2020 Year-End Progress Report

This is typically one of my favorite posts of the year. I’ve done a Year-End Progress Report every year for ten years, and use it to crunch numbers and check in on all the awesome progress I’ve made over the past 12 months, in regards to my health, fitness, and weight loss.

To be honest, I’m dreading it this year, because I haven’t made any progress. I’ve actually gone in the opposite direction. So I’m rethinking this post. This year’s report isn’t about progress, it’s about taking stock of my circumstances and setting a new baseline, from which I can make all sorts of excellent progress in 2021.

And I’m going to highlight any successes that I come across, so I don’t lose sight of them. I need all the motivation I can get! Let’s practice:

  • HIGHLIGHT: My 2021 vegetable prep is getting off to a great start!

And, actually, while it’s still fresh in my mind, there’s this:

  • HIGHLIGHT: This is my TENTH Year-End Progress Report? DAMN. That’s a decade of being health, weight loss, and fitness minded. It’s the longest stretch for this sort of focus in my life by, oh, over nine years.

Wow, I’m feeling inspired already! I love highlighting successes!

Ok – now let’s face the cold, hard truth – my Weight Loss Chart. The last time I mentioned it, a few months ago, I hadn’t even put it up in my new house, despite having been in my new house for months. Well, since then, I’ve put up my chart in a room I use every morning, and I’ve been updating it every month, even though I haven’t been blogging about it.

The short-term picture is pretty good – after struggling and gaining lots of weight during the pandemic, I peaked at 320 pounds. Since then I’ve lost six pounds, and then I started the new year up two.

  • HIGHLIGHT: Still a net loss over the past three months!

The two pounds appeared on the scale when I weighed myself on January 2nd, and after a few days of not exercising (thank you, bruised hip and pulled muscle), and a big stretch in early December where I wasn’t exercising (thank you, shingles-related headaches), I’m not terribly surprised.

That little downward dipper is a welcome contrast to the past two years of weight loss charting – or lack thereof. Prior to my October update, I weighed myself and updated my chart exactly twice in the past two years, in February 2020, and September 2019. And I gained weight during that entire period, on the whole.

I’ve known for a long time that my chart was a big part of my success – seeing my progress on my wall, every single day, was a big source of inspiration. I don’t really have a good reason why I stopped doing it – perhaps I took it for granted, or assumed that I didn’t need it this far in. But I do – that’s crystal clear. I need everything firing on all cylinders to get this ball rolling again.

So here’s the depressing part: I’m up 43 pounds this year, in addition to the 17 I gained in 2019. That’s sixty total pounds. Sigh.

  • HIGHLIGHT: I’ve lost and kept off 82 pounds for over a decade. That’s a huge deal, and that story is one that my entire weight loss chart continues to tell.

Let’s move on to exercise! I track all my exercise on a calendar, including duration, activities, and the distance I covered (if applicable). Even though I haven’t been posting monthly updates regarding this calendar, I’ve kept up tracking everything all year long.

In December, for example, I exercised 23 out of 31 days. I took two fitness classes (virtually, on Zoom), did four workouts that focused on strength training, and competed in zero races. The days I took off for headache or pulled muscle reasons were actually offset by a 17-day streak in the middle of the month where I didn’t take any rest days at all. That’s because I’m competing in a fitness-related challenge at work, where you earn points for exercising, and my competitive nature means that I need to earn as many points as possible. 

By the way, I constitute ‘exercise,’ for the sake of my calendar, as 45 minutes (minimum) of dedicated activity. It doesn’t need to be intense, necessarily, although it often is. Taking JJ for a long walk counts, as does intervals on one of my exercise machines. But it needs to be activity where the sole purpose is to get exercise. I don’t count happenstance activity, like walking through the mall to get to a specific store. My body benefits from that activity, but it’s an extra-special bonus. It doesn’t count as my exercise for the day.

My yearly goal is to break the 300-workout threshold by December 31st. That’s a challenge, and I’ve actually only accomplished it twice, in 2017 and 2018. Here’s the total from every year, followed by the link to that Year-End Report: 

How about in 2020?

In 2020, I worked out… 301 times. Wait, what? Let me double-check that math…

  • HIGHLIGHT: I reached my exercise goal for 2020 by working out over 300 times over the course of the year – 301 total workouts, to be exact!

I felt fairly certain that I wasn’t going to reach this goal this year, just due to all the shingles-related crumminess I’ve felt these past two months, and the exercise breaks that resulted from it, so this is a very wonderful surprise. I flipped back through my calendar, and I really have the pandemic to thank. Back in the spring, when Michigan was in lockdown, I was working out at home every single day, and then taking JJ for long hikes on the weekend days just to get out of the house. I built up a nice bank!

My 2021 goal will be the same as every other year: to exercise 300 times before the year is up. 

Some other 2019 stats:

I took 24 group fitness classes. Nine of them were in-person (one before the pandemic, eight socially-distant, outdoor boot camp classes in late summer / early fall), and the rest were virtual classes on Zoom (split between boot camps, Zumba, and my friend Anne’s dance aerobics classes that she teaches from LA). This is up from nine classes in 2019.

  • HIGHLIGHT: I nearly tripled my fitness class numbers from 2019 to 2020!

58 workouts were focused on weightlifting – compared to 39 in 2019, 55 in 2018, 52 in 2017, 62 in 2016, 83 in 2015, and 109 in 2014, when I first started tracking this metric and was working with trainers.) 

  • HIGHLIGHT: I did more weightlifting workouts in 2020 than I did in any of the three previous years!

My workouts need to be a minimum of 45 minutes, but they average around an hour each. In total, I spent 12.5 days in 2019 exercising!

Lastly, if you combine my workouts from 2011-2020, the numbers are very impressive. I’ve worked out 2,892 times in the past ten years! That’s over 120 total days of exercise!

  • HIGHLIGHT: Duh – the last two paragraphs!

The final thing I log on my calendar are my Cardio Miles – the distance, in miles, that I cover doing my exercise. My new cumulative total (since Summer 2013) is 6,807.6 miles, including 964.5 miles from 2019!  That’s not a personal best (I did 1,120.5 cardio miles in 2019 and 1,105.5 miles in 2018), but it’s still pretty darn good. Closing in on 7,000 miles!

Moving on…

In addition to my calendar, there’s one more major fitness-related activity that I like to track in these Year-End Reports: My Races. Last year, because of my #40years40races challenge, I dedicated a completely separate post to my race summary. But this year, thanks to the pandemic, I didn’t compete in 40 races – I didn’t come close to that number. I competed in nine, although it actually seems like less, as they’ve been so few and far between! Here are the races – with links to my recaps: 

Three stair races, done before pandemic started:

One socially distant, in-person running race:

Five virtual 5Ks, all completed during the pandemic:

Nine doesn’t seem like many races at all compared to 2019, when I competed in 40, but it’s actually right in line with my 2014 total! 

  • 2020: 9 races (3 stairs, 6 running)
  • 2019: 40 races (12 stairs, 3 stair/run hybrids, 25 running)
  • 2018: 16 races (13 stairs, 3 running)
  • 2017: 18 races (13 stairs, 5 running)
  • 2016: 16 races (13 stairs, 3 running)
  • 2015: 15 races (13 stairs, 2 running)
  • 2014: 9 races (all stairs)
  • 2013: 4 races (all stairs)
  • 2012: 3 races (1 stairs, 1 running, 1 open water swim)
  • 2011: 2 races (both running)

A few other fun facts in regards to this year’s races – and yes, they’re all highlights!

  • HIGHLIGHT: 2020’s nine races bring my career race total to 132!
  • HIGHLIGHT: Although I only did three stair races, all were races I hadn’t done before, in cities I hadn’t raced in before, and all were multi-climbs. Between those three events, I raced up a total of 814 stories – nearly two vertical miles!
  • HIGHLIGHT: I’ve now done a total of 84 stair races, in 33 different cities!

My stair racing goal for 2020 was to compete in five cities I’ve never competed in before. I didn’t get to complete that goal, because the pandemic cancelled so many stair races, so I hope to complete it in 2021. 

In conclusion (finally), this was a challenging year for me. I’m already trying my best to make 2021 much better, and appreciate all your support along the way. 

I just skimmed back through this post, and counted eleven highlights – a really wonderful reminder that good can be found in anything, if you look at it the right way. I started this post dreading what I would discover about the year, but now that I’m concluding it, I feel incredibly inspired about what I’m capable of, and what’s still out there that I can accomplish. 



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26 Responses to 2020 Year-End Progress Report


    You are definitely the best David. I so admire you. Shingles are terribly demoralizing as well as painful. And I understand they Are exacerbated by stress so it is good that you reviewed your year and found out how fabulous you are. Sending love and good luck for wonderful things in 2021. Sybil

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Mom says:

    Yes, you are right to focus on your successes. This has been a stressful year for so many, yet I feel our family is so fortunate to have our good health. I know you will accomplish much in 2021.
    Cheers and love to you!!

  3. zubi says:

    Don’t worry… You will accomplish whatever things you decide in the coming years. Hope for the best.
    And I’ll love if you check out my feed once.

  4. Chuck Smith says:

    David, This blog took courage. I really respect your honesty. And I greatly admire your decade of focus and discipline. Because of your willingness to share so openly, your efforts going forward will provide further inspiration to those of your readers who have failed in their efforts. By which I mean, all of your readers. You deserve great credit for that. I’m wishing all the best for you.

  5. Nicolette says:

    You are such a tonic – you inspire me – and I have every faith 2021 will be a great year for you. Keep it up David😘

  6. mfclingan says:

    What a great post. You honestly looked at the places you need to improve but you found almost of highlights in your year! Go you!!! Here is to 2021!!!

  7. You’ve got this! And remember… don’t equate weight with health. They are 2 very separate things.

    • David says:

      Thank you! And while that’s a good general rule of thumb, I’ve also had a physical, and elements of my health have suffered as I’ve gained weight. They’re separate, but very linked.

  8. Valerie Scott says:

    You can do this David. I have faith in you!

  9. Michael Garcia says:

    The line of an endeavor is usually with ups and downs, the former exhilarating beyond belief, and the later demoralizing and depressing. Better this, however, than a banal existence experiencing neither.

    You are on a lifelong quest to mitigate, if not overcome, the tendencies that you were born with and to your credit you have greatly succeeded but now you are experiencing a setback.

    Take heart and dwell on what you know you are capable of achieving and put the depression demon in the rearview mirror. This post tells me that you are on the right track, that your attitude is sound and that your eyes are looking forward. I have no doubts about you son.


  10. Sarah Van Houten says:

    What a post! Congrats on your accomplishments!! This year has been hard for many reasons, plus layer on that you had a lot of change in your life (job/moving/etc). I know that you can accomplishment your goals – you prove it over and over again – Keep it up David!!

  11. Alexis Garcia says:

    You’re on your way, just by this post, to a great start this year. Life if full of ups and downs for all of us to see and learn from. Your goals are in sight. Go David!

  12. Jizzemly Rudely Rude says:

    I think you could turn this around by switching to Cool Whip Lite!

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