I started keeping a journal for my activity and fuel consumption in June 2016. It’s a daily discipline that has made a great difference to how I manage my body goals. I recommend this tool to all clients, it’s a simple and effective way of seeing progression within your training as well as adapting your regime to work even better for you.
Here are my top 10 reasons why making this a daily discipline makes a difference:
Keeps you accountable – When we give up blaming other things that go on in our lives day to day, that is when we take reposibiltity for our own actions and direction in life. It’s important that you become accountable for your own fitness journey. Noting down every day your activity and consumption makes you beholden to yourself and your own success. You begin to realize that your self esteem grows when you try your best each day and record it.
Shows you your habits – When I first started my food journal I had set myself a goal to cut down on refined sugars, it was so interesting to see what times of the day I reached for a sugary snack, a pick up when I was low. I noted how my mood and energy levels reflected the type and amount of food I was eating. I was learning through my own mistakes and educating myself in how to make these changes to feel better.
Makes your goals seem more real – The more time that passed, the more I realized that noting my daily disciplines was taking me closer to my end goal. Everyones fitness journey is different, everyone sets different goals and everyone is starting at a different place. Keeping a journal makes it unique and keeps you from comparing yourself to other peoples progress. If anything I’ve found it only makes me compete with the person I was yesterday or when I started my journey.
Helps you to see what works – Getting nutrition right is always something that takes time to get right, even more so when you change the amount of activity in your week and when your body composition begins to change too. Adjusting the right type and amount of fuel you should take on board throughout the day. Equally you might find training in a certain way at a set time of the day works for you or maybe not. Its all a test of time to see what responds well to your lifestyle and body. Keeping a journal speeds up the process of discovering this. You can see daily, weekly & monthly what really does work and what needs to be adapted to keep you on track for your goals.
Helps you to see what doesn’t work – As much as you need to praise yourself for the things you get right you also need to acknowledge what needs some work. Jotting down how you feel each day for example I circle a number between 1 and 10 to gauge my energy levels for the day. So I can assess maybe I needed more recovery fuel that day or maybe I didn’t do a workout and could have taken 30 mins to get my heart rate up. As I mentioned before everyone is different but its good to acknowledge what doesn’t work well for you so you can become greater in the future.
Shows you are serious about fitness – This journal will give you the edge in the gym, not many people have the drive to continue a discipline on through good days and bad. But if you are serious about committing to your goal it will make a remarkable difference especially in the early days when you’re learning the basics.
Helps you keep track of your food intake – A study published in the August edition of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, proved that keeping a food diary is key to losing extra weight. Various studies have shown the same results that jotting down everything you eat and drink increases your rate of losing weight because you are increasing your awareness of what you are putting into your body and where those extra calories are coming from. It is also great if you have a PT or someone to show your journal to then you can get advice from others on how to improve your food record.
Helps you keep track of workouts – Journals can help target areas for improvement. For example, a fitness journal could help someone realize that he or she is working for an hour at a intense session and then not eating anything protein based post workout then they can set a goal to take a protein shake or bar to eat straight after session to aid in replenishing muscles therefore being able to recover quicker and have more effective workouts in the future.
Helps you track your progress – The longer you do this discipline for the more you will reap the benefits, mentally & physically. You begin to become aware of the power of compound interest, those little changes that you made to your days turn into weeks, months and years. Maybe you lose weight is the first 30 days, add 10% muscle, or cook healthier meals for your family? Theres so many benefits to just jotting down these things and reflecting on how you could make little changes that make a big difference to the health of you and your loved ones.
Helps you track your motivation – Staying motivated can be hard for all of us, but when you look back in your journal and see how far you’ve come well that makes you smile in itself. Set a goal each week to improve by one thing from last like maybe drinking an extra litre than last week, or doing an extra workout.
I hope this gives you food for thought I will be writing my top tips for keeping a fuel journal soon, watch this space.