Tuesday 1 January 2013

New Year, New Goals

The advent of a new year is cleansing, in that it's the perfect opportunity for us to make new goals, set new challenges, and live life to its fullest. It's a time to discard practices that don't enhance our lives, in favor of those that do. Call them what you will; goals, resolutions, changes; the purpose behind the name remains the same: to improve our life.

I used to be one of the naysayers, not believing in resolutions. Until 5 years ago, when I decided to quit smoking on Jan 1st, 2008, after almost 20 years as a smoker. I've never slipped, never had a puff, never even been tempted in fact. Yes, the first few weeks were hell, but it was one of the most beneficial decisions I've ever made. In retrospect, I find it hard to comprehend the fact that I used to smoke; the idea of slowly and intentionally poisoning myself seems so absurd and foreign now. Ever since, I've been a full-on believer in resolutions. Why not? They work for me.

My 2013 resolutions are all health-related, pertain to nutrition and exercise, and will require a great deal of commitment, motivation, and dedication. Why the extreme, you may be asking? It's quite simple. I've been feeling like crap for too long. I've seen my doctor, has a gazillion different tests, and there is absolutely nothing physically wrong with me, which means the feeling of crappiness is self-induced and within my ability to change!

Nutrition-wise, I am giving up gluten and restricting other grains to a rare intake of corn and rice. I am limiting dairy to organic Greek yogurt and occasional cheese, completely eliminating all processed foods and sugar, and cutting out alcohol. And I'm upping my protein shakes back to two a day. Basically, I'll be eating whole, natural foods, in their original state.

In terms of exercise, I need to step it up. Waaaay up. The sporadic running I've been doing for the past 2 years is getting old; it's time to really commit. So Dec 28th, I kicked off a new 90 day challenge, in which my goal is to take 5 minutes off my 10km PR, set 6 or 7 years ago, and reduce my body fat by 5%. To train, I have committed to a 4-run per week schedule. Cross training will be once a week, with either snowshoeing or cycling, and I'll be doing 1 Bikram yoga class a week. I'm not doing any specific strength training program, but am doing daily Crossfit workouts which run about 15 minutes each. And to keep myself motivated, I'll be racing a lot this year, in road runs, obstacle course races, road cycling, and may even tackle a triathlon.

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