Kyle Eertmoed

When Jon challenged the Lifebook community to be a Marine this holiday season, I was ready to set some big goals. I’m very passionate about health and fitness, so I wanted to set a high standard for myself and also goals that would really push me to the edge.

During the Lifebook challenge, my goals were:

1. Increase exercise to 4-5 days per week all month long (previously averaging about 3-4 per week)
2. Increase my intensity and focus to see noticeable results (hard to measure, but more of a mindset)
3. Eat at least 2 Paleo meals per day (real foods: meat, veggies, fruits and nuts. Limit grains and dairy. No sugar.)


The first week of December, my gym announced that they were hosting an olympic weightlifting meet. I’m not into weightlifting, (in fact I’m kinda geeky), but since I’d been incorporating more lifting into my exercise program, this was a perfect opportunity to put my work to the test, hold myself accountable, and also face the fear of lifting weight in front of a crowd.

So I added 2 more goals:

4. Sign up for the weightlifting competition.
5. Beat my previous personal records for each lift.

I knew the results of the competition would help measure my success as “Lifebook Marine.” 🙂

I knew the hardest thing for me would be the cookies. Our families both have an annual tradition of baking cookies, to give as gifts to friends. But I typically end up eating most of them throughout the month. I have to admit that I did cheat once or twice, but not by much. When I did, I owned up to it, recommitted and moved forward.

My diet consisted of a full breakfast (eggs, bacon, fruit), Paleo kits (small portion of jerky, nuts, berries) for lunch and cooked a healthy dinner on most nights, with the occasional night out. I hit the gym 4-5 times per week and focused on my lifts to prepare for the meet.

Somewhat unfamiliar with how a weightlifting meet works, I learned that there are two lifts – the snatch and the clean & jerk. You have 3 attempts to complete each lift, and you can only go up in weight on each attempt. Your final score is the sum of your heaviest weight for each lift.

I weighed in at 167lb and my strategy was:

1. 170 (start with a weight I knew I could get)
2. 176 (1lb over my PR)
3. Go for it! (based on how my 2nd attempt felt)

Clean & Jerk:
1. 209
2. 216 (1lb over my PR)
3. Go for it! (based on how my 2nd attempt felt)

So how did it go? Watch this video to see what happened…

If you’re too busy to watch, I PR’ed both lifts at 176lb for snatch and 222lb for clean & jerk. I’m thrilled with my progress over the month. Jon’s challenge, along with everyone’s support on the blog, gave me the courage to sign up for the competition and the motivation to push harder than normal to accomplish my goals. It was a fun challenge and exciting to read how everyone tackled it in their own way.

As a final farewell and “thanks for reading,” here’s my top-10 list of what I learned while being a Holiday Marine:

1. It’s impossible to say no to Mom’s cookies.

2. (Mom, don’t read this) Accept the cookies and re-gift them to your neighbor as a “thank you” for occasionally walking your dog.

3. Put a one-hour body massage on your wish list. Relaxation is very healthy.

4. Christmas music does NOT make good workout music.

5. When visiting family, offer to bring food. Make something healthy that you like.

6. The holidays are busy. More hours in the gym doesn’t always mean more results. Try doing 20-minute workouts as fast and hard as you can.

7. Do bicep curls when loading the car with all those gifts.

8. Shoveling the driveway counts.

9. Challenge your kids to that new Wii Fit game that Santa brought.

10. At the end of the day, treat yourself to some mistletoe with someone you love.

Great job to everyone who participated. It was fun!

Have a happy, healthy and successful new year!

– Kyle

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