Looking Back on 2017 and Planning for 2018

The first instance of January 1 being celebrated as the first day of a new year goes back to the time of Julius Caesar, in 45 BC. Prior to that time, the Romans had used a lunar calendar. The first day of the year was usually in March, to coincide with the first day of Spring. Many cultures still have their new year start in the March timeframe but Caesar created January 1. Nevertheless, the practice of celebrating January 1 fell out of favor for a number of centuries until the 16th century when Pope Gregory XIII implemented the Gregorian calendar.


So, it's safe to say that what we perceive as a new year or a new beginning is nothing more than an arbitrary point in time that was chosen at the whim of an emperor of a long-lost empire.



Don't worry, that's not meant to be a downer or a comment on your celebrations. It's just important to realize that your life isn't subject to some sort of cosmic boundary that says you can only do certain things at certain times. That's right, you don't need to make resolutions. It's about consistency and perseverance. Meaning, every day is a day to make a change and an opportunity to hew a new path. As we look back on the past and think about the future, we realize that it's important to commit to the now and not just a period in time.


So, let's look back on the past year knowing that nothing we did last year to improve ourselves will matter much if we coast this year and don't continue to push every day.


Looking Back on the Year That Was

2017 was a big year for us here at Breaking Muscle. We've always done our best to be more than just another health and fitness website, and this year we doubled down on that philosophy, taking on harder topics and bigger projects than ever before. We rebooted the podcast to bring you exclusive interviews and industry-leading guests. We brought you unique daily workouts and focused training plans to take your fitness to another level. Most of all, we tried to answer your questions, destroy your excuses, and raise the level of the conversation in the fitness industry.


Picking from all the great articles our coaches produced this year is no easy task, and there's not really a fair way to do it. The editors, who sift through every submission, agonize over every phrase, and curate every piece of content to deliver it to you, have tried to pick as many resonant works as they could. It's 100% certain that we've left out some of your favorites, and if we have, we're sure you let us know.


Now without further ado, here are the Breaking Muscle Editors' Choices of 2017 in no particular at all!


Shane Trotter - How to Define and Act on Your Values

Shane Trotter has taken on the world in 2017, addressing the cultural, psychological, and societal issues that undermine our health as individuals. Perhaps no piece underlines his groundbreaking and important work better than this one, where he lays out the brass-tacks process that can lead you to a life of greater fulfillment.


Pete Hitzeman - Every Step is a Gift

Managing editor Pete Hitzeman relates how a heavy dose of perspective and gratitude changed how he views his training and performance.


Rain Bennett - My Daughter Will Never Do Girl Pushups

Documentary filmmaker and expecting father Rain Bennett doesn't buy into our traditional views of female physical capability, and he means to do something about it.


CJ Gotcher - Get Past Diet Dogma and Pick What's Right for You

Proponents of various diet protocols argue for their particular method with an almost religious fervor, but CJ Gotcher blows past all that noise, explaining the mechanisms at work and helping you choose between the endless options.


Chris Lofland - Being a Small Town WOD Hero is Not Being Goal-Oriented

We all know that goals are what keep an athlete motivated to keep growing, but what essential aspects of training make achieving those goals possible? The magic lies in consistency and sustainability. These two qualities go hand in hand when it comes to working toward goals.


Amanda Thebe - The Differences Between Training in Your 40's and Your 20's

As we start to age and move through our 30s to our 40s we inevitably see changes in our body, energy level, and recovery ability. Our bodies will naturally start to slow down at this stage of life, and we need to start making more intelligent decisions when it comes to our food choices, workout protocols, and recovery methods.



Kari Lund - 40 Days of Clean Eating

Tired of staring at the fridge with a sense of hopeless bewilderment? Kari Lund has come to your rescue with an enormous list of beautiful, simple, and healthy dishes to keep your nutrition as dialed-in as your training.


Alex McBrairty - Quit Overeating by Defining Your Happiness

Former fat kid turned fitness competitor Alex McBrairty opens up about the mindset shift that set him free from the endless cycle of caving to food temptations.


Justin Lind - Get Ready for Handstands

Our own master of the video tutorial, Justin Lind, breaks down one of the most complicated gymnastics skills out there. His series follows a simple and thorough progression to get you upside down, strong, and stable before you know it.


David Weck - The Magical Power Between Your Legs

The adductors are one of the most misunderstood and inappropriately trained muscle groups. While they do bring the thighs together, they are mostly used in flexion and extension of the hips in everyday movement. How many muscle groups can you name that both flex and extend a joint?


Jennifer Pilotti - 8 Weeks of Ground Work to Make the Floor Your Friend

Every coach worth their salt will tell you that fitness starts at the ground, and athleticism starts at the hips. Jenn Pilotti guides you through two full months of mindful, purposeful work to help you get more from every movement, in the gym and out of it.


Shawn Gerber - The Total Newbie's Guide to Triathlon

Resident endurance expert Shawn Gerber lays out everything you ever wanted to know about getting into triathlons but were afraid to ask. His comprehensive guides are a must-read for anybody who wants to go long, and stay strong.


Motivation is Garbage; Discipline is Freedom Podcast with Jocko Willink

The difference between who you are and who you want to be is the action you take every day to become the latter. Former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink talks early morning workouts and the unbeatable mindset behind his latest book.



Chris Holder - A Letter to My Son, the Aspiring Athlete

I want you to love to play, and I never want to be a source of negativity to your experience. But I do want you to know the reality of taking on this life. Love your teammates. Appreciate the grind. And just win, baby.


Dan Hollander - The Ultimate Guide to Muscle Gain and Hypertrophy

A mixture of educational and practical guidance on the topic that occupies the hearts and minds of many lifters. Delivered with academic erudition by someone who teaches this stuff every day.



Why You Should Train Naked Podcast with Dr. Andy Galpin

Technology has never been more pervasive in our lives, but is it really making us any better? Dr. Andy Galpin sits down to discuss his new book Unplugged, which illustrates what we lose when we over-rely on tech, and how to get it back.


Mischele Stevens - 3 Ways to Snap Out of Your Mental Prison

Whichever way you chose to help free you from the mental prison, do it in a healthy way. No one can take care of you but you. You can’t do any good for anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself. Most of all, don’t ever be afraid to reach out for help. I am always here to listen.


Always Earned, Never Given Podcast with Carleen Mathews

Three-time CrossFit Games competitor Carleen Mathews opens up about the struggles she overcame to rise to the top of her sport, and how she's working to help others with her life experiences.


Adam McCubbin - Training More Isn't Always the Answer

If you want impressive results, there is no secret formula. The key is to take massive action in the direction of improvement. Everyone knows that sitting on the couch will only grow your belly and soften your butt.


Tom MacCormick - Success Leaves Clues; So Does Science

If you combine the best information from both old school bodybuilders and cutting edge research scientists then you can fine tune your training and transform your physique.


Tom Morrison - Mobility Isn't Training: Find Balance in Your Workouts

You need to ask yourself: what do you want your body to do for you? How best can you support it in your endeavors? Without an end goal, you can end up just drifting. Are you really making any progress? Or just wasting time?


Michael McCastle - Imagination: The Mind's Contribution to Peak Performance

The mind is every bit as powerful as the body when it comes to accomplishing physical tasks. While it isn’t your brain that runs the distance or climbs the mountain, it does fire off directions to those parts of the body that accomplish those tasks.


Brad Borland - The Everyman Guide to Bodybuilding

With the goals of building muscle, increasing strength, and stripping away body fat, there is no better method of training than bodybuilding to restructure your physique. This guide will provide the foundation and building blocks regarding these goals. Whether you’re a newbie or someone who simply wants to clean the proverbial slate and start anew, this is for you.


Michael Rutherford - The Pillars of the Second Half of Life

Motivation for change is usually inspired by disgust. Most of us are wired with a pride mechanism that is triggered during a sub-par physical challenge. To help support our motivation for change is using sleep practice, healthful nutritional practice, movement practice, and introspection—the pillars of the Second Half Playbook.



2018 - It's Just a Number

There are a number of exciting things that we are looking forward to in 2018 and we can split them up into areas of focus. The first is looking at who we address online and how we can better help them reach their goals:


  • The athlete - educating athletes to be their own best coach is going to be a very big focus for us in the coming year. Every individual has a unique set of circumstances dictated by everything from training age, actual age, and lifestyle through to bone structure, personal goals and access to relevant resources.
  • The coach - over the course of the last decade we have seen one constant in coaching and training and that's tribalism. There still seems to be a great deal of emphasis by the people training athletes on dogma and not enough on personalization and training populations. We need to do a better job of promoting and evangelizing the individualization of fitness.


Ultimately, we need to reduce the expertise gaps between all practitioners and their trainers so that we can take advantage of all the best in modern training techniques and methodologies. It's also an important part of shaping the fitness world to better reflect the needs of a world that faces a decline in health standards despite all the advances that have been made in science and technology. Basically, we're not getting any healthier, it's getting more expensive to get the help we need to get well, and fitness is the frontline of the battle for physical and emotional well-being.


The other main objective for us this coming year is to highlight the emerging cadre of young coaches, the future thought leaders of the industry. We've had some great young coaches with us this year:


Michael Tromello

Phil Daru

Molly Larson

Antonio Squillante, Guilio Palau, and Ted Sloan - The ThinkReps Coaches

Toby Skinner

Rachel Binette

Jesse Irizarry

Thomas Showers

Micki Pauley

Justin Lind

Chandler Stevens

Shane Trotter

Greg Walsh

Chris White


We're looking at many more new faces for 2018. We feel it is very important that we support these coaches and help promote the best coaching wherever we find. Independent of discipline or affiliation, our goal is to focus on coaches that are able to work with the broadest population of athletes. Whether it is a high school phenom or a 50 year old sedentary office worker looking to make a change, it shouldn't matter which to a good coach.


Get Involved with Your Local Gyms

We hope that 2017 has given you all the progress and PRs you could handle! If it hasn't, stay tuned to Breaking Muscle in 2018, as we bring you more of the content and conversations that will help you crush everything in the gym, and in life.


And don't forget the independent gyms and quality trainers in your own backyard. Often, these gyms are home to the best coaching mines and the most supportive communities. No matter who you are, and how disciplined or capable, having a support structure around you is essential to your success. So, support your local independent gyms wherever you are.


Be sure to follow us on all your social media channels, and subscribe to the podcast and definitely subscribe to our newsletter so you don't miss a thing. Thank you for a great year, and we can't wait to do it all again!

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