Taking on the challenge of fitness challenges

I used to hate fitness challenges. I always thought of them as being like these:

I even blogged about my fears and resentments around challenges:  The Challenging Challenge of Challenges

Of course lots of fitness challenges targeted at women are gross. They feature those awful before-and-after shots, which are either photoshopped or artfully done to maximize the fitspo. They emphasize the look of women’s bodies rather than the feelings of movement. And they’re geared toward some event (wedding, beach vacation, formal dance) at which women’s bodies are on display and judged. 

I guess I should stop now.  Y’all knew this already.

Those are all good reasons to reject some challenges.  But those are not the reasons  why I’ve always reacted badly to fitness challenges.

I’ve taken on fitness challenges without thinking seriously about how I’ll make the time for them. Then, once scheduling conflicts hit, I’m unprepared for what to do.  And what do I do? Feel angry at the restrictions imposed on me, feel shame when I don’t complete the task, and feel isolated from my friends who are (from my perspective) humming along with their challenge. This is a recipe for emotional meltdown or shutdown (take your pick). It’s no wonder I’ve always hated them.

Of course that’s fine.  One can live a passably acceptable life without ever rising to the 30-day fitness challenge… But I just couldn’t seem to leave them alone, mainly because some of the bloggers have been doing challenges (Christine’s 7+ minutes of yoga every day, The 218 workouts in 2018 that Cate and Sam are doing, Sam’s end-of-year streak challenge), and I suffer from extreme fitness FOMO.

Extreme fear of missing out and how it affects your dog(weird caption!) and a pic of a dog looking anxious.
I couldn’t find a relevant illustration, so I’m putting up this one instead.

So this year, I decided to take up the personal challenge of fitness challenges. I’ve been doing the 7+ minutes of yoga every day challenge.  And I haven’t done it EVERY day, but ALMOST EVERY day– probably 25ish days out of 30 in November.  And I’m really happy about it. It makes me feel good, and I’ll be continuing it.

In January I joined the 218 workouts in 2018 Facebook group.  Then I got pneumonia, so my workout arithmetic stayed at zero for more than a month.  But I decided to get started in February, and began moving and stretching. It’s been marvelous, being a part of this group. I blogged recently about it here. As of today, I’ve got 24 workouts left, and 30 days to do them. I’ve decided that I am counting all movement in one day as one workout, which means I’m challenging myself to do something 24 out of the next 30 days.  If I don’t make it, that’s okay. But I’m curious to see how it will play out. And having that goal in mind for the holiday season seems nothing but good.

Then there’s Sam’s end-of-year holiday streak challenge. I find this one especially challenging. She started Nov 22, and it’s already Dec 2. Maybe this one isn’t for me… this year. But unlike past  years, I’m feeling a less embarrassed at not jumping on the bicycle bandwagon. Although, if it looks like this, I am a bit bummed.

A bicycle in New Orleans, with a bass drum, trombone, and snare drum mounted on it.
A bicycle in New Orleans, with a bass drum, trombone, and snare drum mounted on it.

Laissez les bons temps roulez, Sam!

Of course, the most challenging challenge time is coming up:  January 1 will usher in carloads of crazy cockamamie challenges.  Of course we are all free to engage as we see fit. For my part, I’ll definitely sign up for 219 workouts in 2019. I’m not sure what else, but we shall see. 

Readers, are you planning any fitness challenges?  Are you in the middle of one, or winding any of them down in 2018?  I’d love to hear from you. And with that, I’ll end with another interesting and irrelevant-to-this-content picture I found.

Mental health grocery list. So many meanings in there.
Mental health grocery list. So many meanings in there.

2 thoughts on “Taking on the challenge of fitness challenges

  1. Have been doing 218 in 2018 on my own and have enjoyed it. Haven’t thought too much about it, just recorded my workouts after I did them. Once I hit 200 a couple of weeks ago, though, I did find I became a little jazzed. On track to make the 218 by Christmas. Also respect, as I look back through my calendar, the regularity of rest days.

    1. Congrats Keri on making the 218 mark by end of year! And yes, you make such a good point about the importance of rest. We all need rest, fuel and time.

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