It looks like 2023 is shaping up to be my year of challenges. After two months of push-up challenges and another month of the 10/10/10 challenge, I took the leap and signed up for the Mt. Everest Climbing Challenge. The goal is to conquer 29,032 feet of elevation on my bike by April 29th, the height of Mt. Everest.
I’ve pondered this challenge before, but never felt quite ready or confident that I could squeeze in the time to do it. Also, that’s a heck of a lot of climbing. This year, for whatever reason, I’ve decided to test my mettle.
So if you’ve heard some giddy woman’s voice wafting through the sky, belting out Aretha’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” that’s me–gobbling up hills, one day, one ride at a time, enjoying the views and the journey along the way.
My first goal is to reach Base Camp at 17,700 ft.
Then it will be on to the Ice Fall at 22,000 ft.
• Lhotse Wall at 22,300 ft.
• Death Zone at 26,000 ft. (that’s not scary at all–haha)
• The Summit at 29,032 ft.
Send me your good vibes, as this is a bit of an ass-kicker, and life is especially full these days. Even though it’s a stretch to squeeze it all in, I’m taking my own advice, which is not to wait until the “perfect time,” because there is no perfect time except NOW.
Ride on! xo Becky
PS: There’s still time to join if you want to be part of the fun! The more the merrier! Click HERE for all the details.
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!
Back in December 2021 I challenged myself to cycle every single day of the month to get my legs back under me and begin building my mental and physical base to kick off Ironman Training. I chose the difficult month of December because I knew how hard it was to be consistent during the holidays, special events, and less-than-spectacular weather.
Riding 31 days in a row seemed epic at first, and there were definitely days I did not want to get on my bike, especially in the pouring rain. But because I committed to this personal challenge, and shared my goal with my friends and family, and Instagram connections, I dragged myself out the door and onto the road every single day (or on a spin bike at the gym, or my bike trainer in the garage). I didn’t miss one ride, and by the end of the month I had logged 809 miles and over 14,000 ft. of elevation. More importantly though, I reminded myself that I could do hard things and indeed loved doing hard things. Mission accomplished.
• • •
Fast forward to the beginning of 2023. After successfully completing Ironman California in late fall 2022, and letting my body recover for a couple of months, I launched a push-up challenge to work on my much-needed upper body strength. Push-ups have always been my nemesis, even though I strength train and swim. If you want to read the full details of this challenge, you can pop back to my previous blog post HERE. In a nutshell, it was a simple concept: starting with one full push-up on the 1st of January and working up to thirty-one full push-ups on the 31st. To build strength along the way I also added knee push-ups and inchworms and Pilates push-ups in addition to other usual fitness exercises.
I won’t lie. It was hard. Really hard.
What made it less difficult though, was inviting my friend Emma to do it along with me. We cheered each other on and held each other accountable, and when we completed our challenge, we hooted, hollered, high-five’d and celebrated over a tasty meal at a wonderful restaurant.
When our January push-up challenge wrapped up, Emma and I both knew we still had a lot of work to do to improve our strength and form–especially getting ourselves all the way down to the ground, so we decided to repeat the same thing in February. This time I invited my friends Janet and Robert, my brothers Tim and Scott, and my sister-in-law Jess, who were quick to join the fun. Our little group plugged away each day, doing our daily push-ups on top of our other personal fitness training, sending each other photos or videos, cheering each other on, and checking in when someone got quiet. Once again, we got it done. Having a larger group made it all the more fun, especially celebrating each person with a virtual mini trophy and Rocky music.
Today’s post is brought to you by a whole lot of joy and a big sense of accomplishment for doing something hard every damn day of the month of January. 💥💥💥
“What was that?” you ask.
While this is most likely only exciting to me, I share it with you in case it might stir up some ideas about something you’d like to challenge yourself to this year.
On January 1st I kicked off a much-needed 31 Day Push-up Challenge. Even though I had worked up to doing 10-minute plank rotations during Ironman training, could do upward and downward dogs until the cows came home, and could swim 2.5 miles, I could not do one freaking full push-up. It was shocking and quite frankly, embarrassing. Clearly I hadn’t worked those muscles, and perhaps even babied them more than necessary when coming back from a torn rotator cuff.
Sooooo after inviting my fabulous friend Emma to be my accountability buddy, we launched our challenge on January 1st.
Here’s how our simple concept worked:
Day 1: Do 1 full push-up.
Day 2: Do 2 full push-ups.
Day 3: Do 3 full push-ups… you get the idea…all the way to 31 push-ups on January 31st.
The first one was shaky, frustrating, and nowhere near the ground, but it was a start. ✔️ Day 2 wasn’t much better, but I followed each day with 20 knee push-ups, which I could do semi-fairly okay—even though they were also shaky–continuing that for the rest of the month.
On Day 4 and going forward, I also added what I called “ get-ups”—laying flat on the floor, then pushing all the way up to standing. I started with five then after two weeks I progressed to ten each day after my full push-ups and knee push-ups.
Today is a cause for celebration because on Day 31, after being fully dedicated to the process, and being inspired by Emma who has been there every step of the way, I was able to do 31 full push-ups in a row, 20 knee push-ups, and 10 get-ups.
Are my full push-ups perfect? Not even close, but I’m choosing an attitude of progress over perfection. Because I’m starting where I am at and working toward where I want to be, in one month I’ve become a whole lot stronger just by doing my best and giving myself grace.
Here are my January totals…
💪🏼 496 full push-ups
💪🏼 620 knee push-ups
💪🏼 211 get-ups
🙌🏼 1,327 TOTAL
When I totaled this up today, I was bowled over by how quickly each little bit really did add up. Doing over a thousand push-ups in various forms suddenly felt kind of badass, no matter how hard it was or how shaky they were.
What this has reminded me of is that difficult things are absolutely doable if you break them down into small chucks, commit to the work, and don’t give up on yourself (even if you are whining and swearing the entire time). Having an accountability buddy makes a huge difference too. Thank you Emma!
February’s challenge is now to reset, starting with one full push-up again, focusing this time on getting my chest all the way down to the floor. #ithinkicanithinkicanithinkican I’ll also continue doing knee push-ups and “get-ups” and likely add other forms of push-up fitness like burpees–along with all my other usual cardio and strength workouts.
If you’d care to join Emma and me for February’s challenge, we’d love to have you along! Before you hesitate or say no, just remember Day 1 is simply doing 1 push-up. From there you just take one day at a time. 🙌🏼 And if you think it sounds time-consuming, the most time I spent doing this each day was 7-9 minutes.
Cheers to pushing up and through our own personal challenges, getting stronger, and celebrating progress all along the way!
Here’s to finishing December strong and reminding ourselves why fitness is so fundamental to who we are. After all, aren’t we better versions of ourselves when our bodies are in motion, sweating, and flying high on endorphins than when we’re sedentary, working too many hours or simply managing our daily lives? I know I am. I’m more patient, grounded, focused, optimistic, and energetic. That’s why no matter how crazy life gets, I will always carve out time for exercise.
For fun this Monday morning, care to join me in doing all five of these December 5-minute work-outs in a row? There’s nothing like finishing strong! Start on Week #5 and work backward (the other links are below). Go!!!! Then swing back and tell me how you did.
December is turning into one big, beautiful blur of holiday cheer…something I love, yet also struggle with as I battle to maintain health and fitness in the midst of all this “special-ness.” Special food, special parties, special “secret shopping errands”…the list goes on and the hours in the day never grown any longer. Here’s to making fitness just as special as all the other “special-ness” and carving out time to fit it in…NO.MATTER.WHAT.
I‘d love to know how you are all managing this time of year! Are you thriving?
If you’re like me, you find “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” so packed with “wonderful-ness” that you find it hard to squeeze in your workouts. I’ve decided to keep it simple this year to take the stress out of it and focus instead on making it all about fun. After all, no matter how much you know you need to sweat in order to be a better mom and all-around person, if it feels too epic to get out the door on an already crazy-busy day, most likely you’ll bag it and work on your To Do List.
Here’s to keeping it simple, getting it done and making Monday marvelous! You go!
What makes you feel happy and whole during the holidays?
Being consistent and making fitness a priority during this time of year can be a challenge (to say the least), but it’s also a great opportunity to change it up a little and focus on fundamentals. Keeping it short and sweet and making it doable will not only add freshness, but fun. Most of all, it’s important to find balance so you have time to savor the holidays instead of just survive them, and still feel good because you haven’t completely neglected your health.
I’ve decided to keep it simple and do what I can, when I can, this month and celebrate each little victory along the way. In between taxi’ing my daughter to all her Nutcracker ballet rehearsals, coaching, shopping, party-planning, house-decorating and occasionally donning my domestic goddess hat, I’m simply squeezing in 3-6 mile runs (or cross-training equivalents) every other day and throwing in some weights and 5-minute work-outs along the way, like the one below. So far, the balance feels right.
How are you staying on track this month? What are your go-to work-outs? And how do you like these 5-minute work-outs?