Do you wonder how much time you spend exercising? Are you wondering if your fitness has improved through exercise? Tracking your fitness activity through an online training log helps you understand your fitness activity, and provides motivation and accountability. An online training log can also give you the tools to achieve your health and fitness goals by accurately planning, tracking, and analyzing your daily exercise.
Numbers do not lie; they tell a story, provide insight, and can effect change. We already plan, track and analyze many areas of our life every day, and use the information to make decisions. Why should health and fitness be any different? Accurately tracking, planning, and analyzing exercise removes the emotion and the assumption, by simply providing the facts.
Tracking your physical activity has become easier as the “health and fitness” digital market has exploded with new devices and fitness tracking applications. These trackers provide cost-effective tools to track activity, vitals, and environmental conditions. Daily totals for steps taken, miles run, stairs climbed, average heart rate, and hours slept are a few examples of metrics collected by these devices and applications.
The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas recently developed a program dedicated entirely to the digital fitness movement. Companies such as Garmin, FitBit, Withings, and Nike are leading the “Quantified Self” movement. Websites and applications take the data created by these devices and applications and present it in a format that gives the user a better understanding of their daily activity and fitness. This data is used to understand daily activity, progress or decline in activity, and fitness improvements as a result of the activity. Collecting data produced by these devices and applications, and making that data available in a single view, is one of the benefits gained from using an online training log.
An online training log allows you to set measurable goals. In order to improve your overall physical performance and health and fitness it is important to understand both training successes and failures as you work towards your goals. Setting attainable goals and tracking your progress provides motivation, accountability, and consistency throughout your training. Long-term goals, such as completing a race under a certain time, can be set along with short-term goals (such as riding a certain number of miles in a week). Each goal that is reached provides motivation towards the next goal and improves the fitness experience.
An online training log allows you to understand your fitness progress and results. Tracking your health and fitness provides a baseline to build on and allows measurable goals to reach. Once a fitness baseline is established, individually or with a coach, a training plan can be created to improve upon the baseline and achieve goals that have been set. The plan can be reviewed daily and modified based on the results from the workouts. Results can be captured and entered in to a workout log from devices, applications, or manual input.
Comparing similar workouts and routes week-to-week or year-to-year can illustrate a growth or decline in your fitness. Was the improvement in time or distance due to weight loss, increased training, a better diet? Was a decline due to over-training, weight gain, lack of daily activity? Tracking the different data points helps you understand the “why and how” of the occurring changes. Understanding the data through analysis is not a difficult task and does not require an advanced degree. It can be achieved using a site or service that allows for planning and tracking of fitness goals. Without a planning and tracking mechanism there is no way to understand the changes and why the changes occurred.
An online training log motivates the athlete. Motivation can be fickle; what motivates us today may be gone tomorrow. The decision of whether to get out of bed or miss a 5:00 AM interval workout is made very easily and may rest on your motivation. Do you see results? Do you want to build on these results? These results can be understood easily if each workout is tracked and analyzed. The more details captured in the training log, the better your understanding of your progress, which in turn helps provide motivation. Recognizing that dedication and work results in a positive change motivates you to engage in physical activity.
Tracking your daily health and fitness in an online training log holds you accountable to achieve both your short and long-term goals. Are you hitting the goals you set? It is easy to reflect on a week and “guestimate” the fitness for the week. What your mind tells you and what you actually accomplished may be very different. Tracking your fitness provides a record of what you actually accomplished, which is critical in reaching your goals. Whether you follow a training plan or simply exercise and track the results, being able to track and view the results holds you accountable.
It does not matter if you are training for a marathon, attempting your first 5k, or simply exercising — planning and tracking your daily activity is a valuable way to improve your fitness. Using an online training log to self-train, group train, or train with a coach provides a platform to improve the health and fitness experience. A training log provides you with the “big picture” and provides critical information about your training. This “big picture” is valuable in improving your health and fitness because it provides motivation, insight, and accountability to reach your goals!