As you get started to being your workout and diet plan, you’re likely taking quite a bit of time to make sure everything is in check.
You’re getting your meal plans together, you’re figuring out exactly what exercises you want to be doing in each workout you complete, and you’re figuring out where cardio is going to come into play for you.
But, one area that many people completely neglect is journaling. Journaling is a great tool to not only improve the progress you see, but also help to boost your motivation to continue.
In order to make sure that your journal is as useful as possible to you however, there are some important points that you must be doing as you go about the process.
Let’s look at what you should know.
Track All The Details Of Your Workout
The very first thing that you need to be doing with your journal if you’re going to be using it for workout tracking purposes is to make sure that you list out all the details of your workout session.
Some people only go half way with this and it will hinder how useful that journal is going to be for them.
Track everything – the reps, the sets, the rest between sets, the weight lifted, as well as how you felt during the workout session.
Some people will go so far as to also track things like how well they slept the night before as well as what they ate before the workout also.
Doing so will help give you a very complete picture of all things that could be influencing your performance in that workout so that you can look back and if you notice one is much poorer than the rest, you can clearly see why.
When you have all these details listed however, it then becomes much more easy to look back over it during your next session and make sure that you are doing something in that workout to improve upon the last.
The whole process of progress is pushing the body one step further, so it’s a must that you are going to be doing this.
While it does take a bit of time during the workout to be tracking all these details, that time is going to be well worth it.
List Your Emotions And Thoughts Before Eating
The second way to use your journal to ensure it helps you see optimal success is to use it as an emotions journal as well around meal times.
Many people do suffer from emotional eating and unless you learn how to cope with this, you are never going to see the results that you’re looking for. The first step to handling emotional eating however is realizing the emotions that are at play when you are eating for reasons other than hunger, so this is where that journal comes in helpful.
To do this, take five minutes before you eat – regardless of when you are eating, and force yourself to write in that journal for five minutes straight.
If you have to, repeat the same line over and over again. You may just be surprised at what all comes out when you do this.
By having these emotions and thoughts out on paper, you can better assess a more constructive way to deal with them so that they don’t keep recurring again and again.
Write Down Your Measurements
When most people track their progress, they do so by writing down how much they weigh. While going by bodyweight is one method of seeing how successful you are, it’s not the most ideal one.
Remember that your body weight can easily fluctuate on a day to day basis, so if you are getting too caught up over this, it could really be detrimental to your long-term progress.
Taking measurements however is a much more secure way of assessing progress and will better account if you are losing body fat as well.
In some cases if you are building lean muscle mass, you may actually see your body weight go up, so this could harm your belief in your progress.
But if you are gaining muscle but losing fat, your weight may go up but your measurements will go down, so this will help you feel more satisfied with the results that you’re seeing and stay the course on your overall program plan.
It’s very likely at the start of a new workout to build a bit of lean muscle mass and for many people, this jump in the scale causes them to abandon the program altogether.
Look Back Once A Week
Finally, in order to make sure that you get results from your journaling efforts, be sure to look back over it once per week.
Evaluate how you did, what kind of results you saw, and anything that you might do differently in the week to come.
This ongoing adjustment process is what will ensure that you don’t hit a progress plateau at any point along the way, which can quickly get very frustrating.
Those who aren’t seeing results but then just stay the course, doing the same thing over and over again but hoping that something different will come about are going to be extremely demotivated when change doesn’t occur.
If it’s not working, change it.
Ongoing change in a program is one of the best methods to keep yourself increasing your fitness level, dropping body fat, and having more fun in the process as well.
Looking back and reviewing once per week takes ten minutes but will have a dramatic influence over your success.
So there you have the most important factors to remember with regards to using a journal to see a faster rate of progress with your program. A journal can be used in so many different ways, so think about how it might serve you best and then put it into action in your own approach.