One of the single most effective tools that contributes to my personal success is keeping a workout log or journal. When I am keeping up with one, I find that I am more consistent, more focused and my workouts are more effective. I believe it takes some planning to keep a decent fitness routine going.

Not sure where to start with a journal? Here are some ideas:

What type of journal to use? I recommend a pre-made fitness journal you can buy online or at a bookstore. If you don’t want to pony up the dough for one, a simple notebook will suffice. There are also many ways to keep an electronic journal, especially if you have an iPhone or similar device, many fitness websites offer apps that help you track your workouts and food intake. I have also found that keeping a spreadsheet in a program such as Microsoft Excel works nicely too. There are so many options, you are sure to find one that works for you. As of late, I have been using my daily planner…I write down what muscle group I’m working, and then find a quick few minutes at work each day to write down a routine for that muscle group on a sticky note and stick it in my planner. This method might not work for everyone, but I’ve had a hectic schedule lately! Normally, I recommend sitting down on a Saturday or Sunday evening and planning out your week of workouts.

What types of things should I track? Well first and foremost, your workout plans. Write down specific exercises you’re going to do during your strength-training session. This will keep you from wandering around the gym wondering what to do next and keep you moving along so your time is used efficiently. (Time is too valuable to waste when you’re a mommy!) I also find it helpful to keep track of water intake. I recommend making 10 check boxes and marking one off per each 8 oz you drink. Tally marks work well too. (If you are able to mark off eight, you’ve had a good day!) And then of course, there is always your food intake. This can be the most tedious task of all when keeping a record of your health and fitness, but it surely is beneficial. Many of those who keep food journals make smarter food choices throughout the day. Something about having to write down a diet splurge makes them feel ultra-guilty…so they are less likely to indulge. It also is helpful in showing you where you might be able to make some healthy changes.

So what are you waiting for? Get started on your journal today!