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Setting goals and creating fitness plans is easy—following through is the hard part. How do you move from idea to action to success—and how do you know where you are in the process? Just as a food diary is helpful for maintaining optimal nutrition and financial tracking is critical for adhering to a budget, a fitness log is an excellent tool to help you stay on track to achieving your fitness goals.

What is a Fitness Log?

Loosely defined, a fitness log is a record of your workouts. In reality, a fitness log is so much more than a simple accounting of exercise achieved. A fitness log contains a litany of useful information regarding your exercise regimen, fitness levels, progress, patterns, and plateaus. Committed fitness trackers know the value of the fitness log—it can show you where you’ve been, where you’re going, and how you’re getting there.

Fitness logs can include a variety of information, such as:

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  • Type of exercise performed
  • Duration of exercise (and/or distance)
  • Time of day
  • Weather
  • General state of health (tired, energized, sick, injured, etc.)
  • Mood before and after
  • Heart rate
  • For strength training: weight used and number of repetitions
  • Food: what you ate before, during, and after
  • Additional information related to exercise (For example: left ankle started hurting after 4 miles; swollen after run; iced for 20 minutes)

There are countless ways to log your workouts. You may choose to keep a simple notebook dedicated to your fitness or use a specialized workout chart. There are even several online fitness journals to help you track your exercise. The more information you choose to include, the better.

Benefits of a Fitness Log

A fitness log is one more tool in your fitness toolbox. There are several benefits to tracking your workouts:

  • Accountability: It’s one thing to set a goal and quite another to develop an implementation plan for achieving it. A fitness log can help keep you accountable to your long-term goals. It provides a record of measurable progress, which is critical for achieving your goals.
  • Motivation: A fitness log is an excellent motivational tool. When you feel your enthusiasm wane, flip back through your workout history to see your progress. Seeing your progress will likely help create a sense of pride in what you have accomplished and help motivate you to keep going.
  • Information: A fitness log paints the big picture for you. By tracking your workouts, you’ll be able to identify fitness plateaus and see what works and what doesn’t work for you. Furthermore, it can provide critical information regarding overtraining and injury. A detailed fitness log can help you understand how sleep and food affects your performance and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.