Growing up, I wasn't very active. I never understood the rules well enough to actually play well in ballgames, I have a lazy eye so my depth perception was bad, I wasn't on a sports team like a lot of other kids, and I was terrible at running. Those were the stories I told myself.
I would DREAD the "1 mile run" fitness test in school for WEEKS leading up to the event. And it wasn't just baseless dread - after the mile, I would have crazy DOMS for days afterwards, because running a mile was just so much more exertion than I was used to. I would always finish late and miserable, and any time anyone tried to encourage me I was certain they were making fun of me. All in all, not a fun experience.
It was a great relief when high school Fitness class came around, because it meant strength training on machines instead of ballgames. 4 days a week, we would work 2 muscle groups + abs and cardio. But even then, the cardio was up to us so I got cozy with the stairclimber. Soon I found myself proudly walking up hills and stairs next to people who were out of breath. But that mile run still happened, and I still dreaded it even as my times improved. I was still not passing the test by any means.
One day as the mile was approaching, I was out on the track with a few of my friends during Fitness, and I whined to my soccer-playing friend that I was "just not very athletic." She scrunched up her face at me and said something like "Of course you're athletic! You work harder than almost anyone else in this class. Everyone else is always trying to find ways to slack off. And you're really strong. Just because you're not that fast doesn't mean you're not athletic."
Just like that, my story changed. It was obvious that she was right. Suddenly, my bad mile time didn't mean that I was unathletic. It just meant that I didn't do a lot of running. My lack of success in sports didn't mean I was unathletic; it just meant that I didn't play a lot of sports.
It didn't mean I suddenly became a workout machine or anything, but that comment from my friend set me on a different path. As a person who was athletic, I chose to voluntarily take Fitness after I had filled the requirements, even waking up an hour early to go to school. As a person who was athletic, I got to do workout videos with my school principal when he showed up on those mornings. As a person who was athletic, I continued finding ways to exercise as I entered college, doing things like going on 45 minute walks around the hilly campus, taking pilates classes, doing 45 consecutive pushups, and trying different workout videos.
I'm not sure that I would have done ANY of those things if my friend hadn't made that comment that day in high school. Slowly but surely, she set me on the path to where I am today, doing so much athletic stuff that I'm running out of time to do it all! I wasn't always working out super consistently or anything, but I was always trying to do SOMETHING to work on that athletic side of me. Slowly but surely, that road let me here.
And so I need to remind myself that if I'm patient and I stay on the road, I will get to where I'm heading. If I can't do every single thing I want to do right now, it doesn't mean I won't get there. If I can't fit everything into the week, it's ok because I'm still on the road. It's all about the story you tell yourself.
A lot of this will be continued from my last challenge. Or at least to be expected based on my last challenge. I'll be traveling for a lot of this week, and maybe even next week, so some of it might not launch fully until Week 2.
PILLAR 1: Flexibility
If I do yoga or other flexibility work, I feel about 60% better even if I do nothing else. I feel good in my body. I don't feel stiff. I feel more in tune with my needs.
GST stretch sessions - 3 sessions, 45 minutes each.
NEW Mobility mornings - every morning, I want to do some sort of movement. It can be yoga, MWOD, GST-based, or something else entirely. If I hit at least 14 sessions over the course of the challenge, I can pick up some kind of cool mobility tool or yoga classes or comfy pants or something like that as a reward. Ideally I also want to do some stretching before bed too, but I'm not making that a goal this time.
NEW Standing - I got myself a standing desk a while back to try to force myself to stand while I work, but now I just end up working on the couch. Which is murdering my back much worse than a sitting desk would. So my goal is to just try to accumulate a measly 3 hours at the standing desk each day.
PILLAR 2: Walking
I work from home and don't have a very active social life. If I don't deliberately take the time to walk, I do not walk. Ever. And I really like walking and hiking. It's also just really important for basic health because people are meant to walk.
Walk 16 miles per week (2 miles weekdays, 3 miles weekends) - this only counts deliberate walks and not overall steps/distance, although TBH there's not a huge difference.
PASS: 12 miles. EXTRA CREDIT: 20 miles. For each week I do extra credit, I can put $10 towards hiking/backpacking gear goals.
ROADMAP: Start rucking again now that I have a better backpack for it, begin exploring local hiking trails more.
PILLAR 3: Strength
Pretty self explanatory. I seem to naturally be pretty strong and I like doing strength work, but I have a lot of recovery to do after wrist surgery set me back.
3-4 sessions/week - 2 Crossfit and 1-2 Startbodyweight (I'll be joining the Crossfit box I visited last challenge once I'm done traveling)
PILLAR 4: Food
Kind of a mess, tbh. I don't even know where to begin here. But my belly is doing things that I do not like. Paleo-ish works, but it sends me into that diet mindset that eventually backfires?? But also it really works?? Last challenge I tried aiming for 5 freggies/day and didn't do so well at it.
I'm trying a nutrition program that gives you 1 task per week. If you do it 6 days in a row, you get the next task. If you don't, you have to repeat it and succeed before you move on. So I'll just focus on that for now. I miiiight still count freggies though. We'll see. Each successful task = $10 towards a kitchen gadget. I've got a measly $10 accumulated from my goals last challenge.
I can't really swim or ride a bike competently, and shin issues keep setting me back in my running. So I want to work on upskilling these three areas.
Run at least weekly - I'll be testing out a new custom orthotic as soon as I get the call saying it's ready, so I'm hoping that will help deal with some of my leg issues and let me increase my running towards a more standard program.
Swimming - Travel week(s) excluded, I'll continue trying to flail swim once/week while somehow also breathing. At the end of the challenge, I'll evaluate whether I should just sign up for lessons.
Cycling - I don't think the reclining bike work is doing me any good, so I'm thinking of dropping it. I still need to get my bike tuned up. After that, I just want to get out on it at least 2x this challenge. Simple.
Do 1 thing/week to connect with my father. It has to require actual effort on my part.
Take 1 hr/week to work on some form of personal development (non-fitness skill, etc.)
I'll be starting up at the Aikido place I found last challenge, but it's not actually a goal
This is a lot of things and it's very likely I won't be able to do everything every week. Priority #1 will be the things I'm paying for - so, Crossfit and aikido. Beyond that, a lot of things are kind of equal. I think I'll generally prioritize hitting at least 3 strength sessions/week. Followed by getting in all of my GST sessions. Walking is easy right now because it's only 1x/week, but if (FINGERS CROSSED) I can start to increase my frequency, I'll probably prioritize above walking. And doing some sort of walking for the day is more important than covering a specific distance. But it's also about listening to my body, so if I feel stiff, I might prioritize flexibility above walking. Etc.