The New Year is a great excuse to start a new healthy habit. Something about the changing year just makes it mentally easier to start something new. Personally, I have used January 1, 2017 as a big excuse to start one of my most impactful changes to my fitness life. While it may seem small to some, it has honestly has made me feel stronger, fitter, and happier in my training. Without it, I don’t think I would be feeling this focused in 2017. And I think that it could take your fitness to the next level too!

So what’s my tip?

Record each and every workout in a dedicated training journal!

Every day, I plan out my workout, write it down, and record my entire workout from warm up to cool down (including any last minute modifications). I note the program/video/circuit I am doing, my sets, reps, weight, and duration for each exercise. If I modify an exercise during the workout (can’t get on a certain machine, knee is to cranky, time restraints, etc.) I made sure I note the changes in my journal. This way each workout is 100% accurate to what I actually did. I also include quick notes as post workouts such as how sore I am, what went well, mood, to make sure that I know exactly how my workout went. And all these have made my training 10x more effective!

To many times, I see people in the gym with no plan. They float from machine to machine without a real idea of the focus of their workout, not knowing if they are getting stronger or just plateauing. (This can be even worse in some group classes with constant.) A training journal can help immensely with tracking your progress and making sure you aren’t plateauing. It makes it easy to look back and see the last time bicep curls were in your workout, see what your sets and reps were, and adjust your current workout accordingly. No fuss, no guessing, just real numbers for real progress. Bonus, I have noticed my workouts are way more streamlined as I know which machine I am moving to next and can look if it is free or not and adjust accordingly. (Thankfully the gym I am going to has enough free weights that I am not constantly looking for the right ones!)

These are pictures of my workouts in my training journal.

Mine’s not complicated. I literally took a $3 Kmart Notebook, wrote the date on each page, than filled out the workout below. Quick personal note: I am doing a program that is purely strength building right now, hence why I don’t have an cardio in my workouts. To add cardio to the workout plan, simply add it in noting type (rowing, running, biking, etc.), duration, distance, and special notes such as terrain (if outdoors), intervals, and potentially gear for running or biking.

This simple change will allow you to train more effectively and be more organized on your fitness journey. If you need other tips or tricks to making your own training journal, leave a comment below!

Happy Training!