One of my goals for this year is to write more. My goal is to post at least once per month. An easy way to keep me to it is to actually write about what I’m going to do with my own training this year. I came up with the idea last year, but didn’t follow through on the writing part. This post was in my head for a couple of months, so I figured the new year was a good time to finally get it typed up.
What I’m looking to do this year is really build off of how I trained last year. In order to fully understand that, first, I’m going to recap how last year went.
The goal for 2022 was to actually enter the summer in-shape. Like I said in the post last year, I’ve had so much going on most of the year that my own training was never really a focus until the summer. My own training for the year would go: two-to-three months of good-to-decent training in the spring and fall, train six-days per week over the summer and the winter was on-and-off, at best.
I made the commitment in late February to be more consistent throughout the year and, for the most part, I was successful. 2022 was the most productive year of training I’ve ever had. In total, I logged 138 sessions, which was 36 more than I did the previous year. My strength also improved. I didn’t do any testing prior to started, but I trap-bar deadlifted 510 pounds for two reps, which was 10 pounds more than my previous one-rep-max on a straight bar. I did switch to a trap bar so I could lift heavy without using a mixed grip, but the Rogue TB 1 2.0 trap bar is so much tougher than a traditional trap bar. It’s just thick, low handles and feels like hell when you’re pushing weight. I also did the lift with one mat. Last year by best was 420 pounds for 10 reps, but off of two mats. I never attempted more than 440 pounds for three reps.
Physique wise, even though I didn’t reach the goal weight or body fat percentage I set out for, I was happy with where I ended up by the end of the summer. I finished the summer at 184.8 pounds, about two pounds lighter than I was at the same time last year, but looked better. The stomach looked tighter, the spare tire on the sides was less, the arms were bigger and the back was thicker and more pronounced. Last year I did a full-on sprint to lose 20 pounds in 39 days so the weight-gain rebound happened quicker. In 2022, I noticed it happened much slower and I looked better at higher weights than I did in previous years. Go figure, right? The “Before and After” photos are both from Encore Beach Club in Las Vegas because when it comes to how you look with your shirt off, that’s where it matters. I wore the same trunks, too. I wish the lighting was better there.
After vacation training was going well and I actually hit my 102nd workout, which was the amount I did in 2020, on August 15. That was awesome at the time, but the problem became I only trained 36 more times in the last three-and-a-half months, which is roughly nine sessions per month. Things slowed down around November. First I was feeling run down so took some time off, then had my birthday and was eating garbage. Two weeks after my birthday is Thanksgiving, so I went into cruise control and that’s never good for me. I tried to get back on the wagon in December, but sprained my pinky pretty bad to where I thought it was broken. I could barely move my pinky and now we are looking at a month where I was off track.
Add in that it’s the winter time and I started seeing where this was heading. The pinky is still swollen today, but I had to get back into my groove. I needed to turn things around or else this endless cycle of excuses and laziness will continue. Now let’s move forward.
I’m not one of those “training is therapy” type of people who post on Instagram how they are releasing demons or whatever else they say online. But, I will tell you that there’s two versions of me. When I’m training and following my diet plan, I’m a way more productive person and much more positive. When I’m not training, each week feels like one continuously long day of getting nothing accomplished.
I saw what long-term consistency did for me last year and I want to build off of that. The goal is to reach 200 sessions for the year. This will ensure I’m training consistently throughout the year. I know there’s people out there who talk about moderation and not having to be on a plan all the time and, while I believe those are good rules to follow, they just don’t apply to me. I can’t freestyle it in the gym and train and eat without a plan. I need goals to reach and have to have something to accomplish each day in order for me to continue to push. I’ve tried the other way, but it never works.
I have the programs I’m going to run laid out for the next nine months. I’m going to finish Christian Thibaudeau’s “Get Jacked…Fast!” program, move on to his HSS-100 program then hit the SBOAT program over the summer that Justin Kavanaugh wrote for me in 2017. Fortunately, I didn’t wait until the ball dropped to start training again. I started working out consistently again in the middle of December and am starting the year in Week 4 of my program. My finger is still pretty swollen and I can’t fully bend it, but I could only take so much time off. I can still do all of the things I want in the gym, with some modifications.
I’ve thought about writing this post for a few months and was going to post it a couple of weeks ago. The reason I didn’t was because of the holiday season. While I have been training and eating well for the most part, there were too many family days filled with food to really start dieting the way I wanted to. My weight bounced around, but I’m starting the year at 201.6. This seems to be the weight I start most of these type of programs at, but, thanks to the work I did last year, I look much better at this weight than I did in previous years. A 24-hour fast will knock it down to around 197.
In terms of goals, they’re mostly physique related. The only strength goal I have is to get my bench press into the 300s. I’ve never had a great bench. Ever since I hit a 500-pound deadlift in 2017, I don’t really have any strength goals. Physique wise, I’d like to get to a weight and body-fat percentage where I have a six-pack and can lose the pouch that doesn’t want to leave me. I don’t know what exact weight that is, but I just want my body-fat percentage to be close to 10-to-12 percent without significant decreases in strength. I can’t give you an exact number, but you’ll know what it looks like when you see it.
Shooting for these physique goals allows me to do everything else I want to do better. When I’m at a lighter weight, I just feel so much better. That sweet spot is usually in the low 180s where I still have most of my strength and move much better. I’d like that to be my normal, every day weight and not something I have to shoot for every year. I need to get on top it now, because I’m only getting older.
On the nutrition side, I like to go no-carb when trying to drop weight quickly, but it’s easier to do in the summer time than during the school year. I’m going to carb-cycle and fit in one 24-hour fast per week, if possible. I’ve also been experimenting with more frequent meals, going with four-to-five meals per day, as opposed to my usual two-to-three and have felt much better.
I’ll be logging my food on MyFitness Pal as much as I can and will talk about what I’m doing nutrition wise, along with my eating plan during the monthly updates. This will make me post more and take you through my process that I go through during these programs.
Looking forward to bigger, more productive year.