I’m coming at you from a dingy terminal in the far corners of LAX. I am sitting in what honestly looks like a shed. It’s in the middle of the runway, supposedly associated with a larger terminal but a hub this is most certainly not. There is a smoke alarm that keeps beeping presumably from what I believe is a dying battery and I’ve heard “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” over the speakers for what’s gotta be the fourth or fifth time.
Oh, did I mention I almost missed my connection by nine minutes?
Is this LAX or Ethiopia?
The good news is that I had an incredible trip back to Virginia for Christmas break. This is the one time of year I am able to get away for more than a couple of days. It’s a trip I look forward to greatly as my girlfriend, brothers, parents, best friends and Robert Griffin III are all located in Virginia, so the list of people I am excited to see is not lacking.
When I am on vacation, I am on vacation. I might knock out a home workout once or twice a week but I can tell without any shame or guilt that I don’t care what I eat or how sedentary I am when I am back in Virginia. I get horizontal as often as possible, fill up on all my favorite food spots as regularly as I can, stay up until wee hours of the night watching TV and generally turn my brain off of all things work, gym, fitness and responsibility other than to make sure the pantry is stocked with oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Guinness and onion rings at the bar? Bring it. Five Guys for dinner? How fast can I click ‘submit order’.
Some highlights from my trip:
- Homeland. Episode 1 to the finale of season two. Holy crap am I addicted. I don’t want to get caught up in recency but it’s definitely one of the three best shows I’ve watched, up there with The Sopranos for me.
- My annual Christmas morning meal of cheese grits and crouton egg casserole. My family’s roots are from Kentucky which means every holiday food my grandmother influenced from her roots is pure butter, cream, cheese or if I am lucky, all of the above.
- Football Sunday with the men.
- I believe I am the first person to eat five different kinds of cheese/potato combination. Scalloped sweet potatoes, scalloped white potatoes, cheese fries, potatoes au gratin, and mashed potatoes topped with mac n’ cheese, which, as of this morning’s updated weigh-in has be up nine pounds. Yeah. Shocker.
- Got to spend some very quality time with the lady before she leaves the country for six months including a hoard of awesome gifts and an insanely nice company party at the Corcoran in downtown DC. Open premium bar. Buffet with four meats. Sold.
So, while I am sitting here in this Blair Witch terminal I got to thinking about my goals for 2013. The way I tend to make goals mirrors the way I do most things in life. Pick a lot of things you want to do and then decide which are the most important. I recently read an outstanding book called The 10x Rule and in it, Grant Cardone expresses his belief that you need to target way above what you expect to reach in order to make sure you hit your goals.
If you want to make a million dollars a year, shoot for three million.
I agree with this mostly. However, I am always of the mindset your goals should be aggressive yet realistic. I never saw the point in saying I want to deadlift 525 pounds when I know I’m never going to. If you set something that you know is out of reach then in my opinion, you’ll never take it seriously. At thirty years young, I have a pretty firm grip on my physicality, professional abilities and personal life and I best hit goals when I set them to be very difficult yet within my capabilities.
I shoot for an 80% success rate.
My list looks pretty simple this year. Get stronger, get healthier, get smarter and get more successful. You must provide yourself with specific measurable because goals should be anything but ambiguous, so here are the specifics.
GOAL #1: Get Stronger
I don’t know of anyone who trains for strength that is ever satisfied at their current level. We always want to get stronger and pick up more weight. It’s in our DNA as human beings to want to maximize our genetic potential and while I have made some decent gains for myself over the past year, I am not yet where I want to level off and maintain.
As a business owner, I only have so much time in the day to train. While that might seem like a ridiculous statement given that I WORK in a gym, the reality is that my training is a scheduled break from the list of 2,873 things we typically have on our plate in a given month at Performance360. This is not to preempt my goals with excuses, I say this to illustrate a point that you either need to make more time or scale your goals to the time you have allowed.
If you truly only have an hour in a day to train, chances are a marathon is not going to happen for you. So, you either need to understand that or make more time. One of the other.
I understand that at this point in our business, my demands as an athlete must take a backseat to my demands as an owner.
Here are some of the measureables I would like to hit at my body weight of between 175 and 180 pounds.
Deadlift Goal: 435#
Current: 405 – 415# @ 173 lbs.
Timeline: 32 weeks
The deadlift is by far my shittiest of the power or Olympic lifts which frustrates me. When you take the sum and break down the collective parts, each muscle needed is pretty strong for me but for some reason when I string them together it’s not that great of a movement.
I am definitely proud of my deadlift but I’d love to see it get to a bit higher level, as soon as I get my back healthy, of course (more on that below). Hence, the conservative timeline.
How I am going to accomplish this goal: A lot of heavy singles and reduced overall volume. I study the deadlifting world a lot. Some preach 3x a week at high volume, others as little as once per month and I am going to toy with the latter. I am not going to concern myself with fancy pants accessory exercises, instead just become as neurologically efficient as possible on the start to finish movement of the deadlift. The only complimentary exercise I am going to use is short, high-load farmer’s walks.
Current: 245# @ 180 lbs
Timeline: 24 weeks
While I am fairly inefficient at deadlifts, I am pretty good at jerks. I don’t really know why and I’m not gonna go Indiana Jones on it looking for answers. Some people think there has to be a reversible solution to absolutely every problem and sometimes it’s as simple as the fact that upper body strength has always come easier to me than lower body strength. If I can clean up my split near maximum load I think I can add another five to ten pounds just on sound mechanics alone.
From there, it’s just pounding the singles.
How I am going to accomplish this goal: Keep doing what I am doing. Staying far away from anything that resembles high-rep and focusing on an explosive split. I’m also going to increase my volume of hand-stand pushups.
Hang Clean: 240#
Current: 220# @ 174 lbs.
Timeline: 16 weeks
My father was a phenomenal athlete in his day earning All-Met honors in high school and playing two sports at the University of Virginia. I am fortunate in that I inherited his athletic genes for the most part, however one of my curses as a weight lifting enthusiast is that I also inherited my mother’s wrists. Honestly, I look like a sixth grade girl from lower forearm to hand. It’s bush league. Combine that with the mental inability to scale myself down when I am feeling aggressive and you run into problems on the hang clean every now and then.
That said, I am pretty strong on the hang clean and think I’ll be able to make a decent jump in 2013.
How I am going to accomplish this goal: I’ll need to improve my grip strength to get from hang to catch so I’m going to do a lot of mid-range farmer’s walks at 75% of maximum load. I’m also going to continue to progress on my front squat as you need that to be really strong to “stand up” a hang clean. Most people greatly overlook this component of the power hang clean. If you catch low you effectively reduce the travel distance of the bar, making it an easier lift.
Turkish Get-Up: 150# Barbell
Current: 125# Barbell
Timeline: 24 weeks
I have an irrational obsession with this lift so much so, that I want to Turkish Get-Up my girlfriend, which, in typing sounds like an inappropriate sex move but I assure you, I am just a meat head. I love this exercise and thanks to handstand pushups and ring dips I was finally able to conquer the spinning bar at the bridge.
Quick tangent. If you want more stable shoulders then do handstand pushups. Trust me. This video is a miss at 125# without any handstand pushups as part of my training. Watch the bar spin out of control due to my inability to harness the rotation.
Now, this is after just four weeks of an aggressive handstand pushup inclusion in my training.
150 pounds may be a bit aggressive but I’d rather shoot too high than too low.
How I am going to accomplish this goal: Continue to strengthen my shoulders against their natural inclination to rotate via high rep bodyweight handstand pushups and low-rep, weighted handstand pushups. Maybe a few bottom’s up presses as well for that anti-rotational endurance. You have to resist rotation for a good 10-20 seconds and the bottom’s up KB press is great at developing that.
That’s it. Short and sweet. Four main lifts. I’d like to see my squat get to 350 and bench press to 285 but I won’t be bummed out if that doesn’t happen. I have abandoned my quest for a 60” box jump and have instead decided to take my 57” and hold my head high. I don’t need need to be killing myself and shins for that five foot jump.
Or, am I just telling myself this so that I don’t breakdown like Carrie Mathison when Estes strips her Brody board?
GOAL #2: Get Healthier
My body wore down in the final quarter of 2012 for a variety of reasons, most notably a constant desire to always lift too close to maximal too often. I think if i I scaled it back just slightly and lost the mentality of “If I’m not lifting 90% of max every time out then I am getting weaker”, I would have not only avoided some of the injuries I sustained from August to December which include a sprained thumb and lumbar, but would have also increased my strength more.
I was cannibalizing worse than Hannibal Lector.
I plan on paying very close attention to the strength of my lower back in the new year. My form has always been dialed in on every major lift, but what I rarely focus on is targeting those smaller interspinales stabiliizing muscles.
I’m going to force myself to take 20-30 minutes every day for mobility and meditation. I’m not going to sprint through my foam rolling or mobility work. If I don’t treat it as a priority then neither will my body when I need it to.
I had the first professional massage of my life over Christmas break and it really enlightened me to the benefits for a weight lifter (I know, I am embarrassingly late to the party).
No longer will I be the guy who thinks he requires no outside help when it comes to recovery. I plan on making maintenance and repair a much larger priority into my thirties.
Simply put, I am not 21 anymore. A fact that makes me..
GOAL #3: Get Smarter
2012 was by far the busiest year of my life. On average, I was awake for 16 hours of the day and can conservatively estimate at least thirteen were physical working hours. I had very little time to improve myself as a professional in 2012 as it was all about the growth of the gym and the people training there. While that was always be the case, I am hopeful that as we continue to lighten our own workload within the four walls of the gym I am able to focus more time on my continued education. More seminars, workshops and hands-on learning from people who know more than I do.
- I want to became a master at coaching the Olympic lifts, not just proficient.
- I want to improve my mental library of mobility drills.
- I want to learn more about sleep beyond the basics. Why can I get 10 hours of sleep and feel infinitely worse than I do at six hours?
- I want to learn more about injury rehabilitation from physical therapists.
Fitness is a moving, breathing organism that changes on a yearly basis. What’s smart in 2012 is stupid in 2013, and if you are not constantly on the forefront of new research and development then you’ll be passed over for those who are. I firmly believe this and want to make an asserted effort to read, think and do more to improve myself and what I can offer our members in 2013.
GOAL #4: Improve Success
It’s easy to get lost in vagueness and ambiguity when you declare that you want to be more successful. After all, what does that even mean? Make more money? Increase the reach of your brand? Get better at Microsoft Excel? There are a million different routes when declaring and determining success so I’m going to keep mine to a simple goal.
Open a second location.
Don’t know how. Don’t know where. Don’t know when. But I know we want the direction of the brand to be headed in more than just San Diego and that’s something we’re going to start focusing on in the latter months of the upcoming year.
As I mentioned in the intro, I like my goals to be aggressive yet realistic. If you look at my last year’s success rate it’s about 80% and that’s where I like to live. If you hit 100% of your goals then they weren’t lofty enough, below 50% and you probably were too ambitious. You want to set goals that challenge you and reward your hard work at the same time.
What are your training and life goals in the new year? Share your goals here or on the Facebook post and let’s get to ’em.