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A spiral notebook is easy to take with you to the gym.
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Even if you start a new fitness program with the best of intentions, after several months - or possibly even weeks - your enthusiasm might start to dwindle and your new workout habits may fall by the wayside as a result. A fitness log, however, can help to keep you motivated. Not only will it help you to fine tune your program, recording your daily workouts will also allow you to track your efforts and notice the improvements that you have made over time. Seeing your hard work pay off can reignite your eagerness to reach your fitness goals.
Method of Recording
One of the keys in designing a successful workout log is to make sure that your method fits your personality. A "pencil-and-paper" person may prefer to use a spiral notebook. Alternatively, a computer might be a more efficient tool if you enjoy technology or are proficient with spreadsheets. Those who like to keep their workout data constantly at their fingertips may benefit from using a smartphone application.
No matter your method of recording your workouts, keeping your log organized can help you use it efficiently. Use a new page for each workout if you are using a notebook; the single-page style can make referencing and tracking easier. Entering different types of data in separate rows on the spreadsheet allows you to compare your workouts. Most spreadsheet software will even let you create charts and graphs with the data; such visual aids can help to keep you motivated. If the smartphone app is your preference, choose one that enables you to enter your own data instead of using one that is pre-programmed with categories.
Breaking your workout into categories can help you to track each individual aspect of your fitness plan and allow you to read the information quickly and easily. Categories may include warm up, cardio, strength training, core and stretching. Add further details by breaking the groups into sub-categories. For example, if you engage in several types of cardio on a regular basis, such as running, cycling and rowing, include these as sub-categories under your cardio section so you can track your cardio progress from session to session. Similarly, the category of strength training may include subcategories such as machines, free weights, kettlebells and resistance bands.
The details of your workout should be one of the key sections of your log. You may want to note the individual exercises you did during a workout, along with the number of repetitions and sets, the equipment you used and the duration of your sessions. This information allows you to track your progress and plan future workouts based on the results. For example, you may realize that you have not progressed with your running program as you had hoped and therefore should recommit to increasing your mileage by 10 percent each week. Or possibly, you happily notice that you attended four yoga classes in the last month, which is two more than you had originally planned to do.
There are many factors that can affect your fitness progress. Create a section for session notes and record information about your workout environment, such as the weather, your motivation level, if you were sick or just getting over the flu and how you felt before and after your workout. Consider also recording any unusual or major life events that were going on at the time of a workout, for example, a wedding, a divorce, the birth of a child, a big project at work or having family in town visiting. Knowing exactly what was going on can help you to make better sense of your workouts and fitness progress.