Saturday, January 21, 2012

2011 Goal Evaluation - Part 2

Okay, now that I've put things in a little bit of perspective, on to evaluating my 2011 exercise goals.

Quick recap: last January, inspired by my buddy Pomoprophet, I decided to state my new year's fitness resolutions as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-constrained) goals.

Disclaimer: I'm a newbie to working out, and as such I struggle with understanding what is Realistic fitness-wise. So I have been trying to learn by keeping careful records of my goals and progress for the past three years. Today's evaluation is another chance for me to figure out what is Realistic and what isn't.

Okay. I've been taking Measurements all year. Here are the numbers:

2011 Goals and Results

Exercise Goal (lb)
Achieved (lb) Achieved
Level Bench Press+60+60100%
Incline Bench Press+45+45100%
Military Press+60+60100%
Barbell Curl+25+25100%
Dumbbell Curl+15+20,+25133%,167%
Lat Pulldown+50+25?50%?
T-bar Row+90+5561%

First of all, please don't be freaked out and think I do the same eight exercises each time I go to the gym. Thank goodness no--that sounds dreadfully boring and probably not very healthy. The list above is a subset of the exercises I do; this is just the core that I decided to focus on and track all year.

As the top half of the list indicates, I'm getting a little better at projecting what realistic goals are for some exercises for a year (I was not as good with my 2010 goals). As the bottom half of the list indicates, I still have some learning to do about realism.

My performance this year on barbell exercises was good, with the exception of skullcrushers. I surprised myself by performing better than I had thought possible on the dumbbell curling exercises (the two numbers reported in the table reflect different grip positions--the first of the two is pronated grip; the latter is hammer grip)... And what guy wouldn't be happy with better than expected performance on curls? After all, biceps are the male counterpart to ladies' boobs (C and I like to refer to developed biceps as "arm titties" ;-) Incidentally, there happens to be a particularly nice pair of arm titties on one of the waitstaff at a particular restaurant in downtown Lowell. But we certainly aren't so shallow as to let that fact sway where we like to go out to eat. Certainly not ;-) ).

Okay, so what happened on the last two exercises? Two different issues, actually. My ability to measure pulldown performance fell apart when moved to Massachusetts. This exercise is performed on a machine, and the machine in my gym here is graduated differently than the machine in my gym in Illinois (the Illinois machine was graduated in pounds, the Massachusetts machine is graduated in counts--and who knows how many pounds correspond to a count). The number in the table reflects where my performance was on the exercise when we moved out of Illinois in August.

The numbers in the table for the T-bar row reflect my performance in June. By that point in the year, I observed that my rowing form had become poor. I had developed a bad habit of cheating with my legs to kick-start the motion of the bar, which was taking the focus of the exercise off the back (and the cheating motion also just isn't safe). After several weeks of trying unsuccessfully to correct my form, I decided to alter the exercise to force me to use good form. I now use a piece of equipment that immobilizes my torso so I can't use my legs to cheat. As you might expect, the amount of weight I can move on the exercise took a big hit when I corrected my form, and I have not yet surpassed with good form the weight I was lifting with poor form. However, I'm lifting safely with correct form, both of which I think are good things.

I've been drafting my 2012 SMART goals the past few weeks; I'll post them here once I have them figured out.


Pomoprophet said...

Such the engineer with your charts and results! I am proud of you for the gains you've made. That's quite impressive. I am sure C doesn't mind those big arms holding him at night :)

Joe Moderate said...

LOL, I'm just a wannabe: I only wish I had big arms :-) Maybe one of these days C's husband will have arm titties. Until then he'll just have to get by with the eye candy at the local restaurant... ;-)