Now that the first month of the year is out of the way, the real work begins.
Setting resolutions at the beginning of January is usually followed by a month of hard work and then gradual burnout. If you’re one of the many who made a fitness goal in January, you’re probably feeling this in some form already.
We tend to start out really strong, but before exercise routines become a habit, we give in to our old ways. But a fitness journal can help you get through those tough days or weeks by providing structure and support when we might otherwise give up. A fitness journal, just like a planner or daily journal, can help you succeed at all of your workout goals.
This is how a fitness planner can help you.
1. Maintain consistency with a fitness journal
Perhaps the most important rule for getting anything done — exercise or otherwise — is to write it down. We know that we’re far more likely to retain information if we take handwritten notes, and the same principle applies to our fitness routines. Put that yoga class or morning run on your calendar! When you treat it like any other important appointment, you're more likely to do it.
After all, researchers say consistency is the most important thing when it comes to fitness. One study, published in Sports Medicine, tracked nearly 1,000 women and their fitness journeys and found that it wasn’t the specifics of the exercise that impacted their results the most; it was how often they completed the workout.
Tracking your fitness means you’re far more likely to complete the workout out and your long term goal.
The Ink+Volt Fitness Planner features three months of undated planning, so you can start whenever works best for you. Each week you can set goals, a theme if you like, and log all of your workouts. Planning those exercises ahead of time gives you one less excuse for hitting the snooze button instead.
2. Track your results so you don't miss them!
Results take time! And they can be hard to see sometimes. In fact, the lack of results is often why people give up on their fitness goals so easily. But even if you don’t physically notice them, you’re definitely making progress. No, really! It might just take some perspective to see it.
A fitness planner can help you visualize your progress (even when it’s small!). Maybe you shaved a few seconds off your mile or you were able to complete a few more reps or go an additional set. Maybe you needed to take fewer breaks throughout your workout. Or, you increased the heaviness of your weights. Those are all indicators of progress, but if you’re not tracking them, it might be hard to tell.
Remember, we all hit setbacks every once in a while, so even if you notice in your notes you’ve hit a plateau or you’re not meeting goals like you planned, you’ll be able to see where and how that’s happening in your workouts. Instead of quitting, you can find a workaround.
3. Hone and improve your skills
A lot of fitness goals are quantitative. You can count reps or miles or number of days you finished a fitness class, but it’s often harder to see the qualitative results.
Improving form, flexibility, and strength can be difficult to track if you aren’t writing your stats down consistently. The Ink+Volt Fitness Planner even takes those harder-to-track aspects of fitness (like motivation, nutrition, and sleep) and incorporates them easily by asking about your week in review.
How you’re feeling and how you improve is just as important as the goal itself.
4. Set smarter goals and make smarter choices
As with a lot of things, setting goals for fitness can be a moving target, and setting goals at all can be overwhelming. Set the bar too high and you’re sure to fail. Set the bar too low and you’ll get bored and probably won’t keep up with a routine.
It’s all about finding that sweet spot. Avoid setting goals that are too vague (like "lose some weight") or too lofty (like running a marathon when you haven’t done the mile since middle school). It’s okay to start small and build!
Luckily, having a fitness planner helps you make smarter goals and evolve them over time. Unlike a lot of goals in regular life, fitness goals are easy to adapt week over week. Take some time at the end of each week to really delve into what you accomplished! You may find that you can set your goal for next week a little bit differently than you did the previous week.
5. Avoid boredom, reflect, and enjoy your evolution
A boring workout can really set you back. Even worse is getting bored over time. Make note of which workouts kept you going and which ones you couldn’t wait to be done with or had trouble finishing altogether.
Having a fitness planner can really come in handy when you get bored. You can look back on workouts you really enjoyed, and it can prevent you from repeating dull ones. Tracking your workouts should make you better, so you’re less likely to fall into a rut.
If you're dreading your workouts, try setting a goal do a week of only new workouts. New exercise routines can be intimidating at first, but you may find that you really like them and they serve your fitness in a totally unexpected way. If nothing else, it gives you a break from the routine and keep your momentum up.
When you have a fitness journal, you can also look back at where you started and reflect on your progress. It's so easy to get used to where we're at right now and forget how far we've come. You might not think you're doing amazing things now, but when you can see where you started, it can give you new perspective on the power of the work you've already done.
Finally, a fitness planner can help you become more efficient in your workouts. When you know what works and you’re happy with it, stick with it! Over time you’ll figure out how you want to spend your time and what ends up being a waste.
This will help you enjoy your workouts more (which makes them easier to prioritize) and you'll spend your time maximizing the things that matter most to you.