On the fitness side, I may not have a formal education, but I’ve probably seen more Body Shaping episodes than anyone ever should. I can’t even remember what age I was. I just remember that I would watch Body Shaping and beg my parents for weights and a bench all the time. They finally relented and bought me a set of those old plastic, sand-filled weights but no bench.
Those weights kicked off my fitness journey. Over the years, I’ve always had access to resistance training in some form. In college, I bought an Olympic bar and weights, and Kevin and I trained together in our garage several times each week. Whether I was playing tennis, running, or watching TV on the couch like our buddy Derek, resistance training has always been a constant. In fact, those same weights I had in college are the ones I am using today. Don’t get me wrong…I’ve rarely been in what I would consider “good” shape, but I’ve never been significantly overweight.
About a year ago, I became frustrated with my ongoing mediocrity and lack of dedication. Riding the ups and downs between 15% and 22% body fat was getting really old, and I was getting old so time for turning it around was slipping away. Around that same time, Kevin and I ended up challenging each other to a fitness contest, and I committed to a Lean Gains style strength training and nutrition program. I think we called the contest a tie, but the great thing was both of us made a ton of progress and have continued working just as hard. Right now, I’m approaching single digit body fat levels, something I never thought I could accomplish just a few short months shy of 40.
A lot of things have helped me get to where I am. My persistently broken down digestive system has eliminated a lot of food groups that have plagued my fitness journeys in the past. The Power Rack I bought on a whim a couple years ago has allowed me to lift heavy, safely at home, a huge advantage considering I hate gyms. Kevin’s inviting me to run a marathon with him helped me develop an interest in running and realize my broken ankle could still get the job done. What has helped the most, though, is data.
When I first started in strength training, tracking your workouts meant taping a piece of paper to the wall. I usually lost the paper so there wasn’t much point. Most of the time, I just tried to remember what I did last session and make something up for the new session. My workouts were haphazard and had no real focus.
Now with smartphones, the game has changed. It’s no longer difficult to track data during workouts, and I have access to graphs showing my body fat percentage going down as the amount of weight I lift each week goes up. The data motivates me. It motivates me when I achieve a personal best on a lift or workout, and it motivates me when I miss the previous week’s mark. Data helps keep me on my fitness path.
This brings me to why I want to develop Subdue the Sloth. The fact is that even though I have some tools that help me track my data, they fall short in a lot of areas. Some tools are too rigid, not allowing you to adjust a workout on the fly. Others don’t provide enough information on previous workouts. Then there’s the fact that no single tool tracks all that I do. I routinely use 3 different apps/websites each week to track my fitness and nutrition.
With Subdue The Sloth, I want to build a tool that works for me in any of my fitness or nutrition endeavors, and in the process, I’m hoping it’s a tool that will work for others as well.