by July

A few people expressed interest in a new 30-day challenge, similar to the one we did last year.  Here are a some activities, suggested from last year and from other sources.

  • Do It Now (Take care of a small chore each day.  Examples might include changing a closet light bulb, cleaning out your refrigerator door shelves, or doing a Goodwill run.)
  • Planks
  • 10,000 Steps or other walking/running
  • Exercise
  • Reading
  • Decluttering, including the 30-Day Minimalism Game where you start off getting rid of one thing the first day and then keep increasing each day until on the last day you get rid of 30 things.  (Tricky!)

We don’t all have to select the same activity.

Respond in the comments if you’d like to participate and with any other suggestions.   We can start on August 1 or another time.  We can even make it a two-month interval (August and September) and let participants choose their most convenient 30 days.  Share your thoughts.


55 thoughts on “2017 30-DAY CHALLENGE INTRODUCTION

  1. Can we do a September or October one? Right now my head is wrapped up in vacation and getting through the rest of the camp schedule and back-to-school and all that, and I am just not in the mood. But every fall when the air gets crisp and the kids get their shiny new notebooks and all, I get an almost-like-spring-cleaning feeling and want to get everything in order again!

  2. Does it have to be either/or? Couldn’t we do one now and another in September? I’d like to do an intermittent fasting challenge.

  3. I missed the lead-n tho the last one, so am shakey on what this is all about. My guess is that everybody says what their goal is, so they have a group to be accountable to, and spupports eachother in meeting their goals. Am I close?

    I want to get my waist down to 28″ by my birthday in three weeks. I’ve slacked off a little, so this will take considerable effort. I’m still cleaning this d*** closet, but have taken some time to do some thinking about what kinds of things I want to wear, so it should go more quickly now. I also have two desks to get cleaned off. “Desk cleaning” to me means sorting and taking care of the tasks each piece of paper represents, so this is not a small undertaking. I’d love to have all of that done by the end of August, but realistically should probably pick one, two at most.

  4. I get that feeling every late summer, compounded by the fact that it’s my birthday/new year of me, etc. How infrequent do these need to be to be effective? Would, say a 30 day challenge every 6 weeks work?

  5. I could really use a “Do It Now”. I think I will use this as inspiration even if we don’t do it as a group. Make a list of 31 things and chose one each day for the month of August – some bigger, some smaller.

  6. Looking at the pile of random papers still sitting on my counter from this past school year and other random stuff cluttering our home, count me in! I need inspiration.

    First task completed – I went through my email and filed a ton of stuff in the proper folders.

  7. Merp. I’m getting our stuff out of the neighbor’s garage this weekend and have no time to get a head start.

  8. I like the idea of doing two challenges, one in August and one in September. I agree August can be hard for many but it sounds like some people are ready to go now.

    I’m curious about intermittent fasting. How would that work as a challenge?

    S&M, you described the process accurately. We set a goal to do something for a month and keep each other updated on progress. It could be a way to kick start a new habit or just to accomplish something in the short term. How in the world do you get your waist down to a specific size in a month? Diet or exercise, or both?

  9. I’m curious about intermittent fasting. How would that work as a challenge?

    Just sticking to it, I guess. Pick any fasting pattern you want; 16:8, alternate day, whatever. I’ll probably do alternate day. But other people will do other things, as you mentioned. I’m sure as hell not doing 10 minute planks.

  10. 2 more lbs off before our vacation week begins next Sunday. 5lbs more progress in the subsequent month (by mid Sept).

  11. I need to do a Strengthen My Arms and Core 30 day challenge! I realized today, doing a class on stand up paddleboard, that my upper body strength is sad, sad, sad. Any advice on what to do for such a challenge?

  12. July, to get my waist down, it’s nearly all exercise. I might cut back on fat or calories a bit, but really just need to tighten up, especially my pelvic floor (which, besides being good for aging bodies, seems to have repercussions for my mid-section). Walk to the park and do leg lifts at least once a day, deadlifts and bench press at home (which I should be doing anyway) on alternate days. I’m already remembering to use my abs when I’m sitting around (so, random leg lifts /holds) and if I’m really being good, I’ll do a few sessions of sit-ups and supermans during the day. And I should get back on the Booty Burners. That’s a really great little program, for exactly what I need.

    Mooshi, drop a message to Cori at Redefining Strength. She is amazing and will line you up with what you need. If you can’t do something, or don’t like it, or it hurts, or you don’t have time, or whatever, she will come up with something different. She is amazingly patient/persistent.

  13. Shilling for my favorite on-line trainer, cause I think she’s great. She is really into injury prevention, so emphacizes stretching and rolling out and proprioception. Here’s a sample https://redefiningstrength.com/50-free-workouts/

    July, I forget; do you still have the balance board? Some of the ideas in this video might work. https://redefiningstrength.com/balance-board-exercises-balance-board-workout-revolution-fit/

    Oh, dang! Here’s the stuff I should be doing. https://redefiningstrength.com/stop-letting-your-low-back-take-over-25-lower-ab-exercises-and-workout/

    Mooshi, you might want to start with one of these. If you want to give up, tell her why. She is not obnoxiously perky (used to play tennis at a high level, so can have that seriousness), but she does want people using her stuff to make progress. I don’t know what kind of work out you like (other than running, which mystifies me, because that’s torture for me). A lot of her programs are too much jumping around for me. She used to compete at a high level as a power lifter, so she is more than capable of coming up with that kind of workout for our level, if that’s what you prefer (I do).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGJZTK257k0 (body weight exercises for upper body)
    https://redefiningstrength.com/5-towel-exercises-full-body-workout/ (also for while you’re traveling)
    For upper body specifically, https://redefiningstrength.com/upper-body-bodyweight-moves-10-suspension-trainer-exercises/ Making your own suspension trainer is really easy–just get a piece of rope and a couple short pieces of pipe (I used 4″ risers for irrigation systems) for handles.

    Switching sides now, Joyce Verdal, who co-wrote the Hard Bodies book on weight lifting for women in the 80s, is still going strong. You might want to look into her DVDs too.

  14. Annnd we’re back. 2100 miles round trip, inclusive of the week, two days travel on each end makes 9 days away. 25 mpg with five bikes on a rack portruding from the trailer hitch. We stopped in New Windsor, NY last night.

    I had originally thought we’d do sea kayaking, but we instead discovered Long Pond, with warmer and calmer water. It’s hard to imagine that there’s so much natural beauty, of all kinds, tucked into that one little island. It seems unrealistic. On Long Pond, we kayaked/canoed to a private island for lunch and swimming. When we return, I want to stay right on that lake.

    The first of six laundry loads is running.

  15. It’s so amusing simply driving I-95 in Maine. Every other car is carrying some combination of bikes, kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, and/or towing a boat. It’s like I suddenly found my people.

    Even the RVs have all these toys with them; in the rest of the country, the RVs travel only with motorized golf carts. And OMG, there are so many Subarus. You’d think Subaru was the country’s most popular automaker.

    BTW, this is my parents getting ready to leave their cabin to go home. I post because we’ve discussed the versatility of different vehicles. That’s two Hobie kayaks (supported by a bed extender) a tandem bike, the kayak walking trailer, a dog crate, and I’m sure some other stuff.

  16. Mooshi, I suggest you start with push-ups. Do a nonzero rep set or two daily, and shoot for more reps by the end of the month.

    This will strengthen your core and arms, and you can do it while you’re in France.

    Next month you can add more upper body exercises.

  17. I’ll try do some balancing exercise, like SSM and July were recently discussing, daily, trying to similarly work them into my routine.

    I believe that sticking to such a routine long term could make a big difference in QoL by preventing a fall that causes serious injury.

  18. I tried balancing on alternate feet while brushing my teeth this morning, like SSM, and found balancing on my right foot to be much easier than balancing on my left. I’ll need to work on that imbalance.

  19. It is going to be October before things settle down enough for me to embark on a committed personal challenge, but having the wedding moved up to next week from txgiving means that I have an entire three months at home after Oct 1 to start getting in shape for the March trip to Patagonia. Hopefully the new basement floor gets finished in August. We are decluttering of necessity to clear space to empty the basement after the flood. Hectic but efficient.

  20. I’d be into a 30 day IF challenge, RMS. But not until September 1+ I still have a road trip and a group camping trip to finish off my summer and I’m not capable of skipping a day here and there through those (correction: capable, yes, but not willing.)

  21. Milo, looks amazing and it sounds as if you’ll be returning.

    S&M — Any comment with more than three links goes in the spam folder so for the future you can split up comments to stay under the limit.

    Planks are good for core strength but I have no recommendations for upper body/arm strengthening. After about two years I still can’t do a good push up although I do triceps dips for arm toning. I should consult a trainer, but I also am not willing to put that much time into it. Maybe I should try a push up bar that elevates me a little to help develop strength. I’ve tried counter and wall push ups but they don’t seem to do anything to help advance me to a regular push up.

  22. We’ll start an August 30-day challenge tomorrow and then do another one in September. I’ll put up a kick-off post tomorrow.

  23. I’m in. I need to get my gmail and work email in boxes under control. Gmail has over 23,000 emails and it stresses me out. I need to think of a September challenge.

  24. Finn, in my entire life, even as a kid, I have never managed to do a pushup.

    I know planks are supposed to be core strength, but when I do them, all the strain is on my arms. I never feel anything in my core. I don’t do crunches or situps of any kind because they make my neck hurt – and don’t tell me it is my form, I have had several trainers and class leaders work with me on form and it doesn’t help. I do leg raises for core, both the kind on my back and the kind on the parallel bar machine, like this

    I try to do them slowly, and hold in raised position. I see a lot of people doing them really fast, but I think they are just using momentum instead of strength.

  25. I used to have this great video with a 30 minute arm strength workout. I found it on YouTube. It wasn’t any famous series, and was pretty cheesy in production quality. But it was exactly right for me – the workout really pushed me without making me feel like I was going to get hurt. It just used free weights, which meant I could do it at home, and I could increase the weights as I got better. When switching computers, it got lost, and had also disappeared from YouTube. I haven’t found any others I like – they are either designed for little old ladies and are too easy, or use lots of weird equipment, or include lots of extraneous bouncing and dancing, or are for hardcore bodybuilders. I can’t find the sweet spot.

  26. The upper body improvement is one thing I love about Crossfit, because it has been very, very easy to let that go, but now I can’t get away with that any more. Pushups are great — I still can’t do a regular set, but we use boxes at different heights. July, the key to improving in the pushups is to move to progressively lower heights, so if you can move from say a counter to the seat of a chair, or find a box in the garage, etc. Any kind of press is also good — if you’re traveling with nothing, just do a one-handed overhead press with a gallon of milk or something. Pullups are good, too, though they appear to be my nemesis; again, I can’t do a regular one, but I can do jumping pullups or ring rows to strengthen those muscles and work up to it. And of course there are the whole-body exercises like bear crawls or burpees (boy oh boy do I hate those, but they work).

  27. July – What LFB said re pushups. “July, the key to improving in the pushups is to move to progressively lower heights, so if you can move from say a counter to the seat of a chair, or find a box in the garage, etc.”

    I use my bathroom counter, and even lower, the edge of my bathtub. Make sure your feet are not sliding. I usually am barefoot. I’ve never found chairs to be that stable so I don’t use them. If you’re in the gym, in the squat cage, set the bar to the lowest level and use that for pushups.

  28. I’m in for planks in August. I was doing well before our cruise but haven’t done much of it since, so I need to get back to it.

  29. July, I’m still trying to figure out what happened to it. It had several links in it that I thought would be helpful. So it should have gone into moderation but if it did wouldn’t you have cleared it by now? It isn’t showing up anywhere

  30. Oops, sorry! I wasn’t scrolling back far off. Mooshi & July, I hope the links are helpful.

  31. LfB, are bear crawls the same thing as mountain climbers, i.e. the one where you’re in a plank and alternately jump your feet back and forth like you’re climbing (or crawling) in place?

  32. MM, this is the upper body one I use — 10 minutes, free weights so you can just increase the weights when you feel like you need more challenge: https://www.gaia.com/video/workout-2 . It also requires a stability ball (yoga ball).

    If you want to try it, it looks like Gaia will actually let me share a link that works for 48 hours. (Apparently I can do this three times, sort of like having three wishes except a lot more limited.) So let me know if you are interested in trying it out.

  33. @HM: more like moving mountain climbers — assume the mountain climber starting position, and then “walk” across the floor.

    We hates them, we do.

  34. “Pullups are good, too, though they appear to be my nemesis”

    Do you have access to a gym? A good way to work up to pullups is with a lat pulldown machine.

    An assisted pullup machine, which is IME less common, can also help you work up to it.

  35. July, Mooshi, another way to help work up to full pushups is by doing bench presses (or using chest press machines). The downside of that is they don’t work your core as much as pushups.

  36. July – rowing will also help with upper body strength and ultimately push-ups (and is a lot less evil than mountain climbers and all of the other awful things under discussion.)

  37. One quick upper body workout:

    2 or 3 sets each of:

    -Pushups or bench presses or chest presses.
    -Seated rows, or bent over rows
    -Overhead presses
    -Pullups or lat pulldowns
    -Triceps extensions

    You do need some apparatus, especially for the pullups/pulldowns; dumbbells and household furniture are sufficient for the rest.

    Note that the exercises are paired, to try to maintain balance between complementary muscle groups.

    If you don’t spend a lot of time resting between sets, this can be done in 10 to 15 minutes. If you go to a gym, you can pair this with a cardio workout.

  38. Good timing for me – I’m starting the shakeology/beachbody program today with a one-month challenge. I typically despise those kinds of shakes, so am not sure what compelled me to do this, but I’m giving it a shot. There is a great selection of videos by beachbody and I get a 12 month subscription, so even if I abandon the shakes I still have that.

    I also need to do a “do it now” challenge. I have a lot of paperwork and administrative tasks piling up that I need to get on top of.

  39. Thank you for all the ideas on building upper body strength. I plan to try some of them.

  40. Mooshi, your ability to do leg raises (and ITA about doing them slowly) suggests that you already have strong abs, which is why you don’t feel planks working them.

  41. HM – I don’t have a stability ball or room for them.

    Finn, I think I do everything on your list except the bench press which I am not really sure how to do. I do the lat pulldowns instead of pullups, also. My problem is not doing this stuff often enough!!

  42. MM – do you do yoga? during the sun salutation, when you’re in high plank, you lower your body down to the mat in stages. Done right, this is a tricep/core workout. Your elbows are tucked in close to your ribs (unlike a push-up), and you lower yourself halfway down, hold for 1-2 breaths, then lower the rest of the way. You can raise yourself up again in stages, and then roll back to downward dog to rest. Then roll forward into a high plank and start again. You can do this super slow, forcing yourself to do the motions right and also using your body as a weight.

  43. Mooshi, there are lots of videos online of guys doing bench presses (with weight bench and barbell or dumbbells), as well as using chest press machines.

    If you don’t have access to a weight bench or chest press machine, you can improvise with dumbbells and a regular bench, or you can even just lie on the floor on your back and press the dumbbells straight up, moving them perpendicular to the floor. You could elevate your back off the floor a few inches with some textbooks, or your could create a makeshift bench with a shelf on top of some hollow tile blocks (aka cinderblocks), or use an exercise step if you have one.

    The main thing is that you want to use your chest muscles rather than your triceps to do most of the lifting.

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