Part 1 of a 3 Part Series.
Crossing over the 25-year milestone, one slides rather quickly from the youthful and boisterous “mid-twenties” to the apprehensive “late-twenties,” with dreaded thirties a mere few rotations away. As much as we try and look at it like maturation and progression, which it undoubtedly is, few will fool you into saying they are not starkly reminded of their own mortality.
This is NOT a reason to neglect health. In fact, I see it as quite the opposite. Knowing that we are going to die one day is the very reason that motivated this challenge.
The Best Shape of Your Life
Can you think of a moment when you were in the best shape of your life? Unless you were a pro-athlete, I can almost guarantee that this heroic past-self is extremely romanticized. We are all guilty of it, falling into complacency with our desk jobs and relationships, then attempting to run a mile and doubling over halfway; justifying it all with how fit we used to be.
Being in the best shape of your life is subjective to the person, but it’s also only relevant to the now, because that is what we live in. It’s also unattainable, which makes it even more motivating, because I can always be in better shape than my yesterday’s self, if I work at it.
“Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.”
This challenge is formally being issued to anyone who takes the time to read this post (which I sincerely appreciate).
F.I.F. (Fall Into Fitness): Dedicate 3 months to a measured lifestyle change to improve your health and fitness.
Everyone is at different levels of physical fitness, but if we don’t measure them, then we’ll never know where we stand to improve.
Step 1: The Benchmarks
Choose the elements you want to improve, record them, and set your goals for the end of the challenge.
Mine are as follows, with the goals in italics:
159.6lbs (72.4kg) | 175lbs (79.4kg)
Bench Press: 185 | 200
Squat: 215 | 300
Deadlift: 305 | 400
100m Sprint: 12.7 seconds | 11.5 seconds
Vertical Leap: 24 1/3″ (61.8 cm) | 30″ (76.2cm)
Pull-Ups: 19 | 30
1 mile run: TBD
Step 2: The Plan
Recording Benchmarks are great, but if you don’t draw up a methodical plan, then you are simply planning to fail. I’ve pushed myself hard since February and gotten into the best shape of recent memory. I’ve now reached my ceiling of knowledge and have thus enlisted a pro to get me to that next level–for the continued drive of excellence!
Enter Dan Schafer…
Dan is a strength & conditioning coach with over nine years of experience and a repertoire that includes some impressive top tier athletes from around the country. His philosophy is simple, but effective: the needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind.
In other words, the exercises he prescribes his top level athletes (deadlifts, squats, etc) are the same ones he gives his clients pushing seventy. Dan’s a big of fan of the barbell and loves to incorporate Olympic style lifts in many of his training sessions. This very challenge was born out of a conversation between Dan myself about strength and its influence on overall athleticism.
Step 3: Execution
It’s officially the first day of Strengthtember, the goal is laid out, the plan is meticulous, now all that’s left is to start lifting some heavy-ass-weight and chasing that goal!
Stay tuned for Part 2 which will include my detailed training & eating regimen, as well as a progress update!