I'm not a big fan of new years resolutions. They are used as too much of an excuse for people to forget about their previous mistakes, instead of learning from them.
If you haven't gotten "into shape" these last couple of years you will probably not succeed this year neither. Unless you do something fundamentally different.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."
– Albert Einstein
So do something unusual this year!
I find it a perfect opportunity to stop and reflect on the past year and make adjustments for the next one. For lasting changes these adjustments should be small and not too numerous however.
Athlegan is all about helping others improve their fitness and I don't want for it to become too much about myself. In this case though, maybe it'll help if I share some about my own thought process for the previous and next year.
So here goes.
What's been good?
I participated in CrossFit Open 2015 and loved it! Managed my first muscle-up, did all the workouts RX, and overall I'm happy with my performance. Was a lot of fun and I learned something – I want to become much stronger.
Endurance and cardiovascular fitness is relatively easy to gain but strength takes a long, long time to build in comparison.
That's why after CrossFit Open 2015 I went on to focus my training exclusively on the StrongLifts program for two and a half months. My lifts improved a lot during that short time and I really enjoyed it.
After StrongLifts and switching from one CrossFit box to another, I focused on the olympic lifts: the snatch and the clean & jerk. This made a huge difference and they both went up considerably during these months.
Big (obvious) take-away: being consistent and focusing your training does give results.
What could've been better?
I only did StrongLifts for two and a half months and I wonder where I'd be if I'd continued that for another couple of months.
During summer I started tracking my food intake, to get a better idea of my TDEE and to make sure I got everything I needed. This only lasted a week though and as I've gotten good results from it before, I'd want to give that another try.
After a vacation in August I took very long to get back into training and healthy eating. I actually didn't until late November. This was probably a backlash from being very stringent with both during June and July.
What would I do differently?
During StrongLifts I ate everything I could get my hands on. Barring animal derived products of course.
This led to not only the weights on the bar going up but my own waist measure as well, which in turn led to me stopping StrongLifts prematurely and going back to a metcon heavy CrossFit regime.
I should have simply continued with StrongLifts but kept my diet under better control.
As for coming back after the break in August. I think I need to find a better middle path, instead of going extreme in one direction for a few months and then inevitably swinging back extremely in the opposite direction.
Goals for 2016
I believe goals are good for giving you something to aim for but that's where their usefulness stops.
Definitely start with a goal but then quickly break it down, so that you can plot a progress and form a plan to go with it.
If you want to go from a 100 kg squat to a 130 kg squat in half a year, that's five kilos per month, or a little over a kilo per month. Or if you want to lose ten kilos of fat over the coming quarter, you'll need to shed three kilos per month.
You can't control if you'll reach the goal or not. The only thing you can affect is whether you show up day after day and execute the plan.
I believe this is why a lot of people get discouraged. They dream big about the results they want but then reality hits and instead of readjusting they quit.
Think of it as a game of darts. Your goal – six pack abs or a 100 kg bench – is the dartboard and your aim is the plan to get you there. Once you throw the dart you'll see how good of a plan it is and depending on where you hit, you'll have to adjust your aim a bit.
Keep throwing and readjusting and finally you will hit bullseye.
This is how I try to use goals – only for plotting my course. Then I forget the destination in favor of focusing 100% on the journey there.
With that said, my goals for 2016 are as follows:
- Hit a 450 kg total in bench, squat and deadlift (powerlifting).
- Hit a 180 kg total in snatch and clean & jerk (weightlifting).
- Handstand walk ten meters.
- Read ten vegan fitness books.
- Participate in at least one BJJ or submission wrestling competition.
Edit: I wrote an update for these goals in my 2016 New Years Eve post.