The best way to assess progress is to track it. Logging fitness will benefit you in various ways:
- See how you started, how you’re doing and where you’re headed
- Have a visual of your progress
- Compare numbers (speed/distance) or how you feel throughout the month
- Notice patterns
- Identify successes and challenges
- Record your personal growth
Here I offer four ways to keep fitness/wellness logs: using a calendar, planner, journal and websites/apps. Feel free to choose the one(s) that best fit your lifestyle.
Using a calendar
As simple as it gets: focus on numbers, not words, as you fill in the boxes.
Ex: Mon, Feb. 1st – Run 2 mi, Tues, Feb. 2nd – Rest, Wed, Feb. 3rd – Bike 20 min.
Using a planner
A planner with daily and weekly entries allows you to record what you physically did and what you are mentally thinking about as you work toward your goals. Some days it can be just factual or include explanation:
Ex. Ran 2 mi on trail, lifted weights ~20 min
Ex: Ran 2 mi on Cedar Lake Trail. Beautiful day, ~70F. Felt good and energetic the entire time. Lifted weights in gym ~20 min after run, focused on upper body.
Suggestions for Daily Entries:
- What did you do that day? Include work out AND rest days.
- How did you feel? Did you perform how you expected?
- What was the weather like?
- Did you have an insight? Found something that motivated you?
- Was there a particularly good or bad experience?
- Recovering from injury or soreness from the previous day? What are your steps for treating it?
- Is there something new you wish to explore?
Suggestions for Weekly Entries:
- How did the week go overall?
- Did you complete a weekly goal, if you have one?
- What challenges did you perceive or overcome?
- What do you want to focus on next week?
Using a paper or digital journal
Journals allow for a more expanded version than the Daily Planner Entries, as these tend to be filled in paragraphs of text, rather than short sentences. Ideas flow more freely and may be more expressive.
Ex: Today I biked 3 miles on Cedar Lake Trail. The weather was a perfectly sunny, but a hot 85 degrees, with no wind. The route struck me as boring, and there was a lack of shade. I’ll have to look into other routes in the area that may provide a change in scenery, and hopefully more shade.
Using websites or apps