How to Start a Fitness Bullet Journal
Have you ever heard of a Bullet Journal or BuJo for short? Created by Ryder Carroll it’s basically a do-it-yourself planner/diary where you keep track of tasks, calendar items and goals that you want to focus on. My personal bullet journal also includes an ample amount of doodling and helps me to justify reasons to use colored pencils and washi tape.
BuJo is pretty addictive. The first pages are supposed to be your index pages, a sort of Table of Contents that corresponds to the page numbers in the book. Beyond there you create whatever works for you. I quickly discovered that one bullet journal just wasn’t going to cut it for my life, so I started three: one for fitness, one for business and one for homeschooling. Since this is a fitness blog, let’s focus on that one. Here’s a video showing the way I organized my book and a brief synopsis of their content below.
Pages In My Fitness Bullet Journal
- Calendar – I do a yearly calendar as well as monthly calendars so I can look at things coming up.
- Weekly calendar – this includes client workouts, blog deadlines for Bowflex, family stuff and my own workouts.
- Goals – I have annual fitness goals and then choose monthly goals that (in theory) help me reach the big annual goals.
- Monthly measurements – This is to hold myself accountable. Deep down I already know when I’ve been slacking off or working hard but sometimes it’s good to just see the raw data on paper.
- Meal planner – Left to my own devices I would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and popcorn all day. Also, sometimes I have the very best intentions to eat a well balanced diet but my reality is way different. By writing down what I truly eat I can spot trends and fix trouble spots in my diet. Maybe I’m eating too close to bedtime or maybe I’ve skipped the protein from breakfast and am starving by mid-morning. Seeing daily entries helps with that.
- Posing reps – When you are in a bodybuilding competition, the poses can make the difference between 1st and 2nd place, so I like to practice my stage walk literally hundreds of times before the competition. Sometimes I write /// and as I complete a set I go back and cross it to make an X. This was a technique Arnold Schwarzenegger used during his bodybuilding days. This time around I tried numbering boxes and coloring them in. Honestly, I prefer the X’s. I’ll do that next time.
- Daily exercises – When I was training for my first competition I was religious about righting down my workouts, which became quite useful to track my strength. I slacked off over time, so it’s kind of fun/nostalgic to start this process again.
- Sleep tracker – When you are trying to build muscle sleep is crazy important for recovery purposes. The guy who trained Henry Cavill for Super Man wouldn’t agree to train him unless he agreed to get at least 10 hours sleep per night during the hypertrophy phase. Through my own non-scientific sleep tracker I discovered that I sleep about 5-6 hours per night and take about three 15-minute naps throughout the day. That’s not really working for me. At some point I will figure out a solution for this but in the meantime it’s helpful just to have basic data.
- Weekly check-in – This is actually the most important part of the journal. Goals are great, but if you’re not checking back in with yourself to see whether or not you’ve made progress, what’s the point, right? I have to balance my own reactions between letting myself off too easy and going hardcore drill sergeant on myself.
Thus far I’ve only kept the fitness bullet journal during competition prep, since fitness was forefront on my mind. During the off season I let everything slide because all that journaling is time consuming. In idea circumstances I would do all my journal planning pages on Sundays and write up food/exercise/etc. entries throughout each day. In reality though, I managed to update it twice a week while my kids did their Tae Kwon Do classes.
I think I’m ready to jump back into the BuJo game. How about you? Have you ever tried a Bullet Journal?
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Lisa Traugott is a personal trainer, Mom’s Choice Award writer, original cast member of FOX/John Cena’s “American Grit” and has a monthly fitness column on Bowflex.com. She won Ms. Costa Rica Sports Model 2017 and her transformation story was featured in Muscle & Fitness Hers, Good Day Austin, Great Day Houston and Texas Monthly. She blogs at ShesLosingIt.com and is passionate about her clients.
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