Tips for Your 2021 Fitness Journal
Have you ever had a fitness journal before? If so, for how long did you actually use it? A few days? A few weeks?
Yeah, that’s what lots of us end up doing. We get all these grandiose ideas about lifestyle changes we can make, and then end up trashing the book after a few disappointing pages. But you really want to improve your health, and journaling is a great motivator. So maybe you just need some tips to get the book coming together! Come on, let’s go!
How To Use a Fitness Journal
Set Realistic Goals
Let’s say your goal is weight loss. We’ll also say you’re a 5’1’’ female who is 31 years old. You want to lose 10 pounds, but you also want to enjoy living. Now how are you supposed to enjoy living and lose 10 pounds simultaneously?! By setting a realistic goal.
Three months isn’t as far away as it seems, my fellow 5’1’’ 31-year-old. You’d ideally like it gone much sooner, but much sooner isn’t only a health risk, it’s unrealistic. Here’s what a realistic weight loss plan for your fitness journal looks like:
Current Weight: 120 lbs
Goal Weight: 110 lbs
Months to Achieve Goal: 3
Activity Level: Moderate Exercise 3-5 days a week
Caloric Intake: 1700
The plan above is doable! This person is getting enough calories to feed the body and brain, and enough exercise to get the heart pumping! But what about if this person was dead set on losing 10 pounds in three weeks? Well, if she maintained the same activity level… she’d only be allotted about 400 calories a day, if that. Yeah, not a good idea. She would not only be miserable, but I don’t think she’d reach her crazy goal either. And when those three weeks fly by and no progress has been made, that journal might just be a reminder of failure.
Don’t do that to yourself! Find one of those weight loss/gain/maintenance calculators, and set a realistic goal for yourself! Slow results are a lot more satisfying than no results.
Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
There’s some overlap between this section and the last one. When you’re writing down your fitness plans, make sure to think ahead. Is your birthday coming up? Do you expect there to be a cake? If so, can you trust yourself to have only a tiny slice of cake? Or are you the type of person who will eat the whole thing in the middle of the night if it’s there? Think about what you will do if faced with a cake emergency! Here are some examples:
- Allow your birthday to be your cheat day
- Don’t allow the cake to set foot in your house until your goals are met
- Take a sliver of birthday cake, and no more
- Let whatever happens happen. Get back on track the next day. Happy birthday!
I like the last option! But it’s also not my birthday for another 7 months. You do you!
The upcoming cake isn’t the only dilemma you have to prepare for. Think about other situations you may encounter that may need a special approach. Do you want to take a run every single day for the rest of eternity? Yes? Well, is that a promise you’re 100% sure you can keep? Maybe not. What if you end up taking an all-day road trip later this summer? What if you have a sick day? Or what if there comes a day when you just really, really want a break from running? Give yourself some space to be human, and think your fitness vows through before writing them down.
Consider Starting Small
Be honest, does a 7-minute workout sound like a silly and pointless idea? If you’re just starting a new fitness regimen, short workouts are actually an excellent idea! Plenty of us are more motivated by a quick and easy routine when we’re just starting out. Likewise, some of us are ready to give up after one grueling workout session.
For example: if your legs are lacking tone, why don’t you set aside 7 minutes of your day for lunges, squats, side-lying leg lifts, and mountain climbers? In your fitness journal, record the number of reps you completed for each workout. When you start to notice an increase in your average number of reps, consider lengthening your routine!
Some time from now, you may look back at your old journal and go, “Wow! I used to only work out in tiny bursts on a daily basis! Now after intensifying my load slowly but shortly, I have the beastliest legs in Denver and run 10Ks for my own pleasure!”
Share Your Accomplishments with Others
If you want to make your fitness journey public, go on ahead! It’s easy if you’re journaling electronically, but you can also take pictures of your favorite pages in your physical book. Get encouragement from friends and give encouragement to others. Share the journal in its entirety or pick and choose the best entries. It’s your journey!
Don’t Get Neurotic
You don’t have to write every day unless you want to. And if you do want to write every day, don’t get upset if you forget a day! Neuroticism can make you resent your journal. Make sure you attach a positive emotion to your fitness writing!
And the actual writing isn’t the only thing you should relax about. Calorie counting, for example, isn’t something you want to obsess over. Let’s say you want to maintain your current weight, and you need to ingest 2000 calories a day to do so. Guess what? That 2000 is an approximation, not the exact amount your body needs. So if you’re journaling like a stickler and find that you’ve consumed 2030 by mistake, it’s really not a mistake at all! I assure you, you’re never actually getting exactly 2000 calories, nor do you need exactly 2000 — if you’ve gone under or over just a little bit, you’re fine!
You Can Change The Plan
So you’ve been recording your progress, and you’re feeling like there’s something you could tweak to make the plan more suitable for you. Maybe you’re not so comfortable with certain exercises, or you’re feeling too hungry throughout the day. Maybe you’ve had a life-changing event that throws your whole routine off balance. You can always rewrite your story! Do some calculating and find out what you need to do — ie. up your caloric intake, but workout more (or vice versa) — and carry on!
Go and Begin Your Fitness Journal
Now go open your book! Best of luck on your fitness journey!
Author, Licensed Massage Therapist
Katrina Jenkins graduated from Towson University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science and worked as a nurse’s aide briefly before pursuing her true passion. She graduated from the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado in April 2016 with honors and completed the Touch of Healers Scholarship Program the following summer. She has been a part of the Moyer Total Wellness Team since the summer of 2017.
Photo credit: Canva by irynakhabliuk
“Weight Loss Calculator by Goal Date.” Calculators.org, www.calculators.org/health/weight-loss.php.