I recently had a friend come up to me with the claim that a year ago he regularly spent $900 a month on food. What’s worse is that he thought he was spending about one third of that. The company that he worked for offered a class on managing your finances and budgeting. He didn’t think that he actually had an issue with money, but he knew that he could probably pocket a few more bucks each month than he did. After leaving the class, his first task was to take a look at the last three months of bank statements to try and figure out where his money was going. That’s when the truth came out. For at least three months he averaged around $900 in food. How, you ask? Takeout was the main culprit. But, he’s also a grill junkie and ate expensive steaks - and big ones - regularly. However, he spent it, he knew he had an issue.
This was his wakeup call and from that point on, he was devoted to watching his finances. In fact, he was able to lower his monthly food cost to $300 a month and instead of spending that additional $600 on other things he banked it. Yes, all of it!
Don’t you wish that improving your workouts and diet would be that easy? Well, for many people it is likely you’ve used the tool before.
Workout and diet journals are not just there so you can set your next workout. They provide a wealth of information that can help enlighten, improve and transform your health. Below are three reasons why I love workout and diet journals and use them as a primary tool in helping you help yourself.
The Wakeup Call
Like my friend, if we don’t pay attention to what we are doing then we often don’t think we are doing anything wrong - even if we aren’t seeing results. So, while you might enjoy a 500 calorie fish sandwich from McDonalds, a 300 calorie fry and a 300 calorie soda, what you may not realize is that that small meal just busted your diet for the day. Similar to identifying where your eating habits are killing you, a workout journal can help identify some holes in your plan. A good example is simply tracking the number of workouts you’ve had in the past week. Do you know how easy it is, even for someone who works out regularly to lose track of time. How many times have you joined a gym and think that you just missed a couple weeks of workouts, only to find out it's been a couple months?
The wakeup call helps you stay accountable to your health. Whether you are tracking your protein, fiber and potassium intake or making sure you are putting the time into the gym and not just focusing on arms, journals don’t lie - they wake you up!
Help You Grow
The human body is amazing and can quickly attain results you never dreamed possible. Yet, without challenging your body you will find it hard to achieve results. So, if you’ve been hitting the gym and eating “right,” but not seeing results, there is a good indication that you aren’t doing as well as you thought. You may not be pushing yourself. A journal is a great way to track your results, and plan on how you will improve them. Are you adding weight onto your strength training each week? Are you upping your cardio workouts? Have you been able to reduce your sodium and carb intake?
Regular journaling will overtime help you see results, both in your journal and in the mirror.
Improves Your Mentality
You go to the gym, you’ve lost weight, improved performance and feel great, but you may still be holding onto small love handles. This can be demoralizing, because those guys are hard to get rid of. But, if you feel good you probably are good and regular journaling can attest to your improvements. So, those days you second guess how well your doing, you have a journal to boost your spirits and remind you that you’re doing great. Your thinner, your stronger and everyday just makes you that much better.
Journaling takes a few minutes each day and the payoffs can be life changing. From my online tracking program to fitness apps and the old fashioned notebook and pen, if you are tracking then you are improving. So, keep up the good work!
I’d love to hear about some of your success stories journaling your eating and exercise habits! In fact, I think we all would.
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Tobias Young is an IFBB pro and top tier online fitness coach with over 19 years of fitness industry experience.