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What should I track in my workout journal?

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One of the best ways to track your fitness progress is with a workout journal.

A workout journal is basically a fitness log. Like a daily diary (when was the last time you wrote in one of those?), you can use it to track the exercises you do, and over time, see how you progress towards your goals.

Workout journals can be as simple or as complex as you like, and they don't even have to include paper. There are many free fitness apps out there, including one of my favorites for inline skating, MapMyRun, which uses GPS to record specific route details.

But if you're going old school, what should you include in a written workout journal?

Just stick to the basics:

  • The date and time (April 12, 2014 at 10 a.m.)
  • The type of exercise you do (skating, yoga, strength training)
  • How long you do the exercise (30 min)
  • How intense the exercise was to you (8 on a scale of 1-10)
  • How you felt after the exercise (was it harder today than yesterday?)

Depending on the type of exercise - weight lifting for example - you'll also want to include additional information such as how many pounds you're lifting and the number of reps. This becomes especially important if you want to lift heavier over time, or increase the number of reps over time, so you can tell exactly how much you're improving.

Things like what you eat before and after a workout can also be important to track, as nutrition can directly affect your performance. You might also notice trends by time of day, that you perform worse early in the morning or better later in the afternoon.

There's really no right of wrong way to keep a workout journal; it all depends on your fitness goals, so tailor your journal to uniquely match you.

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