Forget about fancy equipment give me an exercise journal every time.
If some one gave me the choice of having any two items to enhance my training the two I would choose would be a pen and paper and the reason for this is because keeping an exercise journal is one of the most important things you can do if you are serious about Your exercise plans.
Whether your goal is to build muscle, strength, slim down or a combination of all three keeping records of exactly how you train, what you eat and the life style you live are absolutely crucial if you want to keep improving. What you need to include in your exercise journal are the following!
The exercises you do in each work out.
The number of reps you do for each bodyweight exercise
The time taken between sets
How many times you exercise each week.
How long each bodyweight exercise session lasts
How you felt physically and mentally before, during and after your workout
These are just the records of your exercise plans; if you really want to reach your potential then you also have to include in your exercise journal!
Every meal you eat and what it contains.
How often you eat each day and at what times.
Every thing you drink every day.
And even every single snack that you eat and normally forget about.
After reading what I have said you need to do to progress I bet I can guess what you are thinking right now!
You are probably thinking you crazy B?????? Who would be bothered to take the time and trouble to write so much about their training and eating patterns in an exercise journal?
Well the answer is just about every successful athlete and sports person in the world and the reason they do so is not because they have aspirations to write future classics – at least I don’t think they do – but because keeping an exercise journal is the only way you can keep track of your progress or your lack of it.
So my advice to you is keep an exercise journal to improve your exercise plans and these are the reasons why.
You will know exactly how many reps you did for each exercise not just yesterday but 6 months or a year ago.
You will know which exercises are working for you and which ones are not and can therefore change them.
You will know if you are getting super fit and finishing your workouts in shorter periods of time or if you are slacking and taking longer and longer to finish the same routines.
You will know if your mental attitude is more positive to your exercise plans because of the improvements you have made or if you are beginning to get a bit fed up and need a rest or new routine.
You will be able to keep your motivation high simply by looking back to what you could do when you started and compare it to what you can do now.
Remember one of the biggest mistakes people can make in training and life in general is they keep doing the same things and yet expect different results.
So armed with the knowledge you will have from writing your exercise journal there will be no need for you to make the same mistakes as those poor other folks do.
For example, after one year of bodyweight exercise if you realize your whole body has improved and you are really happy with it except let’s say your legs, you can look through your exercise journal and you might find some surprises. For instance, maybe you will see that most of the workouts you have missed have been leg training days or the majority of long drawn out workouts where you have slacked happened on leg training days.
It might then occur to you that your legs have not made the progress they should have because you actuality don’t like training them and subconsciously you do every thing you can to ovoid doing so.
You would then be left with two choices
You could accept your legs will never be as good as the rest of your body and just get on with the exercise plans as they are.
Or you could find ways to inspire your leg training to new heights by completely changing the way you train them. This could include changing the leg exercises you do now to some that you might enjoy more such as spending 20 minutes practicing martial art kicks or sprinting up and down the nearest field improving your football.
The point is, by having an exercise journal to analyze your progress you will easily be able to find out if something isn’t working and can change it if you want. At the same time the things that are working well for you can be encouraged and improved upon so you make even more progress.
Including what you eat in your exercise Journal.
Writing down every single thing you eat is a prospect that most of us would find daunting, depressing and far to time consuming to bother with – in fact you might think I should seek professional help for even suggesting it – but if you want success it has to be done.
For example, if you want to loose weight and still maintain muscle and muscle tone then you have to do so in a controlled healthy way regardless of what exercise you do. The worst thing you can do is either starve yourself or eat just one or two meals a day because your body will go into famine mode, slow down your metabolism and the result will be you will probably put on weight and guess what! it will all be fat.
In fact you will more than likely end up looking worse than you did before you started training and quit.
The way to avoid this happening is easy; you eat small healthy meals 4 or 5 times a day and log them all down in your exercise journal. Once you do this you can soon work out how many calories you need to maintain your weight and you simply lower the amount by about 500 calories per day. The end result is you will loose about one pound of fat a week,
Writing down all the food you eat in your journal also serves some other good purposes. It helps keep you motivated to stick to your eating plan because you will know exactly what is happening and why.
You will also find that writing everything down stops you from binging and eating to many unhealthy fast foods and sugar filled rubbish because nobody likes to feel guilty and putting in your exercise journal that today you ate a supersized fries and burger meal followed by 3 doughnuts will make you feel just that.
So my advice to you is keep a journal if you want to succeed were others have failed. By doing so you will become almost like a scientist full of the knowledge of exactly where you started from, where you are now and how to get where you want to be.
If you’re still not convinced, take a moment and think about this reality for a minute. How many guys do you know that train regularly but have reached a point where they no longer improve? They are no stronger or more muscular now than then they were last year or the year before and reason for this is because to improve you must increase the intensity of your training and you can’t do that if you don’t know what training you were previously doing.
To prove this point if you are someone who trains regularly in a gym then the next time you go there ask some of the guys exactly what weight, number of sets, reps and rest between sets they where doing for their bench press a year ago, 5 will get you 10 they wont have a clue if they haven’t kept a proper exercise journal.
The idea of keeping a journal and writing down all the exercises you do and all the food you eat might seem like a lot of hard work and it is but all the evidence shows that people who do so have more success reaching their goals than people who don’t.
An exercise journal will help you figure out not just what to do but more importantly what not to do.
It will also help you maintain motivation when you see how far you have come with your exercise plans.
The fitter you become the more likely it is that you will have periods of time when you are making no progress. A journal will soon show you this is happening and give you ideas about what to do.
One tip I can give you is you can save time by filling in your exercise journal during the rest periods you take between sets when training or if you prefer treat yourself to a lovely expensive journal and nice pen and spend some time relaxing with a healthy drink while you fill it in each night.
There is a winner in all of us and keeping an exercise journal is one of the keys to setting winning ways free. A journal gives you knowledge and knowledge is power.
Good luck with your exercise plans and writing
See the setting goals guide to compliment the exercise journal