For the past month and a half I have had a severe case of writer’s block on the Fitness Llama blog. For some reason I just could not think of anything to write about. There were a few topics I started working on, but none really stood out to me as worth following through with. For sure, it is good to publish content on a regular basis, but I have an issue with reverting to publishing posts that will merely count as more contributions to the overcrowded pool of generic “How To” fitness related articles that you can find all over the internet. There really is only so much you can say on the subject of how to go about losing body fat, gaining muscle and such before it has all been said, and most of those topics have already been covered quite well by other people who have more expertise on the subject. There is no point in rehashing old topics that other people have already addressed. The posts I was trying write in the past 6 weeks were starting to turn into what I just described, and it bothered me, so I figured it would be better to sit back and give more thought to my posts in order to keep from fall into that sort of rut. And besides, this blog is supposed to be about my own experiences, not generic fitness “how to’s”. But luckily, an easy topic to get me back into writing has popped up.
The Fitness Llama Anniversary!
It’s Been A Year
One year ago today I started the Fitness Llama Blog and began working out. I have to admit that at the time of creating my blog, I was seriously doubting that my declared “Quest to catch that thing they call fitness” was going to be anything more than a two-week phase. That is what all my previous attempts at getting fit have always been. Phases; a week and a half of working out intensely and trying to eat better before burning out. I am not sure what caused me to stick with my plan this time, but I am glad that I have. The rewards have been great.
Working Out Makes Everything Better
There are so many positive benefits and side-effects to working out that I never really considered when starting out. My original end goal, was simply to become as fit looking as possible. Yes, Fitness Llama was indeed started largely due to aesthetic desires. But since then I have found that there is so much more that working out can do for you beyond just looking good on the beach. Having that beach body physique(which I do not possess) is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of reward you get for working out.
Within a few short weeks of starting my fitness regiment, I began to notice that a case of depression I was suffering from throughout most of the 2012/13 school year was starting to disappear, and within a month or two it was gone. With that also disappeared the ever-present and overwhelming levels of pent-up stress that ran me into the ground at the end of my sophomore year of college. I know for a fact that continuing to work out upon returning to school this past Spring after a semester leave of absence helped me to keep those stress levels at bay and perform significantly better in school and earn grades I knew I had earned and could be proud of. More often than not, these days my energy levels are also much higher than before because of having adopted a healthier eating style that does not cause my system to crash two hours after eating a meal.
But working out has also yielded some great fitness related results as well. Doing bodyweight training workouts out of the book You Are Your Own Gym for the past year has probably doubled my physical strength. I started out struggling to do 10 push ups, could barely do even one pull up and things like squats and lunges were just the bane of my existence. Now I am able to perform close to 25 push ups, and about a month ago or so I achieved 10 pull ups. Even though I have not been focusing on it, my overall flexibility has improved a lot too. And since last year when I took my first before photo, I have gone from looking like this:
But what makes me happier than anything is the increased physical ability that has arisen from working out. There is no doubt about it that working out is the great enabler. It creates possibilities and opportunities to do things you never thought you could do. Whether it be helping to move something heavy up a couple of flights of stairs or taking on the challenge of making it up the climbing wall on a difficult route, I find that I am more capable to do so, and that makes life more enriching.
“The Road Goes Ever On And On”- J.R.R Tolkien, The Hobbit
This year has definitely been a success with a lot of positive change. But there is still room for improvement on plenty of fronts. As the Tolkien reference above suggests, I plan on continuing this quest. But this year my plan is to become more consistent with my eating and workouts and to make sure that I am changing up my workouts every couple of weeks in a progressive manner so that I am constantly having to push myself. I have done relatively well in staying consistent with my workouts, but have not always done well with increasing the difficulty. This coming year should also be interesting because I will be buying and cooking all my own meals while studying abroad in Germany. Who can say what will happen during the adventure of fending for myself in the kitchen. It should be a fun year of getting to experiment with food. I just might just have to develop a tasty but healthy version of Germany’s amazing Döner Kebap.
All in all, this past year has been great. I have great expectations for the one that lies between Summer 2013 and Summer 2014 and hope that this time next Summer I can say that I had as many exciting changes and achievements as I did in this past one.