Fitness February - lose fat, build muscle, run better

February 2011 is going to be all about fitness. Leo Babauta of ZenHabits.net fame is a shining light for how to break bad habits and introduce good ones and in the past five years he has quit smoking, lost 50 pounds, run several marathons, tripled his income, wrote a novel, wrote several e-books, and the list just keeps going. One of his key concepts is to only focus on changing one habit at a time which is a simple yet effective method consider the basic human behavioral stance is to oppose major change. Following this concept I have decided to dedicate the next 28 days to fitness.

Fitness February

The word "fitness" is pretty generic and is too vague on its own. The changes I am implementing will be a little bit more than just one thing but they all come under the fitness umbrella term. I think I can manage that. But as I mentioned previously, setting measurable goals and tracking data is the best way to remain focused on a task, so I will break it down a bit more to set myself tasks that I can easily measure my success against.

February Goals

Visit the doctor - I generally manage to steer clear of doctors baring semi-emergency experiences (collapsed lung, broken wrist, attacked by a clothesline). But this month I am going to schedule an appointment jus to get a full assessment on my health. I want to know how I am going now and what areas I need to work on.

Visit a Feldenkrais expert/Physio/Chiropractor - I was researching neck relaxation techniques the other day and stumbled upon a reference to the Feldenkrais Method. This phrase particularly piqued my interest: "changes in our ability to move are inseparable from changes in our conscious perception of ourselves as embodied", so I will be visiting a Feldenkrais practitioner to see what we can discover about how I use body. If I cannot find a good practitioner then I will settle for a physiotherapist or chiropractor for the time being.

Trim body fat - before I started My 4 Hour Body adventure two weeks ago I estimated my body fat percentage to be at 17.5 - 20%. That is too high. I am a naturally sporty person and I do not like being out of shape so my goal is to trim down to 10% body fat and reduce waist and hip measurements by a further 2cm (already down 4.5cm and 2cm respectively).

Gain size in muscles - I want to be one of those guys who kisses his biceps before going to bed and wears nothing but singlets, even in winter. Ok, not quite that bad, but some extra size in the right places would be great. I want to gain at least 2cm in my biceps, chest, and thighs.

Improve my running style and ability - I want to do some analysis on my running style and improve it to be more efficient. I am thinking about creating my "30 year bucket list" (things to do before I turn 30) and competing in a marathon\triathlon will definitely be included. So I want to iron out any kinks in my running style. As a subset to this I want to be able to run 5km in under 30 minutes by the end of February.

I think that will do. February is going to be great and by March I am going to be a leaner, fitter, stronger, and happier version of myself. And I will be ready for my next lifestyle challenge!

PS: I will still be writing my Positive Happiness articles so keep an eye out for those, as well as my tips and tricks for maintaining motivation when creating your very own lifestyle challenge

Update (2/2/11): You can now read the outcomes of Fitness February in this article.