Keeping a fitness journal is a great way to stay motivated, track your progress, and achieve your fitness goals. By recording your workouts, meals, and other relevant information, you can identify patterns, track your progress over time, and adjust your approach to optimize your results. A fitness journal can also serve as a source of inspiration and accountability, helping you stay committed to your goals even when the going gets tough. Whether you’re aiming to lose weight, build muscle, or simply maintain a healthy lifestyle, a fitness journal can be an invaluable tool for achieving your goals and feeling your best.
But what exactly is a fitness journal, and how can it help you on your fitness journey? In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of fitness journaling and how it can help you achieve your goals. We’ll offer ideas for what to include in your fitness journal, a fitness journal template to make tracking easy, and prompts to help you reflect on your progress and adjust your approach. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your fitness to the next level, this post is designed to help you make the most out of your fitness journal.
What is a Fitness Journal?
A fitness journal is a type of journal used to record and reflect on your fitness journey. This type of journal offers a place where you can write down the details of your workouts, including the exercises, sets, reps, and weights that you lifted. A fitness journal is also used to note any associated thoughts or emotions during or after a workout.
The goal of keeping a fitness journal is to stay motivated, track your progress, and achieve your fitness goals. By recording your workouts, meals, and other relevant information, you can identify patterns, track your progress over time, and adjust your approach to optimize your results. Additionally, a fitness journal can serve as a source of inspiration and accountability, helping you stay committed to your goals even when the going gets tough. Whether you’re aiming to lose weight, build muscle, or simply maintain a healthy lifestyle, a fitness journal can be an invaluable tool for achieving your goals and feeling your best.
Fitness Journal vs Fitness Tracker: What’s the Difference?
Keeping a fitness journal and using a fitness tracker are two different approaches to monitoring your fitness journey.
A fitness journal is a written record of your workouts, including the exercises you did, the number of sets and reps, the weight you lifted, and any other notes or observations about your physical and emotional state during the workout. It’s a way to track your progress over time, identify areas that need improvement, and set goals for future workouts. A fitness journal allows you to reflect on your workout experience and gain insights into your progress that a fitness tracker may not provide.
On the other hand, a fitness tracker is an electronic device or app that uses sensors to track your physical activity and record data such as the number of steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, and distance traveled. Fitness trackers provide real-time data and allow you to monitor your progress throughout the day, as well as set and track goals. They can be helpful in motivating you to stay active and achieve your fitness goals by providing instant feedback on your progress.
While both approaches have their benefits, a fitness journal can provide a more comprehensive and personalized record of your fitness journey, while a fitness tracker can provide real-time feedback and motivation. Many people choose to integrate both approaches, adding fitness journal data into their fitness journal.
Why Keep a Fitness Journal? 8 Reasons
Keeping a fitness journal can be beneficial in several ways. Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider starting a fitness journal:
1. Keep yourself accountable.
A fitness journal can help keep you accountable to your goals by providing a tangible record of your progress and reminding you of your commitments. By holding yourself accountable to the commitments you make in your journal, you can build a sense of discipline and dedication to your fitness journey. In fact, journaling goals can increase your likelihood of success by 42%!
2. Log your workouts.
One of the primary benefits of keeping a fitness journal is being able to log your workouts. By recording your exercises, sets, reps, and weights, you can easily track your progress and see improvements over time. This can be especially helpful when trying to break through plateaus or when changing up your workout routine. Additionally, having a record of your workouts can help you stay consistent and focused, as you can look back and see how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished.
3. Stay motivated.
Staying motivated is crucial to maintaining a consistent fitness routine and achieving your goals. Keeping a fitness journal can be a powerful tool for staying motivated, as it allows you to see your progress over time and celebrate your successes. When you see improvements in your strength, endurance, or flexibility, it can give you a sense of accomplishment and inspire you to continue pushing yourself. By staying motivated, you can continue to make progress towards your fitness goals and build a sustainable and fulfilling fitness routine.
4. Identify patterns.
A fitness journal can help you identify patterns in your workouts and eating habits, such as which exercises are most effective for you, what times of day you have the most energy, or which foods make you feel the best. Keeping a fitness journal can also help you spot patterns about when you are more likely to skip a workout or make unhealthy choices, and take action to avoid these pitfalls in the future.
5. Track your progress.
Tracking your progress is an essential aspect of keeping a fitness journal, as it allows you to see the results of your hard work and stay motivated. By recording your workout times, weights lifted, and other metrics, you can monitor your progress towards your fitness goals and adjust your routine as needed to continue challenging yourself. Seeing progress over time can also help you stay motivated on days when you feel less inspired or when you hit a plateau.
6. Adjust your approach.
Tracking your workouts, nutrition, and goals in a fitness journal can help you identify patterns and trends in your progress, allowing you to adjust your approach and optimize your results. By recording what works and what doesn’t work for you, you can make informed decisions about how to adjust your routine to better meet your needs and goals. For example, if you notice that you consistently struggle to fit in workouts on certain days of the week, you can adjust your schedule to make those days your rest days instead. If you notice that certain exercises or types of workouts leave you feeling particularly energized, you can prioritize those in your routine. By being flexible and willing to adjust your approach, you can stay on track and achieve optimal results.
6. Set goals.
A fitness journal can help you set and achieve specific fitness goals by breaking them down into smaller, measurable steps and tracking your progress towards each one. With a fitness journal, you can set specific, achievable goals and break them down into smaller, measurable steps that you can track over time. For example, if your goal is to run a 5k, you can set a series of smaller goals, such as running for 10 minutes without stopping, then 20 minutes, and so on, until you reach your ultimate goal. By tracking your progress towards each goal in your fitness journal, you can stay motivated and celebrate each milestone along the way.
7. Deepen self-awareness.
Deepening self-awareness is an important benefit of keeping a fitness journal. By regularly reflecting on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to your fitness journey, you can gain insight into your habits, tendencies, and motivations. This can help you identify patterns, both positive and negative, in your approach to fitness and make more informed decisions about your health and wellness. For example, if you notice that you consistently feel stressed or anxious before a workout, you can explore strategies to reduce your stress levels and improve your mindset. By becoming more self-aware of your needs and preferences, you can create a more personalized and fulfilling fitness routine that supports your overall well-being.
8. Go deeper than stats.
While a fitness tracker can provide lots of data related to your workouts, performance, and health, it doesn’t provide insights into the emotional and mental aspects of your fitness journey. Keeping a fitness journal allows you to go deeper than just the stats and record how you feel during and after your workouts. Fitness journals provide an opportunity to document your progress, set goals, and reflect on your fitness journey holistically. A fitness journal can help you identify patterns, celebrate successes, and recognize areas that need improvement. It can also be a therapeutic tool for managing stress and anxiety, and can help you stay motivated and focused on achieving your fitness goals in a sustainable way.
Fitness Journal Ideas & Tips
If you’re new to fitness journaling, you might need a few ideas for how to get started. Here are ten ideas for creating and maintaining a fitness journal:
1. Keep your fitness journal in an easy-to-access location.
Keep your fitness journal somewhere that is easily accessible and visible to you, such as in your gym bag. Having your fitness journal easily accessible can also serve as a reminder to track your progress and keep up with your fitness goals. Using a journal app like Day One can help you keep your journal on your phone, so you can update it on the go and never miss recording a workout.
2. Write in your fitness journal immediately after your workout.
Try to write in your fitness journal as soon as possible after your workout while the details are fresh in your mind. This will ensure that you record accurate information about your workout, including the exercises you did, the number of sets and reps, and any modifications or challenges you faced. Writing immediately after your workout also helps you reflect on your performance, track your progress, and set goals for future workouts.
3. Write your entries in the present tense.
Write about your workouts as if you are currently experiencing them. This can help you to remember the details more clearly. Writing in the present tense can also help you stay engaged in the moment and focus on your form, breathing, and overall experience during the workout. This can also make your fitness journal more exciting to read, as it can feel like you’re reliving the workout each time you review your journal.
Here are some examples of fitness journaling in the present tense:
- “I am currently on my second set of squats, feeling my glutes and quads engage with each rep.”
- “As I inhale, I feel my chest expand and my shoulders relax. With each exhale, I focus on pushing through the resistance of the weight.”
- “My heart rate is increasing as I pick up the pace on the treadmill. The sweat on my forehead and the sound of my breath remind me that I am pushing myself towards my goals.”
- “My muscles are burning as I hold the plank position, but I am determined to keep my form strong and hold it for another 10 seconds.”
- “As I stretch my hamstrings, I feel the tension release, and I take a moment to appreciate the work I put in during my workout.”
4. Include specific details.
Record the details of your workout, such as the exercises you did, the number of reps and sets, the weight you lifted, and the duration of your workout. Adding specific details to your fitness journal not only helps you track your progress but also provides a reference point for future workouts. You can use this information to challenge yourself by increasing the weight or the number of reps and sets you perform. Be sure to note how you felt during the workout, such as any discomfort or pain, as this can help you identify areas that need improvement.
5. Note your physical and emotional state.
Include any physical sensations or emotions you experienced during your workout. This can help you to identify any areas of improvement or any patterns in your performance. Noting your physical and emotional state during your workout provides insight into your overall wellbeing and can help you understand the factors that affect your performance. For example, if you consistently feel fatigued during your workouts, it may be a sign that you need to adjust your sleep or nutrition habits. On the other hand, if you feel energized and motivated, you can replicate those conditions for future workouts. Being mindful of your physical and emotional state can also help you recognize when you need to take a break or adjust your workout routine to avoid injury or burnout.
6. Take a photo.
Taking a photo can be a great way to visually document your progress and see how far you’ve come in your fitness journey. Whether it’s a photo of your before and after transformation, a snapshot of a challenging workout, or a beautiful outdoor setting where you enjoy exercising, adding a photo to your fitness journal can bring your entries to life and make them more engaging to revisit. You can also use photos to track your progress in a specific area, such as yoga poses or weightlifting form, or to capture the emotions and experiences associated with your fitness journey. Adding a photo to your fitness journal can help you celebrate your successes, stay motivated, and build a sense of pride and accomplishment in your hard work.
7. Include motivational quotes or affirmations.
In addition to tracking physical progress, you can also use your fitness journal to write down motivational quotes or affirmations. Whether it’s a quote from a favorite athlete or fitness influencer, or a personal mantra that resonates with you, having a positive message to refer to can help you stay motivated and inspired. You can also use your fitness journal to write down your own affirmations or goals in a positive, present-tense format, such as “I am strong and capable” or “I am committed to my fitness journey.”
8. Keep track of progress.
Record your progress over time, such as improvements in strength, endurance, and flexibility. This can help you to stay motivated and focused on your fitness goals. Tracking your progress is an essential part of keeping a fitness journal as it helps you monitor your improvements and celebrate your successes. Keeping track of your progress can also help you identify areas that need improvement and adjust your workouts accordingly. You can use your fitness journal to set measurable goals, such as lifting a certain weight or running a certain distance, and track your progress towards those goals over time.
9. Keep ideas for future workouts.
Switching up a fitness routine has benefits for both physical and mental health. Use your fitness journal as a place to log ideas for future workouts, such as new exercises or workout routines to try. This can help you stay motivated and excited about your fitness journey, as well as challenge your body in new ways. Keeping a record of your ideas can also help you plan your workouts in advance and make the most out of your time at the gym or at home. Remember to be open to new ideas and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
10. Take the time to review your fitness journal entries over time.
Reviewing your fitness journal entries over time is an essential part of keeping a fitness journal. Regularly revisiting your entries can help you identify patterns, track your progress, and celebrate your successes. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on your fitness journey and assess your goals and progress towards achieving them. Consider setting aside time each week or month to review your entries, and use this time to adjust your workout routine as needed or set new goals. Remember that the insights gained from reviewing your journal can help you stay motivated and focused on achieving your fitness goals.
Free Fitness Journal Templates
Having an example fitness journal template can be a great way to get started as you begin journaling. These example fitness journal templates offer several questions to help guide your entry and gives you a repeatable structure to follow, but don’t be afraid to make it your own.
By starting with a fitness journal template, you can develop a consistent journaling habit and explore different prompts and questions that can help you stay motivated and engaged in your fitness journey. You can always adjust the format, add or remove sections, and personalize the questions to fit your unique fitness goals and journey.
Guided Fitness Journal Template
This fitness journal template has sections to describe your workout, log the duration, add notes, and document goals.
Fitness Journal Template with Workout Tracker
This fitness journal template has includes a section to track different types of workouts, along with notes, and reflections.
20 Fitness Journal Prompts
As you record your fitness journey in your fitness journal, having a set of journal prompts can be helpful to guide your entries and give structure to your writing. These fitness journal prompts can help you explore different aspects of your fitness journey and gain deeper insights into your motivations, challenges, and successes.
Here are several fitness journal prompts to try:
- What motivated me to start my fitness journey?
- What are my specific fitness goals?
- What have been some of my favorite exercises or workouts? Why?
- What workouts do I not enjoy? Why?
- How do I usually feel during and after my workouts, both physically and emotionally?
- What have been my biggest challenges in my fitness journey so far?
- What motivates me to push through a tough workout, and how can I tap into that motivation more often?
- How have I progressed in my strength, endurance, and flexibility since I started my fitness journey?
- How do I plan to challenge myself in my next workout?
- What is my self-talk like during my workouts? How does it affect my performance?
- How do my workouts impact my stress levels?
- How has my fitness journey impacted other areas of my life, such as my mental health, relationships, or career?
- What role does rest and recovery play in my fitness journey, and how do I prioritize it?
- What are the best ways for me to maintain my fitness routine while traveling or during busy periods of my life?
- How do I adjust my workout routine to accommodate changes in my schedule or lifestyle?
- How do I incorporate mindfulness, meditation, or relaxing into my recovery practices?
- What are some non-physical benefits I have noticed from my fitness journey, such as improved mood or better sleep?
- What is my favorite post-workout snack or meal, and how does it fuel my body?
- How do I measure progress beyond just the numbers, such as feeling more confident or energized throughout the day?
- How can I celebrate my fitness achievements and successes, no matter how small they may seem?
How to Use Day One as a Fitness Journal App
Using a fitness journal app can be a convenient way to track your workouts. Rather than using paper or a physical notebook, you record your fitness in an app installed on your mobile device or laptop.
The Day One app can be used as a fitness journal app. You can download Day One here for your iOS, Macbook, or Android device.
Here are a few ways to use Day One as a fitness journal app:
1. Create a separate journal for your fitness journal.
Day One allows you to create separate journals (a Premium feature). Having a separate journal for your fitness journal allows you to keep your fitness journal entries separate from your primary journal, or journals you keep for other purposes, like your gratitude journal, mood journal, or dream journal.
2. Use a fitness journal template.
Use a fitness journal template and open it in your Day One journal. You can also copy and paste the fitness journal template example entry into a new journal template that you can reuse every time you record a workout
3. Add tags to your fitness journal entries.
By adding relevant tags to your fitness journal entries, such as the type of workout, the focus area, or your emotional state, you can quickly and easily search for specific information when you need it. This can be especially helpful if you have a specific question or want to review your progress in a certain area. Additionally, tagging your entries can help you identify patterns and trends over time, such as which types of workouts or activities you enjoy the most or which days of the week you are most consistent with your routine.
4. Add a photo.
Take a selfie, document your form and technique during exercises, or capture the equipment and settings where you did the workout.
6. Look at your fitness frequency with Calendar View.
Looking at your fitness frequency with Calendar view can help you identify any gaps or inconsistencies in your workout routine. By visually tracking your workouts over time, you can see if you are consistently meeting your fitness goals or if you need to make adjustments to your schedule or approach. Additionally, Calendar view can help you celebrate your successes and see how far you’ve come in your fitness journey. By using Day One’s Calendar view in conjunction with your fitness journal entries, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of your progress and use this information to continue improving and achieving your fitness goals.
7. Add fitness tracker integrations to your Day One journal with IFTTT.
Day One integrates with Apple Health for step counts and “Mindful Minutes,” but you can also add more integrations with your fitness tracker devices into your Day One fitness journal.
Check out some of the workflows and Applets with IFTTT’s Day One Integration, including:
Wrapping Up: Fitness Journaling for Achieving Your Fitness Goals
A fitness journal can be your ally to help you achieve your fitness goals. By tracking your workouts, progress, and reflections, you can gain valuable insights into your fitness journey and identify patterns and trends that can help you make informed decisions about your health and wellness. Reviewing your fitness journal regularly can also help you stay motivated and celebrate your successes along the way. By using your fitness journal as a reflective and goal-setting tool, you can create a personalized and effective fitness routine that supports your overall well-being. Happy journaling!
Start a Fitness Journal in
the Day One Journal App
The Day One journaling app makes it easy to build and maintain a daily journaling habit, including keeping a fitness journal. Daily journaling writing prompts, reminders, and journaling streaks are designed to help keep you motivated and consistently journaling.
About the Author
Kristen Webb Wright is the author of three books on journaling, including The Transformation Year, a year-long series of daily journal prompts. With a passion for writing and self-reflection, Kristen uses her experience with journaling to help others discover the benefits of documenting their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In her role at Day One, she helps to promote the power of journaling so people from all walks of life can experience the transformative power of journaling.