First of all, from the very bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for all the support for the first Begin Again post. That one was difficult to write and even harder to share, but your response was so kind and encouraging. I received more messages, texts, and emails over that post than all the other ones I’ve ever written combined…seriously. So, thank you for “getting” me and for being so kind and amazing. I shouldn’t be surprised because this community has proven to be the best over and over again, but I truly was so pleasantly surprised by your feedback. (If you missed the soul-bearing post, catch up here: Begin Again.)
Okay, that said, it’s time to get down to business. I (and hopefully you’re joining me, so WE) have a lot of work to do. The first step in starting a journey like this is to take stock of where you are. Having an accurate picture of your starting point allows you to celebrate your progress from here. Nobody wants to take weights, photos and measurements at their heaviest, but it’s soooo important. Every cycle, we have friends in the MacroEd community who say, “I *wish* I had taken before photos/measurements, but I didn’t.” Don’t be that guy/girl. 🙂
For me, my benchmarks are both physical and performance-based. You can pick anything you want to be able to do better/more of/faster as a benchmark. For me, my endurance has suffered more than my strength, so that’s where I want to focus.
My set of benchmarks looks like this:
- Photo (front, back, side, face)
- Measurements (tracked in this handy dandy tracker…feel free to download and use for yourself and I use this gadget to do measurements, it’s cheap and easy)
- Weight (ugh)
- 1 mile time trial
- 100 cal assault bike trial (y’all, I really nearly died…really)
Your benchmarks might be things like:
- how many (insert favorite or least favorite movement here) you can do in 1 min or in 10 mins
- how far you can walk before you need a break
- clothing size
Choose whatever makes the most sense to you, but I would caution you to pick at least some things that are objectively measured. If I chose “how comfortable I feel running in public” or something, my standards could change. It’s too subjective to be consistent over time. If I choose “jeans size,” there’s no messing around with that.
So, whatever you choose, gather the data you need to get an accurate snapshot of yourself right now. You may not love it. Heaven knows, I don’t. But the point isn’t to beat yourself up for where you are. The goal here is to have a baseline so we can celebrate the wins (and losses…see what I did there?) from here. Try not to put too much ownership or importance on this data. It’s just info we need so you can measure against it as you grow/change/get more awesome.
I also set a little goal for myself. There are SO many things to focus on to get healthier and more active, but I’m focusing on quantity of movement right now. That’s it. I’m aiming to workout three times a week in my love crossfit gym (hey, CrossFit Thunder!) and play somewhere else at least once. I’m calling them “play dates,” but the goal is just to use my fitness and ability to be active somewhere outside the gym walls. (I’ll tell you about those 24 check-off boxes sometime soon.)
I can’t say that I’m slaying these goals just yet, but I’m definitely getting closer. Just stating a goal helps make it more of a reality. AND, so far I’ve been able to have “play” sessions at Orange Theory Fitness in Barboursville (I’ll be sharing ALL about that soon…I think you’ll love it) AND hit Beech Fork Lake on my new stand up paddleboard. Those are things I probably wouldn’t have prioritized or made time for before this adventure, so it’s great to be making them happen now.
So, if you’re in a situation where you’re starting over like I am (or maybe starting for the first time), the first course of action is to collect some data about your current situation: good, bad, or ugly. Get photos, weight, measurements, and potentially some performance metrics too. It’s awesome to get to see those numbers change as you go.
Thanks for taking this journey with me. I’m excited to see how we change together! You all inspire the daylights out of me.
All the best,