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1,212 workouts in 4 years: some random observations

4 years of strength workouts

What you see here is 1,212 workouts I’ve completed – from June 2015 to June 2019. That’s an average of 24.7 workouts per month, and an average of 5.7 workouts per week. (This includes a 2-week period where I didn’t track workouts, while adventuring in the middle of Outback Australia.)

I use Google Calendar to schedule my workouts each week. “Workouts” is one of 8 colour-coded calendars in my account (which also includes calendars for “Clients”, “Getting Shit Done”, “Personal”, “Meals”, and more), but I like keeping hard copy records as well. There’s a certain satisfaction I get from having a physical calendar dedicated only to my training, staring at me from the whiteboard attached to my desk. While I plan my workouts in advance in GCal, my paper calendars get filled in only once I’ve completed workouts. It’s that gratifying feeling of checking something off your To Do list.

These records aren’t meant for long-term use; they’re not valuable information like weights lifted and reps completed, for example, which would be useful years later. They merely serve as an at-a-glance summary of my training each week. At the start of a new month, the previous month’s page goes into a folder and is never looked at again (well, until today). I thought I’d give these calendars some attention before recycling them!

4 years of strength workouts

Some observations, in no particular order:

In 2015, I was doing much more “bodybuilding” style training, with a weekly training split like back and biceps, chest and triceps, legs, and shoulders and abs. My strength and physique results have improved significantly using an upper/lower training split instead. Working each muscle group twice a week is generally considered a more effective approach – this is the split I use for all my clients who strength train 4 days a week.

In 2016 and 2017, I was generally doing 2 upper body workouts, 2 lower body workouts, and additional cardio like track workouts, swimming, running, and jump rope. In 2018 and 2019, I’ve been doing slightly more strength training (still usually 4 workouts per week, but there are more 5-workout weeks in 2018 and 2019 than in years past), and slightly less cardio.

Since January 2018, I’ve been training abs every day. These sessions are not included on the calendars you see here.

Apparently I used to do yoga. Maybe I should get back into it. Or not.

Everyone – including Professional Fitness Nuts like me – will encounter circumstances that mean inconsistent (or non-existent) workouts. For me, the major one in these 4 years of workouts was in April 2019, when I experienced what I’ve dubbed The Anxiety Shitstorm. I didn’t eat or train properly for 3 weeks, which is the longest I’ve gone without working out in the 16 years I’ve been strength training. I’ll write about this experience at some point, but for now, suffice it to say that I’m prioritizing my mental health (and working out regularly helps).

As I always tell my clients, the people who achieve their fitness and physique goals are not the ones who stick to their programs 100% of the time. That doesn’t exist. Everyone falls off the bandwagon at some point. The people who achieve their goals are simply the ones who keep getting back on.


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