Monday, January 24, 2011

let's take the "work" out of workout {update}

It's a big week: Week 8 of our workout challenge.

This deserves a post because I had no idea what was going to happen when we started this two months ago, and I'm pretty darn proud of ourselves for making it this far.

Our hubby's gave us two weeks (and whole lot of extra motivation when we heard them say that!) 

I might have been slightly more generous and given us 3-4 weeks.

B, T, KMac and KT are all still standing. 5 workouts a week for 8 weeks.

The real kicker is that we're not just doing this, but somewhere along the line we actually started enjoying ourselves.

Shocking, I know.

So we've had some people ask...and sometimes we tell people who didn't ask (we can't help it, we're kind of excited)...and the big questions we usually get are Why?!?!  How?  When?  What? and Where?

The Why:
  • We are all moms. We have birthed babies. We love those babies but they put our bodies through the ringer. 
  • We are all over 30. As far as we can tell, we're not getting any younger. We also hear rumors of things like metabolism drop-offs and heart disease.
  • We want to sleep better, stand taller, breath easier, and feel happier. AND we want our pants to fit.
  • We like each other. Exercise gives us a good reason to get together once or twice a week, strengthen our bond, and laugh our tails off (all while we're working those tails off).

The How:
Our guidelines:
    • Challenge begins December 6 [important! start right away! don't think about it!] 
    • $20 to start!
    • Workout 5 days a week, two free days per week
    • A workout means you are breathing hard, heart's a pumping, sweating or otherwise exerting yourself!
    • $5 for every missed workout if you want to stay in
    • Last girl standing takes the pot!
    Other words of advice:
    • A group of 4 girls works great. 3 or 5 would also work well too.
    • You can all be at different fitness levels and I think it would still work.
    • We say 15 minutes but most always, we go over that. It was important to us that it seemed doable to start so we wouldn't get overwhelmed and quit.
    • The 4 of us all live relatively close to each other and that helps but isn't necessary.
    • We created a group on Facebook, set the settings to Secret, and then use that space to post our workouts each day. One girl creates a post "week 1 {workout 1}" and then everyone posts their workouts underneath and so on. We also coordinate group workouts here and post words of encouragement and as well as some friendly trash talk.
    • It's important that there is money involved. Talk it over with your group, set an amount that is just painful enough that you really don't want to lose that money. At this point it's more about honor than money but I think that really lit a fire under us to begin with. Get a jar. Have everyone put the money in it. Take a picture or keep it on your kitchen counter. Dream about what you will do with the money once you win.
    • Big keys: make it doable (but be ready to push yourself), keep each other accountable, take it one day at a time. Get creative.

    The When:
    • Whenever! Everyone's schedule is different. You have to plan ahead, at least a little, to stay on track. 
    • Regarding time-related excuses: I have heard a lot of these. All I can say is the problem probably isn't not having enough time, it's not making good use of your time. Everyone has an extra 15-30 minutes a day you might just have to go looking for it. In our group, KMac and I both stay home with three kids and B and T both work full-time while raising two little boys each. We are not exactly the poster children for extra time, but we have made it work. Don't try to argue. You can do it.
    • I don't work out at the same time every day - sometimes it's 6am, sometimes it's 9pm. Think your day through the night before and make some plans.
    • It has helped us to plan a few group workouts each week whether it's just doing a DVD in someone's living room, swimming before our days start, or meeting for a yoga class.

    The What:
    • We have tried just about everything under the sun! Somewhere along the line we also made a commitment to try new things even if they were outside of our comfort zones. In the past 8 weeks have done around-the-house circuit training, Jillian DVD's, swimming, Wii Fit, P90X, yoga, pilates, tae bo, running, the elliptical, and cross country skiing (our latest adventure - we all loved it!)
    • Get creative. I know a lot of us don't have tons of money to spare. I will say 1) it's worth it to invest a little into this venture (and by that I mean the $2.50 for open swim and the $9 for a new Jillian DVD is totally worth it) and 2) you can come up with free workouts if you get a little creative (look on-line, borrow DVD's, walk/run outside).

    The Where:
    Here are a few resources we have found:
    • Open swims. Check with your local high school.
    • Church programs. In the past week, I have discovered Holy Yoga at our church and a fitness class that meets at another local church three mornings a week (with $1 per kid childcare!). Look around, I'm sure there are more.
    • Gym/class deals. This isn't necessary (one of our girls goes to the Y regularly, the rest of us do not belong to a gym). We are able to get a great deal on yoga classes though through Living Social (check Groupon too). 
    • The great outdoors. Our skiing adventure was amazing and the park was a mere 15 minutes away from our house.
    • Your living room. This is probably your best bet if you are a busy mom with little kids. We have had all four of us girls in my living room sweating to Jillian and it works. I have also worked out with kids napping upstairs, watching Curious George in the other room and busting a move beside me. You might have to move furniture, but you can make it work.

    Bottom line: this challenge started as a little what-if conversation one weekend night and it has completely transformed our day to day lives. I feel like since I am able to stick with this, I might be able to stick with some other things too. I sleep better, stand taller, breath easier, and feel happier.

    Oh, and my pants fit.


    1. Ahhh...LOVE this! Wonderfully put and spot on!:)

    2. This just made me smile and feel like we've got a reply good thing going:)

    3. Is this really about us? Way to go ladies! Thanks for the accountability, motivation, and good times.


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