The Benefits of Having a Workout Journal

Track Your Workouts to Stay Motivated and Progress Faster

Although I’ve been exercising for many years and I’ve achieved a lot, I have never really tracked my performance in any tangible way. I’ve always kept a mental log of what needs doing and what’s gone well. Inspired by a book called Atomic Habits, I’ve recently began to write down my goals and track my progress. I’m already feeling the benefits and regret not doing it sooner. I highly recommend you start a workout journal too! Tracking your progress will change the way you exercise because it:

  • gives you extra motivation to work out
  • makes you work harder in the gym
  • encourages ongoing progress towards your goals
  • keeps you focused during your sessions

Tracking my goals has made me even more motivated to go exercise. I genuinely look forward to training even more now. Every session gets me closer to achieving my goal. Although it might be a long time until I get a one-arm pull up or 90kg push press, I stay motivated because I get to celebrate every little improvement, extra rep or weight increment by logging it in my workout journal. Every time I open my notepad, I see a  written record of my gradual progress which reassures me I’m doing things right.

Keeping a workout journal makes me train harder. I wasn’t expecting this but because I’m logging the highest sets, reps and weight increments associated with a particular exercise and date, I often get to notice small progress which makes me feel good. As a result, I strive to perform better every time I exercise. Any progress, whether it’s a 1% or 10% improvement, is worth being proud of. This forces me to work harder because I want to go home and write down a new PR knowing I did better than last month. It’s almost like I have a boss or personal trainer to keep me accountable.

Having a workout journal has encouraged me to focus on making small but steady progress without worrying about the big result. It’s easy to get disheartened when you don’t make progress for a long period of time. I’ve been stuck with learning the front lever for over a year and I’m frustrated. A training journal has taught me to focus on making small gains during each session that will eventually lead to remarkable results. Such approach will inevitably bring ongoing progress. As a result, I’m enjoying the entire journey to achieving my goals rather than being satisfied only when I arrive at the final destination.

Setting goals on paper has made me even more focused while training. Writing your goals down and tracking your improvements is like following a master plan. I go to the gym with the idea to do predetermined exercises that will improve what I’m not good at. I don’t get distracted with exercises I’ve scheduled to do on the next day or the day after. I feel more organised with my sessions and channel all my efforts into specific exercises. Such a stringent regimen pays off short-term and long-term.

To conclude, I highly recommend starting a workout journal if you want to be super motivated to exercise, make steady progress and love the process. All I did was write down a goal on a piece of paper and create a table with two columns. One for the session’s date and the other for the highest number of sets, reps and weight I managed on that date. That’s it, game on! Obviously, it will be slightly different when tracking a skill-related goal but more on that in a different post.

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