(Enter to win a free JournalMenu Journal at the bottom of the article!)
There’s only one thing I wish I would have done differently when I started CrossFit. I wish I would have logged everything. Five months into CrossFit I found myself writing down my workouts on any random slips of paper I could find at the box. I’d cram the paper into the side pocket of my gym bag until I could barely zip it closed. I figured it was time to buy a small notebook.
Knowing my workout history came in handy. While other people couldn’t remember what weight they last used for thrusters, I would just pull out my notebook and check. It was also useful for increasing the weight I used in a WOD. If I’d been doing 55 lb cleans for awhile, I would try moving up to a heavier weight.
I have filled two notebooks full of WODs, PRs, notes, grime and drops of sweat. After a recent bout with Helen, I felt disappointed in my time – until I looked up my previous Helen. I had shaved off over three minutes in just five months.
When CrossFit West Nashville began using Wodify this summer, I entered my scores and weights into the new system. But my paper journal still stayed beside me at the weight rack and still contained my WOD times and notes. By the last page of my notebook, I’ve grown so attached to the ratty pages that I start writing in the corners and margins.
And then I found JournalMenu.
Not only did JournalMenu allow me to design my own cover (True Barbellion logo, of course), I could also choose whether I wanted added features like movement diagrams, benchmark WODs, Open and Games WODs, and also Nutrition guidelines. I was even able to request extra pages and a paper pocket. I felt a bit sad giving up my little notebook, but a custom WOD journal was too good to pass up.
Considering myself a WOD journal aficionado, I took my time considering the custom options. I went with the Competition version that contained the Open and Games WODs. And because I like to add a lot of notes, I chose the option of having one entry per page.
I uploaded the TB logo for my cover art, but if you don’t have a specific graphic in mind, JournalMenu offers many designs to choose from. You can even have your name (or whatever!) added to the cover.
Because of all the custom work, I thought it would take a while for my journal to arrive. But I heard from Erica at JournalMenu within an hour via email. She’d already received my order and wanted to suggest a background for my TB logo (I had chosen white). I loved her idea, and having her contact me with suggestions showed she took my order seriously.
The journal arrived within the week and it was so perfect that I hesitated to use it. For the first week, I showed everyone at my box. “Look, I have all the Open AND Games workouts…by year. Wanna see?” And, “Look! I have a custom True Barbellion WOD journal. How cool is that?” (It’s okay. CFWN is used to having an overbearing blogger hanging around.)
I was so impressed with my new WOD log that I wanted to find out more about the people behind JournalMenu. Erica Saint Clair was nice enough to take time to answer a few questions:
True Barbellion: What inspired the start of JournalMenu?
Erica: We started JournalMenu while we were at CrossFit Boston, both in grad school and toting a newborn baby. I ran a Paleo Challenge and created a 30 day book for all the participants to track their workouts and food in as part of the challenge. Turns out everyone loved them and the owner, Neal, came to us asking to create some for resale. Neal was basically the starting point for a ton of Boston based gyms, the owners of CrossFit Southie, CrossFit Lando, CrossFit Fenway, Charles River CrossFit, CrossFit Sommerville…they all started training there and saw the journals we made for Neal. Before we knew it word of mouth had spread and we were making journals along the Eastern seaboard and realized that we were actually a business.
TB: Who is behind JournalMenu?
Erica: There are just two of us behind Journal Menu. My husband, Evan, works with the affiliates to create sets of journals tailored to their programming and branding for resale while I work with all of the individual orders. We manage everything from the ground up – sourcing paper, printing and cutting the journals, shipping, IT, social media, sponsorships, photography and any other nuts and bolts. I’m pretty sure that on any given day we wear about ten different hats!
TB: What is your favorite thing about JournalMenu?
Erica: My favorite thing about JournalMenu is the custom covers. I love working with individuals and creating something that they are in love with at the end. Often I get emails like “I’m not creative” or “I don’t know how to design anything” and it is rewarding to take them through the process and get them to a point where they say “Wow, I never would have thought I could make something so cool!”
TB: Any new ideas in the works?
Erica: We’ve got a pregnancy journal that we are working on. I took a ton of photos of how to scale various movements throughout pregnancy to help mamas to-be stay fit, so now I just need to edit them and get them into our existing baby bump journal. We are also creating an obstacle course racing journal and a mobility journal for the holiday season so, yeah, there is a lot in the works at the moment!
TB: You include a lot of motivational writing with your products. What’s your favorite quote?
Erica: “Always look on the bright side of life” – I got this from my dad (although its also a Monty Python song) – he was constantly reminding me that no matter how bad something seems, there is always a silver lining. I pretty much live by it, no matter what comes our way I can find something good about it and that is what really keeps me going.
Time to replace your journal? Want to start journaling? True Barbellion and JournalMenu are giving away a free custom journal! Enter below or on my Facebook page.