Whether you are a long-time avid fan of fitness who never misses a workout, or a newbie just starting your journey, anything that gives you an edge is a welcome addition.

You may invest money into new equipment, or personal training. You may read all the latest fitness blogs, and adhere to strict regimens. All this is great, but if you really want to improve performance and gain valuable insight into your own health and fitness, an exercise journal should be a part of your daily routine. There are several reasons for this, so let’s take a look at them now.

Track Progress

It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, or how long you have been doing it. You can always start tracking your progress, and the time to start is now. Doesn’t matter if the extent of your fitness routine is a daily walk. Track it. Swimming? Yoga? Lifting? Cardio? Whatever it is, track it. Tracking your progress is one of the best ways to hit your goals and to see how far you have come.

When you are working out consistently, it can all start blurring together. You may think you will remember what workout you did last Wednesday and for how long, but you can easily forget. When you set goals, tracking fitness helps ensure you stay on track. It also helps make sure that you are challenging yourself. Sometimes, you are sailing along through your routine with no problem. It feels good and even a bit easy. You can coast along like that for months, not realizing that you are no longer making any real progress. When this happens, it’s time to increase the intensity of your workout. Tracking your fitness can ensure that you do this.

You can track all aspects of your health and fitness. Track your diet and water intake. Track weights and reps. Track conditions. Jot down your experiences during your workout, and anything that might influence your workout, such as time of day, illness or injury. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Come up with a system for journaling and tracking that works for you. The reward is the incredible amount of insight that you can gain into your body and your workout. You can learn so much by going through your journal. You can see what times of the day you are likely to work out the longest, or lift the most. You can look at times where performance wasn’t up to par and determine if other factors such as diet, sleep or stress played a part.

Stay Goal Oriented And Consistent

Writing down your goals is an important part of reaching them. This is true in all areas of life and success, and it works with fitness.

A fitness journal is a great tool for keeping motivated and accountable. If you make a commitment to yourself to hit a certain goal by a certain date, it can be all too easy to procrastinate or not give 100%, always thinking you can make it up tomorrow. But when you are tracking your progress, you are able to clearly see whether your efforts are going to cut it or not.

Fitness journaling keeps you honest. You can see right there in black and white whether you have been showing up for your fitness. If you have been skipping workouts, those blank spots in your journal will let you know it’s time to recommit.

Keep your goals written in your journal. See them every time you open it up. This helps keep you motivated and on task. Write down the steps you need to take to reach that goal. Every time you make an entry, you will clearly see whether you are on track to reach your goal, or whether you need to step things up a bit.

Feel Accomplished

Exercise is highly rewarding on several levels, but it can be discouraging, too. You get tired and busy. You get bored. You feel like you aren’t progressing, or that it is taking too long. Taking a look through your fitness journal enables you to see just how far you have come. This can be the boost you need to keep going even when the going gets tough.

An exercise journal isn’t just a progress tracker, it is a record of your journey. You can look back through the pages and see where you were six months or a year ago. You may choose to add photos to your pages, so that you can visually see the progress you have made. When you compare the quality of your workout now to what it was back then, you will see how much stronger, leaner or more flexible you have gotten. You can see how your endurance levels have gone up and your waistline has gone down. You will feel accomplished.

Keep On Schedule

A successful fitness routine depends on consistency and goal setting. You know what your goals are, and you know what you have to do to reach those goals. The next step is a consistent schedule. When you keep a fitness journal, you are able to more effectively schedule your workouts. When your workout is integrated into your normal routine, it is easy to stay on track. Use your fitness journal to help you become more disciplined.

Periodization Of Training

For serious goal setters, or for those who have a specific event they need to train for, periodization of training requires extensive planning, tracking and scheduling. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to be thorough. Periodization involves planning out and tracking cycles. For example, there can be an overarching cycle of a year or more, with smaller cycles such as three months, one month, one week and down to one workout.

When you break it down like that you can see how you can plan these modules, or periods to achieve goals, often leading up to one main goal. There are variations of this, and different people do it differently, but the point is that fitness journaling can help you create, plan and execute your own fitness regimen to help you meet the goals that you are shooting for.

Results Are Guaranteed For The Long Haul

There are so many reasons it makes sense to incorporate a fitness journal into your routine, but the most important reason is results. By creating the habit of journaling, tracking and scheduling you are creating habits that will help you build long-term results. You are also providing yourself with a constant positive feedback loop that reinforces your good habits. Not only that, but using the valuable insight provided by your journal, you will be able to exercise more effectively.

Your workouts will simply get you better results, because you will know what works and what doesn’t. You won’t waste time with excess things that don’t serve you or move you closer to your goal.

So, grab a journal and a pen, and start recording your workouts. There are different methods for journaling, the key is to find what works for you. You may want to record pertinent data via a smartphone app, then transfer it to your journal at the end of the day. You may want to create a spreadsheet to record your exercise. Figure out what is going to give you the best results, and do that.