Exercise for some of us is not something that we always look forward to… and there is nothing wrong with taking a day off every once in awhile, but it’s all too easy for those days off to build up into a block of sedentary time. The same can be said for trying to maintain a healthy nutrient rich...
Exercise for some of us is not something that we always look forward to… and there is nothing wrong with taking a day off every once in awhile, but it’s all too easy for those days off to build up into a block of sedentary time. The same can be said for trying to maintain a healthy nutrient rich diet. Staying motivated requires an understanding of purpose, so be your own coach and keep track of your goals in a fitness journal. There are so many great benefits to keeping a journal, ranging from keeping you on track and motivated to exposing potentially hidden bad habits. The best part is that they are easy and anyone can do them.
The ability to track the amount of exercise you have been getting or how much food you have been eating or how much stress you are experiencing is one the best benefits of journaling. Much like fitness trackers that count your steps or exercise, keeping a fitness journal allows you to be realistic and accountable for your actions. Simply writing out details like exercise, food, and stress allows you to be realistic about your current health state and the goals you have set for the future. Speaking of goals … writing out and planning your goals step by step in a journal can actually make your goals easier to attain. Proper planning helps you understand the commitment you are undertaking and allows for realistic schedules. Journaling helps to form a checklist or path to your goal and being able to check things off a list; just like a grocery list, keeps you on track and focused.
Keeping a fitness journal can also highlight habits and tendencies. Once you start journaling make sure to set aside some time to review your journal. I recommend once a week but whatever fits with your schedule. Remember the point of your journal is to help you view your progress and make changes. When you can identify good or bad habits, they become easier to change. Being able to make changes can be the difference between seeing results and wandering aimlessly down an ineffective fitness path hoping for change to happen. (Maybe you’ve been skipping those early morning workouts because you stay up too late every night)
It is important when journaling to be as detailed and specific as you can. An accurate account of what you have been doing for the last few weeks or months helps to show you when and if you have made some progress (Maybe you started by running 2 kilometers on a treadmill before being winded and tired and now you can run 3 or 4 kilometers). The same can be said for when journaling your food intake. Most people don’t realize the amount of food and calories they consume until they start documenting. Journaling not uncovers simple problems like overeating but also can be the first indicator of nutrient deficiencies (How many fruits and vegetables are you actually eating? My guess is it’s probably not enough!)
When starting your own fitness journal make sure that you:
• Track everything, every day
• Be as detailed as possible BUT make sure your journal is something you use
• so don’t overcomplicate it record as much as you feel you need
• Track your exercise
• Duration, Intensity, Type of exercise, Muscle groups worked
• Track each individual meal
• Times of meals, duration of meals
• protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, fats, sugars, calories
• Satisfaction with your meal, mood while eating
• Track your mood and daily activities
• Happy or sad, workday or day off, exercise or movie
• Track your sleep (an under rated indicator of health)
• Look to get 7-8 hours each night
• Track your water and beverage intake (that latte has calories too)
No matter what you are doing for your health and fitness…
Journaling is a valuable tool that helps you remember details and accelerate your progress.
To stay motivated, minimize stress, and maximize your health start a fitness journal today!
Paul Bradshaw – Kinesiologist at Sparkling Hill Resort
Paul Bradshaw is a Kinesiologist at Sparkling Hill Resort. He graduated from the University of British Columbia Vancouver in 2010 with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics. He is the lead Whole Body Cryotherapy practitioner and also specializes in injury rehabilitation and prevention, and healthy weight loss. Paul is also a certified Kinesio Tape practitioner.
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