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At-Home Fitness Challenges

Since I joined the Tampa CrossBoot fitness group back in December, I've done a lot of things that were previously outside of my comfort zone. But I've also seen and felt a lot of results. One of the more recent endeavors I've undertaken with this group is the weekly fitness at-home challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to encourage members to work beyond their limits, keep a fitness commitment, and enter to win a prize. 

The first challenge was presented by one of the group organizers, Whit, in her Fitnasty newsletter. The challenge was to do 100 air squats (a squat without holding any weight) per day for seven consecutive days. I felt confident I could do that, even if I had to break up the 100 into two sets of 50 throughout the day, so I began. This challenge went by without too much difficulty; the most difficult part was remembering to do them. In fact, I even had to squeeze in 50 squats at a friend's party when I realized midnight was approaching and I hadn't completed my squats for the day. (I tried to duck into the privacy of a bedroom, but curiosity led others to find me and then mock me.) When I reported to Whit that I had completed the challenge, she told me that nobody else had contacted her with results, so I won! Even though it was by default, I was ecstatic about my win. I got an awesome CrossBoot T-shirt as a prize (not to mention, a surprisingly tighter booty):

Still on a high from this win, but without a new challenge to look forward to yet, I decided to create my own. For the next week I did 300 crunches per day. The week after, 100 sit-ups per day (with nothing holding my feet down). After that, 100 supine leg raises per day (my creativity with numbers did not extend very far beyond the first challenge). In the middle of this leg-raise challenge, however, a new issue of the newsletter came out with a new challenge: the plurp, which is a term coined from plank and burpee. The challenge was to do 1 minute of plank plus 10 burpees on day one, 2 minutes / 20 burpees on day two, and so on until 7 minutes of plank and 70 burpees (!) were completed on day seven. Mind you, I did my challenges at night, often before bed, and often after a regular run or workout earlier in the evening. I also felt obligated to complete my own leg-raise challenge, so for a few days I was doing that plus the plurp challenge. It was exhausting, but I completed both challenges. AND, as I was again the only person to finish this challenge, I won again! This time I won an entry into an obstacle race, one of the Squish Squash Challenges.

After the intensity of those challenges, on top of my own increased efforts in the gym, I decided to take a little break from challenges until another one was issued by Whit. I didn't have to wait too long, as just a few days later another issue of the newsletter came out, with a new jump-rope challenge: 1,000 regular (single-under) jumps per day or 250 double-unders. Since I can't do even one double-under, this meant I'd be doing 1,000 regular jumps. But this time, we couldn't break up the set throughout the day; all jumps had to be done in one setting, and timed. The other CB organizer, Scoot, did a quick trial run for time and completed 1,000 jumps in 8 minutes. So that was our goal to beat. Now, we were allowed to break when necessary during the jumps, but the break would add to our time. So on the first night, I thought I'd break the jumping into 100s, with a rest in between. And this was my result:

Twice the time of Scoot's jumps! Granted, I'm not in Scoot-shape, but still. I was also jumping with a rope that I discovered fairly early on in my 1,000 was too long. But I couldn't stop the clock to fix it. Later, I learned how to adjust the rope length. But some damage had already been done. Each time I messed up, the rope was getting caught under my feet, which caused it to snap straight as I went to bring the rope around again, which then caused it to whack the outside of my hand, repeatedly:

Ouch! But the next day, with an adjusted rope length, I was able to bring my time down significantly:

And that would be the best time throughout the week. I even changed my strategy to doing 200 jumps straight through with a small rest in between. But my times for the remainder of the week ranged between 11:36.2 and 12:59.1. The number of mess-ups (and subsequent curse words muttered) in the last couple of days were uncountable. And let's just say that if we'd had a 5-burpee penalty for each mess-up, as we do in a regular CrossBoot class, I'd have easily surpassed the 70 burpees I did during the plurp challenge week. But there is a silver lining. After the first couple of sets in this challenge, my calves were on fire and my shins were flooded with pain (that's not the silver lining part). By the last day, however, I didn't feel any pain, and my lower legs were noticeably stronger. 

While the winner for the jump-rope challenge hasn't yet been announced (I know I had at least one competitor this time), I feel that, with every challenge, I've earned a bit of fitness and new confidence in myself, and that makes them worthwhile. Of course, the prizes are super cool, too, so I'll keep hoping!


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