2017 was overall a great year for me fitness wise. Although I’m not currently at any sort of record low (long way to go for that) I’m arguably in the best shape of my life. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, and likely a bit faster too, and my stamina is great. Let’s take a quick review of where we’re at and where we’re going in 2018.
For my entire life I’ve dreamed of being the guy who got up early and worked out, and now I’m finally there. I get up every day around 5 and work out for 40-60 minutes. It’s a great habit, and one I am particularly proud of. I’ve also generally been going to the gym on the weekends, which was a newer habit I’m happy with.
Besides this I’ve also slowly trained my body to be comfortable with less food. Let’s be clear, I am by no measure starving myself, but in past years it wouldn’t be unusual for me to be eating 1000 calories per meal - now I’m more comfortable with 250-750, depending on the meal. Breakfast and lunch tend to be a bit lighter, whereas dinner a bit heavier.
I also picked up weight lifting, a wonderful habit I’m very happy to have. I’m still working at building strength and comfort with these complex movements, but I’m very happy with the progress I’m seeing.
For 2018 I mostly want to continue these. Near the end of 17 I was getting up a bit later and spending closer to 30 minutes in the gym, so I’d like to build that habit back up to being at the gym at 5, not leaving the house at 5. My food habits similarly slipped a bit, and I plan to get back to being more disciplined in 18. For weight lifting, I intend to continue building on that. More on that in a moment.
I started 2017 doing body weight workouts, which was a great intro to the overall world of fitness, and helped me lose the first 15 or so pounds. It had the advantage of being cheap as well, which was (and is still of course) a concern. I found myself getting a bit bored with these though, and craving some greater challenges, as well as finding a good deal on a gym membership to a nearby spot. So I transitioned from body weight workouts to Stronglifts 5x5 program, and incorporated more straight cardio in the form of treadmills, stair climbers, ellipticals and arc trainers.
In 2018 I intend to continue to evolve my training based on these starts. I have no real specific goals here - I’m not training FOR anything really. I don’t particularly want to run a marathon or join a lifting competition. I’m training to be a better version of myself really, plain and simple. I’d like to be able to run further and faster, and be able to lift heavier things in my daily life.
I will continue with the Stronglifts program, because I enjoy the simple movements, but I will keep an eye out for a new program that many speak to me. I don’t know necessarily what that would look like, but I will keep my eyes open. I welcome any comments on programs that may have worked for you! Right now I lift Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and I see no reason to change that.
I’d like to be a little more comfortable running, so I intend to try and make Tuesdays and Thursdays dedicated running days, and go for longer, 30-60 minute runs on the treadmill. I suppose if I had to set a goal, it would be to run a 5k nonstop at a reasonable pace. Perhaps it may be worth looking into the Couch to 5K program, but as I’m restricted to a treadmill for the next few months, I may just stick to doing my best to build up on that.
One thing I’m toying with working on is building in a rest day. Right now I’m doing something every day of the week, which I enjoy, but I wonder if I’m not pushing my body too hard. The Saturday/Sunday gym visits tend to be a bit more relaxed, but I wonder if a dedicated rest day wouldn’t be a bad idea, if only to learn to trust myself that a day off won’t kill me and make me suddenly lose all progress. I’m still toying with this one.
In 2017 I lost, overall, around 25lbs. This has bounced around a lot (and considering the last few days, may be closer to 20 now!). This was a slower rate overall than 2016, where I lost 15lbs in 6 months. There are a lot of factors here. I had some periods of overeating and over drinking, due to stress and sometimes just due to nothing at all but momentum - I was already doing it so I might as well. I think it likely there’s been some body recomposition going on too. I can feel my muscles increasing in size since the beginning of 2017, and I know that’s been happening.
My hope is to go more consistently down this year, and reach my goal weight of 150. Right now I’m hovering around 190, so this should be doable, given a conservative 1lb a week loss, though I’m hoping for closer to 2. In order to achieve this I’m debating giving up alcohol for the first month of the year, just to kick start things a bit, but otherwise I intend to be more intentional with my eating, and make sure I have health snacks on hand at all times. Try and replace chips with popcorn, chocolate with protein bars, etc. Controlling my drinking will be part of this. If I gave it up entirely I’d be at goal weight in a couple months, I’m sure, but I also have to enjoy my life. But I need to find a path to being more controlled with regards to that aspect. It’s all connected really. I have some thoughts on that (see my post on my personal blog on the watchword for this year: intention) but as always it will absolutely be a moving target.
Overall I feel good about the progress I made this year, and I’m hopeful for the next one. I hope you’ll join me in this journey! Would love to hear from any of you about your progress for 2017 and your goals for 2018!