A little less than three months have passed since I set two New Year’s “resolutions,” or what I called “focus areas” for 2012, and it’s time for a quick update. The first was to make fitness a priority in my life, and the second was to finally buy an affordable home.
While I have not neglected buying a home in any sense, fitness was first and foremost in my mind over these past months, and it’s an area where I made a lot of progress. That’s ideal, since the plan is to handle the second goal in the second half of the year.
Today, I’d like to share some my results with weight and fitness over the last months and point out a few tools that were particularly helpful to me.
What’s the point? I strongly believe that success in other areas of life starts, or at the very least is enhanced by, success with your own body and health. We can debate the reasons all day, but I can attest from personal experience that the relationship exists.
I also know that a lot of people in our society struggle with weight, and that their lives would be better off with a little less to carry around.
Here’s a quick overview of my weight progress since December:
- Starting weight: 181.7 (Body mass index–BMI of 27.6)
- Today’s weight: 168.0 (BMI of 25.5)
Body mass index (calculate yours) is a measure of relative body weight based on your height. 25-30 is considered overweight, and anything over 30 classifies as obesity. At 25.5, I’m so close to “normal weight” that I can smell it coming. About 4 pounds away, to be exact.
Fitness habits. I personally set a goal to do some kind of physical activity every day, with a benchmark of 85% for the year. As of the first quarter (and in part due to injury), I’m hitting right around 70%. A second benchmark designed to maintain variety is to reach 100 different exercises by the end of the year. (I define exercise as anything that gets a different entry category in Fitocracy.) I’m currently at 49 workouts.
Tools and Resources
All the willpower in the world wouldn’t have helped me get to where I am today if I didn’t have the right tools and resources at my disposal. These came in two varieties:
- Getting more knowledge that I can apply to my health and fitness.
- Keeping me accountable to someone or something, and motivated as a result.
Let’s take a look at some of the key things I came across:
Fitocracy. Over the last 3 months, I’ve used a website called Fitocracy to track all of my fitness activities. The social encouragement is nice, but one side benefit is that I can see my entire fitness history in a glance. I can see, for example, that I improved my maximum bench press weight by 30 pounds. Fitocracy is now out of private beta, and you can sign up for free directly at the site.
Which Comes First: Cardio or Weights. This is a great book that reviews some of the most popular myths in the world of exercise and puts them through the test of rational thought and verified studies. I learned quite a bit from this book, not the least of which was the notion that we actually know very little about why things work the way they do.
Dean Rosson. I watched Dean speak in January about nutrition and exercise to a local business group I’m a part of. He was big on the importance of avoiding sugar and the power of strength training, and he motivated me to look deeper into the issues.
Sugar research. It all started with an innocent NY Times article called “Is Sugar Toxic?” . After reading this, I became interested in and watched the entire hour of Dr. Lustig’s The Bitter Truth video on YouTube. The topic of sugar is becoming so popular that elements of both the article and the video were featured in a 60 Minutes piece a few weeks ago. Many people have commented to me on seeing it.
Primal Blueprint book. Mark Sisson is also the author of Mark’s Daily Apple, a blog focused on primal nutrition and exercise. The idea is to eat and exercise like our pre-agriculture ancestors 10,000+ years ago, and in turn this promises to create optimal health.
I’ll spare you the usual conclusions and observations about weight loss and exercise. We’ve connected weight and money in the past, and I stand by the ideas.
The important thing is that I’m seeing lasting progress and have changed the fundamental, underlying habits that make up my diet and fitness. Now I’m trying to continue this success and translate it into other things.