2011 Resolution #1: Get Fit

In an effort to talk about the power of goal-setting along with some methods of setting and achieving goals, I’m going to discuss my three resolutions for 2011 this week.

As many of you remember, I set a weight loss goal for 2010 that I exactly halfway achieved. I’m happy with that partial success.

What I discovered during the process, though, is that I’m not so much concerned with the weight loss as I am with being in decent physical shape, mostly with regards to an ability to actively play with my children. I don’t want to be winded playing tag with them. I want to be able to grab them all and pick them up over my head without effort. I want to be able to help my children get started in whatever sports or outdoor activities excite them. I want to be able to go on bike rides with them.

In the end, the way to do that is with a set of specific fitness goals. I’ve already had a chat with a personal trainer to talk about some general expectations, mostly in terms of setting end-of-year goals for 2011. With his suggestions, I came up with the following list:

Run a 5K in 30 minutes
Do 100 pushups in 3 minutes
Do 200 squats in 5 minutes
Do 200 situps in 5 minutes
Jump to touch an eleven foot marker (I’m already six and a half feet tall, so this isn’t a tremendous leap)
Ride RAGBRAI (or a leg or two of it) in 2012
Additional specific flexibility and strength goals that I need to discuss with my trainer.

Remember, these are specific goals that take me from where I am (I’m not in the worst shape of my life, but not the best, either) to that place by the end of 2011. I think they’re all fairly realistic.

What will I do to get there? I’ve decided to set aside one hour each day for physical fitness in 2011. (I won’t be completely single-tasking this time, as I intend to get plenty of reading in while walking/jogging on treadmills and the like.) I hope to do this consistently in the morning as part of my morning routine.

What activities will I give up for that time? The biggest thing I’ll give up is idle web surfing. I’ve decided to stop spending time on a handful of time vacuum websites (like this one) and instead devote that time to something more productive, like getting in shape (and hitting a home run on my other two goals for the year). I’m doing this by blocking those websites at the router so that they basically can’t be accessed at home without a lot of difficulty.

I suspect that with my current dietary changes (I’m currently a vegan, for better or worse) and this regimen, I will lose some weight in 2011, but that’s not my primary goal with all of this. My primary goal is to be in good enough shape that I can participate in athletic activities with my children.

Thus, I have the pieces in place to make this work. I have the motivation (my children). I have the means (newfound free time). I have the specific goals (listed above).

Now it’s just up to me to carry through with them.

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  1. Jonathan says:

    I like your goals. I am going to adopt your first 4 and add running a 10K (no time limit). The 10K was the goal I already had in mind for the near the end of 2011. So, adding yours just makes for a better fitness year!

  2. Adam P says:

    Great job with the weight loss in 2010 btw, Trent. I know you didn’t meet your goal (40lbs I think?) but you still lost a lot. The vegan diet probably helps a lot, I know when I tried to go organic vegan for a month I lost quite a lot without intending to. Looking forward to more vegan recipes!

  3. KC says:

    Good luck! It sounds like JD is rubbing off a little bit on you. Totally agree about games and random internet searching as a time suck. I have an addictive personality and games are just something I have to avoid or place time limits on when I want to enjoy them.

    We bought a treadmill this Christmas to use when we aren’t able to get outside. My only goal is to use it for 30 minutes everyday when I am not playing tennis. I’m already in pretty good shape, but this is intended to keep me that way since we are thinking about starting a family.

    Good luck and Happy New Year (oh yeah, Merry Christmas, too!)

  4. leslie says:

    Good goals. Please consider not trying to read while you are working out though. I don’t care how good you are at multi-tasking…you won’t get nearly as much out of your workout if you are trying to read while doing it and you probably won’t get as much out of your reading either. Jogging and reading is very, very difficult (there is more bouncing around than you would think). If you need to do something else while working out then consider listening to a podcast or something.

    Good luck!

  5. marta says:

    No kidding, leslie. If you can read while on the treadmill, you aren’t working out hard enough.

    You don’t need to multi-task all the time either — it’s okay to spend an hour “just” getting in shape. I feel pretty good after a workout because I am not distracted by other things.

  6. bob says:

    definitely a good goal! the generic get in shape or lose weight just isn’t what anybody is really looking for, it’s a step on the way to what the goal really is. good for you to want to be active with your children
    I’d suggest books on an ipod for multi tasking while working out – actually reading is fairly difficult (at least for me)
    definitely making it just part of your routine is the way to go. I get up, shave and then go for a 30 minute walk EVERY DAY before anything else and it just becomes part of waking up.

  7. J.D. says:

    I just got back from my morning Crossfit workout. More than anything, Trent, this has changed my (physical) life. Crossfit isn’t for everyone, and I know we Crossfitters come across as zealots, but do give it some consideration. Yes, it takes time, but it’s worth it. (For me, anyhow.) I’ll summarize my results at GRS on Monday (though you may have already seen them at jdroth.com).

    That said, your excercise goals are ambitious. I’m not sure I could do 100 pushups in three minutes, and I’ve spent the past nine months going from zero pushups to where I am today. (I just did 30 pushups in today’s workout, though it was mixed in with a bunch of other stuff.) I think 100 pushups in four minutes is a reasonable goal for you, but three minutes seems like a HUGE stretch. (I’d see it as a stretch for me, too.) I’d add a minute to all of your time goals, actually. Yes, 40 situps in one minute is doable. But there’s a huge difference between that and 80 situps in two minutes — or 200 in five. :)

    I wish you success with this, Trent, and if you want to chat about any of this, please drop me a line or give me a call. I’m happy to share what has and has not worked for me, or just to provide some moral support.

  8. Hi Trent, why do you think you are overweight? One tip I have for you is to think about all the starving children in the world, and once you become cognizant of the fact that so many have so little to eat, you no longer will want to be overweight. It happened to me about 10 years ago, and I’ve kept off the weight since.

    Best, Sam

  9. Bob S. says:

    When I’m working out on my elliptical I usually watch netflix(entertain and exercise)…but lately I’ve been downloading tutorials to watch(learn and exercise)…I’ve just never been able to read and do the elliptical.

  10. Emma says:

    Just so you know – Bob S. (#9) is right…walking/running and reading do NOT go together well. It’s really hard to read when you’re moving, as your body will move up/down and it’s almost impossible to keep your place on the page. I’d recommend podcasts/something else to listen to as opposed to reading.

  11. Kerry D. says:

    I would third or fourth the thought to avoid multi-tasking. As a dance/pilates/yoga instructor I would suggest keeping your awareness of effective use of your breath, body alignment, efficient execution of the movement, and engaging the core/abs! throughout the process. That’s a lot of thought! Even very subtle movement can benefit from a lot of awareness. Also, being aware of how the movement feels can help prevent injury or overuse.

  12. Lauren says:

    Here’s a plug for multitasking. If Trent is going to be reading, which he certainly does a lot, there’s NO reason why he can’t read while walking at a 1-3 MPH pace. Now, this shouldn’t be his main workout of the day (at least if he wants to accomplish all of his goals), but this is a very good way to make reading a bit healthier… and the pace is slow enough that it’s easy to maintain for an hour+, easily. I read & walk for 30-60 minutes a day and I love it (and I think it helps me focus better on the book as well).

    There is a health book called “Move a Little, Lose a Lot” that espouses this theory… try to incorporate exercise into everything that you do (walk while you read/use the computer, use a standing desk, take the stairs, etc.), which I found to be a very good read.

  13. AK says:

    Great measurable goals! No one has a lot of extra time, so we all have to make “sacrifices” to get our workout in. I’ve found though that if I workout I have more energy and can get my other tasks done faster than if I hadn’t exercised. If you aren’t already running, I’d suggest the couch-to-5k program, which will get you to a successful 5k finish. Good luck!

  14. Kathy says:

    Perhaps instead of reading while walking/jogging/working out, use the time to just let your mind go and wander and clear itself of the mental clutter. It’s a great stress reliever.

  15. Karen says:

    I understand the idea of not multitasking. However, if he wants to read, another option is audible books. Many libraries offer this service for free. Download the book to an MP3 player or an iPod or iPhone and listen any time you want.

  16. I am wondering is if you are going from no exercise to 60 minutes per day, you will give it up quite quick. It takes a fair amount of your day out to do 60 minutes per day, everyday. I would start more with 30 minutes per day. Oh, and I agree with the others, don’t read while you exercise. I rent tv shows that I have seen before from my local library and work my way through them. It is entertaining, and since I have seen them before, I don’t have to slow down every good scene, even though I still do some on my stationary bike. Not the treadmill though. I also vary between the two some. I hope your 2011 is a good one and that you get closer to your goals.

  17. PF says:

    If you want to multitask, I say incorporate your kids into your workout. Pull the two older ones in a bike trailer. Alternatively, carry one on your back and hike. Trust me, you’ll be in shape quick. I’ve had two kids in 3 years and gained/lost 60 pounds from that. Nothing says “Get fit” like walking around with 30 pounds on your back or putting two of them in a jogging stroller and pushing them around at bout 70 pounds. Did I mention I’m over 40?

  18. Systemizer says:

    “Do 100 pushups in 3 minutes”
    “Do 200 squats in 5 minutes”
    “Do 200 situps in 5 minutes”

    Is there any way we can place wagers?

    If so, when the time comes please post a video of your attempt.

  19. kjc says:

    Trent,

    I don’t know who this “trainer” is, but the specific goals quoted in comment #18 are absurdly aggressive and not necessarily all that relevant to your overall goal of being fit for your kids. That he – and you, for that matter – don’t understand that is a bit bewildering.

    Good luck with your macro goal – and please, if you must have interim or specific performance goals, make them realistic.

  20. Gretchen says:

    I don’t understand how doing 200 squats will help you be a fitter parent.

    Of course, I don’t see the point of doing 200 Body weight squats for any reason.

  21. Jacob says:

    Just a thought but I’m personally a big believer in p90x. I played sports in college but then gained weight via the sedentary job + family lifestyle.

    p90x is a total body workout that only requires some basic home fitness items like strength bands and a pull up bar. Once you are past the initial costs, it’s “free.”

  22. Mary Dyer says:

    Tip from a major hospital medical center. Buy a pedometer,, widely available in sports centers as well, and set a 10k step a day goal, by working extra activities into your daily acctivitcies.

    take the stairs not the elevator. park as far away from the store entrance, and save some door paint dings on the back parking row as well.

    why sit down whole talking on the phone. standing uses a bit more energy. I pace around the room on long cordless phone calls.

    the goal is to work extra activity into your normal daily activities, and you can add quite a bit on “take the stairs, not the eloevator” stuff.

  23. Steven says:

    Well, how much progress did you make on any of these goals?

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