Accountability. It one of the hardest things to maintain when you’re creating your exercise habit. That’s one reason many people seek out a personal trainer; in addition to the expertise, they serve as a check-in to make sure you stick to your goals.
Do I think personal trainers are great? Of course! p.s. I’m biased because I am one.
But do I also think it’s possible to make a plan and stay accountable all on your own?
You just need the proper tools!
Nowadays, everything’s about fitness apps. But just like good old-fashioned snail mail, I think there’s a lot of value to literally writing things down on a hard copy piece of paper. It’s tangible. And a lot harder to ignore.
For that reason, I’m a big supporter of notebooks and journals. You can find them all over my apartment with different uses for each one. I write down my to-do lists, my long-term goals, my short-term goals, my ideas, quotes for inspiration, and – of course – my fitness goals and accomplishments.
So today I’m sharing with you the best fitness planners I’ve come across. I obviously haven’t used all of them, but I scoured the web for those that have a brilliant layout and top reviews.
Because a perfect exercise journal can make all the difference.
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Best Fitness Planners
This planner on Etsy is by SaraMichelleMartin and is phenomenal. Riddled with inspirational quotes throughout, it allows you to make goals, list daily challenges, track measurements, and log food. It’s the perfect comprehensive planner…plus it’s just so pretty!
This planner is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon and I could instantly see why. There’s a lot of room to put details about each of your workouts as well as a place to write out your exercise routines. While it’s certainly more exercise-focused, there is a place on each page to make some nutrition notes.
Another big bonus is that this planner gives you lots of exercises for targeting different body parts. So not only will you stay on top of your workouts, you’ll also have a helpful resource when it’s time to switch them up.
This planner is a printable (meaning you download and print it out yourself). It has great reviews because this printable is beautifully organized. With trackers for your daily, weekly, and monthly fitness, all the accountability you need are in these pages.
This is another printable and is great for weight loss. It has helpful graphs for tracking your weight, as well as both daily and weekly journal pages. I like that it even has a spot for writing down your grocery list!
This printable bundle has 3 pages: a 31 day workout planner, a 12 week stats tracker, and a 12 week workout tracker. I love it because it’s long-term but still lets you track the important daily details.
While this printable is just for exercise tracking, IndigoPrintables has tons more on Etsy that can track nutrition as well.
Best Lined Notebooks
Since some people prefer simple, lined notebooks for jotting down their workouts, I also decided to include a few of my favorites. I love how each of these are simple, but can be personalized or have a beautiful design that makes them a bit special. Their unformatted pages allow you to plan and track your workouts in whatever way you like!
Moleskine Classic Hard Cover Notebook from Amazon
How to Use a Fitness Planner
Fitness planners, if they’re good, all have the same basic elements:
- A place to write your workout every day
- A place for various notes – how you were feeling, what you ate, how you slept, etc.
Think about the things that are important for YOU to track. You absolutely don’t have to keep track of everything in your planner. For example, if you’re not trying to lose weight, just put a line through the spot for weight updates. If you’re beginning with just cardio (no weight training), cross out the part for strength exercises.
The planner is yours to customize! Make it work for you!
Begin with Goals
No matter the fitness planner you choose, I always recommend writing down your goals. And having a clear “why” is the key to success.
For example, this year my “why” is that I want to feel physically strong. So my goal is to do strength training 4x per week.
Have you heard about SMART goals? These are simply goals that are written out with a clear aim. SMART is an acronym for goals that are:
So rather than say I want to lift weights more, I say I want to lift weights 4x per week – and even more specifically, completing 3 sets of 10 reps of at least 4 exercises.
There you go. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
I’d also recommend making some long-term goals with short-term goals of how you’re going to achieve them.
Say I want to use 20 lbs for my bicep curls by the end of the year. My short-term goal may be to perform bicep curls 3x per week, increasing the weight by 1 lb every 2 weeks. I made that up on the fly, but you get the gist.
Write a Workout Plan at the Beginning of Every Week
This is a good way for you to think ahead and schedule your workouts around other things. Just like you would attend other meetings and appointments, always attend your workouts!
Log What You Did Every Single Day
Don’t let a day go by without writing down what you did. If you missed your workout that day, jot down why so you can learn from it and schedule better in the future.
Do a Weekly Check-In
When you write out your schedule for the next week, reflect on the past week: what went well, what could’ve been improved, etc. It’s time to make note of whether you hit your goals. If you did – good for you! If not – what can you change next week to achieve them? Weekly check-ins are a MUST for accountability.
Take a moment to look through all the planners/notebooks above and pick the one that’s best for you. While you can always adapt it to your needs, it’s best to find one that aligns with your goals.
If you try one out, let me know how you like it!
Do you have any fitness goals you’re currently working towards? I’d love to hear in the comments below!