Growing up Catholic and going to Catholic School every spring you’re faced with the inevitable question, “What are you giving up for Lent?” As a kid that varied from chocolate to candy to talking back to my mother. As a grown up I’ve given up candy (still a vice!), cursing, alcohol all with varying degrees of success. I couldn’t tell you the last time I gave something up for Lent but now that I’m raising a Catholic child, I have be somewhat consistent about the holidays and the meaning of positive sacrifice. This year, I decided to approach Lent a little differently: rather than give something up I wanted to devote more of my time to a healthy and at times painful pursuit…fitness. My challenge: from March 1st to April 15th I must do some form of exercise! Here’s my exercise diary…
Day 1: 30 minutes of cardio at the gym
Day 2: 30 minutes of cardio, I’m on a consistency streak!
Day 3: 1 hour of doubles in the morning, 1 hour weight training with MC after work
Day 4: 2 hours of doubles. This is my fitness highlight for the week. Tennis is my favorite workout and my Saturday doubles routine is something I’ve been consistent with for a long, long, looong time. It’s the kind of thing that pains me a little when I have to miss it. Imagine my joy when MC and Jack took up tennis! A weekly family event!
Day 5: I can’t bear to get myself to the gym so I do my favorite at-home workout: The 7 Minute Workout, which combines weight bearing exercises with a little cardio. I’m energized! Until…
Day 6: My body is so tired. I’ve pushed myself to be consistent which is a win, but I just can’t do it. Instead of physical exercise, I opt for mental and do 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation. I make a note to work on this because my mind was wandering for at least 5 of the 20 minutes. I know this is a loose interpretation of “fitness” but I’m going with it.
Day 7: Back at it with an hour of weight training with my honey!
Day 8: Momentum halts. I come home from work and am faced with a 9 year old whose homework is incomplete, a school function that’s starting in an hour and the sound of my workout time evaporating.
Day 9-13: I’m back on track with cardio, tennis, weights…the works!
Day 14: It happens again, momentum halts. For no real reason this time other than my feeling tired and drained. While my mind is telling me that a workout will do me good, my body is completely resistant. Even The 7 Minute Workout feels too hard.
Day 15: I recover with an hour of weight training. Quality time with my hubby!
Day 16: This is where things get really funky. We take our family trip to Florida for Spring Break and it all falls apart. Day 18 was a travel day, so it was near impossible to exercise. Or was it!?!
Day 17: MC and I play tennis. I win.
Day 18: It’s so nice sitting poolside!
Day 19: We go kicking and screaming to the hotel gym for…30 minutes of cardio
Day 20: It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so we probably should just hang by the pool today.
Day 21: We do a 1.5-mile power walk. Lame but it’s something!
Day 22: We’re traveling home to NY, there’s just no way…
Day 23: Back at it! Hitting the weight room!
Day 24: I.just.can’t.
Day 25-28: I’ve rebounded! I even managed to exercise around a weekend trip to NOLA!
Day 29: It’s April now and my challenge is almost over. No missing for the rest of Lent!
Days 30 – 37: It’s a go with my regular routine of weight training, cardio and tennis
Day 38: I so want to quit but I manage some lame cardio
Day 39: Home stretch weight training
Day 40: It’s over! I’ll celebrate with 2 hours of tennis.
The Results: I have to say, for a 40 plus year old woman, I’m pretty active BUT I do give myself a pass when it comes to really pushing myself hard. Second, I can rationalize away anything. Could I have fit workouts in on the days I missed? Of course I could have. Third, I feel badly if I break a commitment. Even though this is a self-imposed challenge AND I gave myself those passes, I regretted them and felt like I’d let myself down in a way.
40 Days of Fitness Tally: I worked out 34 out of 40 days! I’m pretty proud of myself and definitely noticed a lift in my energy level overall. There must be something to all that “body in motion stays in motion” stuff we learned in Science class.