I find it helpful to look back at what was done in the previous year, and what wasn’t done. Some goals were achieved, some were not. Sometimes, my process failed (or I failed my process – more accurate), and sometimes heavy problems forced a redirect. In everything, I learn. If I don’t learn, I make a grave mistake.
Strength Goals – I didn’t make any of my goals, although I came incredibly close on some of them. I wanted a 450 squat (got 420 for an easy rep); a 315 bench press (got 300 a couple of times); and a 500 deadlift (just missed at lockout last night). I am thrilled with the progress I made, because this year was really rough with fighting ankylosing spondylitis. The medicines we tried made me feel awful, and I didn’t see improvement until I stopped the meds and changed my diet up.
Fat Loss Goals – Speaking of diet, I failed this process in terms of fat loss. I learned a lot about how to manage inflammation, but I didn’t manage my calories the way I should. I could blame it on meds, stress, etc. (and I’m sure those things played a role), but I know I didn’t do what I need to do to see fat loss. I know what I need to do in terms of nutrition and exercise – just have to execute the plan.
Professional Goals – As I talked about in my recent post on Purpose, I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. I am starting classes on January 5! I am beyond excited about becoming a massage therapist. The plan is in place; I’ve taken the steps to get started; now I just need to show up for classes and master the skills. Crushing this goal!
I want to focus on the Strength and Fat Loss Goals in this post. This might get long.
Strength for 2015
Since last year’s goals are incomplete, I am setting them as my goals again this year. However, I fully expect to hit them in my first powerlifting meet in the spring. So I look forward to setting new goals at that point. The plan is to stick with what has worked so well. One day each week will focus on one of the four major barbell movements – squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press. A minor difference will be that I will focus on singles almost exclusively for the deadlift. In these sessions, I will also incorporate strongman elements for conditioning.
For those of you who know me and my loathing of globo gyms, you will be shocked to learn that I actually got a membership at LA Fitness. The primary reasons are that I need access to a form of cardio exercise that is extremely easy on the joints. They have a pool with Olympic length lanes, so I’ll get swimming in my routine on a regular basis. My arthritic body will also enjoy the sauna and steam room. And if I deadlift there, I’ll try not to scare anyone.
I will save the specifics of a training plan for another post – mostly because I am still developing the plan, but also because it is ridiculously difficult to plan around ankylosing spondylitis. I can’t really put anything in concrete. I train when the body is cooperating.
Fat Loss for 2015
Activity – My daily activity levels will be taking a turn for the better, since massage therapy school will be a pretty active experience. I plan on two training sessions a day. The morning session will be either mobility work and a CrossFit WOD, or just mobility – light activity. The afternoon/evening session will be the swimming and/or weight training. Flexibility with what my body can handle each day will determine what I do. But I will do something each day because my body demands it. Pain increases dramatically if I am not active.
Nutrition – Through a great deal of experimentation, I know that I respond quite well to a moderately low carbohydrate diet. I’m not particularly crazy about keto style eating, because it’s too little carbs for how my body seems to work. I need to get back into what I know works for me. I operate very well on a high protein, moderately high fat diet. I never bonk during extended workouts on this eating plan. And now that I’m on a very limited budget, I have to prepare all my own food. Controlling the quality and content won’t be a problem. I just have to be careful of quantity. I will also be following an intermittent fasting program since it will make my eating schedule easier. I will have set lunch times and dinner times each day that work around my school schedule.
I suppose you could say that I follow a Paleo eating plan, except that I eat rice and certain dairy (the really high fat ones likes cream, butter, full fat Greek yogurt, kefir, etc.) and am not afraid to admit it. These foods never give me any problems, so I include them. Some of the foods I avoid are gluten and nightshades. The primary reason is that it seems to negatively affect my arthritis. I don’t believe these foods are evil. They are just evil to me. Still, I enjoy them now and then without any major issues popping up. That only happens if I eat them frequently.
My focus is on meats, fats, vegetables, limited fruits, and limited carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and rice. It’s pretty simple, really.
So, to sum it up: more activity designed to relieve chronic pain, which should allow better progress with the heavy training; optimize quantity of foods, and continue to improve quality. It sounds too simple, but it really is that simple.
The progress of 2014 is that I have learned how to be more patient with my body and have learned to work WITH my body, rather than beat it into submission.