Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Goals

Well, this is unusual: I'm posting twice in the same month. Don't get used to it ;-)

My buddy PomoProphet recently posted his 2011 fitness resolution in the form of a SMART goal, which has inspired me to post mine. I'll get to mine in a minute, but I thought I'd start with an evaluation of my 2010 goals.

2010 was the first year I made an effort to create SMART fitness goals for myself. Truth be told, the 2010 goals I set were more "SMT" than SMART, because I wasn't sure how Attainable and/or Realistic the goals were when I set them. However, I made sure to make them Specific, Measurable, and Time-constrained so I could evaluate my progress. Over the course of the year I invested time to understand what is "attainable" and "realistic"--partly by measuring my progress against my goals, partly by study, and partly by experimentation.

There are an almost overwhelming amount of variables related to weight training--exercise selection, weight, sets, and reps are the obvious ones, but there is also workout frequency, time of day, nutrition, supplementation, and sleep to consider as well. Optimization of all these variables to achieve a desired result is a challenging task! But--as it turns out--it has been an engrossing optimal control problem to try to solve :-)

In 2010 I read a half dozen books and twice as many blogs on the subject. I tried a bunch of different freeweight and machine exercises and experimented with at least four distinctly different schools of thought on set and rep variation. I tried working out in the mornings and in the evenings, varying frequency from 3 to 6 workouts a week. I experimented with nutrition and supplementation and with various amounts and types of cardio to complement the training. And all along the way I kept detailed records (on the uncannily well designed iFitness app).

<geek out> Perhaps too detailed. LOL My husband laughed at me as I spent hours trying to manipulate months of data by hand in Excel. After it took about five days' free time to analyze a year's worth of data for only two exercises (oy ve) I have given up on the by-hand approach and am trying to get Octave installed at home to help me automate some of the analysis. My aim is to perform a crude sensitivity analysis (basically build a crude Jacobian), but I'm having trouble getting Octave going out of the box. If anyone knows how I can convince Octave that the gcc compiler really is in my Xterm path when I run the Octave installer, please let me know. </Geek out>

So while my detailed analysis is still in the works, here is the overall view of my performance against my 2010 goals. As you can see, I fell short on some, met my goals on others, and even surpassed my goal on one.

2010 Goals and Results

Exercise Goal (lb)
Achieved (lb) Achieved
Incline Bench Press+70+4564%
Level Bench Press+70+70100%
Military Press+90+7077%
Barbell Curl+35+2057%
Dumbbell Curl+25+1560%
Rope Pulldown+20+30125%

All-in-all, I'm pleased. While not every goal was reached, I made progress toward each one. But beyond performance on these goals, I've found I've discovered a new hobby. A year ago, going to the gym was a chore. Now it's the highlight of my weekdays. I love it. I look forward to it. I go to bed at the old-man hour of 9pm so I can get up at 5 and start my day with something I enjoy.

And now, armed with what I have learned so far, I feel a little better equipped to set SMarT goals for 2011 (little "ar" because learning is still in progress).

So for the record, here are my

2011 Goals

Exercise Goal (lb)
Incline Bench Press+45
Level Bench Press+60
Military Press+60
T-Bar Row+90
Lat Pulldown+50
Barbell Curl+25
Dumbbell Curl+15

We'll see how 2011 goes. I've already begun records for 2011 :-)

1 comment:

Pomoprophet said...

you put me to shame! lol... you've got such the science mind!

I would just interject that increasing the amount of weight you can lift isn't the only (or even a reliable) measure of health. Unless you want to become a body builder. But you're a pretty healthy guy to begin with so setting SMART goals for increasing the amount of weight you can lift will probably work for you.