You maybe one of those lucky people to whom healthy lifestyle and exercise come naturally.
But for a vast majority of us, it takes a lot of hard work and will power to even form a regular habit.
I’ve struggled with it, over and over again. Once I get into a routine of exercise, I enjoy it. But getting started and staying motivated to get off my behind, when there are so many other things demanding my time and attention, is very difficult.
That’s where a Fitness Journal comes in.
It’s a great tool for focusing on 3Ms: Motivation, Measures, and Moving Forward.
Let’s look at each one separately:
Surround yourself with inspiration. Especially when you are inspired, because it will come in handy at all the other times when you are not inspired to get out of bed, and exercise. It will help when you can’t imagine any good reason for not wanting to eat that delicious pizza. It will help when you try to convince yourself that it’s who you are inside that counts, no matter what you look like, but secretly wishing for those tight abs all the same.
- Begin with why you want to do this. What’s your incentive? Write that in as much detail, so that when you read it again later, you can visualise it. Imagine your self the way you want to be when you reach your desired fitness level.
- Write down quotes that inspires you
- Paste images that motivate you. If you are trying to get back to what you used to look like,
If you don’t measure, you can’t map your journey towards your end goal. If you don’t measure, you wouldn’t know how far you’ve come. If you don’t measure, you have nothing to compare your success or failures to.
- What’s your starting point?
- What’s your end goal? Begin with a clear, tangible goal. A SMART objective could work well here.
- Record your training plan. What exactly are you going to do? Exercise several times a week? How many days? What exercises will you do? Where will you do them, and at what time?
- How will you find that time in your already busy life?
- If you are at the beginning of your fitness journey, note your starting body weight and waist measurement. You can go into more detail if you want (such as upper arms, thighs, hips, cholesterol, body fat level), but write down at least these two. This will help you to see how far you’ve come.
- Write about your fitness level. How far can you walk or run before you are out of breath?
- If you are already at a good fitness level, then go deeper. What’s your fitness level for exercises you enjoy? Such as how many miles can you run in a set amount of time, how many Yoga poses can you do, how far can you cycle, what level are you in Martial arts? Measure your body fat level.
- Get a heart monitor and measure your resting heart rate, training heart rate, maximum heart rate and recovery heart rate.
- Compete against yourself in each of these areas: Flexibility, Muscle Endurance, Muscle Strength, Cardiovascular Endurance. Record the exact activities you perform, and your results.
- Record your food and drink intake. Try this in detail for at least a week to get an idea of exactly what’s going into your mouth. You can do this permanently if you have the discipline, but a week or two at periodical intervals should be sufficient, if you then use that information to improve your habits. Don’t go crazy. Don’t go straight on salads if you are used to having three big meals a day. Start small. Improve one habit, and be consistent about it.
- Keep a progress log. Record at least some information daily, but once every couple of weeks, write a more in-depth entry as you move forward towards your goal. Note facts and emotions. Be honest about your success and about your failure.
Use everything you include in Motivation and Measures to keep Moving Forward.
- Record successes, no matter how small.
- Take your pictures as you get fit.
- Notice the difference in how you feel now, versus when you first started.
- If you do fall off the wagon, don’t let that be an excuse to stay off. Climb right back up, and keep moving forward.
- Always keep your fitness journal with you. Let it not become an “out of sight, out of mind” thing.
These are just some of the things you can do. Your Fitness Journal should be as unique as you, so feel free to include anything that works for you. Integrate your fitness journal as a part of your daily life, and that in turn will help you integrate healthier habits.