Plan, Do, Check, Adjust, Repeat

At work we use the “PDCA” cycle as a means of tracking continuous improvement. As a company, we strive to do our best and to keep raising the bar every time we reach a new achievement.

That model has helped our company to improve it’s safety record, yields, and productivity. It is also what we are using to renovate the place. Because it is so successful, I thought that I would use the same cycle to achieve the goals that I have set for myself this year.

Step 1: Plan: You can’t get where you want to go until you know how to get there. So what are my fitness goals for this year? First, I want to lose body fat and gain muscle. Second, I want to compete in and finish the EC100 ultramarathon from Norco, Ca to Santa Monica, Ca in under 30 hours. This race is in October.

Step 2: Do: I need to watch my nutrition to achieve both my physique goals and my running goals. I need to have a diet (will cover in a separate post) which supports strong health, muscle-building, fat loss, and clean-burning fuel to power my workouts and training runs.

I need to follow a weightlifting plan (will cover in a separate post) and be consistent.

I need to follow a running regimen (will cover in a separate post) that will prepare me for this race.

Step 3: Check: I need to see if the nutrition, weight training, and running regimens are bringing me closer to my goals, or if they are derailing me.

The first goal of losing body fat and gaining muscle is measurable but I don’t have precise numbers in mind. I don’t want to use the scale as a guide because I don’t have a goal weight in mind. However, I would estimate that I am currently between 25-30% body fat and I would like to be somewhere around 9-12% body fat. I will also take measurements and check for increases in muscularity and decreases in waist and belly size. My pants should start fitting looser and I should be able to begin using the other holes in my belt (maybe even having to make new holes). Most importantly, I will use the mirror to track my progress. These will be obvious indicators of whether or not I’m on the right track.

The second goal (finishing ultramarathon in under 30 hours) will be easy to track. I should be increasing endurance, and I should be getting more and more comfortable with long runs, especially as I get closer to race day.

Step 4: Adjust: I will track progress monthly and adjust accordingly.

By following this cycle, not only will I be in the best shape of my life, I’ll also be an ultramarathon finisher before the end of 2015. What a great way to kick off my mid-30’s.