First off, are you one who has a workout journal, or are you one who has a workout made out in your head, or do random exercises once you get to the gym?

As a fitness professional, I see the majority of people who exercise in gyms not having a workout journal with them, and notice that they haven’t changed their appearance for months/years since I’ve noticed them, and maybe no change in appearance is their goal, but I know most peoples goals are either to lose fat or gain muscle. I’m not saying that everyone should have a workout journal, more so to the advanced exercisers, but for the beginners I HIGHLY recommend a journal.

First off, a journal will give you a great base/foundation for the goals you want to strive for on your fitness quest. Writing down what exercises you’re going to do for the day or week will give you a solid gameplan to follow. You can always adjust your workout journal when you see fit, but just having something written down will help you greatly.

Here are some suggestions to have written in your workout journal, and I’ll be adding other suggestions later:

Type of workout you’re going to do (i.e. full body workout, body parts, type of split, conditioning, etc.)

  • Exercises you’re going to do for the day
  • Sets
  • Reps
  • Nutrition/Meal plan, and amount of water (what you ate that day, for it has an effect on your workouts and physiology of the body)
  • Cardio (Type, Time, Intensity)
  • Time/Hours of sleep
  • Stress? (financial, relationship, work, etc.)

These and many more suggestions will help you with your goal progress and either get you closer or further away from your goal.

An example of a workout/exercise entry in a journal is:

  • Monday (8/16) – Legs
  • Barbell Back Squats – 135×15, 225×12, 315×10, 365×5
  • Barbell Stiff Legged Deadlifts – 135×15, 225×12, 275×10

This example shows and tells me what day I did legs, what exercises I performed for a ‘hip-dominant’ (SLDL) and ‘knee-dominant’ (Back Squats) movement, what weight(s) I did for multiple sets, and how many reps I did for that set. So now that those exercises have been performed, when a day comes around where I do these exercises or workout again I have new short term goals to achieve, which would be to either increase the weight each set, the reps each set, or both. This gives me that extra motivation and determination to achieve these short term goals.

These are some suggestions of why to have a workout journal, write in it, bring it with you every time you exercise, and examples of an entry.

Share your experiences with your workout journal and what you would add as a daily entry.