What is a monthly fitness challenge?

 

There isn’t really a dictionary definition, but it is exactly what it sounds like it is.  At Moyer Total Wellness, we staff members participate in a new fitness challenge every month — and you’re invited to come join us!  Everyone you know is invited too! Let’s get strong together!

 

So in March, the fitness challenge was to complete 100 squats on a daily basis.  What’s really nice about our fitness challenges is that you can do your sets and repetitions at your own pace.  For example, if you want to do a set of five squats and repeat that same set twenty times per day, go on ahead! Or you can do them all at once.  The combination doesn’t matter, just get them done!

 

For me, squats aren’t all that challenging.  For that very reason, I didn’t hesitate to take on March’s challenge.  But then came the April challenge, and that was different. It involved one of my least favorite exercises of all time.  Pushups.

 

Twenty five pushups every day of April 2018.  That was the goal.

 

Pushups are not easy for me.  I don’t like doing five of them in a row.  I don’t like doing one pushup, period. The only thing I hate more than pushups are planks, and so help me if our next fitness challenge has anything to do with them.  But anyway, I am horrible at pushups and hate them very much.

 

Do you also hate pushups?  Are you also horrible at them?  Well, if you hate pushups and/or are horrible at them, I’ve got a recommendation for you: you should do 25 pushups every day for one month.

 

But why?  There are probably other exercises that you perform gracefully and at least somewhat enjoy.  Why should you be throwing a pushup challenge into your daily life if you hate them so much? What if you’re already keeping yourself fit through other means of exercise, such as jogging or something else that isn’t pushups?

 

Well, the reason is that there are four different categories of fitness and you should be doing your best to address each one.  Those categories include strength, cardio, flexibility, and balance.  (Because my blogs shouldn’t be 50 pages long, I’ll elaborate on each one of those categories another time in four separate articles).  Many people think that if they focus on just one of the four aspects, they’re doing enough to obtain their optimal level of fitness. But that isn’t really true.  Don’t let this undermine the fact that you can touch your toes without bending your knees or that you can run ten miles per hour; that’s great if you can do either of those things!  But what about those types of exercises that you ignore completely?

 

A balanced workout routine should involve all of the aspects of fitness.  When you don’t give yourself a well rounded regimen, your body is missing out on the benefits that those absent exercises will provide for you.  And since I’ve made it so clear that I hate pushups, let’s talk a little bit about strength.

 

I like to go on rocky hikes in the mountains.  I wouldn’t be able to enjoy those uphill jaunts if I hadn’t developed a decent amount of strength in my hamstrings, glutes,  quadriceps, and calves. That being said, I’m clearly still off balance if I abhor pushups as much as I do. My leg muscles seem like they’re doing ok, but my chest muscles need to be put to work!  They’re weak!

 

And what about naturally flexible people who tend to do low-impact exercises like yoga?  These people could really use some strength to improve their stability. So look at that!  One of the yoga’s more utilized aspects of fitness (balance) can be improved by adding strength training into the routine!  A yogi with well-developed flexibility, stability AND strength has a higher likelihood of accomplishing one of those insane yoga poses that almost nobody can do.  Google the Taraksvasana (aka Handstand Scorpion) pose. That’s some serious stuff. Flexibility alone isn’t going to get you there!

 

And then there’s those cardio people.  Joggers and cyclers might focus solely on cardiovascular exercise and ignore strength building exercises.  Oftentimes people who exclusively do cardio workouts are trying to lose weight; they may worry that weight lifting will defeat the purpose of their goal and cause them to become “bulky”.  But in actuality, cardio and strength exercises complement each other perfectly. Weight training increases the strength and endurance of your muscles, which will in turn improve your cardiovascular efficiency.  You’ll need a healthy level of cardiovascular efficiency if your goal is to burn calories.

 

In short, the exercise categories that you tend to avoid are the ones your body needs the most!  And we’ll pause here because I’m going to need material for my upcoming articles regarding Strength, Cardio, Flexibility and Balance.

 

Now go do your least favorite exercise!

This article is titled Your Own Monthly Fitness Challenge because an exercise that could be a real challenge for one person might be extremely easy for another.  Your own personal fitness challenge should be to take on the ones that include the workout that you hate the most!  If you’re more of a weight trainer, be extra mindful of our cardio months. If you’re a runner, determine which muscles need the most work and participate in the months that celebrate those same muscles!

 

Don’t do what I contemplated doing last April.  I was tempted to skip that month’s challenge altogether because I didn’t feel like doing 25 pushups per day.  But that’s the whole reason why I needed to do them! By the end of that though month, I trusted that I would have stronger chest muscles and what do you know?  I’m now considerably better at pushups than I used to be! Not only that, but I’m even better at the deep tissue massages that I’m known for. And if I keep up the good work, maybe (just maybe), I won’t hate pushups as much as I do today!

 

You can do it too!

 

Written by: Katrina Jenkins

Image credit: Pixabay