With the end of the year quickly approaching, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on 2013 and evaluate how I did. Here is a breakdown of some goals that I set back in January.
1. Build Strength
The “Earliest” column denotes the earliest max that I could find corresponding roughly to the start of 2013. In most cases, the maxes occurred a month or two either before or after the new year so this isn’t a perfect breakdown of exactly a year. Likewise, most of the latest maxes came within the past couple of months rather than being completely fresh — with the exceptionn of the press and jerk which were established last week.
How do I feel about these numbers? So-so. The way I look at it, how would I feel a year from now looking back if my numbers increased by exactly these same percentages? Honestly, I would not happy be with that so I can’t be entirely happy with the 2013 numbers.
However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story. Much of these gains were made in the past six months or so. In terms of strength, I stagnated a bit in the first few months of the year as I experimented with some different ideas. Over the summer, I reevaluated and started aggressively focusing on specific lifts for specific time periods and since then it has been non-stop PRs. Realistically speaking, the last six months were responsible for all of the strict press gains, almost all of the bench and squat gains, and about half of the rest of the lifts.
Another way of looking at these results — would I be happy a year from now if I managed to keep up the progress from the last six months through the full year? Heck yeah!
2. Build Running Ability
I put down 25 minutes as my target near-term 5k goal. I did not accomplish anything close to this. Early in the year, I did a good job of getting in running at least two days a week. However, that eventually dropped off and I ended up spending much of the year without running at all on a regular basis. You can’t good at something if you never do it.
On the other hand, I did complete my first official 5k race. I view this as establishing an official PR and now have a target to beat and build off of.
3. Physical Appearance
This one is subjective. My main goals were to pump up some of the “show” muscles and cut some body fat.
I would say that I’ve certainly put on some good upperbody mass — largely due to the aggressive bench press work plus some related assistance work. I believe I am seeing a real difference and my shirts are fitting a little tighter in all of the right spots.
Cutting body fat didn’t go quite as well. On January 1, 2013, I weight 211.4 lbs. Today, I weighed in at 209.9 lbs. Looking at this in the context of the strength increases, this is not a bad thing! I think it is reasonable to speculate that I put on some muscle and so maintaining essentially the same weight means I managed to put on this muscle while cutting body fat. On the other hand, this wasn’t as much body fat as I would have liked. Interestingly, I had dropped down to 198.7 lbs by July 8 but then gained the weight back while eating to support the aggressive strength gains described above.
4. General Fitness
This is also somewhat subjective. I haven’t done any of my usual recreational fitness activities — hockey, snowboarding, rock climbing, etc. — so I don’t have those reference points to judge from. I did managed to bring my 2k row time to under 8 minutes and to establish a plank time of 2:40 so these are decent “general” benchmark improvements.