22 Fitness Milestones to Mark Your Journey From Chump to Champ

This post is heavily inspired by Corbett Barr’s great article over on ThinkTraffic.net. I couldn’t help but think how a similar article based around fitness milestones would work well for Nerd Fitness (with some Super Mario Bros. thrown in there).

As Corbett explained in his post, everybody’s journey will be different.  If I left something out or you think I put things out of order, let me know in the comments!

Level 1-1, Start! (Here we go!)

1. You lose your first pound. You step on the scale after a few days of eating less and you’re down a pound, headed in the right direction for the first time in your life!  Hopefully you don’t celebrate by eating everything off the dollar menu at Wendy’s.

2. You prepare your your first healthy meal. After realizing that it actually was pretty good and saved you some money, you decide to bring your lunch in to work at least two times a week instead of fast food.  Somewhere, the Burger King silently weeps.

3. You walk your first mile. Dusting the cobwebs off your old running shoes, you head out for a walk around your block and make it a whole mile without stopping.  Sure you were huffing a puffing along the way and you got passed by a kid on a tricycle, but it’s a start.  You take note to start the couch to 5k program.

4.  You do your first set of 5 push ups. Using the success and confidence from your first few weeks of weight loss, you’ve worked your way up to five whole push ups and that distant pipedream (get it? Mario? Pipe? ZING!) of 20 in a row no longer seems impossible.

5. You tighten your belt a few notches. You put on your favorite pair of jeans and realize that your belt is now two loops farther over from where it started.  Take that, pants!

First mushroom (Yahoo! Big Mario!)

6. You get your first “hey, did you lose weight?” comment, and DAMN it feels good. “Thanks, Marcia from Accounting!  I HAVE lost weight, thanks for noticing.”  You reside on cloud 9 for the rest of the day, even after getting yelled at for not putting cover sheets on your TPS reports.

7. You run in your first 5k, and survive. Who cares that you lost to an 80 year old grandmother pushing a stroller with two grandkids in it.  You signed up for a race, you trained for it, and then you did it.  You briefly entertain the thought of sabotaging future grandmothers pushing strollers before deciding to just train harder next time.

8. You buy new clothes. Your shirts now feel two sizes too big, and your pants keep falling down!  You drop your old clothes off at Goodwill and make the trip over to the mall for a whole new wardrobe, punching one of the ‘real life mannequins’ at Abercrombie & Fitch in the face while you’re there.

9. You finally stop drinking soda for good. It took you two months of weening yourself off that daily case of Mountain Dew, but you’re at the point now where you water actually sounds like a good idea to you.  Sure you’ll have the occasional Jack and Coke on the weekends, but other than that, soda is a distant afterthought.

10. You sign up for your company’s softball team/Ultimate Frisbee team/running club. You’re no longer ashamed of your body and start exercising with other people that you know.  You might still end up at the end of the lineup or back of the pack, but damnit you’re having fun.

Hit by your first enemy (Booo, back to little Mario)

11. You hit a weight-loss plateau. Despite an great week of eating healthy and running, you step on the scale and see the same damn number you saw last week!  WTF, mate?

12.  A friend of yours has already lost more weight than you in half the time. You start to blame your poor genetics and/or assume he took a shortcut (when in reality you have no idea how hard he’s trained or how clean his diet has become).

13. You get hurt and can’t exercise for two weeks. You twist an ankle when you play Wii Tennis with a little too much intensity, and the doctor says “no exercise until you recover.”  Damn!  All of that hard work and momentum comes to a screeching halt.  Oh well, at least you’re still eating well, right?

14. You have a bad week of eating. Crap.  A destination wedding, vacation with college buddies, or a trip with your kids to Grandma’s for the week means TONS of bad food.  Back home, you step on the scale while covering your eyes, afraid of what you’ll see.

Fire-Flower time (Back on track, picking up steam…)

15. You mix things up. Up to this point, you’ve been counting calories (instead of paying attention to the quality of your calories) and only jogging for your workouts.  After the wake-up call from your previous bad week of vacation, you step it up a notch – You adopt a healthier diet of mostly lean meats, veggies, fruits, and nuts, and you start putting serious effort into legitimate weight training and interval training.

16. You do a pull up. You struggle, sweat, and squirm your way until your chin is above the bar before dropping like a sack of hammers to the floor.  When you recover twenty minutes later, you realize that you just lifted your entire body weight off the ground and over the bar!  If Chuck Norris was presented, he would have started a slow clap for you, before roundhouse-kicking a criminal in the face.

17. You buy a new bathing suit and can’t wait to show it off. No more t-shirts in the pool for you!  You have a weekend beach trip coming up and for the first time in your life you’re excited about it.  Tickets to the gun show are free, ladies!

18. You hit a big weight milestone. 100 pounds lost, 30% of your body weight, etc.  Whatever that big number was in your head, you’re actually THERE.  Now, instead of focusing on the scale, you’re solely focused on getting stronger and faster.  Big day.

Star Power (It’s go time!)

19. People start to ask YOU for advice. Bob from IT wants to know if he’s doing push ups properly, Linda from Reception asks you questions about eating healthy, and your Dad emails you with questions on how to get rid of his beer gut.

20.  You can see your abs. Holy crap, they exist!  It’s taken months/years of hard work in the gym, a dedicated approach to your diet, and time for the extra skin around your gut to tighten up, but that six pack of abs is finally starting to pop out.  “Giddy” hardly describes your disposition these days.

21.  You get seriously excited about exercising daily. Bench pressing your body weight, deadlifting twice your weight, doing 10 pull ups in a row, running a 5k in under 20 minutes, and so on.  It’s weird, but now for some reason you can’t WAIT to exercise each day.  You’ve been transformed into a completely different person.  Optimus Prime would be proud.

22. You look back at an old picture of you and don’t even recognize yourself. You stumble through some old pictures of yourself on Facebook and your jaw drops.  Looking at pictures of yourself feels like looking at pictures of a different person.  In many ways, it is.

Where you at?

So, where are you on your journey?  What milestones do you look for?  Did I mix up the order on any of these?

Let me know in the comments!


photo source


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