transforming body on vacation

A few months back (actually, I just found the receipt: it was January ūüėõ #thanksitunes), my friend Kynan urged me to download this app for my iphone called 30 Day Fitness Challenges¬†that he said would be the easiest replacement for a gym ever. I had just started losing an extra sixty¬†pounds I had been carrying for like four years, and was looking for ways to continue to encourage that.

The app is neat. You select from a list of challenges, and then you receive a new set of exercises to complete each day for each challenge that you select. In some cases, for example the Squat challenge, there may be only one exercise; in other cases, for example the Abs challenge, there are four different exercises. The basic idea is that the exercises have been architected to be quick and easy to complete basically anywhere and anytime, for example during the commercial break of a television show!

You’re only “obligated” to complete a single series per day, for which it will send you scheduled reminders. And, of course, you’re welcome to repeat the current or previous days’ routines¬†as often as you like. The intensity of the exercises increases with each day, tho, so the app makers advise on each¬†of the challenge description pages: “remember by day 30 it will be very hard to do multiple times.”

It sounded reasonable enough, so I paid the three or five or whatever dollars and downloaded the app. I completed exactly one day of three different challenges, and then promptly ignored it.¬†It turns out you have to do more than just download the app if you want to enjoy the promised results.¬†Well that’s stupid. ūüėõ

But it finally occurred to me while I was showering this morning: I’ll be away for 31 days… that’s long enough to complete a full challenge circuit¬†during the vacation! I reason that the addition of the exercise routines will¬†just feel like another weird aspect of having my life altered for this next month — and it’s not like I won’t have free time to occupy!

And so, I have selected the following challenges to complete during my trip:

  • Because I always feel that my midsection needs improvement, I’ve selected the 30 Day Abs Challenge, which includes four exercises each day. I’ve also selected¬†the 30 Day Wall Sit Challenge — because how easy does THAT form of exercise sound?! — but I worry that it will actually be too difficult to complete, as I will spend much of the coming month inside of non-traditional structures (ie: temporary¬†walls!), so I’m not actually¬†committing to it.
  • Because my arms definitely feel soft, lately, I’ve selected the 30 Day Arm Challenge, which includes three exercises each day. I considered selecting multiple challenges here, but I reason that I can just repeat this one multiple times if I really feel that motivated. ūüôā
  • Because I really would like to get my firm butt back, I’ve selected the 30 Day Butt Challenge, which includes three exercises each day.
  • And, for a full body exercise routine, I’ve selected their ultra-new, details available in the mobile app only, 30 Day Body Overhaul Challenge. It professes to exercise a different area of your body each day using a rotating series of cardio, upper and lower body, and core routines. This sounds like a true gym replacement. Quoting from the description page (which I really hope does not violate my terms of service): “The challenge has 10 exercises which are all time based, with the aim of you doing as many as you can each day rather than a set number. This helps you improve faster and enables people of all abilities to complete the challenge as they wish. There are several rest days to let you get a break, recover and help your body tone and tighten up.” I considered the 30 Day Beach Body Challenge¬†instead, but I liked the description of the body overhaul challenge more. I’m thinking, if this ends up becoming a habit, that I will try beach body challenge next. But, one month at a time.

In all, this sounds similar to the way I used to attack the gym a million years ago when I used to go regularly. I had a circuit: cardio, today’s major body group (arms, chest, back, legs), a set of curls because I always felt like I needed to increase my arm strength in order to improve my form doing the other exercises, and four or five different ab exercises because – it turns out – a gay boy’s midsection¬†in a major metro area in the US can never be “too firm!” By the time I stopped going to the gym, I was up to 30-45 minutes of cardio per circuit, and 3 circuits per day. It was like a 3 hour commitment every day, but I loved it! And, in hindsight, I realize: I looked goooooood!

It’s been hard for me to¬†achieve that same level of time commitment again. Honestly, it’s been hard for me to commit to any routine amount of exercise in recent years. I go — on and off, here and there, as I feel like it, when it’s convenient — but it’s just not like it used to be. And I can feel it.¬†I lost about 50 pounds¬†in the last ten months. I’m down to almost 175 from around 225, almost exclusively through abrupt and substantial diet changes (I’ll tell you that story some time). Because I walk so much around San Francisco, my legs are still mostly strong, but my arms have lost a lot of their tone and strength, and my midsection — tho definitely smaller and with fewer rolls¬†now! — is, politely, “soft.” I don’t want to be a gym bunny, but I would like to be a bit more streamlined and firm than I am today.

Short of getting genuinely sick, I really should have no good excuse NOT to achieve¬†this goal. And so I’m thinking (read: hoping!) that maybe making this public declaration will help keep me honest!¬†We’ll see how this idea goes.