I am not one to make resolutions, not for New Years or on other calendar dictated occasions. However, I do recognize the necessity to periodically assess, reassess, revitalize, overhaul, and commit to approaching one’s quest for increased muscular strength and size. Thus I accept the vows, promises, resolutions, and oaths that accompany the turning of one year into the next. The proviso of course is that one should always be on fire and jacked up about their training and what it will take to reach the next level.
New Years Eve, New Years Day, and one’s birthday are usually key dates for planning a new onslaught towards the poundages one is seeking to lift competitively. These mark convenient and accepted times to state, “Okay, it’s a new year for me, I have to do (insert whatever it is one believes they have to do or do differently).” It is a given that every serious lifter, every serious competitor for certain, must keep a training log that notes exercises completed, the conditions they were completed in to include weather and temperature conditions if applicable, day and time of workout, notations about existing injury(ies), anything of significance that would affect training on that day, and needless to add, pounds or kilos used for each exercise and reps and sets completed or missed. Yeah, I know, basic stuff yet even for those that maintain records, I cannot begin to recall the number of times I reviewed a lifter’s training log, with them sitting next to me, and both of us had to ask, “What the f— is this supposed to mean?” When a trainee has no idea what they’ve done, they also have no clear idea where they are going in their training, there is no path to the attainment of whatever their specific goal might be. Again, basic stuff but most would be surprised to know that most lifters and many highly successful lifters do not maintain training records or training records that are meaningful. Being able to say “I did good that day on the squat” hardly qualifies as a plan to increase one’s squat by 50 pounds in the next “X” number of months, yet that is the reality of powerlifting for many if not most trainees.
Today is the first of January, 2018, a new beginning for some, or like me, a prelude to an upcoming birthday which is a more accurate “new year,” at least for me. January 01 however is a “sensible day” to truly strip one’s training down as one would their favorite long gun or pistol, and take it to the basic parts, seeing what has worked well and what might bring improvement. Trigger pull feels great? Then there is no need to change the poundage pull on the trigger. Squat improved as expected? Perhaps more than imagined under whatever the circumstances would have realistically predicted? Enjoying the squat work? Fine, keep it going, move on to the “next part.” Identify what worked and what did not. Identify what you have enjoyed doing that has worked. Identify what you really dreaded but worked well. These could be short term or long term keepers in the next round of training. What seems like a reasonable or “doable” length of time for any specific program? Has enough time been given to each specific program or routine to truly know if the results will show the program’s efficacy? I have had far too many trainees come to me with the complaint that “this just isn’t working” after giving a program perhaps three weeks of trial. It could take two weeks just to figure out what the appropriate training weights are relative to keeping proper form, fatigue levels during the workout, and necessary recovery time which may then require the alteration of something else like nutrition, rest and sleep, or work schedules. Be fair to yourself when planning training and allow the program to work or fail based upon its merits relative to you and your situation. As one of the all time short-sighted comments made to me stated, “I’m really wiped out on this new routine. I’ve only been on it a week and a half but with 95 hours of work a week, it’s tough.” Uh, perhaps 95 hours of work per week is going to make doing any routine a bit difficult and it would be best to curtail training or stick to doing very little rather than an ambitious program until the necessary hours of work sort of ease off.
I have always had the attitude that training improvement and both long range and short range/specific goal attainment should be in place at all times. However, the New Years Day holiday is a “good time to make changes” as we have all been told since childhood, thus using it for a multitude of training related resolutions, can prove to be helpful and positive.