Reasons To Track Fitness: 12 Ways This Is Stopping You From Reaching Your Goals
Updated: 12 hours ago
For years, I refused to keep any sort of workout journal or training log. It just seemed like one more thing to take care of on my already far-too-long to-do list. And to keep it real, I was afraid of feeling vulnerable or over-analyzing my training as an elite athlete.
A training journal can be a pretty intimate conversation with yourself, especially in a journal where you talk about your feelings or what happened that day. It materializes any intense feelings you may be having. The words are there on the paper, and you're forcing yourself to think about them.
That being said...
Why Is It So Important To Track Your Fitness?
There's a reason some of the best athletes in the world recommend keeping a workout log, tracking fitness goals, and journaling about your training. It can be super powerful.
In fact, it's so powerful that not doing it could be the reason you haven't reached your goal yet! So why exactly is it so important to track your fitness?
Let's look at 16 reasons to track fitness.
1. Using A Workout Log To Break Down Goals
This doesn't just apply to fitness goals! Breaking down any large goal into tiny steps helps make the large and scary goal seem a bit more attainable.
Plus, big goals don't just happen without a million teeny tiny steps. These steps are so small that they hardly feel powerful. Combined together though? They can get you anywhere you need to go.
For example, if you want to run a 60 second 400m race, can you just say that's your goal and keep doing random things while praying that it happens someday?
Of course not!
While you may get lucky, chances are pretty slim and you're not putting your best foot forward. However, a plan with a bunch of small, specific actions that make you a better sprinter...? Now we're talking.
If you're not keeping track of all of those little things, it's hard to see what's working and what's not. Or you might not even remember to do them all.
Keeping a workout log takes some of that chaos away and makes breaking down big goals way easier.
2. We All Need Accountability
Sure we have coaches, teammates, friends...but the main person holding you accountable for your goals has to be you!
You have to be in it fully and believe in yourself if you ultimately want to get the job done.
Life is already a lot; memorizing workout routines and remembering to do them just adds to your plate.
While you could maybe get by that way, a workout log is there to remind you exactly what you need to do. And it shows when you skip certain habits or change something up. You'll always be able to go back and see what you did or didn't do.
3. A Sense Of Control
This is a big reason to track fitness that I don't think people think of too often. A workout log can actually give you a sense of control. Like I've been saying, life is already a lot and moves so fast!
It's easy to feel like you're a small fish in a big ocean, spinning around trying to figure out what to do next.
And when it comes to fitness goals and athletic performance, it's easy to get frustrated when you're not seeing the results you expected.
A major benefit of a fitness log is the ability to see what you're doing and know that you are in control of your results.
4. See Progress In Your Fitness
If you don't know that you're getting better, how do you know that you're getting better?
Not sure if that sentence made sense. 😄
But what I'm saying is that it really helps to see that you're trending toward your goals to know that you're making progress in your fitness.
The importance of tracking progress is especially strong on days that you're not feeling so great.
With a workout journal, you can go back and see where you were 1 month ago and remind yourself that even though this exact moment isn't amazing, you've come so so far. It's motivation to keep going!
5. ...And See When You're Not Progressing
This works the other way, too. If you can clearly see that you're not making progress, maybe it's time to make some adjustments to your plan.
Are you doing each habit that you have written in your fitness habit tracker? Are you doing the full workouts? Where are you not following through on your workout plan?
If you have this all laid out in front of you, you'll know exactly what's going on.
6. Make Needed Adjustments
If things aren't going how you thought they would be, you might be wondering well what am I doing or not doing right? How convenient! Everything you wrote in your exercise log or workout journal is a clue!
You won't have to play any guessing games. Maybe you'll see that you've only been doing 1 decent sprint workout each month. Or only sleeping 6 hours a night.
Adjust the things you're tracking or how you're doing them to see if you can find your optimal situation.
7. A Workout Journal Is Good For Mentality Training
Using a fitness tracker to measure specific things (meals eaten, time ran, etc) is a really great thing. But what about the not-so-straightforward parts of training? We've all heard the sayings:
A workout is 90% mental and 10% physical.
Some of my track workouts over the years would have me begging to differ, but that's neither here nor there.
The point is that your body and your mentality are certainly working together when it comes to fitness. It might be important for you to start tracking how you're feeling at the start versus the end of the week, or what thoughts helped you push through that one really tough workout.
Getting your feelings out on paper helps declutter your mind a bit. It's easy to over-think training, and having someone to talk to about it (even a journal!) can really help.
An exercise I think is really helpful when it comes to using a workout journal is what you can call "changing the narrative."
Practicing doing this in your journal helps you be more positive and see the potential for happy outcomes in your day to day. Learn more about what I mean in my blog post, "Changing the Narrative When You Suck at Staying Positive."