It's a great time to turn over a new leaf. Whether you’re the type to set resolutions or not, chances are you’re trying to improve in one area of your life. If health and wellness is on the top of your list, it makes a difference to write things down.
In today’s tech-savvy world, there are countless apps available to help you reach your goals but we challenge you to take a break from technology and go analog.
Read up on our Marketing Manager’s journey in planning, organizing, and tracking his fitness in a journal and the impact it has made.
Why did you start a Fitness Journal?
In the past, I’ve seen folks at the gym with journals and I’ve always wanted to try it but I doubted my ability to keep it up. The younger me always struggled let alone at keeping a personal journal and I didn’t think I could do it, but I bunkered down and it’s going better than I thought. In my opinion, it’s much easier to track your fitness than keep an ordinary journal; It’s not like your typical entry filling a page full of writing. I am tracking down my workouts with each scribble and I can see my improvements or where I’m slacking.
What motivates you?
My parents. They sacrificed a lot for my siblings and I to have the opportunities we did. They raised 9 kids together, kept their sanity, and made it look easy. I get my work ethic, love, and resilience from them and I want to make them proud. Additionally, curiosity motivates me. I’m curious what I am capable of accomplishing so I strive to do my best, keep growing, and be better than I was yesterday.
What have you learned since you've started tracking your fitness?
When it comes to fitness, my body isn’t what it used to be. I’ve learned how important it is to listen to your body and not push through discomfort or injury. I’ve postponed workouts, cut them short, and taken additional rest days when my body was telling me to take it easy. Next, it’s easy to compare myself to others. There will be others who are stronger, faster, and leaner than me. I’ve learned to stop doing that and simply focus where I am today, and where I want to go.
No shocker here but a little preparation can go a long way. I do all my shopping and cooking on Sundays and it helps set the pace for the week. I've found when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, that’s when you’re tempted most to make a trip to the drive-thru.
What are your fitness goals?
I have a few. I signed up for the Utah Spartan Race and I'd like to place in the top 25. I’ve done this race before and clocked in at 33rd. It took a lot of hard work and discipline to get there so I know what I need to do to replicate those results but this time, do it better. Speed and upper body strength are my two main focuses for this year. I want to shed 10-15 lbs so I can be at my previous weight where I was running my fastest mile. Burpees are tough and good for ya but I want to be able to comfortably do some muscle ups.
What do you track each time you are at the gym?
I track my weight, cardio performance, and workout routines. I incorporate cardio every day to get my heart rate up and I jot down the distance and time it took me to complete that. I rotate between the treadmill and cycling for cardio. I’ve made a recent switch in my weekly regiment where I dedicate 3 days a week to running. Before each workout, I’ll leaf through previous pages and read my notes I left to myself where I can increase my weights or try something new next go round.
Which journal/log book do you use?
I use all types but I like small to mid-size journals and believe it or not, handsewn ones. Handsewn pages will last forever in there keeping my fitness journey well documented. My recommendation for a slim, handsewn book is the Parley journal. A good refillable one is the Expedition and its little brother, Expedition point five.
What do you like most about your log book?
The most appealing aspect for me is keeping a written record of my fitness. I chose a handsewn book intentionally. I wanted one that’ll keep the pages within it forever and a handsewn's grit and durability achieve exactly that. Those pages are in there for life and I can keep this log around to reflect how my training went. I do like the buckle closures which are excellent to clip a pen onto. With the smaller journals that don't have a closure, pens stick out awkwardly.
Above all, I wanted a physical journal that I could write in and get that tactile touch. There are hundreds of fitness apps out there that I could accomplish this with, but I am more addicted to technology than I’d like to admit. I work on two computer monitors all day, I go home and wind down with Netflix/Hulu, and I spend my free time streaming YouTube videos and browsing social media. It feels good to unplug and connect with paper. Not to mention my eyes thank me for the break.
What pen/pencil do you like to use?
This is more important than you think. I started with a cheap Bic pen (throwaway basically) because it was a going to live in my gym bag and I didn’t need anything fancy. I should’ve known better, these are unreliable. They break, stain, freeze, and it simply became too frustrating to depend on. I switched to a Uniball Vision Elite for its precise thin nib but I hated having to remove the cap every time I went to write. I switched to a G2 pilot and I love it. It writes smooth, the click action makes it easy to activate the nib and can tuck it away so it doesn’t ink up clothes or other items in my bag. As mentioned earlier, I can clip the G2 onto the buckle closure.
Do you have your go-to gear?
Absolutely. I love my new Adidas running shoes. I’ve run in several brands from Nike, New Balance, Saucony, Brooks, Asics, Altras, and Mizuno. I’ve liked bits and pieces from each and these Adidas not only look good but when you’ve been blessed with wide feet, these work great. Altras are great for wide feet too. I have my Beats SOLO2 headphones that not only sound fantastic but stay put on my skull when I’m running (very very important). I also use my Apple headphones.
You gotta have a Spotify account. Good music is subjective so I’m not gonna try to pitch my go-to's but find your jams and create a fire playlist. The download feature is my favorite part about it so no matter where you go, you don’t need a wifi connection to play your tunes. I have my trusty Nalgene water bottle that has been along my side to many adventures like Joshua Tree, Goblin Valley, and Mount Baldy. Lastly, I stow all my stuff in my duffle bag from Rustico, the Tahoe. It’s sturdy, thick, and the black on black canvas/ leather combo is flawless. I get compliments on it all the time.
What’s a typical fitness routine look like and how long do you spend there?
I alternate between two workouts throughout the week.
- Cardio+Weights - I’ll start with 30 minutes cardio, hit the weights, and end with abs.
- Cardio - run for 60-75 minutes.
Workout regimen diet, what are you eating these days?
I recently made the switch to more plant-based meals and I'm enjoying it. I cut out milk and beef years ago but I’ve stopped buying eggs and chicken. I eat a lot of legumes, lentils, peanut butter, greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, protein shakes, salads, nuts, fruits, and veggies. If I dine out I’ll look for tofu options and my favorites are Thai, Ramen, or Indian restaurants.
Any advice for someone starting a fitness log?
Find out why you want to track your fitness and do what works for you. If you’re more successful and organized with apps - go digital. If you want to disconnect from technology - go analog and pick up a journal. Another reason I wanted a physical log was to work on improving my writing.
Fitness is just one of my overall health goals, I underestimated how important sleep and nutrition was to get me there. In previous journals, I’ve written down everything I’ve eaten and logged my hours of sleep. It really sheds light on the types of food you’re putting in your body and you don’t feel so accomplished when you have to write down you ate that 3rd or 4th donut at work. The sleep log was a new and waking journaling experience because, for the first time, I had a recorded account of my poor sleeping habits.
All in all, accountability has been the best benefit of keeping a fitness log. It has helped me stay on course to achieve the goals I’ve set.
There are many benefits to writing in a journal and if you’re serious about your goals, write them down. Seriously, you are 42% more likely to achieve them by simply putting pen to paper. Whether your goals are fitness, career, or personal, writing them down with intention will give you the direction you’re looking for. See our wide collection of journals and notebooks to help get you started today.
Download our easy-to-use fitness tracker to get you started today!