for me, but I didn't realize the caloric damage of the small amount of food I was eating (but practically thrice the amount of calories I was supposed to be eating!) And the damage of laying around doing nothing.

    I think doing one without the other doesn't give me the whole story. I love it. Report
    I religiously track my exercise in the Fitness Tracker. I also like the "Fitness Notes" feature because I can write in the specific details of my workouts. Report
    Yes, I keep the journal on my page. I tried doing one on my own before coming to SP, but found it tedious and difficult to keep up with. SP makes it much easier. I learned some things from this article that has not been part of my record to date, but that I need to include. Thanks, SP. Report
    I faithfully use the fitness tracker, but now I might use a journal too, that way it is more accessible. Report
    I use the fitness tracker, but haven't been making notes like I did when I first started. I've been finding it difficult to keep up with everything. Report
    I use the fitness tracker daily. After reading this, however, I realized that I should use the notes section to keep track of how I feel and/or how I sleep and any other little epiphanies about improving my activity experience. Report
    I just started using a journal to keep track of calories, but I also add my walking times too.. I also use it some for writing down my thoughts for the day. I like it. Report
    I try to enter all of my fitness minutes in the evening. I do very well during the week, however, on the weekends I tend to not track. As I read other comments, I see that many write them down and enter them later and I am going to give that a try.
    I like using the Fitness tracker, but sometime it hard to find time to enter everything. It is a great motivator as well. Report
    For the last 13 years, I have kept a journal. Not only does it help track progress, but it helps me track life. Shows me the days keep going by and I am still exercising, reminds me to slow down when I am sick or under the weather because I see the past times I slowed down for these things, it also reminds me of special trips! Like when I record runs made on travel. It is the most important part of my lifetyle. Report
    When I eat out, I find a menu that's close to what I want and need to eat, and ask for items to be added or deleted to that meal. The key to eating out is first know what you are going to eat before you get there. Then make the necessary changes. God Bless! Vic. Report
    I use a 4 x 6 regular notebook to track my workouts.... it's simple and cheap, and then I bring it home to log it in the computer... mine goes back to 2005.... my goals have changed over the years as my health is... it looks like its time to set up a new plan... Report
    I use the fitness tracker on SP - love it - I do wish it had calorie tracking for Zumba Report
    I just started using a fitness journal called fitbook. I love seeing things in black in white and the progress I am making. Report
    I LOVE Sparkpeople's Fitness Tracker! I use it for everything I do during the day! It is so nice to keep track of all our effort! Report
    Love logging in my fitness every day. This accountability helps to nudge me to follow through on my daily workouts.

    Don, Co-Leader of All Health Professionals and Laid Off But Staying Tough SparkTeams Report
    I always tracked my weight training, but never really tracked my cardio. Since I've started tracking everything, I have been more consistent, especially with my cardio. It has really helped me. It's helped me modify my daily goals, etc. I have come to truly appreciate my fitness journal as much as my food journal. I think the two together has helped me overall. Report
    I can't live without my journal. I have used it for as long as I have lifted weights. It is great to be able to go back and look at what I used to be able to lift and compare it to now. Report
    i used 2 b4 like about a year ago...but i think i might start doin it again.... Report
    I do. And, amazingly, it goes back to 2007. It's interesting to see my progression. I started it before I found SP and since I started SP I also enter my exercise in My Fitness Tracker. I keep track of cardio routines, strength training, and yoga routines. However, this article has given me ideas for things to add to the fitness journal - such as time of day and how I was feeling. I'd never thought of that. Just what I did, calories burned, and if applicable, miles or distance. Report
    I log my exercises in my Fitness tracker here in Spark. I love checking on my reports because it motivates me and it reminds me if I should take it slow or rev my exercises up. Report
    I have been keeping an exercise journal for a little over a month now and I agree that it really helps me with motivation. I've never thought about putting down how I feel before and after, though, or my sleep patterns either for that matter. That sounds like a really good idea. I do know that I sleep better after I've exercised during the day - even if it's for only about 10 minutes. I also feel happy that I've done something, where I feel guilty if I haven't. Thanks for the really good ideas. Report
    I use the Spark fitness tracker and also log at . I used to use Cool Running log before they changed to Active and have also used an Excel Spreadsheet. When I first started many years ago I put stickers on a calendar every time I ran with a note about the mileage. That was reinforcing to me. The log is useful should I get injured. I can see what I've done leading up to the injury and see how long I felt symptoms. Sometimes I look back and remember a really great run with friends. It's also interesting to see how many miles I ran in a year compared to previous years. I log all my workouts but only count running and biking miles.

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