I’ve never been a big fan of exercise unless it was doing something fun (water sports, basketball or tennis in the middle of our neighborhood street).  Sure, I like the results (who doesn’t?) but usually not the activity itself.

As I’ve gotten older (47 now) and my metabolism has slowed down it has become imperative that I exercise regularly (of course everyone will benefit from regular exercise = good heart health!).

I recently finished a 30-Day Exercise Challenge with Betty Rocker. I ran across her ad in my Facebook Newsfeed right after I had decided to start exercising again (total synchronicity!).  It had been a sedentary year for me until then with only exercising a few times (I blame it on being sick Jan-March and never feeling like I got my energy back – excuses, excuses, Right!).

It is called the Make Fat Cry Challenge (doesn’t that name pack a punch?) and I highly recommend it.  The only things needed for the Challenge are your body and 15-minutes of your time.  It’s Free by the way, this Challenge.

That is it!  Just 15 minutes a day for 30 days!  Bree (aka Betty Rocker) has great energy and inspires and encourages you each session!  You can probably feel it from her photo.  Yes, I’m using her name, Bree, because I did spend 30 mornings with her and feel pretty close to her at this point!  No, she is not paying me to say any of this, but she could (Joking, Not Joking)!!!

I learned a lot from this experience.  Oddly (not), these are all concepts near and dear to my heart that were magnified by making my fat cry, my heart beat faster and my muscles scream with Joy.

Lesson 1:  Commitment

I didn’t realize the depth of commitment I would feel by doing this Challenge.  It is a 30-day challenge.  That means there is a daily Exercise for 30 days. Each day you receive an email with a workout video.  Once you open the email and click on the link to the video, you have 24 hours to watch the video and do the 15-minutes of exercise.  Technically, this means you could skip a day (or more) and open the email and click on the video when you felt like it (which let’s be honest, could be never!).

If I had been thinking clearly I may have committed to exercising every OTHER day.  *rolls eyes*  In any case, I committed to doing the exercises daily and you know what?  It was only 15-minutes a day.  And that was one of the pluses for me.  Surely I could exercise for 15-minutes each day.

Building my strength is important to me.  I took a Baby Step of just 15-minutes of exercise each day to start me on my path.  Along with healthy eating, there would be no stopping me now!

I committed to myself and in a roundabout way ended up committing to my Friends and Followers on Social Media because of my Accountability posts.

Lesson 2:  Accountability Rocks!

I like doing various types of Challenges and have done many successfully (in all honestly, I have not followed through on some as well).  Typically there is a Facebook Group to post in and share insights.  While I could have gone to Betty Rocker’s page every day and posted, instead I decided to be accountable to myself by posting on my Facebook and Twitter accounts after completing the exercise each day.  And I did.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Whether I wanted to or not.

Some exercise days were brutal for this out of shape chick (I’m lacking in stamina, strength, flexibility, and have belly fat galore).  Others were a nice reprieve of yoga or pilates – and they came at just the right day where I felt I needed more of a rest or low impact exercise.  Most were a perfect mix of cardio and strength training.

There is something to be said for saying what you will do, and then ACTUALLY DOING IT!!!!  I live in a culture now (Belize) where there is no sense of time and the meaning of accountability is completely foreign to many (a post for another time!).  I  admit I have become less accountable about some things since moving here.

The most important person we can be accountable to is our SELF.  Being accountable to ourselves builds character, integrity, and trust.

Being publicly Accountable is inspiring to others.  It can potentially cause others to shift their view of what is possible for themselves and encourage personal accountability within.

My Accountability gave visibility to the Challenge such that many of my friends signed up to do it.  Many of them posted on my accountability post with the day they were on.  It was exciting to see that they were doing the Free Challenge too!  AND they said wouldn’t have heard about it had it not been for my Posts!

Lesson 3:  Consistency

I learned at a young age about creating habits:  make the bed every morning, do homework right after school, weekly chores, save a portion of earnings, tithe a portion of earnings, keep a Journal, practice the piano, read, and the list goes on. 

In 2007 I began keeping a spreadsheet of all the things I felt would be good to do each day (or things I wanted to track and do less of).  That list has morphed over the years as my interests or focus has changed.  Having a system of Daily Habits creates consistency and momentum towards any goal no matter what size.

During this Challenge, when I woke up each morning, I knew the first thing I would do is exercise.  I made the decision because I know myself and I know that if I don’t exercise first thing in the morning it is highly unlikely that I will get to it later in the day.

Find your best time of day to exercise and stick to it.  Find the type of exercise you like and that works for you, and do it.

Knowing that I was going to be exercising gave me my first item on my To Do list.  How nice it was to check it off – already feeling accomplished before the day had even really begun!!  ROAR!

I discovered that it isn’t that difficult to make time for exercise.  I began seeing how important taking care of my body is as well as how easy it could be.

Lesson 4:  Discipline

I have been known to be a very disciplined person.  Exercise is one area I have struggled with both in motivation and consistency.  For that, I remind myself to go back to the basics – find what works for me and do it.  Every day – because I am now convinced there are ways to exercise and care for my body each and every day!

Hiring a personal trainer in 2010-2011 worked well for me.  We met at her Apartment gym that was a few blocks from my house twice a week after work for 30-minutes (that is all I really need, tops).  Sometimes we enjoyed Sushi afterward.  I saw amazing results from having a trainer and the key for my fat to melt off is indeed lifting weights.

In 2013 I checked off 18-weeks straight at the gym (Huge accomplishment!).  Due to my work schedule (woke up at 4 AM), there was no way I was exercising in the morning.  I decided to take a gym bag and hit the gym right after work.  I knew if I went home first I wouldn’t make it to the gym.  I swam, rode the jylliptical machine (my favorite cardio at that point), or lifted weights. Each week I worked out 4-5 days.  Without fail.  18 weeks.  *kinda proud even all these years later*

The trick is to find what works and do it.  And keep doing it.

Here in Belize, I have taken up running and have been consistent for months at a time just not year round.  I enjoy running first thing in the morning (in the winter as it’s cooler) as the sun is rising – running by the Caribbean Sea, hearing my feet pound on the pavement, being conscious of my breath (no headphones here!) and experiencing the world wake up.

Lesson 5:  I Can Do It!  (And so can you!!)

It was day 5 when we did our first Tabata cardio workout for 15 whole minutes (had to get that in there because it is important to note that I live to tell about it!!).  I thought Bree was trying to kill me, albeit lovingly, through my heart exploding and muscles turning to mush (hand on my forehead for dramatic flair).  I DID IT!!

In case you didn’t know (I had to Google it again), Tabata was created by a Japanese Doctor and is high-intensity interval training (workout hard for 20 seconds, rest for 10, do 8 reps).

I modified the exercises every day so I could do them (she shows you the modifications).  I started where I was and you know what?  I increased my upper body strength quite a bit!!  I could barely do a pushup halfway on my knees when I started the Challenge.  By the end, I was doing full pushups on my knees!  For me, that was a great improvement and I OWN IT!  ROAR!

We’ve all heard the quote by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t — you’re right.”  Stop and read that again, slowly.  It’s sooooo true, isn’t it!?

I believe we can do ANYTHING that we put our mind to and our action towards.  I’m proof!!  I’m living in Belize now because of a little dream to move to warmer (than Seattle) weather, preferably South of the Border.  I completed 30-days of exercise ON PURPOSE because I decided I could and I wanted to see what it did for me and my body!!

What is it that YOU want to do?  Why aren’t you doing it?  You can TOTALLY do it!!  Commit to your dream, Be Accountable to Yourself (an accountability buddy works great too!), Be Consistent and Disciplined and know every day that YOU CAN DO IT!!!

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