Fitness is a goal-oriented pursuit that encompasses a lifetime of effort. Goals are broken down into milestones you achieve to get to them. Are you tracking your progress?

A fitness journal records not just your goals, but the session-by-session progress you make to get there. They are a power motivator, and they give you hard data on your workouts.

A VR fitness journal combines these best practices, but tracks your progress in VR. We think it’s a valuable tool in self-improvement and development, the way a professional might bullet journal to stay on task. If you want to stay disciplined, a fitness journal is a powerful tool.

Here are seven reasons we think you ought to have one.

Reason 1: Scheduling Sessions

Writing something down adds accountability to your actions. It sounds unbelievable but it’s true. The action of keeping a to-do list is well known in productivity circles. Once you’ve written it down, it’s got to get done.

Let’s start with some small entries:

  • Schedule VR time the way you schedule a call or a meeting
  • Schedule a game to play so you have something to look forward to
  • Jot down your warmup routine before you enter VR (like stretches, hydration, etc)

Making a point to create new entries motivates the next session. Don’t get wrapped up in how you document this, but you can use the Bullet Journal format if you’d like an easy place to start.

Reason 2: Commit to Goals

“Get Fit” is an admirable but massive goal. How many of us have said this to ourselves? I always think about watching my friends get in shape for their weddings. Somehow, we manage to set attainable goals under deadline and for good reason.

So, let’s use our journal to set some deadlines and show some realistic progress. Here’s an 8-week course we created that you can use as a guideline.

Entries that force you to commit to goals include:

  • Accomplish a particular challenge or fitness hack
  • Beat a tough opponent
  • Play for a set amount of time

Outside VR, let’s consider goals like eating better or scheduling our cheat days so we take less of them. This way, we’re building toward progress in VR, but we’re taking concrete steps toward improving our lifestyle as well.

Reason 3: Track Your Progress

The point of a journal is to build data on your workout. Much like progression in game design, we’re aiming to identify the best ways to game our fitness goals and achieve them faster. As a secondary goal, we’ll be able to chart which games have the biggest impact to our weight loss or muscle building goals.

A sample of recent statistics taken from SynthRiders and captured via FitBit Charge 2

We suggest a fitness tracker, and most of our staff uses some form of the FitBit. Major data points you should track include:

  • Workout time
  • Calories burned
  • Heart rate
  • Games played
  • Day of the week, time of day
  • Food for the day
  • Hydration

You should also consider tracking other data points related to your lifestyle. Some ideas include:

  • Calorie counts
  • Future meal plans
  • Future workout ideas

Reason 4: Track Successes and Setbacks

When I first started, I had a hard time beating Thrill of the Fight opponents on harder difficulties. Games use achievements to track your progress, but you might have noticed none exist in The Thrill of the Fight. I began tracking who I was able to beat,my score cards, and my percentage of knockouts to TKOs. I maintained my motivation by trying to improve these key stats.

The Thai Spider is a real challenge for many players. Credit to: Thrill of the Fight/Ian Fitz

Tracking your goals is helpful at a larger scale, so you may want to consider breaking your journal down into months. Place them at the beginning of your journal, so you’re always reminded of them when you’ve hit a wall and you’re wondering what to work on next.

Reason 5: Record Your Time Outside VR

Your daily routine outside VR is going to determine the gains you’ve made within. Just like hitting the gym, you need to work on yourself from a holistic standpoint if you want to see great improvements.

You should track data points like

  • Time spent in REM sleep
  • Diet
  • Favorite Games
  • Fun trips you’ve gone on or plan to go

Try and correlate your time spent outside with your goal setting. Are you noticing an improvement in your energy levels? Are you feeling less winded going upstairs? Small motivational notes to yourself are great ways to keep the workout mentality strong.

Reason 6: Feedback and Ideas

I talk to developers a lot. I write for VRFI, I have a fascination for what they do, and most of them are great people to talk to. When they do things I like, I try and leave them reviews or feedback to let them know their game is working.

Help developers improve and refine the experiences you love the most by jotting them down. Later, put that feedback into a forum post or a review.

You can also assist in bug tracking if you’ve got an attention to detail. When something doesn’t work as intended, check to see if you can recreate the steps. Write down everything you did that led to the unexpected behavior. Post those details to the forum, along with the specs of your machine, and see if others experience the same behavior. The developer will appreciate your feedback, and will probably fix these bugs in future updates

Reason 7: Game Knowledge

eSports is growing and opportunities exist in VR. Competitors share prize pools ranging around $200,000, but there are streaming and events to consider as well. Sponsorship unlocks a new world for those serious enough about the game.

That said, there are everyday reasons to improve and writing down your best strategies helps you get there. One of the most common ways to improve is by teaching winning strategies to friends, who force you to adapt and overcome your own best work.

You’ll learn the game, often improving your efficiency and your ability to tackle harder bosses. Write down specific dangers to look out for, and puzzle out particularly difficult sequences. You can share this game knowledge on forums as well, where you make new connections and establish yourself as a top player.

BONUS: Manage Downtime

Use WiseMind to meditate before bed or do some tai chi to soothe your body. Credit to: REALITEER Corp.

Data points about downtime tell us how hard we can push our bodies, and how quickly we can recover. They help us recognize our limits.

Bruce Lee wrote the outline for the Tao of Jeet Kun Do in his downtime after he’d suffered a broken back in training. Like Lee, you can stay motivated by plotting your future sessions and making notes on your optimal routine.

You might track LISS games you can play as you regain mobility.

Keep a VR Fitness Journal

Your VR fitness journal is a powerful tool in improving your existing fitness routine, and your life. Those lifestyle adjustments that people say are necessary for complete fitness become much easier when you can track your progress and plot ahead.

Mostly, your fitness journal is an important step toward committing to VR Fitness.