I’ve been at the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) for a week and a half, and I’m already more involved in the school’s culture and institutions than I ever was in my high school.
As I find myself getting involved with The Maneater, my residence hall, and the Missouri Students Association (MSA), I recognize that I need to take a moment and outline my goals. It’s easy to submit numerous applications and plunge into every opportunity, and I’ve had a blast doing it, but it undoubtedly necessary to stop and consider what I’m doing, where I’m headed, and where I want to be.
Here are some goals I’ve set for myself. For now, I'm going to focus only on my fitness goals. This is because I believe this to be the area of my life most swinging in the balance right now. I’m going to outline them as tediously as possible. Broad goals, I’ve found, are not very effective.
Run a marathon by April 1, 2014
To be frank, I haven’t found nearly as much joy in running as I used to. A couple months ago I ran all the time, going long-distances and bragging about it to everyone I knew. It felt good to know I was burning 800 plus kilocalories in the course of a little over an hour. Lately, my focus has shifted to gaining weight and muscle, and I intend for it to stay that way. Nevertheless, I see a marathon in my future.
Currently, I do resistance training every other day, and on my off days I go for a nice jog around campus. I’m going to keep up with this, slowly increasing my distance each time. To ensure that I’m not losing too much weight and thus hindering my muscle gain, I’ll make sure to increase my kilocalories on my running days by consuming more healthy foods. This is no excuse to eat poorly.
April 1 is my birthday, by the way.
Gain 5 pounds of muscle by Dec. 12, 2013
The ‘5’ is more or less coming out of nowhere. Like I said in my first goal, another goal of mine is to gain some muscle. I don’t like being weak and scrawny, but I’m also not looking to become a bodybuilder. I’m already pretty lean, and adding a little bit of muscle into the equation would put me at peak physical condition.
The key right now is working out frequently. Starting college confused my usual routine, so I’m less concerned about the exercises I’m doing and more with actually getting out of bed and doing it.
I was originally making the trek to Mizzou’s Recreation Complex--a massive gymnasium with a track, weight-room, cardio room, and Olympic pool--every other day, but I found this to be horrible for time management purposes. Instead, I’ve been experimenting with ways to get fit from within the comfort of my own room, with nothing else than the ‘ol sack of bones (aka my body).
Once I get together a good regime, I’ll make a post about it and track my progress.
I chose December 12 because that’s the day I return to St. Louis for winter intersession, which for me is ample time to prove that I am actually improving my overall health in my time here, rather than gaining weight and adopting unhealthy habits.
Eliminate most-to-all processed foods from my diet by 2014
The more time I spend reading articles and blog posts on healthy eating, the less some of my dietary choices make sense to me. 99-percent of the time, I am fully aware that what I am putting into my body is of absolutely no nutritional value. My rationality is overridden, however, and so I consume it anyway.
Thankfully, I realize this, and experience tells me that recognizing this inner irrationality is the key to curb-stomping it. I want to eliminate all meats that come from animals that were pumped with antibiotics, all foods containing sugar (fruit being the only exception), and all refined carbs. I may experiment with eliminating meat entirely at some point, too.
January 1, 2014 is more than enough time to make this a reality. Truthfully, I’d argue that I could stop eating all processed foods now if I was dedicated enough, and I’m going to begin trying immediately. That might mean going hungry occasionally, but in the long-term, the health benefits and habitual changes will be worth it.
There are other goals I have, mainly those related to what I hope to achieve on campus, but these are the ones I consider to be most important and relevant to my physical fitness. I’ll probably make another post sometime soon concerning my non-fitness-related ambitions.
If you don’t have specific fitness goals outlined for yourself, I would highly recommend you sit down with a pen and paper and figure them out. Most of us would like to be in better shape than we’re currently in, and the best way to do something about it is to outline, realistically, what you’re going to do and how long you’re going to give yourself to do it.
What are your strategies and goals?
Photo is of a portion of MU's campus, near my residence hall and near my dining hall, Plaza 900. It's a beautiful day.