The Role of a Journal in Your Fitness and Nutrition Goals
The ONLY person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.
This intelligent quote conveys an important message for you to keep in mind when you are working to achieve fitness goals, whether it be losing weight, eating healthy or building muscle. You only need to be better than how you were yesterday. One of the best way to keep track of your fitness and nutrition progress is to log your activities in a journal on a day-to-day basis. This will help you understand where you started, how far you've come, and where you are headed.
To do this, all you need is pen and paper.
Let's look at the advantages of maintaining a journal – starting with one for fitness
- To stay on track – If you've gone to the gym and wondered what to do for the day and ended up wasting precious time, then a fitness journal is for you. Plan your activities for the day and write it down. When you hit the gym, make a note of your sets, reps and weights as well. On your next visit, you'll know exactly where you left off and where you need to start over.
Why pen and paper? – Yes, the apps and the tabs are all fancy and posh, but pen and paper work best for maintaining your journals. You will not get distracted by emails and texts when you're busy burning calories and quietly writing them down.
To quantify progress – You've dropped a few pounds last week- that's great! You ran an extra mile yesterday? That's even better. However, a few weeks down the line you really would not remember the numbers. Make a note of your stats, along with your exercise routine, to quantify the progress you made.
They say that anyone can exercise for an hour, but it's hard to watch what goes on your plate for the next 23 hours. And that's just one of the reasons why you need a nutrition journal –
Conscious eating – When we are trying to lose weight, or even gain for that matter, we try to watch our diet. However, we tend to forget about all the quick bites and snacks we've eaten on the go. Writing down what we eat throughout the day will make us more aware of our eating habits, so we can make appropriate modifications where needed.
Nutrition guide – Your diet could be deficient in iron or you could be facing calcium deficiency issues. Therefore, writing down what you eat will help you analyze the situation. You can then plan your meals in your journal and check them off as you go. For instance, milk is said to be enriched with calcium. Have you had your glass today? Your journal should be able to tell you.
Reinforce healthy eating – Along with writing what you eat, you need to also record how you feel after consuming a particular dish. If the milkshake you had last week made you feel tired and bloated, reading about the same a week later will help you make a healthier choice next time around. In addition, if having the green salad made you feel lighter and more energetic, you can be sure the written word will make way for more greens to come.
Overall, a journal is a must to record, plan, monitor and achieve your fitness and nutrition goals.