Best Fitness Journals

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
481 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best fitness journals

Last Updated July 2020

When you embark on a fitness journey, you encounter several checkpoints along the way: goals, challenges, or even a change of plans. Track your path — no matter where it takes you — in a fitness journal.

Fitness journals are self-paced, self-reflective tools. They serve as a platform for the mind-body experience as you work toward your fitness goals. You can track your progress, write your thoughts, or make lists for meal planning or exercising. Whether you’re training for a competition, trying to lose or gain weight, or simply focusing on your health, a fitness journal is a great companion.

If you’re ready to put pen to paper in a fitness journal, keep reading our buying guide. We’re sharing an overview of features to compare, recommending a few of our favorites, plus offering a couple journaling tips along the way.

When you incorporate new exercises into your routine, write how they make you feel in your fitness journal. This lets you assess whether they’re a worthy new addition or if you’re better off sticking to similar ones you like better.

Key considerations

Who benefits from using a fitness journal?

Competitors: Bodybuilders, marathon runners, and professional athletes are just some examples of fitness competitors who use journals. The books provide an ideal way to track minor and major changes that impact progress and help keep athletes on track for competition day.

People who want to lose or gain weight: Those on programs to lose or gain weight also use fitness journals. They’re helpful for keeping track of mindsets and behaviors that play a role in one’s relationship with food and fitness. Many individuals also maintain fitness journals to share with their doctors and therapists for regular assessments.

Individuals in rehabilitation: People in rehab programs, especially those who have undergone major surgery, maintain fitness journals to chart progress. They’re able to set realistic goals with the physicians and physical therapists involved in their care, and the journal can highlight weekly progress, even if it’s gradual or incremental.

What do fitness journals track?

Goals: Every fitness journal has a place to record your goals. These can be written daily, weekly, or even monthly. Goal tracking, by far, is the important section of your fitness journal. It’s what continues to inspire you throughout your journey and serves as a helpful reminder that you’re working toward something attainable.

Thoughts: Fitness journals typically have an area for daily or weekly reflections. Some journals are heavily focused on the writing experience, so lines or blank areas make up the bulk of each page. In others, this area is limited to a couple lines or a small box because the focus is on higher-order items.

Exercise: Fitness journals that are exercise-centric include tables, boxes, or charts. They help you track individual exercises, namely reps, sets, and weight. These journals are incredibly helpful for professional competitors developing their physique, as well as those new to training who need an approachable breakdown of the exercises.

Food: Food tracking and meal planning play important roles in your fitness journey. There are specialized fitness journals to make tracking easy, which have a format similar to exercise journals. They usually feature tables to track macros, daily food intake, calorie counts, BMI, and regular weigh-ins.

DID YOU KNOW?

Research shows that committing to a new habit for 28 days means you’re more likely to maintain it over the long term. Stick to your fitness journey for a month, logging it daily in your fitness journal, and you’ll be surprised and inspired by your results.

Features

Layout

The layout of a fitness journal depends on its content. If it is meant to hold numbers, chances are it includes graphs, grids, charts, or tables. Fitness journals with a focus on writing your thoughts have a traditional orientation with lines or dedicated writing boxes. Most fitness journals, however, are a hybrid of both layouts.

Binding

Generally speaking, fitness journals are either spiral-bound or perfect-bound — glued like a paperback book. Spiral bindings made from plastic are less likely to be warped or crushed than wire spiral bindings. Paperback journals can be difficult to write in unless you break the spine, but sometimes that can cause pages to fall out.

Duration

Fitness journals are used for isolated periods of time, ranging from a month to a year. There are also some 90- and 180-day journals, too. These don’t usually follow a calendar; rather, you can fill in the dates with each entry. Effectively, that means a 90-day journal can last much longer than a few months.

If you’re not seeing a consistent drop in your weight, consider logging your measurements in your fitness journal instead. While your weight might not change much, the composition of your body might be changing, meaning your clothes will begin to fit differently.

Fitness journal prices

Fitness journals range in price from $8 to $40, depending on how elaborate the layout is, as well as the quality of materials.

Inexpensive: Fitness journals priced $15 and less tend to be geared toward basic journal writing and minimal recording of daily exercises or food intake. They’re often decorative or embossed and made from leather or PU vinyl.

Mid-range: If you spend between $15 and $25, you can find fitness journals with itemized layouts. These are mostly geared toward recording exercises and food and tend to look like spiral-bound textbooks.

Expensive: Fitness journals priced $25 and above include those geared toward intricate tracking of macros and exercises and include detailed logs with other information. More often than not, they’re used by professional or competitive athletes.

DID YOU KNOW?

Many individuals undergoing bariatric surgery are encouraged by physicians, therapists, and trainers to keep a fitness journal. Not only is it a helpful tool to stay on track with weight loss goals, but it’s also a self-reflective exercise that can promote better body image and better relationships with food.

Tips

  • Take a few minutes to write in your journal. It’s easy to let time get away from you, but to stay on top of your goals, take a few minutes every day to complete your fitness journal.
  • Keep a pen on hand. If you spend a lot of time on the go, you’ll need to bring your fitness journal with you, so be sure to carry a pen.
  • Write your contact information inside the journal. If you misplace your fitness journal, the finder can return it to you.

Other products we considered

If you’re looking for a no-frills journal, we like the Fitness Logbook Undated Workout Journal. At 6 x 8 inches, it’s easy to fit in the pocket of your hoodie or gym bag. It contains 130 workout templates that let you log sets, reps, tempo, and rest times. Lightweight yet durable with a laminated cover, it’s a must-have for every serious gym rat.

If you’re ready for a 12-week health overhaul, we like the Rockridge Press 12-Week Fitness Journal. This well-rounded book takes a simple inventory at the beginning of your journey. Every week thereafter, you’re able to plan meals and workouts around your schedule. It even lets you score yourself on goals daily, so it’s easy to make adjustments to exercise and nutrition when necessary.

When you forget your fitness journal at home, email your daily entry to yourself. You can fill it in later, and you won’t need to scramble to remember details or information.

FAQ

Q. Do I need a personal trainer if I’m using a fitness journal to keep me on top of goals?
A.
A fitness journal isn’t a replacement for a personal trainer. In fact, if you’re working with a personal trainer already, they might even recommend using one. Not only will it help you stay on track with your nutrition and fitness goals, but you can share it with your trainer who can note progress and identify areas for improvement.
 

Q. I never remember to fill out my fitness journal. How do I stay committed to logging information regularly?
A.
Your best bet is to set a daily timer on your smartphone as a reminder. You can set it up early in the morning before getting too caught up in your daily schedule. Another option is to set your timer for the evening and incorporate journaling into your bedtime routine.
 

Q. Can’t I just use an app instead of a fitness journal?
A.
You can, but the actual process of writing down information is highly personal and takes a level of commitment. Writing in your journal also means you have a brief opportunity to step away from digital distractions while you focus on your health. Some people use apps in conjunction with their fitness journals, especially when it comes to logging daily calorie intake. This provides a quick roundup of information that leaves you more time to write your thoughts and feelings.
 

Q. Why are fitness journals so much more expensive than regular journals?
A.
Regular journals are simply blank pages, whereas fitness journals are far more detailed with unique layouts. If you’re on a tight budget, you could just use a regular journal, but you might be hard-pressed to maintain organization page to page. While fitness journals cost quite a bit more, it’s well worth the investment for a convenient, uniform layout.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Sian
    Sian
    Writer

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