Sunday, February 12, 2012

It is All About Challenge

For the past four years, I have started the calendar year with The Rock Body Challenge or RBC for short.  RBC is a 10-week fitness challenge held at The Rock Martial Arts and Fitness that helps people get in the best shape of their life through adjusting their diets and frequent exercise, mostly kick boxing and fitness classes at The Rock.  The first year I was just a participant, but the last three years I have been a coach.  From 2009-2011 I have been on the first place team (this is both a team and an individual competition) and so far in 2012 we are tied for first place.

A way that improvement is measured is through measurements of arms, chest, waist, hips, thigh, body weight, core strength (plank duration), pushups, and body fat percentage.  These are taken at the start, middle and end of the 10-week program.  The measurements can be a big motivator.  It can motivate you to push more and work harder if you are disappointed or it can motivate you to keep up the good work if you did well.

To give you a perspective, let me tell you how my measurements compare over the last four years of RBC.  In 2009 I started at 198.5 lbs, got down to 194.5 lbs, and then bounced back up to 198 at the end.  My body fat percentage did a similar thing going from 25.2% to 22.3% and back up to 23%.  I did the classic yo-yo.  In 2010, I did my best Santa Claus and got up to my heaviest weight ever in my life at 206 lbs, got to 199.6 at the midterm, and down to 194.4 at the end.  My total fat percentage was a little funky going from 25.8% to 27.6% to 24.5%. Losing 12 lbs while also improving my body fat percentage was my best year yet, but I had let myself go to achieve that by starting so heavy.  In 2011 I went from 201.8 lbs (again too much Santa Claus imitation over the holidays) to 199 lbs to 194 lbs with my body fat going from 26.7% to 26.5% to 25%.  Again a positive trend, but the yo-yoing I did every year was not good for me and some doctors believe that is worst than actually being a little overweight.

So after the 2011 RBC I set out to change that cycle of losing weight during RBC, but then gradually gaining it back again, especially over the holidays.  This year I came into RBC at 191.8 lbs, my lowest weight I have measured during RBC, although I have been able to get down there a few times before when training for a triathlon or half marathon. At the midterm this past Saturday I have managed to drop another pound down to 190.8 lbs and today fat percentage measured at 22.7%, which is nearly my lowest number achieved (I did a little better at the 2009 midterm).  My arms have stayed about the same over the four years, although I would like to think they are now more muscle than flab.  My chest is the smallest it's been, as I try to avoid getting man boobs.  My waist, hips and thigh are down as well over the last four years.  So how have I improved, although I am now four years older?

The key I have found is to continue to challenge your self.  When a challenge is done don't slip back into old habits, but find something new to keep you going.  Run your first 5K or 10K.  Hike a 14er. Start a new hobby like mountain biking, road biking or my new favorite during the summer stand-up paddle boarding (SUP for short).  Do an adventure race like the Warrior Dash or Tough Mudder.  Or take on a triathlon.  Whatever you do, the first challenge of 2012 should not be your last challenge in 2012.       

Last year I ran two half-marathons, completed two Olympic triathlons, ran 6 5Ks, 2 10Ks, paddled in my first SUP race, hiked a 14er and finished the Warrior Dash with one eye (there is a story there I will tell later).  I don't say all of this to brag because if I can do this anyone can.  I just share that by continuing to challenge yourself you can start next year better than you finish this year.  And there is no better time than now to start planning your next challenge.