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The Benefit of Food Journals and Activity Logs

Posted Oct 13 2009 10:05pm
Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to actually do them. There is something to be said for the accountability one feels when they make a commitment to themselves by writing something down.The same can be said when it comes to your fitness goals. A key element that we promote at BOOTCAMP 619 is for all members to keep a food log and exercise journal.

A food log is a daily record of all the food you have eaten, including the time of day, the portion size and nutritional content of the food.

An exercise journal is a similar concept. It is used to track the exercises that you have performed in that workout, including the number of sets, the repetitions per set and the weights used.

These tools will help you reach your fitness goals by tracking your progress, as well as help you note when you may be back-tracking. You will be able to easily identify the progress you are making in your fitness plan and be able to congratulation yourself properly. By watching your food intake and paying attention to how it affects your energy level, your workout and your body fat, you can see which foods have the best affect on your body and will help you meet your goals. By tracking your exercises, you can see many of the same affects in body fat and muscle mass and also ensure that you are not getting too much “routine” in your exercise routine by making sure that each week you are varying your exercises properly.

The Food Journal

Many find it challenging to keep up with their food journal. However, it is key to ensuring that you meet your dietary goals. This way, you can discover patterns in your eating and uncover opportunities for improvement or change.

A study was performed on 1700 overweight adult participants that kept food journals and were encouraged to eat a healthy diet and be physically active. At the end of the study, those who had written down everything they ate lost about twice as much weight as those who did not consistently write down their food intake.

There are too ways to keep a food journal. One method is to map out all the foods that you will eat during the day and stick to that diet. This is a good method for those who are able to prepare their own meals and take their lunch (and snacks) to work. This will ensure that you are getting the proper nutrients (protein, fat, carbs) that you need. However, the challenge is to stick to the plan. If someone offers you something, you have to make sure to go back and include it in your results!

Another method is to write down and calculate your results at the end of the day. A challenge in this method can be to remember and include everything you have consumed. You may want to carry a small notepad with you to write it all down. Remember that if you cheat by not writing something down, you are only cheating yourself!

Some people use their journal to track calories, protein, fat and carbs for each item. Make sure to also pay attention to the times that you are eating certain foods. Your body will react to each food type differently at different times of day. Consult with your fitness professional for some ideas that fit your goals.

The Exercise Log

Studies have shown that keeping an exercise log is a great way to maintain a consistent workout plan. By planning your workout before start, you can ensure that you will hit all body parts and muscle groups and get a balanced workout. Make sure to identify what body part or muscle group you are working on that day and find exercises that are suitable. If you are at a busy gym, it can also help you identify other options when a machine or weight area is occupied.Pay attention to your energy levels before and after your workout to help determine the best times for each type of exercise and muscle group.

By watching the number of repetitions and weights you are able to perform, you can determine if you are making gains in weight loss or muscle building. For example, if you have been bench pressing a certain weight and reps for a few weeks, you can challenge yourself by increasing the weight. When you get to the higher weight and are able to do the same high reps, you know it is time to challenge yourself again. The same can be done for exercises like running by tracking your distances and times.

Journals can help your motivation. If your goal is weight loss, but you aren’t seeing the scales tipping in your favor, you may be able to identify a gain in muscle by watching your exercise journal and avoid unnecessary disappointment.

Food journals and exercise logs can be used in conjunction with each other. If you are going for a big run, pay attention to your food journal and make sure to include healthy whole wheat carbs early that day. By writing it down, you can make sure that you go in those carbs without going over your daily calorie goal.Make sure to tailor your journals to your personality to ensure that you will keep them up. Of course, the more detail the better, but if that is not your forte, keep it simple just do it! If you are more detail oriented put down as much detail as you can, as long as you stay focused on your goal.

BOOTCAMP 619 is always open to new members. Come in and try us out. We not only provide a challenging workout like none you have ever experienced, but also give valuable information on how to have a healthy lifestyle to sustain your results.
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