Category: exercise

The 100 Pushup Challenge

Late last year, a friend of mine shared a video with me of what turns out to be a pretty common health fitness kick: The 100 pushup challenge. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Do 100 pushups every day. Not necessarily all at once, but over all, from the time you get up to when you go to bed, complete 100 pushups. He was giving it a shot, and he encouraged me to do the same.

I’ve been doing some strength exercises each day (after I do my 30 minutes of jogging in place, which continues to be my go-to exercise of choice), and I thought I might give this one a whirl. The research I did into it said it was a decent goal for people who can do 15 pushups at a time, and that was the outside range of what I could accomplish, so it seemed like a good fit. (Though they go on to say that for people who can manage 30 pushups at a go, they’ll need to switch things up some to keep it being a challenge, either by increasing the reps or changing the pushup style.)

The biggest hangup for me has been that my left wrist hasn’t been up to the “pushing” motion. I injured it a while ago, and it’s had trouble healing. So instead of doing a regular pushup (where you use open palms on both hands to push against the ground), I’ve switched to doing ones on my fists, basically punching against the ground. I can’t do as many pushups this way, but it doesn’t hurt my wrist, so . . .

I’ve started with 50 pushups each day. It’s all I could really manage for the first week. Now that I have a week under my belt, I’m trying to branch out, doing as many pushups as I can each set, and then doing more after that by switching to knee pushups. I hope I can get to 100 a day with that approach.

So far, I like it. It’s easy for me to do, it lets me keep exercise in mind all day, every day, and I think it will help me get in better shape. Nothing earth shattering, but as usual, big changes can only happen if you overcome inertia and start doing something.

What exercise goals are you setting for yourself this year?


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Thoughts While Jogging: Arbitrary Limits

I went out for another 5 kilometer jog on Saturday. It’s been over three months since the last time I tried it, if you can believe it. This time, I wanted to go slower–not push myself as hard. I’d proven to myself that I could jog for 5 kilometers without stopping, now I want to work to get to the point where I can jog that much without wishing I were dead at the finish line.

It’s good to have goals, right?

In any case, I started jogging and went for the first kilometer at what felt like a decent pace. Then I walked for a bit and started jogging again a little while later. TRC was out with me, riding his bike in circles around me as I tried to keep a steady pace. That’s when I made observation number one:

Once I choose to walk once, it becomes much, much easier to choose to walk the second time. And the third. And so on. When I was jogging before, I never stopped, and because I never stopped, it was easier to keep going. I know this isn’t rocket science, but it was amazing to me how hard it felt to start jogging again after I’d been walking for a while. In fact, by the end, I pretty much was walking the whole time. I would do a few sprints, just to try and keep my time to something less-than-completely-pathetic, but mostly, it was walk walk walk.

TRC’s bike chain kept falling off the gears, so I had to stop a few times and fix that, which was frustrating to me. Observation number two: when I have an exterior “thing” to put blame on, it becomes very easy to attribute all the problems I’m having to that thing. “I could be jogging more, if that darned chain hadn’t fallen off twice. Since I had to stop to fix it, I lost all my momentum. That’s why I’m going so slowly.”

I’m afraid I wasn’t a very good biking partner to TRC. I kept snapping at him to keep his chain on his bike. Which is observation number three: Bryce isn’t a very nice Bryce when he’s in the middle of jogging. Go figure.

But when I got back to the house and stopped my running tracker app on my iPhone, I came across an unexpected observation number four: even with all of the walking I’d done (pausing the app when I had to physically stop to fix the chain, of course), I was still only about 40 seconds slower than the last time I jogged 5 kilometers, three months ago.

That turtle-like pace I thought I was making the whole time? Most of that was just in my head. I was jogging faster when I was jogging, and walking let me recover some so I didn’t feel flat out terrible when I was finished.

Which all leads me to observation number five: Bryce makes way too many observations out of every day life occurrences.

In any case, it was a pleasant weekend. I went to Bangor for the fourth time, and I believe I don’t have to go back until the end of October. I finished the second draft of OUR LADY, I played some Magic with TRC, cleaned up the house some, and finished stacking the wood.

But I won’t tell you about any of the observations I made during all of that.

Welcome back to the work week, folks. Catch ya tomorrow!

Jogging for Fun and Profit

Okay, folks. Time to get real here. Back in January at the beginning of the month, I was just getting over another long round of being sick. Since I had nothing better to do, I sat down with my journal and I went over how many days in 2013 I was sick. Not just sniffly sick or tired sick–sick to the point I had to miss work and stay in bed because I felt awful. That kind of sick. And the sad truth was that it had been something like thirty days. Maybe a bit more. I remember coming to the conclusion that I’d been sick one entire month of the year. I don’t know about most people, but that seemed like an awful lot of time to be sick to me. It basically meant that every three months I was sick for a week–if you go by straight-up averages. Every month and a half I was sick for half a week.

Not good.

I’d tried dieting. I’d gotten my weight down to what was supposed to be healthy, and it just hadn’t worked. I felt better about the way I looked, but my health was still just not good enough. So I decided I had to start doing something more than just eating less. I had to actually try to exercise some. Because it was winter and it was snowy outside, I knew jogging was out. I also knew from experience that anything that involved me having to do much prep work at all was something that wasn’t going to fly. Basically, it had to be something that I could do anytime, anywhere, easily.

You’ll remember I chose jogging in place.

The goal was simple: do something that gets my heart rate up for about a half hour, every day. This wasn’t supposed to make me lose weight or make me into a lean, mean, fighting machine. It was just a goal to get healthier. I’d read an article that said NFL players hardly ever get sick during the season, and it attributed that to how much they exercised. This wasn’t rocket science.

It’s now mid-June. Since I started jogging in place, I haven’t gotten seriously sick one time. (I realize I’m cursing myself as I write this, but what can you do? I had to share . . .) There have been a few times when I’ve began to feel sick. Once or twice when I stayed home from work because I wanted to nip something in the bud before it got out of hand. But there hasn’t been one time when I’ve had to just be lying in bed for days at a time. (Well, other than when I threw my back out a bit ago–but again, that’s something else entirely.) If I was going by the numbers of last year, I should have had three bouts of three or four day long illnesses, or one or two week-long affairs.

But not once.

And I haven’t even had to miss jogging in place for a day, either. I take Sundays off, but I’ve kept at the goal consistently. It’s just what I wanted it to be: easy to do, takes no extra time (I can do it while I watch movies or tv with the kids), and ready at a moment’s notice.

Better yet, I’ve felt better. I haven’t just not been sick, I’ve felt healthier. This isn’t as easy to keep track of sometimes, but there are some simple ways to tell. The most obvious is the fact that I’ve suddenly found the desire on some days to do more exercise. The 7 minute routine, for example (which I’ve started doing a few times a week, despite my first experience with it). And Saturday, I suddenly decided to Forrest Gump it down my road just to see how far I could jog without giving up. I haven’t jogged since my mission, when I tried it about five times and never did it again.

But I knew I’d been working my lungs some with all this jogging in place and I wanted to see if it was doing me any good. TRC volunteered to come along and bike while I jogged, so I stretched a bit, put on some sneakers, and set off. Honestly, I thought when I set out that I’d be lucky to get a half mile before I had to rest. I live by a fairly quiet road, and I know from experience how far it is to certain spots along it. I made it a half mile going at a slow but steady pace, and I still wasn’t breathing too badly, so I decided to keep going. And going. A mile and four tenths in, I still wasn’t tired, and I’d reached as far as I thought I wanted to go that day (round trips, you know), so I turned around and continued jogging back, thinking I’d give up and start walking any minute.

I never had to.

I ended up jogging 2.8 miles in 35 minutes. Hardly a record-setting pace, but for my first time jogging in  . . . 15 years? Clearly that lung exercise of jogging in place for the past 5 months has had some effect.

Will I start jogging every day now? Probably not. I’ll definitely continue to jog in place, because I really believe that it’s having an effect. And if I have time to go for a real jog, I think I will. It was pleasant weather, and Maine is a lovely place to be outside. The path I took has some small ups and downs, and seemed like a good match to my (non-existent) skill level. The big thing holding me back from a long term commitment is time. Then again, if I enjoy it and it relieves stress, I will likely be doing it more often. (I certainly have more than enough stress to go around at the moment)

But regardless, I was both surprised at my inexplicable desire to try out a jog and pleased with the results. Here’s to more health in the future, both in a continued decrease in the days I’m sick and a general increase in how I feel overall every day.

7 Minute Workout Hell

I’ve never been in any sort of shape other than roundish. Yes, I’ve lost weight before, but when I did that, I ended up just skinnier, not actually any more physically fit. (And I just can’t write that sentence without having this pop into my head:

Sorry. I couldn’t help it. Anyway, while I’ve stayed bulbous, my siblings have done insane things like riding bikes to work or doing daily exercise routines. INSANITY! But this morning, while I was procrastinating writing, I noticed my sister had posted a link to this handy dandy “7 Minute Fitness App.” She said that on days when she doesn’t do her “real” routine, she settles for two time through with this routine, so that she can feel like she did “something.” I did a bit of research to see what exactly this thing did, and after reading it over and giving it all of two seconds’ thought, I figured, “I can do that!”

It beat writing, after all. Right?

So I downloaded the free app, thumbed around on it for a little, got myself a chair and cleared out some space in my living room, and hit “start.” I mean, I’ve been jogging in place every day for like five months. Surely I was up to a few thirty second exercises. 7 minutes and I’d be done!

First up? Jumping jacks. I really threw myself into this. I wanted this to be a real workout, after all. Nothing wimpy. I did those jumping jacks like a boss. 30 seconds, bam! Done.

10 seconds of rest? I laugh at the concept. But because I wanted to humor the app, I did what it told me to do.

Next up? Wall sits. I don’t even know what those are really, and I was too lazy to watch the video. It looked from the picture like you just put your back against a wall and pretend like you’re sitting for 30 seconds. Piece of cake. Good thing this app was free, because I was owning this. I knew I’d been in shape all along. That jogging in place was more help than I’d thought!

Another 10 seconds of rest. No wonder my sister thought she had to do this twice to get any good out of it. On to the next exercise!

Push-ups. 3o seconds, go! Again, I threw myself into this with gusto. I wasn’t going for quality push-ups. I wanted as many as I could do, as fast as I could do them. Fifteen seconds in, I was breathing hard. Twenty-five seconds in, and I switched to push-ups from my knees. Better to do the whole thirty seconds of something, rather than stop, right?


And finally I actually enjoy a bit of a break, because those push-up had been–

Time for crunches already? Whoa. Okay. Crunches. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do them, I know. But I don’t have time for that. I just start crunching like a mad man. Just call me Captain Crunch, ladies. And man, I wish I could breathe a little easier. Has this crummy app started crashing? Hasn’t it been 30 seconds yet?

At last, it tells me to take my 10 seconds of rest, meanwhile informing me that next up is step ups onto a chair. I drag myself out of a reclining position. Thank goodness I’m using leg muscles now, because my other muscles are wondering what in the world happened to my common sense over the past few minutes. Man up, other muscles! Sheesh.

Step ups. Go! That chair seems to get taller over the course of the 30 seconds. But I keep at it. I’m the jogging in place king, folks. Breathing is for wusses. Somehow or another I get through the step ups. I’m wheezing like a hundred year old bellows by this point. I gasp my way through the 10 second rest and then I’ve got–

Squats? Fine. Whatever. I start them. One. Two. Three. Four. I get maybe 15 seconds through this, and then I decide I’m going to take the next 15 seconds off. This is my first time. It’s okay if I’m not totally perfect, and an extra fifteen seconds’ rest could really help. Because next up is triceps dips, and that means arm muscles, and my arm muscles are still collapsed in a fetal position somewhere in my inner psyche.

In a blink, the triceps dips are upon me. Somehow I get through it. I push myself. I dig deep. I do the whole 30 seconds, and then get ready for . . .


More arm muscles? And stomach muscles? What sadist came up with this routine? But whatever. I assume the position, start the planks.

And collapse on the floor after three seconds.

The app continues merrily on its way. 30 seconds goes by in a blink, plus the 10 second rest, and it’s time for high knees running in place.

RUNNING IN PLACE! I’ve been training for that for the past three months or whatever. I lurch to my feet and start jogging in place. Forget high knees. Actually, forget jogging.

I sit down on the floor and listen to the app tell me to go on to lunges, then push-ups and rotations, and then side planks. I’m breathing so heavily I think I might go into cardiac arrest. I’m sweating like a pig and wondering why in the world I took a break from writing to do this. I’m facing the awful truth: I am so out of shape, I couldn’t even get halfway through a 7 minute exercise program without giving up.

I think I’ll try it again tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be breathing normally again by then.


Back on the Wagon

That’s right. I’m dieting again. I’d sworn not to go over 200 again, and what did I do? I went on vacation and ate like John Candy. Amish country, Hershey’s Chocolate World, the Biergarten at Epcot, the other countries at Epcot, the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, wedding food, Vince’s pizza, Friendly’s, bakeries and more: for two weeks, I was an eating machine. I was Land Shark, eating everything in sight. I think I had a piece of salad in there somewhere, but for the most part, if anything was fattening, bad for you or of questionable nutritional content, I ate it. A lot of it. And so for one terrifying scale-weighing moment, I clocked in at 210.6 when I got back.

Long story short (too late), I’m back on the diet. I’m weighing my food–and lo and behold, I have found an app for that. It’s called My Fitness Pal, and it lets me enter in the food I eat and the exercise I do, all on my iPad. No more getting the bulky computer out. It’s quick and easy, and I like it a lot.

I’m down to 207 now. I gained the weight in two weeks, I can get rid of a lot of it in that amount of time, too.


If not, this diet thing will have to go on a tad longer. Sigh.

It was worth it. 🙂 I just like food too much.

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