Monday, April 20, 2015

My Next Fitness Challenge

And then I found the chart! I started at
50 and ended at 250.
Three years ago I took on a fitness challenge - a squat challenge. I've always thought that after my smile, my ass is my best feature. So I set out to make it even nicer. It was a while ago, so I don't remember what I started at and what I ended at, but I do remember that I had to do so many squats per day that I often did them in public while out with people. One night once I was doing 200 or more squats per day I was doing squats at midnight in a crowded bar while celebrating a birthday with a friend.

Since then I've become quite fond of fitness challenges. Typically I've done 30 day challenges and I've done lots of different exercises, including jump rope, planks, squats and push-ups.

For the first three months of this year I focused on push-ups. I did them on an incline on the edge of my couch for the month of January and finished the 30 days at 50 push-ups. For February I focused on doing them traditional style, on the floor. By the time I could do 15 easily I stopped challenging myself. I was doing 15 in the morning and 15 before bed every day. Then I learned about the 100 Push-Up Challenge.

I'm just crazy enough to try it!

It's a six week challenge, which is unusual for me, and it had many more rest days than I'm used to. But by week four I understood why doing push-ups every day during the challenge would be way too much. I spent the last three weeks of the challenge in pretty much constant muscle pain around my shoulders, my neck, my pecs. Ugh, I didn't realize how much pain I was in until this past week when it went away finally. I took a full week off from doing any push-ups at all. But that all ends today.

I finished the push-up challenge by being able to do 115 push-ups in under 15 minutes. After a week of not doing any, I tested myself yesterday and I did 75 push-ups in about 8 minutes. I think that's just fine for maintenance. Now I move on to the next challenge.

Any time someone asks me what my fitness goals are I tell them that I am 38 years old and in damn good shape, but I know that won't last forever. I want to continue looking and feeling good for as long as possible, that's my goal. That makes employees at gyms uncomfortable because that is not a measurable goal. When you join a gym they really want you to make a measurable goal so that 3 months later you can see if you are or have reached it and stay invested in being a gym member. Feeling good should be the only goal, but we as humans are kind of dumb and can't motivate ourselves on a wishy-washy goal like that. Especially when, like during my push-up challenge, I didn't feel that good while doing it.

Let's be real, I wouldn't mind that dress either!
So, I get pressed for a more measurable goal all the time at the gym and the only one I've ever actually had and the only one I've ever given once to a fitness coach, but am now sharing with the world, is that I want to have arms like Angela Basset's in her role as Tina Turner.

My next fitness challenge will stay in the arm family. I'm moving on to Tricep Dips.

I found a challenge online which begins at 5 and ends at 100. I tested myself yesterday to see how well I did and I started with, what I found out is, the more challenging way to do them, with legs outstretched. I did 15 with ease, so I will start there.

Since I continue to do squats every day my next 30 days will look like this - Tricep Dips 4 days in a row, one day off, 50 - 70 squats every day, and probably about 30 or 40 push-ups a day in one set.

This should let me continue my habits of maple syrup in my coffee and a cookie or brownie every day for at least the next 10 years. Why give things up when you can just achieve balance by adding more?

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