Tracking your fitness: Why a workout journal matters

Some of the most successful people keep journals.

Journals to track their sleep, journals to track their work, journals to track their thoughts and fitness journals to rack their workouts. Here are our top 6 reasons to keep a workout journal, and why doing so can turbocharge your success.

Customize a workout journal with a personalized photo and textInspire yourself and meet your goals with a workout journalCrossFit Eminence Journal

1. You increase the odds of achieving your goals.

Imagine if you could significantly bump up your chances of attaining your fitness, or life, goals? Would you do it? What if I told you it was as easy as using pen and paper and writing them down in a workout journal? Sounds crazy right? But a study out of Dominican University showed that participants were 42% more likely to achieve a goal if you just write it down and make a plan. Writing your goals in a fitness journal helps you keep your goals, workouts, progress, frustrations, triumphs, and notes all in one place.

2. You increase the efficiency and impact of your workouts

Keeping a workout journal helps you see what workouts injured you, what workouts took you out for a week, and what workouts made you better. Your fitness journal allows you to find patterns that either helps you achieve goals, or are preventing you from those goals. Once you find such a pattern you can make changes to optimize the impact of your workouts. As you optimize and record the workouts and results in your journal you can see if the new plan is proving to be worth your while, or harming your successes. Thus, keeping a fitness journal gives you a feedback loop for your health and fitness.

3. You risk fewer injuries as you record modifications and technique suggestions.

One big roadblock to success on your fitness journey is an injury. Keeping a workout journal not only helps you track your workout but also helps remind you about tips and techniques to stay healthy. If we don’t think about it all of the time and remind ourselves constantly our bodies will naturally revert to completing a movement in the easiest way possible – even if that movement uses poor form. Using poor form over the long term significantly increases your risk for injury. A coach can’t always be right there watching your every move. By recording your personal modifications and technique tips in your workout journal you have a constant reminder at the beginning of every workout on things you need to focus on.

4. You are more likely to stay consistent with your workout plan.

When you get on a roll using your fitness journal you will actually look forward to recording your workouts. The mere act of writing in the journal can hold you accountable. In addition, by keeping a workout journal you can easily hand it to a coach or trainer to look over, allowing you to be accountable to a training partner or coach without being with that training partner or coach for every workout.

5. You have a record of your progress.

Your fitness journey can often be filled with obstacles. Often it can feel like you are sliding backward and none of your hard work is paying off. That is where your workout journal comes in. Your fitness journal is an easy to use snapshot of your progress. When you are frustrated with the results you see you can look back in your fitness journal to pull out small victories or see a pattern of increased strength. This process can help support you and keep you going when you feel like giving up.

6. You learn.

One thing I hear all the time is the conversation about workout journal versus fitness app. One thing is for sure when you write, you learn. Your brain processes information differently if you type it into a fitness app versus if you write it in a workout journal. Researchers at UCLA showed that the pen is mightier than the keyboard, as the digital input of notes led to shallower learning. When you record your workouts in a fitness journal your brain is required to digest, summarize, and capture the information. This helps your brain learn and remember the workout better than you would if you were to input that information into an app. Over time, using a workout journal instead of a fitness app to record your workouts will help you be more knowledgeable when it comes implementing the proper scaling for a movement, or loading up the bar with the proper weights for a PR.