Most fitness resources state the importance of keeping a log of your workouts as a way of maintaining adherance to your fitness program. While the log book is a useful means of recording the facts of a workout, for most people who struggle with fitness and nutrition emotions play a huge role in success or failure. As a personal trainer, I often recommend that my clients journal both exercise and eating habits. The key, however, is not just to write what type of exercise was done or what foods were eaten but to journal about how the activity and the food made you feel. By connecting the activities to the emotions, you can start to see patterns develop that will help you adhere to your resolutions.
For example, someone may have a strength training routine and the journal entry would read: “really difficult upper body session. More reps than I have done before. Thought my arms were going to fall off. But felt AMAZING and proud of myself afterwards.” That way, when they know they have another difficult workout to do another time, they have the proof that they can get the work done and feel great about it afterwards. Similarly, with eating, a habitual fast food eater may write: “caved and got a burger and fries for lunch. Tasted delicious and salty while I ate it, but that was three hours ago and it’s a rock in my stomach.” Perhaps that entry will help change habits the next time someone wants to grab a quck but unhealthy lunch.
The other aspect of journaling that I feel positively influences adherance is that it is private account. I do not review my client’s journals. The feedback I have received from operating this way is that people feel more free to be truly honest about how their workouts and eating are affecting their lives. In the end, even though people hire me to help improve their physical fitness, I know that the key to achieving that goal is in making lasting behavioral changes. Those changes can be made only when confronted with a willingness to admit human faults and the courage to try again. The journal also becomes a place where patterns of past behavior then translate into future goals.
When fitness and nutrition are understood as components of a wellness journey, the changes that one can make are broader and deeper than ever imagined.
Good health and great happiness to you.
After a big event like the half marathon, I like to take time to rest. This period of rest allows my body to recharge after months of focused training, and it allows my mind to reframe my priorities. At the end of the rest, I enjoy a renewed sense of purpose and store of energy.
I took a full week off of running. I might ordinarily only rest 4 or 5 days, but I was still feeling the effects of my bike crash, and I felt I needed to make sure I was healed. I began my workouts slowly, consciously feeling my muscles working and being mindfully grateful for their strength and power. It certainly helps that the weather has been lovely of late, and breathing deeply and running through spring breezes is nourishing.
I can’t lie– I’ve had a busier than normal past few weeks. The Bear’s Kindergarten year is wrapping up, and it seems there are now homework and activities and special presentations that require my attention and assistance. The Husband has been travelling two out of the last three weeks, and while that means more work on the home front for me, it also means The Monkey is quite needy. Add into the mix that I am working my old contract job right now as well, and I’m feeling pretty pressed. The rest period came at a most opportune time, as I needed to be able to reframe my priorities and reset the balance in my life.
To that end, I have interviewed and hired a new babysitter who will work a few hours a week now through the summer. That will give me focused time to work on my clients’ programs and maintian good communication with them. I also took a trapeze lesson this week; while carving two precious hours out of a jam-packed schedule took some higher math to achieve, I walked away feeling confident, capable, physically powerful, and happy. Also, I’ve spent some time with my fabrics and patterns and have a long list of sewing projects that await my attention– whenever the mood strikes.
I now feel ready to take on the next few weeks and months. This is a busy time of year for us. We’ve entered birthday season; and mother’s day/father’s day and anniversary season, too; we have six weeks until the end of school. But I feel ready. I’m rested, recharged, and ready to go.
I didn’t sleep well last night. Like many people with an early morning appointment, I was so afraid I’d oversleep that I hardly slept at all. I kept telling myself that I was prepared, so I just needed to relax and fall asleep.
I was up at 5.30– hardly an early morning around here, as The Monkey is usually up well before then–got dressed, packed up my things and set off for the park. Praying that I wouldn’t be the only one to show, I set up the stations for the circuit training workout I designed. As I completed the set-up, my neighbor M arrived. Then another neighbor who participated in my running clinic in October arrived. And then another woman, J, who came to the clinic arrived. Three participants! Success!
I commended them for showing up to a dark park at 6am on a cold December morning. After explaining the workout, we set off on a warm-up walk. The ladies chatted and I listened, happily, knowing that we would each be healthier thanks to the time we had together. I coached the women through a cardio and strength circuit, working the major muscle groups and keeping ourselves plenty warm. The hour passed quickly, with everyone completing exercises safely and orderly, and we sat down to stretch. It was, indeed, a well-balanced morning.
For me, though, the payoff came when J told me that my running clinic helped her shave two minutes off her daily three-mile run. Her excitement and pride were evident, and helping people find the thrill of fitness is what it’s all about for me.