2015 has been a strange year. On the face of it, I got injured a lot, couldn’t train as much as I would have liked, had some frustrating times and was very, very stressed for a lot of the year. But when I look back on it from the perspective of a comfortable sofa, surrounded by mugs of tea and leftover holiday pie, I actually achieved a hell of a lot, wrecked the shit out of some PBs, and (generally) got quite a lot done. This, I’ve remembered literally as I type these words, is one of the good things about doing a retrospective: sometimes you don’t realise what you’ve got to be thankful about until you sit down and think for ten seconds.
Highlights? Here you go:
- After some reshuffling at work, I spent a few months in the interesting position of managing, uh, basically everything Men’s Fitness magazine did: from recruiting celebrities for covershoots to pitching/running ad campaigns and devising and compering a CrossFit-style fitness competition (and being on the judging panel at a different fitness model competition). I was also in charge of the day-to-day running of the magazine and all of its supplements/books/offshoots for quite a while, which, if nothing else, taught me the value of being confident in making decisions incredibly quickly, especially when nobody else wanted to do it.
- I ran my first Tough Mudder, which was a lot more fun than I expected – and gave me a reason to throw some pullups and burpees into otherwise-boring runs. I followed up with a half-marathon – which, as it turns out, is probably my favourite running distance: it’s long enough to make it feel like a day out, but short enough to race at a decent speed, rather than just trying to survive. I did it in 1:44.19, bringing it in just under the magic 1:45 by sprinting the finish. And then 6 days afterwards…
- I hit a 212kg deadlift, which is my new all-time PB. Then I decided to get back on Jim Wendler’s 531 programme and immediately started wondering why I’d ever left it: it’s perfect for the time-pushed gent, since you basically only need to hit four lifts really, really hard every week to see progress but you can bolt on extra accessory work as time allows. I hit a 105kg clean and press the morning after the Tories won the general election, mainly because I was so furious. I rounded out the year with a 132.5kg front squat and a 75kg overhead press, but there’s more in the tank for both. Oh, and I did a farmer’s walk with 110kg each hand and an overhead squat with 110kg, which aren’t strictly lifts anyone cares about, but which pleased me a lot.
- I did a lot more wrestling, a bit more parkour, a lot more calisthenics and even a bit of acrobatics. I went to Norway to watch some wingsuit flyers do their thing, saw wild deer up close in Pennysylvania, and had a bloody good year. More to come. Live hard!