Last Friday I completed a 31-day fitness challenge called the 10/10/10 Challenge (10 push-ups, 10 squats, and either 10 minutes of plank rotations or 10 minutes of core exercises). I intentionally created this challenge to be “short & sweet” so that with some effort, it was completely doable. The goal was simply to be disciplined and work hard every single day of March to get stronger, no excuses.
I’m happy to say “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I was inspired to extend most workouts to more in the range of an hour with multiple sets of push-ups, squats, and other assorted core exercises. In 31 days I ended up doing over 900 push-ups, 1000+ squats and lunges, dozens of plank rotations as well as a variety of core exercises with body weight, bands, and dumbbells.
Besides the fitness gains and the mental toughness gains, I learned a few things during this challenge, which I thought I’d share with you. Here are my thoughts . . .
• Action begets motivation. Don’t wait until you are motivated to get started. Just get started, even if you don’t feel 100% ready or your life isn’t 100% lined up. Starting is the first, and most important step. Once you take the plunge, you will be surprised how motivated you will become, especially when your consistency starts paying dividends in terms of energy, strength, and confidence. The more you do, the more motivated you’ll become.
• Focusing on progress over perfection makes it all the more enjoyable. Instead of getting discouraged by how far you feel like you still have to go, just show up and do your best each session and give yourself grace, followed by big kudos for your effort. The results will come. The joy is in the journey.
• If you are trying to improve your strength and do it without straining or injuring yourself, I highly recommend getting a selfie tripod for your phone so you can film yourself–especially if you work out where you don’t have a mirror. It may sound narcissistic, but filming yourself makes it easier to see your form as well as your imbalances and weaknesses. You may feel like your hip is at a certain angle, your leg is at an optimal height or knees are aligned, but until you actually see yourself doing each exercise, it’s hard to know, especially when you are trying new moves. It’s like having an impartial review at your fingertips, which is invaluable.
• Making yourself and your workout environment “happy” will make your session all the more motivating. Put on your favorite pump up music, open the blinds or turn up the lights, wear your favorite workout gear (if you’re like me, bright colors make you feel cheerier and more energized). Make sure your body is properly fueled and hydrated so you feel good instead of trying to complete your workout while running on low. It’s often the little things that make the biggest differences.
• Have your gear organized and laid out the night before so you don’t waste your precious time looking for items. When you have even the smallest elements of friction in your routine (ie–having to search for your shorts or find your watch, keys, or dumbbells), it sets a frustrating tone, and it also leans into procrastination. If everything is ready for you to hit it without thinking or working too hard, you are likely to get it done and not be pulled toward other things.
• Mixing up your routine and your workout locale can keep things fresh and interesting. Even if your goal is simply to do squats and push-ups, there are many variations of these exercises, which are equally beneficial. Why not mix up sumo, goblet, regular, and one-legged squats? Change it up to avoid getting bored. Google, Instagram and YouTube are excellent sources for new ideas. In terms of location, even if you are a creature of habit, always going to the gym, or always going to the track, or always working out at home, changing your routine every once in awhile will add a spark to your workout. I highly recommend getting outside. Fresh air and blue sky are intoxicating.
Below I’m sharing a few snaps from our recent 10/10/10 Challenge, representing 12 of 31 days of fitness. I hope your fitness journey is filled with untold joy and your strength grows day by day. Power on, my friends! I’m rooting for you all the way!