Eat More. Be More.

So I Didn’t Completely Fail in 2014

Today is January 9th, so if you made a resolution to get fit, you may actually still be on track. If so, keep going. If not, get on it NOW! You still have 97.5% of the year left. I started about this time last year (“Why I Started Crossfit”). My first Elements class (On-Ramp, whatever your Crossfit Box calls it) was on January 7th, so Wednesday was my one year anniversary. What a year it has been. The day before, on day 365, I completed my 150th workout!

Flickr image by Runar Eilertsen

Flickr image by Runar Eilertsen

I seriously doubted my ability to stay with it. I’d tried countless times before and never made it more than six weeks. The last year was supposed to be about weight loss. In retrospect, that became the secondary theme. If I had to pick a word to describe the past year, it would be “knowledge”. Here are a few of the things I learned.

The Number One Goal

The single most important thing I leaned this year was also my highest priority goal. I figured out how to silence that voice in my head that tells me to quit and give up when it gets tough. Hands down, that was my biggest obstacle. You’ve probably seen the quote in the picture below. That was exactly what always happened to me. I’d let my head override my body and end up convincing myself I couldn’t run those few extra meters, or get 3 more reps at the end.

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For the first six months, I felt like I was just trying to survive the workouts. I’d spend the first half worrying about the METCON and telling myself there was no way I’d be able to finish it all, but I’d do what I could. I’d drop reps, do half reps, and anything else to ease up. Coming from a completely sedentary lifestyle it felt like I was really pushing it. Until I realized I wasn’t.

The first key to change was coming up with a question I’d ask myself. When I needed to stop, I’d ask myself if I was stopping because I needed to, or because I was tired and wanted to rest. Usually, it was the latter. So I’d take a break, and follow Rich’s advice to “get back on the bar before you’re ready”. If my head said take 10 seconds to rest, I’d take 7. Then it became 5, then 4. When I told myself to get 3 more reps before breaking, I’d try for 5 instead. Some days I literally couldn’t do 5 without a break, so I’d do 3. But I pushed.

Once I got better at that I decided to change my mindset. I committed to giving everything I can in every workout. This doesn’t always mean going full out. Some days I just don’t have it. I’m tired, weak, my diet’s off and I have no energy, etc. But I give all I have on that specific day, barring anything that felt like it would be dumb to press on.

Flickr image by Josefina Casals

Flickr image by Josefina Casals

I’m learning to listen to my body. I know more about when to push through something that’s uncomfortable, and how to tell if it’s something that could become an injury. I’ve been having some issues with my Achilles. Some days I feel okay to run, and some I don’t. Last Tuesday I felt like I could run the laps, but the 800m run would have left me hobbled for a week.

I also make sure to sub if I can’t do something. Can’t run? Get on the rower. Can’t do air squats in the WOD, sub in sit ups. Move. Get tired. Do work. Get better. You’ll never get another chance to make today’s progress.

Other Things I’ve Learned

  • Find a system/plan that works for you
  • Have a support system. Workout partner, spouse, etc.
  • Forget ego. Build a strong foundation, and work smart.
  • Focus on one day at a time.
  • What gets measured gets improved.
  • Proper technique serves many purposes.
  • When you constantly eat healthy, you can tell how different foods affect your performance.
  • Motivations change. Why you start, may not be what keeps you going in six months. Use whatever motivation propels you forward.

The Results

I had a goal to lose 70 lbs. I got to 63 lbs and leveled out. I could have probably tweaked things and tightened my diet back up to hit that goal, but as I said, goals change. To get to this point, I had dropped my carbs and calories way down. This robbed my energy and strength. My eating plan has now changed to reflect my goals for 2015, and I am feeling so much better during my workouts.

Here are my numbers for the year that show what my PRs were in January 2014 and then in December. As you can tell, you can’t get a whole lot stronger beyond a certain point if you aren’t putting enough fuel into your body. Still, it’s a great foundation for 2015. I feel like the pump is primed and now I’m ready to do real work.

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2015 Goals

I used the numbers above to set some goals for the year. I’m not going to share most of those here, because I doubt you really care. But I will tell you, I feel like they are aggressive. Self-doubt still haunts me and I don’t know that I can do it, but I’m determined to find out. If I don’t hit my goals, it WILL NOT be from a lack of effort. The give up mentality is gone.

What I did find interesting was, after listing all of my goals, not a single one is scale-related. I still have quite a bit of fat to lose, but that should be a byproduct of the work I put in. I have no target. It is what it is. My progress will be measured by my ability to lift and my increased work capacity. I will still have my body fat percentage and weight checked, but it isn’t the primary focus this year. Getting better is…

On To The New Year

This year I got kipping pull ups and strict chin ups (reverse grip) when I started with jumping pull ups since I couldn’t do them even with a band. In 2015, I will do 5 unbroken strict pull ups and 10 strict chin ups. I also will string together 20 kipping pull ups. I will string together 20 double unders where currently I can only do one at a time. I am going to double my best handstand walk from 18′ to 36′. I will get 5 consecutive rope climbs and run an unbroken mile. And by the end of December I will be able to do a pistol on each leg.

This is a just sample of the things I learned about myself, fitness, nutrition, and what I can do this year. I now have the experience to say that it can be done. Heck, I was one of the most out of shape people I know, so if I can do it, you can too.

Now it’s up to yet to get moving. You still have 97% of the year left. Great changes can be made in that amount of time!

How ‘Bout One Progress Pic?

Because who doesn’t love progress pics?

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What are some of your goals for 2015?