Sunday, April 28, 2013

Back to Basics

Recently I completed a 30-day squat challenge. Many of you may have seen emails, tweets, and the like about this challenge in slight variations. I decided to try it when my neighbours told me they were doing it. The general idea is that you start with 50, and then in succession build up to 250 by the 30th day with rest-days throughout. 

Now, many of you may be thinking "No Problem!" While others are thinking, "No Way!" But let me assure you all! If I can do this, you ALL can! I started off just curious about whether I could do it, and part way through it turned into something way more personal. As silly as it sounds, I felt as though my ability to complete these squats meant so much more than just a physical accomplishment. I came to equate the challenge with commitment and strength of heart and mind.

According to the challenge, you are supposed to take a picture of your endearing rear before and after the challenge. I did NOT do this. Although my husband volunteered (vehemently), I decided that wasn't the important part for me. Strength was my guiding factor. And the strength that comes with being able to do 250 squats is immense!

Once the challenge was done, however, I was a bit lost. I felt fabulous at having accomplished this goal, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do next. So, I put the question out there and received a bit of feedback.  And all of this got  me thinking about getting back to basics. It really isn't as hard getting a bit of strength training or cardio into your day as you might think. What's most daunting is trying to coordinate getting to the gym between jobs and life in general, but when you have the ability to do so much at home, then things become so much simpler! 

I found that even going to gym, I wanted to do my squats. So, after some cardio, I found myself in a small corner of one of the weight rooms doing a succession of 50 squats and 10 push ups (totalling 200 squats and 30 push ups). You see, even after having been a consistent GoodLife member for more than 8 years, and even though I've used the weight machines and gone to classes, I still find doing the weight-machine circuit to be an enigma. I don't know how many reps to do of however many sets, and I feel like I can never remember how many I did last time! I considered bringing my trusty notebook and pen with me, but no else has paper and pen in hand! How do they all remember??? Different weights and different reps on different machines makes for a spinning head...there must be a system I just haven't tapped into. And I haven't given up entirely on the machines, but how can a person go wrong with good ol' squats and push ups? Or any of the other exercises available to a gym-less soul?

Don't get me wrong, I definitely appreciate the weight machines and all they have to offer, and I completely understand for those who have a specific goal in mind (whether a certain weight, reps, competition, etc.) that these machines offer invaluable support towards those goals, but I'm a layman, and my comments are directed to the other laymens out there...WORKING OUT NEEDN'T BE OVERWHELMING! And using your own body weight prevents the possibility of injuries when you (read "I") don't really know what kind of system to put in place on the machines.

So, whether you want to start with the 30-day squat challenge or just a series of push ups and sit ups at home, I say DO IT! You don't need money for it, and only limited space is required. 

Spring is the perfect time of year to get into the spirit of working out, so dive (squat?) right in!


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  2. My pleasure, James! Thank you.