One day I woke up and decided to change my training program – again. A while back, I shared a post all about Why I Lift, and I still stand by what I said in that post. That doesn’t mean I can’t continue to grow and improve – I want to always be improving at my fitness goals and in my life as a whole. As I’ve been thinking about new goals, I’ve decided to challenge myself to go outside of my comfort zone and start training more in a bodybuilding style rather than for strength. Strength lifting and powerlifting have always been what I’ve excelled and I love it, so I’ve stuck with it. Around my birthday in late November I started thinking about the fitness goals still on my list and with the influence of a few other events in my life, I decided that 2017 is going to the year I try new things and have no regrets. I’m bringing this mentality into the New Year as a part of my new fitness goals I’m setting for myself (post on those coming soon).
After being on my fitness journey for the past four yeas, I finally admitted to myself that I haven’t actually reached a goal that I’d love to be able to say I’ve done, which quite frankly comes down to looking a certain way. Reaching an aesthetic goal, in my opinion, is so hard to gauge and I think that’s why I’ve shied away from it in the past. To achieve this goal, I know that it takes a lot of willpower and can also take a toll on the emotions. I know it’s superficial to say that I want to reach a goal of having abs and looking good (whatever that actually means), but I also think that’s natural. Doesn’t everyone want to look good?
At first when I started the new training program, I chose to follow the Jim Stoppani’s 12-Week Shortcut to Size that I found on BodyBuilding.com. I wanted a pretty basic program that would focus on the basics of training and get me into the mindset of a more traditional bodybuilding. Since early fall, I’ve been in auto-mode of going to the gym, doing the routine and getting home as soon as possible. I’ve been very busy in my personal life, which makes me feel like that I need to rush through my workouts. Because of that I haven’t been making the mind-muscle connection that I’d like to in order continue making progress along my fitness journey. Starting a new program has made me slow down, learn new exercises, and focus on what I’m doing. This new program is compiled of exercises that are not familiar to me so I’m getting outside of my comfort zone which is not a bad thing. Being outside of my comfort zone is helping me learn new exercises and techniques that I should just know as someone who is passionate about fitness. My boyfriend is also following this program as he wants to challenge where he is physically as well.
I do enjoy this routine and I think it’s a good routine if you’re starting out or need a pick-me-up like I did, but about three weeks in I decided I needed to make some changes to the routine. The program is heavily focused on upper body and as a female that’s not necessarily where I want to spend the majority of my time. Looking to 2017 and the goals that I’d like to hit, I’m looking to add more emphasis on my glutes. I’ve never been someone who is worried about “growing the glutes,” but lately I’ve been more focused on my hamstrings and glutes and less on my quads. This is going to be a new approach because I absolutely love squats, especially heavy squats, but that’s not the only exercise (or even the best) to focus on hamstrings and glutes. I will definitely continuing performing squats as a part of my training program because I love them, but I’ll also be incorporating weighted lunges (which I tend to dislike), Romanian deadlifts (already in the program), and one leg cable kickbacks (which I’ve never done before). These are all exercises I’m pretty unfamiliar with or I’m not strong at performing, but that’s going to be a part of continuing to improve and grow on my fitness journey. I’m even going to bring down the weight for my squats because, again, I want to focus on the mind-muscle connection and I can’t do that with a lot of weight.
Nutrition is whole other piece of the fitness puzzle. To be honest, I’m trying not to focus too much on my calories and macros during December, because I want to enjoy food during the holidays while I can. I know that my office is not the only one that is overrun with food everyday in the weeks leading to Christmas and the New Year. I even calculated my macros for to bulk for a few weeks so I can get the most out of the extra food I know I’ll be eating. I still take the time to meal prep all of my lunches and even some of my breakfasts which help me eat whole foods, while continuing to be flexible with my snacks throughout the day. I’m planning to do a cut beginning in late February/early March, and for it I want to eat six smaller meals for my day instead of three larger meals and I’m kind of starting with that right now. I’ve only done it for a few days, but so far so good. I also have a long way to go in terms of learning about nutrition and also how flexible dieting affects my physique during a cut.
I made the decision that this is the route I want to take on my ongoing fitness journey because it’s a challenge for me. I’ve always been scared to commit myself to this and a new year means new goals. I want to be able to say I at least tried my best and failed, than to look and wish I would have done it in the first place. I’m excited to get started on the next part of my journey and hope it continues to help me grow and improve as a person.