Yesterday, I saw a gym newb squatting backwards in the squat rack.
I tried not to stare, but it was difficult. I reeeallly wanted to know how he was getting the bar off the pegs and onto his back. Out of respect, though, I diverted my eyes during those moments that were sure to be incredibly awkward, only catching glimpses of him mid-squat.
His form was pretty impressive for someone who didn’t know how to use a rack.
And he only had 40 lbs. on the bar.
It was truly a rare sighting!
As a headline…
28 year old male swallows his pride, doesn’t attempt PR on 1st squat ever
Am I the only one who actually kind of likes the presence of a million “resolutioners” plodding their way through the gym this month?
I mean, I get it.
I will concede that I, too, dislike the crowds. And it’s annoying when people don’t follow previously established gym etiquette. And it’s really tricky to do circuits during January and February.
BUT. Overall, I love it.
Aside from the obvious comedic benefits…
I think it’s exciting to see the dedication of those freshly-enticed by fitness!
There’s a sense of innocence, an air of intrigue.
It’s a magical time when the fitness veterans can soak up all the unadulterated enthusiasm and be reminded of how far they’ve come and how much more they could achieve. The motivation is tangible.
Just as suddenly as they appear, though, many resolutioners just vanish, never to be seen again.
Circuits are once again an option. I can get to yoga 2 minutes late and still find a spot. I can go back to not wearing headphones.
[This is at the gym I often go to and NOT at the gym that employees me. Lest you think I’m the absolute worst.]
It’s a glorious thing from a selfish perspective, but it’s also deeply disheartening. I typically feel regretful that I didn’t do more to encourage those resolutioners and help them find a sense of belonging. (Maybe you should have taken out your earbuds, Alyssa, and said hi to someone…)
I wonder if they simply gave up on their New Year’s Resolution or if they chose another path to health.
I wonder exactly what their resolution was.
Did they aim to “workout more”? Did they aim to “work out everyday” (all 365 days) that year?
Did they set out to run a 5k? Or get off their blood pressure meds? Or lose 10 lbs.?
I wonder how things could have been different for them.
I wonder if they tried to develop a new habit, build a new lifestyle, or just reach an indicator of success.
You see, many people set lofty goals for the new year, and they say things like, “This year, I am going to…”
It seems to me, then, that most resolutioners have wonderful intentions but have not mastered the technique of goal-setting.
Year-long resolutions must be broken up into short-term goals or have designated benchmarks. Without these, I find that two things happen: either motivation waivers until it disappears altogether OR perfection distracts from progress.
Person A says, “This year, I am going to lose 100 lbs.” The first week, he is down 2 lbs. The next week, he is down 1. Then up .5 lbs. Then down 3 lbs. And eventually he enters February down only 6 lbs. This is hard work and yet he has barely made a dent in his 100-lb. goal. He feels defeated and discouraged.
Person B says, “This year, I am going to workout 5 days each week.” The first week, he goes to the gym all 5 days. The next week, he has a family obligation on Thursday night, perceives an inability to get in his gym workout, and only goes 4 days. The following week, he has a cold on Tuesday, which lingers until Wednesday. By Thursday, he has already missed two days and believes he has failed. He feels defeated and discouraged.
Person A needs to set bi-weekly or monthly goals so that he can celebrate the small victories on the way to his huge one at the end of 2017.
Person B needs to set a realistic goal that favors consistency over perfection. He needs to do a 5-Minute Sweaty [not dissimilar to the one in the P.P.S.] on Thursday, recognizing progress in lieu of perfection. Consistency in working out means that 50 jumping jacks and 50 air squats and 20 push-ups is better than nothing.
Mostly, I want to say THIS about New Year’s Resolutions: All of us would benefit by simply resolving to consistently set goals throughout the new year. Whereas “resolutions” tend to be abstract and wishy-washy, goals are concrete and action-based.
Moreover, it’s okay to set lofty goals–in fact, it’s fabulous to set lofty goals, and it’s likely that the more your goals scare you, the more they’re worthy of your pursuit–but you’ve got to set them in a way that is realistic and measurable.
My best advice is to either GO HUGE for 20 days…OR…GO STEADY for a few months.
Over the year, expect to repeat the cycle of “Celebrate, Revamp, and Commence.” <–Pat is good at this. His Inner Circle members get access to phased programs, wherein they work towards a lofty goal through [typically] 2-4 week phases. Unfamiliar? JOIN HERE!
Oops, I’ve been going on about this for too long. Without further delay, here are
17 Ideas for a Fit Start to 2017
You can make them goals by making them more specific and ensuring they are measurable, actionable, reasonable, and time-sensitive.
- Ditch cereal.
- Go barefoot.
- Try new vegetables.
- Move more, exercise…less?
- Switch to aluminum-free deodorant.
- Add fat and protein to your smoothies.
- Make your own vegetable stock.
- Encourage a fitness resolutioner.
- Add new motivation to your workouts by… [This isn’t 9, I know, but formatting issues. I’ll make it up to you.]
- Chasing a standard benchmark strength goal: bench press 1x your bodyweight, squat 1.5x your bodyweight, deadlift 2x your bodyweight.
- Chasing a standard benchmark conditioning goal: Pass the “5 minute snatch test” by completing 100 kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes. (See the P.P.P.S. if this trips your trigger.)
- Developing an athletic skill and/or party trick: back walk-over, pistol squat, handstand, etc.
- Stop drinking coffee that is chemically decaffeinated.
- Eat organic, free-range eggs. (And eat the yolks.)
- Replace soda with seltzer water.
- Learn how to “eye-up” nutritional servings that support your goal.
- Only eat junk food with friends/family.
- Breathe diaphragmatically. [See, I made it up to you. I keep my promises.]
What are your goals for 2017? Need any help to reach them? Drop a line, and, together, let’s get…
Stronger Every Day,
P.S. Pat has some serious stuff coming out for those who want to be movers n’ shakers this year. Get on his email list HERE.
P.P.S. You didn’t think I’d sign off without first giving you a 5-Minute Sweaty, did you?
As many rounds as possible:
20 plank mountain climbers,
20 plank shoulder taps,
20-sec reverse plank hold (flip your regular old plank so that you’re facing the ceiling, fingers pointing toward heinie),
20 glute bridge raises;
Roll up to standing for 1 tuck jump.
P.P.P.S. Pat and I are “Burning Calories for a Cause” THIS SUNDAY at Dragon Gym in Exton, PA. This will be a two-hour kettlebell workshop–with a few stellar workouts tossed in–plus a hangout after. All proceeds go to charity. If you’re local (I’d say anywhere under 2 hours would be well worth the drive), join us SUNDAY, JANUARY 8 from 1-3PM. Register HERE!