I Can’t Stop Doing 30-Day Challenges!

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Third month of the challenge activated!

Just over a month ago, I talked about my 30-day challenge and how it was going to make me look and feel amazing. For anyone who missed that article, well, here it is: A Better Body, 30 Days at a Time.

As you can imagine, the second month wasn’t as easy. I had decided to up the workload and put in dietary requirements. Yes, it’s just one fruit, but I can never seem to find fruit  anywhere. (Obviously, “anywhere” seems to never be the grocery store. I never seem to have the same difficulties when searching for a chicken wrap. Isn’t that weird …)

So let’s get the basics out of the way:

Yes, I am doing another month.
Yes, it will be even more difficult.
No, the last month wasn’t easy.

You see, the problem with December was that it was going to coincide with Christmas, New Year, a pre-planned trip with Alexandra, my partner, to Harbin, and the below-freezing temperatures that Beijing’s winter had to offer. Despite this “adversity,” I managed to complete the month. It wasn’t all plain sailing, though. The last week was a ball-ache to say the least.

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Last day of the 4th week…

Everything was going very well up until the fourth week. Saturday 29th December 2018, it was -8 degrees Celsius (17.6 degrees Fahrenheit). I was too afraid to scroll down and look at the “Feels like” section. I had run a total of 0 km and was looking at the possibility of endless mocking from a somewhat smug Alexandra, as she had wrapped up her daily challenge earlier on in the day.

The next part I am not proud of, but I will admit that I started bargaining with Alex.

She was having none of it. (See, this is true adversity.)

Holding back the tears, I put on some running attire and hit the streets.

Now, before you start celebrating my success. I have something else to admit. Although I had done my entire day’s workout on the 29th, I had missed a couple of days prior to that. So on the 31st of December, I found myself with five times my normal day’s workout to do.

I know, I know, you can’t make up missed workouts and blah blah blah, but in my defence … shut up.

So, there I was, in my hotel room on the final day of 2018, with a long list of exercises that I needed to do. It took me a while to say the least. However, it was the wake-up call I needed going into the third month.

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Another 30-day challenge completed

Firstly, I reduced the workout, just incase I had any catch-up days. We don’t want a repeat of New Year’s Eve, now do we? Secondly, I increased the run to 10 km per week. I also need to do yoga three times a week, which I have been loving so far. For anyone interested, you should youtube “Yoga With Adriene” or click here. The most difficult aspect of this month will be the “no bread” rule.

For me, bread is like an addiction. I have been brought up eating bread with everything. It’s the one thing that would always be on the dining table. It was only later on in life that I realised bread likes to camp out on the lower level of your belly, making me look big and cuddly.

I hate looking big and cuddly.

As you can imagine, there are some exceptions to the bread rule for this month. Why? Well, simply because I don’t want to die from going cold turkey, or even worse, end up at cafes sucking up the breadcrumbs left from a prior guest’s half-eaten muffin. The fear is real, people!

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So far, so good.

I can happily say that everything is going very well. Then again, this time last month, I was feeling the same. Hopefully by the end of the month I will feel as in control as I do now.

Ha! I just made myself giggle with that line!

 

A Better Body, 30 Days at a Time

I was sat at home relaxing when the bringer of bad news walked in …

“Babe, I have something to tell you …”

Those dreaded words!

I realise you lot are probably thinking the worst. But I knew it was even worse than that.

I could tell from the determined entrance and tone of voice that my partner had some genius fitness idea to get us both in to shape.

Note to all: Circle is a shape!!

And then the dreaded words: “Let’s do a 30-day challenge.”

The basic premise of the challenge is to set yourself a daily challenge, which needs to be completed for 30 consecutive days. The challenge needs to be something that you wouldn’t normally do.

Queue the jokes.

My first response was that I would, “Smoke a cigarette a day.”

(Playful slap)

I took it seriously after that.

Now, I realise that this sounds a little like a non-religious version of Lent. Except it is taken more seriously than Lent, but not as serious as fasting during Ramadan.

The Challenge

So, about this 30-day self-torture. I set myself a simple task, as I didn’t want to screw myself over.

Unfortunately, I screwed myself over.

My daily challenge started well, as the workout (50 crunches, 50 ankle touches, 30 push-ups, 10 leg lifts and 10 roll-outs) wasn’t too difficult. Stupidly, though, I designed a set of exercises that would work my stomach – something I hadn’t done in almost a year.

Day 2: It hurt to laugh, cough or do any other movement.
Day 3: I couldn’t sit down properly.
Day 4: I couldn’t tell if I needed the bathroom, or if I was feeling uncomfortable from the workout.

By Day 5, I was looking for ways to alter the workout itself.

By the end of the 30-day challenge, that pain left it’s place to boredom and tediousness because the workout had become a little mundane, and easy. Don’t get me wrong, I am still incredibly happy to have done the challenge and completed it. As the benefits were visible.

I hated Wednesday nights, though. I really did.

It’s tough to get home from two hours of football and hear the dreaded words, “You should do your workout soon and then shower.”

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Colouring in that final segment to wrap up a successful challenge.

I can proudly say that I stuck to the original set of exercises, and I feel much stronger for it. I’m still far away from a six-pack, but my belly is a powerful one. The best thing is that I get to share another experience with my partner, and become healthier while doing so.

What Next?

I have set myself a new challenge. This time, I wanted to add more elements to my daily goal.

The New Challenge:

50 ankle touches
15 leg raises
30 push-ups
25 dips
30 second side planks
60 second plank
30 second wall sit
1x fruit and 1x vegetable
Run 8km over the week (not including running at football)
No fast food

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Already looking great. 

As you can see, I have kept the workout, but also added weekly cardio and, most importantly, some dietary requirements. I realise the dietary part isn’t very demanding, except, I am absolutely terrible at eating fruit.

Verdict

The challenge was a very good idea, and definitely worth doing, as it gives each individual the chance to decide their own challenge.

So, for anyone who is interested in getting healthier, I would advise the 30-day challenge, but there are some things you should consider:

  • Share the experience with someone, as you will motivate each other.
  • Set goal-orientated challenges and not time-orientated ones.
  • Create a chart that you can colour in on a daily basis. Visually seeing your progress helps keep you motivated.

Good luck!


Quick Note: Portions of this blog previously ran on my partner’s site, as she detailed her own experiences during our 30-day challenges. You can check out her pieces here: