New month starts tomorrow, and with it, a new challenge. *sigh* Me and my pals – we get these wacky ideas and then suddenly we’re all committed to doing something a little nutty for the sake of our mildly competitive neurosis.

A few of my crew have been whining complaining expressing concern about their exercise routines and cardio fitness, not dropping weight quickly enough, or just general malaise with their routines. (Not me, because I just got home from pilates and it completely, totally kicked my ass and I feel great about it.) And one close friend has finally seen her doctor and discovered (as she suspected) she has high cholesterol and is the teetering on the edge of crossing over into medical intervention with diabetes and high blood pressure. She is not very active and this check-up has been a terrifying jolt to her system and resulted in accepting a local gym’s 30 day trial membership to see if she can get more exercise after many years of a sedentary lifestyle. Another pal suggested a challenge to help kick-start her better health quest, and after a lot of emails, texts, and discussion in another forum, a challenge was born. This is partly a solidarity and support thing for her, and partly so some who are feeling out of sorts about their exercise routines will be trying something new, something else to refresh their own diet and exercise journeys.

So we are doing a cardio challenge, and of course there are rules.

  • Cardio only counts toward the challenge if it is 30 minute blocks or longer per day, and we can only claim credit for 30 minutes per day August 1-20.
  • If we get behind in the first 20 days, there is a “make-up” block of August 21-31 where we can get credit for 60 minutes of cardio per day, BUT we have to log 75 straight minutes. No 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes at night type breaking it up.
  • If we belong to a gym, we have to utilize one of the gym’s cardio machines – treadmill, elliptical, rower, etc. The couple of us who do not presently belong to gyms have to be outside and walking, hiking, riding our bikes, running, swimming, etc. The intention here is to make us be deliberate about it and commit to it. Having a cardio machine at home was voted off the island on the grounds of unfair advantage.
  • Cardio done during regular workouts doesn’t count, so despite how hard I (and others in my tribe) may work, how amped I may get my heart rate moving dumbbells or weight plates to and fro, it doesn’t count. I have to be standing or sitting on a machine upstairs in cardioville or outside pursuing the elevated heart rate in an deliberate manner for 30 minutes to claim credit.

Buy-in is $50 cash, and we voted on how winner(s) get paid, because cash payouts are not as cache in my social circles as merchandise and gift cards. So, winners will receive their winnings in the form of Chipotle gift cards, ruled a reasonably healthy, non-bar choice. As of this moment, there are 18 fully paid participants – friends of mine or their adult daughters and sisters – and I expect by the close of the pool this evening the number will rise. Part of me really hopes I succeed in breaking even and getting my $50 gift card buy-in back, because it would be amazing if we all step-up and have 100% success in this endeavor and also lending our support and encouragement to each of us who need to take control and get our health on track. Let’s be clear here: I have no intention of donating my buy-in fee. If I have to go to the gym late in the night to get my 30 minutes done, I remind myself it’s only 20 days out of 31, therefore temporary, and I can do it.

In the past both J and RD have expressed some disagreement and bewilderment with many fitness challenges you read about online, and I do not disagree. Most of the time I look at the plank challenges, or the squat challenges, or the eat more protein challenges, or eat vegetarian challenges and wonder why, is there a purpose? But this one is different, I tell myself. It is in addition to all the other stuff I presently do and it is for a good cause. And they will both benefit from the burrito currency exchange (M and I do not eat at Chipotle, but it is RD’s favorite place and also a mainstream place J can enjoy vegan offerings). M, being the runner that he is, thinks it is a great idea. Of course in M’s book, more exercise is always better.

I am not completely clear why it would bother me if J and RD categorized this as one of those weird things people do for a month, but it probably would. I also think it will be a curious experiment in how or if it impacts other measures going on in my life with regard to weight and such, so there is that as well. But I am honest enough to know that this is not going to be sustainable; I simply do not have the stamina or interest in pursuing this type of exercise on a long-term basis. If I am going to be in the gym for an extra 30 minutes, I would much rather be pursuing some of the other resistance type things that J has taught me.

As all things related to the better health quest, I am talking about it here. Because there may be considerably more weenie-whining than usual and in particular about how BORING cardio is in the coming days. It’s only a month, only 20 days out of 31. I got this.

Yep, we’re kind of goofy, kind of crazy, and lots and lots of fun. All across the country there are women (because this one, it’s all women so far) looking at their schedules and trying to figure out how they will put another 30 minute block of gym time into their days next month. And it will be great!

Remind me that I said that every time I put up a post complaining about how boring it was to be at the gym doing cardio for 30 minutes next month.

Happy Sunday! I am hopeful you are all enjoying a fun and/or relaxing weekend.



2 thoughts on “August challenge

    1. We’re just CRAZY sometimes. Several of my friends are crossfit aficionados, some run, some swim. This type of challenge/betting pool thing happens a few times per year, and it’s always friendly fun. But for mostly middle aged women trying to age more gracefully, why not?

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