2021 Workouts

I exer­cised 142 times in 2021.

When I took a count in July, I antic­i­pat­ed miss­ing about 10 work­outs through the remain­der of the year, but I actu­al­ly missed just one.

At 3x per week, I was lucky enough to work out about 47 of 52 weeks. That makes 2021 yet anoth­er good year in terms of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and exer­cise com­pli­ance.

Here is the month­ly breakup:

MonthWork­outs DoneNotes
Jan9Skipped the first week
Mar12Skipped the last week
Jun9Skipped the sec­ond week and missed one ses­sion in the first week
Aug12Missed one ses­sion in the first week
Dec11Skipped last week
Total142~ 12 more than the antic­i­pat­ed range of 120 – 130
Sum­ma­ry of 2021 work­outs

Cur­rent­ly, I am at the fag end of the two-week year-end break.

What next? Noth­ing unusu­al. This is just a mile­stone. There are no fin­ish lines.

As I look for­ward to redo­ing it all again in 2022, I want to recount a few prin­ci­ples that have helped me main­tain sol­id exer­cise com­pli­ance since 2014.

The most impor­tant prin­ci­ple:

  • Tying my habit to my iden­ti­ty. I learned about this tech­nique on James Clear’s blog. I keep remind­ing myself that I am the kind of per­son who don’t miss work­outs. This helps me pri­or­i­tize exer­cis­ing and get back on track when I slack.

Here are a few oth­er tricks and quirks that work for me:

  • I expect to work out only three times per week: full body on Mon­days, upper body on Wednes­days, and legs on Thurs­days. Each work­out is about 60 min­utes and gets me about 150 – 180 min­utes of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty over the week. No less. No more. I don’t have time to do more, and any less is inad­e­quate. Three is the ide­al num­ber for me. There are also a few more advan­tages of plan­ning to do only three work­outs a week.
    • Exer­cis­ing only three days a week leaves four more days to rejig and com­plete the work­outs in the busier weeks. Ide­al­ly, I would exer­cise Mon­day, Wednes­day, and Thurs­day. But prag­mat­i­cal­ly, it could be any com­bi­na­tion of three days between Mon­day and the fol­low­ing Sun­day.
    • Just three work­outs a week means com­plet­ing each one gives me the sat­is­fac­tion of achiev­ing 33% progress. If I could drag myself to com­plete the first exer­cise of the week (usu­al­ly on Mon­days when the moti­va­tion surges), I would have gar­nered sig­nif­i­cant momen­tum to do one more. Then it is just anoth­er work­out to ✔️ the week.
  • I pur­pose­ly plan to miss out and skip some days here and there because life hap­pens, I am too busy, or sim­ply not in a mood to work­out. I am not stub­born, and some­times I will swing with every­thing else. That’s nor­mal. Try­ing to exer­cise like a mani­ac with­out miss­ing a beat is imprac­ti­cal, demo­ti­vat­ing, and frus­trat­ing.
  • I’m not too fond of gyms. I believe gyms charge for using their equip­ment and add an extra com­mut­ing over­head. So instead, I bought my own ket­tle­bells and work­out from home. I start­ed home work­outs in 2018, years before Covid forced every­thing to hap­pen from home. I intend to buy some more equip­ment as we go.
  • My train­er is my friend and a past cowork­er. I am lucky to have them plan my work­outs accord­ing to my abil­i­ty and equip­ment, and hold me account­able. I pay them week­ly that’s much low­er than a typ­i­cal gym sub­scrip­tion but still amounts to sig­nif­i­cant mon­ey over the year. That’s one of the best inves­ments I make in myself.
  • I exer­cise at the end of the day, so I eat mind­ful­ly through­out the day to keep myself con­di­tioned to work out.
  • My week feels incom­plete if I don’t get three work­outs done. When­ev­er I exer­cise, I mark it as E on the giant wall cal­en­dar and the week­ly plan­ner note­book. That depicts the momen­tum visu­al­ly and keeps me going.
  • Exer­cis­ing with weights is a sig­nif­i­cant part of my phys­i­cal activ­i­ty. Still, I also embrace oth­er forms of phys­i­cal activ­i­ties at vary­ing fre­quen­cies, like vac­u­um­ing, lawn mow­ing, weed pulling, walk­ing, run­ning, and play­ing with my son.

Years ago, I read Gretchen Rubin’s book on habits titled Bet­ter than Before. One of the take­aways from that book had helped me pri­ori­tise exer­cis­ing when I first start­ed in 2014. Gretchen says every­one should focus on four foun­da­tion­al habits: eat­ing well, get­ting enough sleep, some form of phys­i­cal move­ment, and declut­ter­ing. I am unsure if declut­ter­ing is foun­da­tion­al (although I like to declut­ter), but I agree with the first three and have pri­ori­tised exer­cis­ing ever since. This, plus being in the com­pa­ny of peo­ple who love and pro­mote a health­i­er lifestyle, and impor­tant­ly, how I feel when I exer­cise, gets me going.

Look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing my momen­tum into 2022!

One response to “2021 Workouts”

  1. […] 2022, I worked out 130 times using the same prin­ci­ple and tips I used in the pri­or […]

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