30-Day Exercise Challenge
Updated: Dec 9, 2018
When my youngest child was about 4 months old, I, despairing of ever feeling like a healthy, slim woman again, went to the store to buy some jeans that fit. Looking at the back of me in the three-way mirror, I realized that I had a long way to go to be healthy and slim. Now, in my defense, no way no how is exercising strenuously a good idea for a post-partum mother. But at four months old, my baby was sleeping well and I needed to get going on an exercise plan.
I didn’t quite know what to do but I randomly saw a friend in the U.K. on Facebook ask the exact question I had:
What is the best way to get healthy and strong and stick to a daily exercise plan when you have small children and it’s hard to get to the gym?
I read with interest the ideas that people helpfully posted and one caught my eye. It said, “Challenge yourself to exercise every day for 30 days for a set amount of time, and then you’ll be motivated to keep going because you will feel yourself getting stronger and losing some weight.”
That made sense to me so on December first, which was the next day, I started my 30-Day challenge. I would exercise for 30 minutes daily for 30 days. I quickly hand-drew a calendar with 30 squares on it and I taped it up by my clothes closet mirror. (This method of crossing off by hand and keeping tabs on important numbers REALLY has worked well for me in the past; I used this method to keep myself accountable to getting out of debt years ago.) Then I pulled up good ol’ YouTube exercise videos and went after it. I mostly used Fitness Blender videos since they do a lot of good home exercise videos without needing extra equipment. It was a time sacrifice for sure. I was getting used to two children, I was still tired and my husband traveled a lot for work. But I really wanted to feel strong and not be, well…dumpy, which was definitely how I felt. Ugh.
Wouldn’t you know, starting a 30-day challenge like that was amazing because I got through the month of Christmas without losing ground. Actually, about four days in, I was feeling so much better already! More energy, and the knowledge that I was doing something about my physical fitness was such a boost to my daily mood. I was exercising intentionally and the delicious holiday foods that I love still tasted good but I didn’t want to overeat because I had some emotional reserves in my discipline bank from exercising. I don’t know if that’s how that works exactly, but it really felt and feels that way for me.
As the 30 days wound down, I felt stronger and the jeans I had bought a month before were getting loose. I started another 30-day challenge (same thing!) immediately and got through January with its terrible winter doldrums feeling sky high. I rewarded myself at the end of that challenge with some cute exercise clothing and started yet another challenge. I just kept going. I really love Yoga and Pilates and the Youtube channel, YogaWithAdrienne, has been a great one for me. I lifted 5 lb weights and I’m running 2-3 miles at a stretch and feeling so slender and strong. Exactly one year later on December 1st of 2019 I ran my first 5k in 30 minutes. It’s been an incredible year for fitness for me. I’d never have thought that a simple 30-Day challenge could change my life, but this one did!
These days I’m in maintenance mode, meaning I don’t exercise every single day for 30 minutes, but I purposefully exercise hard for 4 days a week (tough yoga workout with Adrienne, run 2 miles, lift weights – I realize for some of you this is laughably easy but it works for me) and do easy stuff each day besides. With two toddlers I’m moving a lot in the day already, so I’m sure that’s part of is going on with overall fitness.
I love a good 30-day challenge and I have a post about doing “Power-Posing” for 30 days here. What 30-day push do you need to make right now? It’s a great time to start.