Ever find yourself scrolling through the Peloton on-demand library, overwhelmed with classes to choose from? Maybe you’re not sure what stack of classes you should plan next or which type of workout would serve your body best that day. There are just so many options, right?
Thankfully, there’s an easy solution: a fitness journal. Peloton instructors Marcel Dinkins and Becs Gentry are big proponents of the practice and often speak about how tracking their training in this way has helped them find athletic focus. We asked the two of them to walk us through their process.
What to Write in a Fitness Journal
Marcel uses her journal to plan ahead, outlining the next four weeks of workouts at the beginning of the month. “I write out the gist of what I plan to do every day: upper body, lower body, running, etc.” she explains. “Then on the day, I’ll plan out my workout with the sets/reps/weights/rest I plan to do. I also annotate if I actually accomplished the full workout I intended and if I felt extremely good or extremely poor during a session.”
This method can help you stick to a training plan and ensure that you’re not neglecting any body parts. Bonus: It’ll also eliminate the downtime of searching through the endless list of Peloton classes right before a scheduled workout. Use those precious extra minutes to tack a five-minute strength or stretch class onto your stack instead!
How a Journal Helps
A fitness journal can help you maintain personal accountability, but that’s not the only reason to plan out and record your workouts. If you’re just starting a new exercise regimen, for example, you may find it beneficial to jot down training tips or other helpful notes. Take Marcel, who chose to journal at a transition point in her fitness: “I was done competing as a runner and wanted to strength train,” she says. “I followed tons of female bodybuilding athletes at the time, so I began to write down their workouts and take them to the gym with me.”
Journaling can also help you advance faster, as you’ll be better able to recognize your strengths as well as areas that need improvement. “I contribute my workout consistency to always having a plan and always being able to reflect on my progress,” Marcel says. “Without a formal coach present, I don’t believe I would have been able to do that without my fitness journal. It was my coach in a way.”
Becs, who started journaling when she was training for a marathon, also finds it helpful to include a variety of information beyond just her workout plan, such as how she felt or what she ate. “My journal gives me clarity on what works and what doesn’t work for me in terms of rest, food and intensity,” she says.
Keeping a fitness journal has even impacted how Becs and Marcel teach their Tread classes. “It allows me to reflect on the workouts I complete and feel gratitude for the program and my progress even when I’m exhausted, which are elements I encourage Members to remember when I teach,” Becs says.
For Marcel’s part, she likes to plan her classes similarly to how she plans her personal workouts: “I love to have classes build on previous classes so that you can see your progress,” she explains.
Do It Yourself
Ready to start your own fitness journal? Whether you’re writing everything down on paper or recording it in a spreadsheet or phone app, Becs recommends keeping it basic at first. “It doesn’t have to be a diary,” she says. “Start top line and informative.”
Remember: While you may enjoy sharing your stats and progress on the Leaderboard, you don’t need to share your journal with anyone else if you don’t want to. And no matter what you decide to record, the most important step is simply that you update your fitness journal consistently. “At the same time every week or month, sit down and write out what classes you plan to take for the entire week or month,” Marcel says. “The clearer the picture, the better.” You just might discover something new about yourself.
Trying to develop an exercise plan you’ll actually stick with? Read on for Marcel’s advice on building a routine that better serves you.