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Here's Why You Really Need A Gym Journal

athlete using slam ball

Looking for a simple way to transform your workout? If you’re a fitness lover, the answer is sure to be yes. You're never finished training – it’s an ongoing process and you always need to figure out ways in which you can improve. One not-so-secret fitness hack is gym journaling. Have you tried it for yourself? If not, check out these five ways a gym journal may help you boost your training and why you should give it a shot.

1. You’re More Likely to Reach Your Fitness Goals

Are you reaching your training goals? According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, monitoring the progress you make toward goals gives you an overall higher chance of succeeding. The experts found this result to be true when the progress was recorded publicly, i.e. in front of people, or physically, i.e. in a journal.

Of course, when you start a gym journal, one of the first things you will start recording is your long-term goals. Be sure to break them down into smaller, more manageable targets too. That way, you can keep track of the steps it takes to get you across the finishing line.

2. You Can Keep Your Nutrition in Check

Are you giving your body the fuel it needs to train? You might not be entirely sure, which is why you should be journaling. Research from Kaiser Permanente found that keeping a food journal could as much as double people’s weight loss. Although slimming down may not be your primary goal, the same is likely true when it comes to your nutrition aims.

Keeping a record of your meals could stop you from falling into unhealthy or poor eating habits. You can create a separate section within your journal for this aspect of your wellness. Write down everything from your post-gym snacks to your regular meals. As an added bonus, you may even want to use your gym journal to help you meal plan and prep.

3. It Could Help Relieve Performance Anxiety

Athletic competitions can be tough… and not just physically. One of the things that many competitors find is that their anxiety can seriously hold them back. Whether it’s those pre-game jitters or a lack of sleep caused by sheer worry, feeling stressed about an upcoming event can have a negative impact on how you ultimately perform.

Have you tried journaling your way to a calmer mindset? One study from the University of Chicago found that writing about pre-test fears helped students perform better during exam periods. The same theory can easily be applied to most physical competitions. Your gym journal could be the ideal place to unload your fears. Once you’ve done that, you should feel better prepared for the competition. It’s worth a try!

4. It’s an Effective Way of Scheduling

Unless you’re lucky enough to be a pro athlete or trainer, you likely have to squeeze your sessions in between other things. From your day job to fun social engagements, you might have a broad selection of things demanding your time. So, if you want to improve your fitness and make some serious time for training, scheduling is absolutely vital.

While there are apps and e-calendars out there that you could use, sometimes the oldest (and simplest!) method is the most effective. Using a gym journal means that you can plan out your upcoming workouts, while also tracking your progress along the way. Plus, you can keep tabs on how much you work different areas of your body. 

5. You Have to Be Honest With Yourself

Warning: You could be overestimating how much you actually train!

When you fail to write down the details of workout sessions, it means you have no idea how much effort you’re putting into your training. Trying to estimate how much you’ve done is never a particularly accurate task. Should you end up overestimating (which is highly likely, even for the most modest among us), you could get frustrated. The reason is that you will feel like you’re doing a load of working out without seeing any tangible results. 

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