Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blog Forward Challenge 2014 by ZonePerfect

I have a confession to make: I suck at New Year's resolutions. It's not that I'm against self-improvement, but pinning it all on one day is a lot of pressure. One of my friends and I have this motto that states: "New training plans start on Mondays." It's a lot less pressure if I screw up (and it's inevitable that at some point, I will screw up), but having a definitive start date prevents the whole "I'll start tomorrow" procrastination deal. Now, of course if I mess up on Tuesday, that doesn't mean I throw in the towel for the week, but you get the point. So I was going to go another year of no New Year's resolutions...until ZonePerfect emailed me and told me about their Blog Forward Challenge. Basically, I make some resolutions to better myself, while hopefully inspiring you guys to also better yourselves. And then every so often ZonePerfect sends me ZonePerfect bars (which I already buy whenever they're on sale, so it saves this poor grad student some money), and throughout the year, ZonePerfect says they're going to be hosting giveaways and have coupons for you guys. Sounds good to me! I think I can change my Monday resolutions to New Year's resolutions for that. Plus the extra accountability of having this all online won't hurt. So here we go:

1) Since this is the ZonePerfect challenge, let's start this off with a nutrition related resolution. I love the caf workers at my school. They're all super nice, and anyone funny enough to get laughs out of students who just took their seventh final in one week is okay in my book. However, I can't stand the company they work for. As of last fall, our meal plans (which we're forced to have) have changed from a declining dollars plan to a block meal plan, which means that the entire plan costs more money, yet we run out of meals faster. On top of that, the caf itself has a very small selection that's the same thing every day (I think I got spoiled by Bucknell's caf, which was pretty great). Considering that I'm often in class from 8am-6pm, one lunch break doesn't do it; I need snacks to get through the day. So rather than waste money on overpriced and gnarly cafeteria snacks, I'm going to go pick up some healthy snacks and bring them with me. ZonePerfect bars are useful here since they're small, don't get squished in my backpack, and I can eat them during lectures (or house them quickly between classes on lab days). ZonePerfect actually just sent me some bars to get started, and they included like four Fudge Graham, along with a new Perfectly Simple Oatmeal Chocolate Chip that I hadn't tried and I thought was good, so I'm pretty happy (their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is still their best flavor though...just saying). Other alternatives: almonds, whole wheat bagels, bananas, and maybe beef jerky if I'm feeling decadent.

2) Survive Excel in 5th trimester. Dubbed "hell tri" by the students at New York Chiropractic College, this semester is notorious for having the Bone and Joint Imaging course that's considered the hardest course at the school, Clinical Laboratory Diagnosis, and part I of Boards (which hits right after midterms). I'm be taking seven courses total, including a trigger point therapy elective that meets on weekends. While I have less credits than last tri, it's a significantly harder course load. Here's the curriculum if you're curious. I elected not to do a spring race this year, so I can spend this tri focusing on school and getting swole.

3) Right, about that getting swole part. The nice thing about not having a hardcore training plan is that I can run what I want when I want. (The funny side effect of this, as one of my friends pointed out, is that I either don't run or I run 10+ miles. I'm an action potential following the all or none rule!) I have, however, been taking the opportunity to lift pretty hardcore and addressing all the muscle imbalances that come from years of neglecting weight training in favor of running 100 miles per week. I decided to focus on big, compound lifts, rather than doing lots of isolation exercises (running is, after all, a compound movement). The end goal? Address imbalances and recomp, then gear back up for fall and go sub-3:00 at Steamtown (or whatever marathon I can manage to squeeze in my schedule)!

4) Get my second Active Release Techniques certification. I got lower extremity last year, so this year will be either spine or upper extremity. I'd also like to volunteer as an A.R.T. practitioner at one of the Ironman events, but we'll see how that works with my schedule. It's awesome if I reach my athletic goals. It's even more awesome if I can help keep other people healthy so they can reach theirs too.

Now I'm supposed to write a letter to future me to check in with my progress towards my goals and keep myself on track. And I love encouragement! Well...from my friends and family. From myself, it's always been tough love. So here's my letter:
Hey Becki, how those goals going? Hmm...better HTFU and get on that. That marathon won't run itself. And your patients won't be treating themselves either. So I'll be keeping this letter short, since it's probably midterm week and you don't have time to be reading letters. Now go do work!

And finally, some resolution tips from ZonePerfect for you guys (click for full-size). And feel free to share your resolutions in the comments!


Full disclosure: I was provided a box of ZonePerfect bars free of charge as part of this program. I am not, however, actually affiliated with ZonePerfect, and am allowed to speak positively or negatively about the product, so like in all of my reviews, any opinions expressed are mine and based on my experience, and do not reflect the opinions of ZonePerfect or anyone else.

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