decided to write this column in advance (so if something changes, I apologize) as I am celebrating my birthday today. But while I am out enjoying my birthday, it makes me think about something else that is slowly approaching — my superficial, almost unrealistic, sometimes hysterical, New Year’s resolution.

This year, I will once again be focused on trying to trim a few pounds off in the hopes of getting back to my college physique (I was actually athletic looking at one point). I decided that I would get a jump start on this back in November and have been hitting the gym in my spare time. I haven’t really focused on the exact scale weight (most of the time a losing battle) but the look and feel of my body during the week. If I look decent in the mirror, I have accomplished my goal.

This portion of my goal is building the foundation for success. I feel like in prior years I went all out on Jan. 1 or 2 (depending if I could get into a gym New Year’s Day) and burnt myself out by the end of the week. This saw a gradual decrease in the amount of time and days I made it to the gym. This is usually sparked again by the “it’s almost the summer and I haven’t gotten a decent T-shirt look” reinvestment. But by not requiring the number of days or time I spend at the gym, I feel like I have found a more achievable resolution.

Once the foundation is built, I hope to get a little more serious with my workouts. Currently, I am working off a three-day workout — chest/triceps, back/biceps, legs/shoulders — with a bit of ab work during those days. I don’t really have a plan going into the weight room except for my major lifts like bench press, deadlift and squats. I have just done what I feel like will benefit me in the long-term. I plan on focusing a little more on exactly what I need to accomplish during my workouts and building a sustainable and time-efficient routine.

I also would like to inject some more cardio into my weekly routine. I have been playing basketball with a group of people for a while now, but due to late night obligations and the lack of morning energy, I am not at my peak in the morning. Running up and down a basketball court has a feel that takes a bit of time to get used to.

So, I hope to increase my cardio on weekends when I am able to dedicate more time to training. My children are usually up and bouncing off the walls by 7 a.m., so that leaves a good two hours to do cardio and get a moderate workout in (if I get up and leave at 5 a.m.). I don’t want to miss any of their incidents and hilarity, and it will allow my wife more time to spend with me.

I will also look at my diet. This is something that I have been terrible with my entire life.  When I was in high school and college, I played football (this kept most of the pounds off). I was still able to gorge myself on pizza, chicken wings, chips and soda. Now that I am celebrating another year on this earth, I would like to spend several more functional decades on this planet.

I know that I will be looking more at portion control and when I eat.   Currently, I am eating a small breakfast, having lunch around 1 p.m. and then having dinner at 5:30 p.m. I will have an occasional snack when I get home late in the evening, but I would like to exchange that for a peanut butter sandwich or a granola bar if I get the urge. Chips are probably not the best option.

I hope with the foundation that I laid out beforehand, it won’t seem like such a challenge when I ramp up my workouts. And if it doesn’t, there is always next year.

Zach Stich is the managing editor of The Fergus Falls Daily Journal. His column appears Thursday.

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