And that, my fellow health and fitness enthusiast, is the question. Or is it? 2018 is off and running, or at least that is a popular conception. In reality, time neither stands still nor speeds up, but we have many cultural norms that suggest otherwise.
Year-end, at least the month of December, is a very quiet time for me. Unlike some of my friends in academia, retail business, or the construction trades, I don’t have a lot of pressing deadlines, chaotic schedules, or manic situations driving me to New Year’s eve. It is what it is, and I have no judgement here, just observation. I enjoy the short days, the long periods of time by the woodstove, the quality time with friends and family, and a general sense of renewal, rejuvenation, and gratitude. I think everyone needs some time like that on a regular basis, whenever they can get it, all throughout the year.
Conversely, January starts with a bit of an explosion for me and the first quarter is by far my busiest and possibly most productive point on the calendar. That’s usually the time when I’m working on continuing education courses, attending conferences, arranging and completing speaking engagements, and as an entrepreneur, hitting self-imposed but critical deadlines. In the health and fitness industry, we always get a barrage of new clients signing up for fitness programs, weight-loss intverventions, and health consultations. And many people, if not most, tend to be eager to do these things at the start of the year.
Which brings us to the topic of the resolution, or shall we say the New Year’s Resolution. A firm decision to do or not to do something, a resolution to get healthy, get in shape, or lose weight is a very common occurrence come early January in most parts of the country. Statistics abound regarding how quickly and to what extent these resolutions fail, but doing something positive toward health, with good intention, a strong support network, and whatever amount of structure is necessary for an individual to succeed, is commendable. My role in all this is to offer encouragement to anyone who wants to make a commitment toward wellness, at any time of year, to do just that, and to call it whatever they want.
For the past two years, I’ve embarked on some fairly intensive training programs around the calendar changeover, and I found that to be the ideal start time for me. I didn’t call my endeavors resolutions. I actually called them Projects. And the start of a new year was just a perfect time for me to get efficient, minimize distraction, and focus on goal-oriented processes. 2016’s Project Full Circle Squared, and 2017’s Project 9.10.17 were a major focus of those years. And so it is again, although, as I’ve alluded to in a previous post, this year’s Project has morphed into a beast of excellence. Project JACKED has launched and it may represent a resolution, or not if they don’t want to call it such, for the 31 subjects in the project.
One thing led to another, and many more things joined in the movement, and now Project JACKED is a bona fide research project, a pilot program, and a general dose of awesomeness to a level beyond which Avogadro could have posited. I took all those decades of training and experience, and all these recent years of intense study in health, longevity, and human performance, and created a distillation of all the best science in nutrition, movement, sleep, and lifestyle into a success nugget of a program, blended with some proprietary methods and wizardry. JACKED really is about achieving ultimate wellness, but still to this day I get ho-hum blank stares when I use that term with an audience. But when I say JACKED, everybody perks up. Who wouldn’t want to get JACKED? While our study is unfunded, not double-blinded, nor is it randomized, we do indeed have an intervention (actually a comprehensive 4-month program I’ve created) and a number of variables such as body composition, lean body mass, and others, that we are measuring. I’ve looked at the available data on a number of health, weight loss, and lifestyle intervention programs out there, and my hypothesis is that JACKED will not only match the results of those programs, it will blow them away.
Big talk. Yup. But I know I’m committed and I’m fairly certain that the 19 subjects in the treatment group can walk that talk. These folks are early adopters and innovators in the work we are doing. Increasing ownership of health and it’s propagation/maintenance, utilizing crowdsourcing, and harnessing both the breadth of technology and the simplicity of much of its application, are the roots of this program. JACKED relies strongly on education, as knowledge is power, as well as the value of the support group and individualized coaching.
The part that I don’t feel so great about in all this is the control group. Since the JACKED intervention is a comprehensive training, nutrition, and lifestyle-enhancement program, the control group is essentially the group that does none of these things. In other words, I had to go out and recruit people who were willing to spend the next 4 months doing nothing, or more specifically, continuing to eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) and refusing to do any exercise. I managed to offend a number of people in that selection process. I would say “Hey, I KNOW that is exactly what you do (eat a junk-food diet and loudly profess that he/she does not exercise – it’s not for them, they don’t do it…yada yada)”, and I was told where to go and what to do (I won’t repeat that here). Some sedentary garbage-eaters refused to participate in the study, at least the ones I offended. I gave them full disclosure and told them that in asking them to keep doing the very things that they had always done, my hypothesis was that they would not only make no gains in the health measures of JACKED, they would actually show decay over the 4 months. I even wondered if this would pass a human subjects review board, since not trying all-out to convince people to make healthy lifestyle changes could actually constitute a contribution to their earlier demise. Regardless, I got 12 subjects who agreed to keep eating lots of processed and fast food, and to ride the couch instead of the exercycle. The bigger message here is that we all need to be compassionate and package our message of health so that we can engage and motivate others to make the right choice, not P them O!
A number of measures were taken as pre-test and will be done again as post-test. Additionally, I’ll be periodically commenting on program highlights, findings, and interviews/testimonials with the subjects. Everyone has been given an alias, and some of them are quite snazzy, although no one chose “Batman.” The goal with Project JACKED will be to help the group make substantial and sustainable health changes, empower them to help others, and beta test my program before it is launched to the masses later this year.
Whether you have made and are working on your own resolution or not, I wish you the most success with your health endeavors this year, and I hope you find Project JACKED both entertaining and informing.