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Where I blather on about my health goals for the next year

by John on January 20th, 2014

I freely admit that I don’t post here nearly as much as I should. We will blame lack of time & lack of subject material — sure, the kids are as diabolical awesome as ever, but life keeps me so busy that, by the time I can sit down to write about the last awesome thing they did, that memory is so far into the past that I just wait for the next moment. And the cycle continues.

Suffice to say that potty training sucks when the potty-trainee simply doesn’t seem to mind being soiled, watching my kids actually start to comprehend the rules of grammar is awesome, I see no reason why everybody doesn’t count to 10 as 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 2, 6, colors & shapes are commonly & properly identified, there is knowledge of the concepts of “left” and “right” (though they’re abstract concepts, at best), and watching two best friends grow up together is both awe-inspiring & horrifying all at once.

I can talk about them for forever (be glad you’re not with me in real life, because that’s, actually, what I do just about all day), but I don’t know what to say more than the fact that I love them. A lot.

So I’ll talk about my workout routine. Now that the “resolutioners” are starting to clear out of the gym (though I was both annoyed & pleasantly surprised to see a fairly packed Planet Fitness over lunch today), I feel it’s the right time to talk about what I’m doing & what my goals are for 2014.

In 2013, I quickly dashed hopes of both running a marathon & cycling a century every month, replacing those goals with running 1000 miles and cycling 2500. None of that happened. Heck, I didn’t even run a full marathon in 2013 . . . for “Daddy Runs a Lot,” well, I would ahve been disappointed if my focus wasn’t elsewhere.

In 2013 I lost about 50 pounds, and in so doing, discovered a fair bit about myself & the best way to push myself. I started by logging every bite of food I ate (a practice that I continue to this day, religiously, though it’s become such a habit that I don’t even think twice about pulling out my smart phone & putting in the details of a Starbucks coffee on the way home or the itty-bitty details of the dinner salad I’m enjoying), and I realized that I’m busy enough that I really need to focus on more “bang for the buck” when it comes to working out.

And, in so doing, I discovered weight lifting.

When I first started dropping weight, my main focus was on cardio — if I watched what I ate & made my heart work extra hard, the weight would drop, and that was my goal. But, as I approached something called my “goal weight,” I didn’t have the body that I wanted. So I looked up some beginning weight-lifting programs, stumbled upon Strong Lifts, and decided to give things a shot. All I can say is that I wish, when 2013 saw me focusing more on my health, I had started lifting sooner. Due to complications due to muscle-imbalance & pokey elbow & shoulder bursitis, I’ve actually developed my own plan from Medhi’s 5×5, but since I’ve been going about, I’ve seen pretty vast improvements in my running speed & stamina (without running very much).

At least three times a week, I barbell-squat. It’s my main exercise, as it targets so many of my muscle groups in a relatively short amount of time. By July 1, I will squat at least 315 pounds (which means the barbell plus 3 of the “big plates”, which weigh 45 pounds each, on each side of the barbell).

Every time I squat, I try to overhead-press, as I’ve done little through my life to target my shoulders, and I want to get my body strong enough to do handstand push-ups1. By July 1, I will be able to overhead press 135 pounds (the barbell plus one of the “big plates” on each side).

Next comes the bench press — I hated the bench press when I was in high school . . . I always had trouble just keeping my form. I think my long arms are to blame. By July 1, I’ll be able to bench press 225 pounds (the barbell plus 2 of the “big plates” on either side — you may be noticing a relatively simple method of measurement that I’m instituting on each of my lifts).

Finally, I keep a barbell loaded in my basement. Every time I walk downstairs, be it to play XBox with my son, or to play XBox by myself, or to grab a beer, or whatever, I make myself deadlift it. Currently, it’s set to 325. By July 1, the load will be 405 pounds, and I’ll still be deadlifting it each time I walk downstairs for whatever reason.

Getting to these weightlifting goals means that I need some sort of routine. When I get to the gym, if I can, I squat. Then I overhead press. Then I incline bench-press. Then I bench-press. Then I row (because, to go along with handstand push-ups, regular pull-ups are in my sights).

On those days that I don’t have enough time for everything above (I get through a workout there, if the gym isn’t too cluttered with people, in about 40 minutes), or don’t have the squat rack available to me, I do a silly “goblet-squat to push press” exercise that really targets your core, and I do lunges.

Whenever I go into my basement, I deadlift.

That’s it.

Well, I still do some cardio. I joined a silly Twitter running challenge . . . and while my Disney adventure means that I’m playing catch up, I am going to try to wake myself up to run early most every morning, despite the cold (but never in icy weather — I barely trust myself to stop short, I sure-as-fuck don’t trust cars to stop short if the roads are slick). With that, I hope to see a full-marathon time of less than 4 hours within 2014 (and I have a slew of races already lined up throughout the year). However much I have taken the focus off regular running, I find that, when I can get in decent runs, I’m far more sane. So I’m hoping to run a fair bit. Despite the “Daddy Runs a Lot” monicker, though, the running goals are secondary to the lifting goals. I’m really finding that, when I lift, and lift heavy, the benefits keep with me throughout the day . . . and help me look better naked, which, really, is what this is all about2 :-p

So, to recap:

  • By July 1
    • Barbell Squat: 315 lbs
    • Overhead Press: 135 lbs
    • Bench Press: 225 lbs
    • Deadlift: 405 lbs
  • By the end of 2014
    • Marathon: under-four-hours
    • Handstand Push-up
    • Muscle-up (pull-up into a dip, all in one complex motion)

1 because handstand push-ups are awesome.
2 Truthfully, as my kids get bigger, I’m finding the need to squat more & more & more, as, if I lift them with proper squat technique, I know I’m not going to blow my knees/back out, and, however much it might be silly to carry around kids all of the time3, I like carrying my kids around all of the time. Even when I’m tired. Which is all of the time.
3 How the fuck did my kids go from being babies to actual kids?!
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