Healthy Lifestyle – Fitness Journey

Getting fit is a pain in the ass. Sometimes, literally. My fitness journey has had several ups and downs throughout the past year, but I think I’m finally getting to a point that is going to lead me to where I want to be.

Just about a year ago, I joined the local YMCA in downtown Pittsburgh. It was perfect; it is only a short walk from my work so I’m able to go on my lunch hour. Despite the initial struggle, I began making pretty good progress especially with weight training. However, about four months into my fitness exploration I injured my shoulder. While I was able to do other activities, the injury itself and difficulties concerning my diagnosis and treatment significantly lowered my motivation and I really struggled for awhile. I had a lot of leg days, and I didn’t struggle there and reaped those benefits, so that’s a positive. I’m well again now, but it was definitely a setback. I try to maintain the idea that a setback only makes it possible for you to have a comeback.

The one on the left is now, the one on the right is back around March 2016. Not much of a change, but I’m using it as motivation. Hopefully in a couple months we see more of a difference! 

Right now, I’d consider myself a New Years resolutioner. What better time is there to make a clean start than the beginning of a year? It hasn’t been going too bad so far. The hardest part is staying consistent and maintaining motivation. I have been doing a combination of strength training and cardio. I hate running, I love kettlebells.  I might not be a huge fan of running, but I like doing 5ks especially the “fun runs” like a color run or ugly Christmas Sweater run. Some of my friends do the Tough Mudder, I continually go back and forth on whether or not I’m brave or strong (yet) enough for it!  My favorite is lifting weights, but I definitely enjoy yoga as well (In fact, later today I’m going to a yoga expo! Cannot wait to see what that all offers.).  There is a lot to take in with establishing a health and fitness regime, it can be a very overwhelming process. Tools like Pinterest help put together or discover new workouts and healthy recipes, but I’ve been lucky to have a couple extra tools.

First, I recently bought a book “Firefighter Functional Fitness” by Jim Moss and Dan Kerrigan. Described as the “essential guide to optimal firefighter performance and longevity,” it has helped reshape my thoughts on fitness only a few chapters in. It breaks down firefighter health into four pillars to work with and defines a “Big 8” of firefighter fitness. I’m not even halfway through the book, and it has already impacted how I view my fitness and my own personal fitness plan and goals. I’ll provide a full review once I complete the book!

Firefighter Functional Fitness – check out their website if you are interested in learning more!

I just purchased a Fitbit Charge 2. I have had Fitbits before, but this seems to be the one that best meets my needs. The heart rate tracking is an excellent tool, and the Charge 2 also has a “Guided Breathing” mechanism which I think will be valuable to helping my anxiety and during yoga practices. Now that I am done with school and have more time, practicing meditation and mindfulness is something that I am interested in. Decluttering my mind will be quite the process. There are a couple books I have picked up to help me understand meditation  and how it works better, however, I hope this “Guided Breathing” well, guides me. But back to the Fitbit, the app also is helpful with tracking my progress.

The final aspect of my fitness plan would be nutrition. I won’t lie, my nutrition has sucked. Recently, my dad has had to diet due to a gallbladder issue so I decided that I would diet along with him. It was a good opportunity, and it will help my dad and I to have someone else dieting! As well, it gives me a chance to try all the Pinterest recipes I’ve pinned over the years! I was successful in making Greek yogurt, banana chocolate chip muffins with whole wheat flour and was surprised with how much I liked ‘zoodles’ (zucchini noodles)! I’m trying to plan out my lunches a little bit more and also making ahead smoothie packs for breakfasts. I’m looking forward to see how this part of it turns out. I’m aiming to go for moderation/the eat clean 80% of time approach. The cravings might be a pain, but it’ll be worth it. The hardest part will definitely be cutting out pop!

Spotify is great for workout playlists. Mine ranges from Disney to the Rocky soundtrack to Bone Thugs n Harmony. It is fantastic. Motivation is a huge part of this journey. It is also something I’ve struggled with. There are times where you just don’t want to anymore. More than once, I’ve joked that I’m waiting for my Apollo Creed to tell me “That’s not how it’s done,” and emerge from the shadows, ready to be my guide through this. The Rocky soundtrack is a fantastic motivator. Hell, I consider Rocky a motivator. Let’s look at this Rocky quote:


To me, this is great motivation. I feel like I’m fighting against myself, fighting against old habits. At times, it can be hard to not care about what other people think. Who doesn’t have that moment of insecurity? Or who doesn’t have the self doubt when they struggle and think, what am I doing? I can’t do this. But Rocky’s right; fighters fight.

I’m doing this for a variety of reasons. Yeah, there’s a bit of the aesthetic reason, call me shallow, the “holy shit look at you.” Overall, I’m trying to be the best that I can be. Right now, my goal is to be in the best shape of my life. I know my weaknesses, and it isn’t exactly fun knowing that is where I have to work. But I’m going to do this. I’m glad I’m doing the dieting alongside my dad. That is easily the hardest part. I’m doing this to be a better firefighter so that I can be the best possible firefighter I can be too. It is good for my mental health. There’s nothing like the euphoria after a workout when the fog of the day clears. It is when I get a chance to feel like me again. I can’t wait to see how strong I get.  I am hoping to share parts of my fitness journey along the way with you all.

Peace & Love,

The Vic Mik

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