30 Day Challenge

These past couple months have been hectic to say the least; between balancing all the major changes in Kamalu’s NFL career (which involved MANY trips to the airport and stressful moments – but go Patriots!) and taking care of things back at home, finding a moment to take care of myself physically and mentally definitely took a back seat. During periods of high stress, do you ever feel like you need to hit a reset button and recuperate back to a happy balance? I know I did – in times of stress, I’m never in the mood to work out or eat a consistent balanced diet.

I didn’t want to lose any of the progress I had made getting back into shape after college, but sometimes life happens, and that may involve a set back or two. Although, life or any goals you have isn’t about the setbacks you may run into along the way, it’s about the COMEBACK, and not letting any bump in the road defeat you.

So, in comes the 30 Day Challenge idea. I wanted to go 30 straight days of working out and consistent balanced eating, BUT I needed an accountability buddy to not only make sure I was living up to the goals I was setting for myself, but to also go on this 30 day journey with me. What the workout entailed was simple: your favorite upper, lower, and ab workout for 30 days. I decided on push-ups, squats with a side leg extension, and v-up crunches or planks w/ a side lean for my workout because I could easily do them at home with minimal equipment (For the side leg extensions, I used resistance bands purchased from Amazon).  I chose to do 100 reps of each, some chose to do 20, 50, or whatever number worked for them. I made a quick story on my Instagram asking for a buddy to go on this journey with me, and I was surprised by amount of responses I got!

*this is a journey documented on my Instagram, please excuse the cell phone video*

What started as a small personal journey to get into better shape turned into me and a whole bunch of new friends willing to push themselves and go on this fitness journey with me. How it would work is that I would workout every morning, post it on my story, and direct message each of my accountability buddies a message saying “Done”. When they were done, they would like my message. It was finally time to get to work!

The Challenge

In the beginning of the 30 Day Challenge, I did 100 push-ups, squats w/ side leg extension, and v-up crunches. To get through all 100 reps, I had to break it up into 10 sets with breaks in between. The breaks were more needed for the push ups and the v-up crunches w/ the resistance band because those were definitely the hardest to get through for me; the breaks were 30 sec. to 1 min. breaks in between the first 5 sets, a long 5 minute break, then a 1 to 1:30 minute break in between the last 5 sets. For the squats and plank with side leans, I could get through 40-50 reps before needing a break.

By the 10th day, I was already starting to notice some significant changes not just physically, but mentally as well. I was feeling stronger, sleeping better, and I noticed I felt less stressed out during the days. I also noticed that working out before I studied made me retain the information a lot better.

My diet was becoming more balanced. Before, the stress that comes with Kamalu’s career and my LSAT reading, finding the time (or even the mood) to eat was challenging. When I did have time to eat, my diet for the day wasn’t as balanced as it should be. Now, I’m eating on a more consistent and balanced basis, added in healthier meal options, and was making an effort to make sure my calorie intake was appropriate for my activity levels. When discussing my diet, I use the term diet very loosely because I don’t follow a rigorous list of rules of what I can eat.  The only “rules” I try to follow in my diet is: no sweets, soda, and always try to use a healthier substitution if possible (i.e. spinach for lettuce, ghee for butter.. etc.). Throughout the challenge, I ate a variety of home cooked meals – some healthy, some… more delicious than calorie cautious, but it’s finding a balance between healthy and your food favorites (and turning healthy into some of your food favorites) that’s key. Pictured below are some of my food favorites I ate during the challenge; you’ve probably seen me make a few of these on my Instagram story.  Check out the Food Section of my blog for more delicious recipes too try at home! 

When I reached the half way point of the challenge, that was when I started to notice the most significant physical changes. When I first started out, I did modified knee push-ups, by the 15th day, I was doing full blow regular push-ups and it kept on feeling easier by the day. I could get through my squats like it was nothing and crunches were becoming less of a struggle! For the rest of the challenge, I traded my v-up crunches for planks with a side lean.

By the end of the challenge, I was amazed by how much can change in 30 days.

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The physical changes were incredible, especially looking at where I started from. In the beginning, I was very lean. After, I’m more cut, and I’ve gained healthy weight. My body is feeling a lot stronger and looser. One big change I’m excited about is that I was actually looking forward to the workouts as the days went on, and still today! I wake up and the first thing I do is my morning-workout. After the 30 day challenge, it may not be at my same 100 reps a day anymore, but even just a little bit of physical activity a day can make a WORLD of difference in so many areas. 

The physical changes were great, but the mental changes that occurred were everything – I’m a firm believer that the strengthening of mental health is just as IMPORTANT as physical. Life can be draining sometimes with its natural stresses that come along the way, but it’s how you deal with them is what makes a world of difference. In just these 30 days, my mental health was given a healthy and much needed working out. I’m handling stress better, sleeping better, eating more balanced, and it is doing so much for my overall moods throughout the day.

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One added plus from this challenge was the friendships I made. We struggled together, motivated each other, and persevered through the challenge together. Some even did added cardio to their challenge workouts to push themselves even harder! I’m not gonna lie, there were days I did not want to do my challenge workout, but seeing my accountability buddies push themselves, and send me so much motivational messages, that was all the inspiration I needed to get through my workout. I’m forever grateful for each and every one of my accountability buddies – and now friends.

I hope that seeing all that can change within you with just 30 days of at-home workouts inspire you! – not just to working out, but to strengthen whatever you’re passionate about in your life. My mom always says, “give anything time and pure dedication, and watch it grow”. In just 30 days, I was able to change my body, and my mindset, I wonder what I can change with the next 30!

So whether you want to strengthen your body, mind, soul, career, relationships or whatever you’re most passionate about, just give it some time, and dedication. There may be set backs, but nothing a bit of time, dedication, and some good old fashion perseverance can’t solve!

Thanks for reading!

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A lifestyle blogger sharing some of my favorite recipes, adventures, lifestyle habits and thoughts ✨ Instagram- @AnnaO.U Twitter- @AnnaO_U

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