If you’ve followed me on social media, you might have noticed that several times over the past couple of months, I’ve shared that I was struggling to land on my next fitness goal.
I think having goals is essential to a fulfilling and successful fitness journey, but after my Holiday Shred wrapped up at the end of 2017, I was at a loss when it came to deciding what to do next.
The past few years, I’ve done a Warrior Dash and two Spartan Races as a way to test myself physically. I’ve set and met goals along my fitness journey related to building muscle and losing body fat percentage.
But I wanted something different. Something bigger.
For a while, I strongly considered stepping on stage to compete in a physique show. I had never really wanted to compete, but I was definitely feeling a tug in that direction. In the fitness world, competing and stepping on stage is typically the next step in a bodybuilder’s progression — it’s just kind of “what you do.”
But I gave it a ton of thought, and eventually told myself “no.” Physique competitions are not a healthy thing, and while the challenge would be extraordinary, I didn’t want it to come at the expense of my well-being, both physically and mentally.
So what, then?
I thought about the characteristics I wanted in my next challenge.
- First, I want it to be something I’ve never done before
- Second, I want it to be something outside of the gym and beyond the measure of a new PR or weight/muscle gained
- Third, I want it to be something that inspires me, challenges me, and holds a deeper meaning
As I thought about these things, I realized my next goal was literally right in front of my eyes.
I live in Colorado, home to 53 mountain peaks that tower more than 14,000 feet in altitude. Fourteeners, as Coloradans call them.
From where I live, I see at least four of them peaking over the foothills, and right now, they’re capped in a brilliant white layer of snow.
I looked at these mountains as I was leaving the gym last week and my next goal came to me.
In 2018, my goal is to summit at least three of Colorado’s Fourteeners.
It makes so much sense to me. I spend a majority of my fitness time training in a gym, but I absolutely love getting out of that element and into nature, where my body is tested in new and unnatural ways.
The highest I’ve hiked so far after living in Colorado for three years is about 12,000 feet, so not only is it something I’ve never done before, but it will challenge me in completely new ways to train to climb not one, but three, Fourteeners this year.
The three peaks I’ve chosen:
- Grays Peak (14,270 feet, and if I do Torrey’s on the same climb, that’s a 2-for-1, with Torrey’s being 14,267 feet)
- Mount Bierstadt (14,060 feet)
- Quandary Peak (14,265 feet)
I am so excited about this goal. I envision what it will be like standing at the summit of each of these peaks, looking down on the world below, and that inspires me. My goal in 2018 is to reach new heights, and if I succeed, I will have quite literally accomplished this three times over.
I’m also particularly excited that this goal has nothing to do with my physical appearance; but rather, it has everything to do with stamina, endurance, mental toughness, and determination. Health and fitness is about more than aesthetics and appearance — even the most ripped, muscular people in the world can be unhealthy.
Right now, I’m planning to attempt my first summit in late June, with another in July and another in August. If you live in the Denver area and want to join me on this journey, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll coordinate!