How to Keep a Training Journal

training journalStaying motivated is the biggest roadblock on your path to fitness. But, there is a bomb-proof shield against lack of motivation; the solution is a well-constructed training journal. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and line out exactly what you will need to lock in your fitness success.

1. Find a Quality Training Journal

Don’t just grab an off-the-shelf, spiral bound notebook. Go for something cool and robust because you will be pasting photographs of yourself, writing notes, attaching clippings. You need a robust book that can hold all of these materials. But you also need something portable that you can pick up and take with you to the gym.

2. Mission Statement

Any good plan starts with a compelling mission statement. Thus, writing your thoughts out on paper turns nebulous notions into tangible reality. Obviously, you can’t pick up an intention and show it to someone. You can pick up a sheet of paper with your intentions written on it and show it off. Creating a mission statement in your trainng journal is thus essential.  It might read:

  • I, Jane Johnson, am an active person. I love to exercise because it makes me fit. Exercise trims me down and tones my body. When I exercise, I feel more powerful and motivated to accomplish many other worthwhile endeavors.  I exercise to have more energy and focus at work and to have the energy to keep up with my two children. Also, I exercise to stay attractive to my husband. Thus, know that, with my good habits of exercising and maintaining a healthy diet, I will live longer and improve the quality of my life in every aspect.

With a mission statement like this, why wouldn’t Jane stick to her fitness program?

3. Your Training Journal Goals

A study at Harvard Business School between 1979 and 1989 attacked the effectiveness of written goals head-on. The 1979 Harvard MBA graduates were asked this simple question: have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them? Of the graduates asked, 84% didn’t have any specific goals, 13% had set goals but had not written them down, and only 3% had taken the time to sit down and draft their goals and plans in ink.

Ten years later, the same graduates were reviewed again. The 13% who had mentally set goals but not written them down had made twice the income of the 84% who had no defined goals. The most staggering fact was that the 3% who had actually committed their goals and plans to paper were making, on the average, ten times the income of the other 97%. Thus, this study shows that the mere act of committing goals to paper can increase your success by up to ten times. So, with that in mind, why wouldn’t you take a few minutes to write your goals and review them often?

Three components to a well-written goal

  1. Measurable
  2. Realistic
  3. Time-Bound

A sensible goal for your training journal might be to lose 24 lbs. in 12 weeks. This goal adheres to all three components; it is measurable, realistic, and has a time limit. Some ideas for goals might include steady performance gains, gain ten pounds to your bench press over the next eight weeks, perform twenty pull-ups in one set within 12 weeks, run a 5k in twenty-five minutes within sixteen weeks. Body measurement goals are excellent; such as, lose two inches around the belly in ninety days, gain a half-inch on the upper arms in ten weeks. Perhaps you are training to climb a mountain, run a marathon, play competitive sports.  Whatever your pleasure, base your goals around your final objective.

4. Beginning Physical Measurements

Every race has a starting line and with your fitness log, you plan to get stronger, leaner, more active, and feel younger. It is difficult to track your success if you can’t look back and see how far you have come. So, you must take a snapshot of your stasis at the beginning of your journey.

You must put three essential elements on your beginning measurements page in your training journal:

1. A photograph of yourself.

2. Measurements of your body. You will need a vinyl tape-measuring device and possibly the help of a friend to get these measurements. You should write down the circumferences of each of the following body-parts in inches:

    • Neck
    • Shoulders
    • Left and right upper arms (biceps/triceps)
    • Left and right lower arms
    • Chest
    • Belly (at naval level)
    • Hips (around the largest area of the glutes)
    • Upper legs (thighs)
    • Lower legs (calves)
    • You should also log your scale weight and body fat percentage

3. Notes about your physical/mental well-being.

You will regularly take measurements of yourself along the way and will want to flip back to your original measurements to compare your body changes to your original data.  Thus, your motivation will build upon itself.

5. Workout Sheets

Write all measurable data into your training journal. You should commit one sheet to each workout and bind them chronologically. Any goof workout system has concrete, measurable data. So, if you are on a strength training system, you should write your lifting weight and the quantity of sets and reps. If you are training for running speed, you should write distance and speed. Without consistent measurable data, you can’t hope to see progress in your training endeavors.

As you work out, you can use data from your last workout to push yourself even harder on your next workout.

6. Monthly Measurement Sheets

If you see positive changes in your performance, if you see your body fat melting away, if you feel consistently happier and more energetic, there is no way you will give up on your fitness training. The best way to track progress is to insert monthly measurement sheets in your training journal. Each monthly measurement sheet should include all the elements of your beginning measurement sheet.  So, include a photograph of yourself, your body measurements, and notes about your physical/mental well-being (see STEP FOUR).

Monthly measurement allows you to check in with your body, to diagnose your progress, both physically and mentally. These sheets will become one of your greatest motivators.

7. Goal Closeout Sheets

If you are dedicated, you will reach your goals. When you do, include a new sheet in your training journal to close out attained goals. So write down improvements in your life that have resulted from reaching your goals. Pictures work. So if you set a goal to tone your stomach, take a picture of your ripped abs and paste it on your goal closeout sheet to prove that you followed through on your commitment to yourself.

8. New Training Journal Goals

When you accomplish a goal, you must write a new goal sheet and place it in your training journal. So remember to include every aspect of a well-written goal (see STEP THREE).

In Summary

You can have the body you want.  In addition, you can become leaner, stronger, and faster. But it will take time and work. One of the best ways to speed your journey to good health and fitness is to keep an organized and up-to-date training journal.

 

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