Monday Motivation: My 30 Day Exercise Challenge!

"Monday Motivation" is a Twitter thang, an umbrella hashtag that appeals to me if only for its alliteration. (I, a former English major, am an unabashed sucker for alliteration!). Anyway, I thought I would co-opt it for this post/hopefully to be a series. I recently read an article in a magazine where the author set herself various 30 day challenges, which I thought sounded do-able, so I am setting myself one here and now.

Monday Motivation: My 30 Day Exercise Challenge!

I am challenging myself to exercise (as in get SWEATY, through the medium of workout videos or dancing most likely as I can’t justify a gym membership right now), four days a week for a month (to hopefully be continued!). Not including Pilates (which my class is taking a break after this week for three weeks, so I am also adding to my challenge to do my Pilates dvd once a week minimum but preferably twice). I know this doesn’t sound hugely ambitious but trust that I am starting from zero here. 

It’s really un-revolutionary, I apologize, but I am doing this on the blog mostly to hold myself to account, because since a knee injury (thanks Zumba) a couple of years back I have lost most of my exercise mojo. And my body is punishing me for it, big time. It’s not just that I’m a bit overweight, it’s also genuinely about me wanting to feel better. To not feel winded after climbing the four flights of stairs to Pilates class. To jump around for a few minutes without wanting to die. Now before you write me off as a future #fitspo #annoying type, I hereby promise to never:

*Post pics of my abs or other body parts to "inspire" (ha, as if!)
*Post pics of green juice or chia seeds or anything else boring to tears nutrition wise
*Become smug (hopefully! You can call me on it though if I am!)
*Quote motivational "fitspo" gibberish

Because I don't know about you but when this stuff takes over my Twitter and Instagram feeds my reaction is generally:

I would like to share my “journey” (I KID!)…ok my…experience, week to week (preferably on a Monday!), telling the ugly truth from time to time, if that’s ok. I really hope I can do this, because it’s been a loooong time since I worked out on the regular. I have to be careful because of my knees so we’ll see how it goes. I hope to build up my quads enough to stop my kneecaps being such (forgive me) flighty little bitches! I discovered in physiotherapy I have a thing called patellar tracking disorder, it means my kneecaps slide all over the shop and don't remember to slot back in where they belong, which makes me weirdly flexible/pretty sure it’s why I was always top ballet girl when I was a kid, like the teacher used to just stand me in front of the class and use my legs like bendy straws for demonstration, which in retrospect was maybe not the best because I never realized it can cause injury. My acupuncturist saw me sitting on the table once with my knees bent backwards and was like “Wth are you even doing sitting like that, that is not good!”, but I don't feel any pain so it's hard to remember.

So I will be careful. Yesterday, for the first time in about three months I think, I did a 30 minute dvd workout. My choice for the day was Davina (for my Americans- Davina McCall, she’s a 40 something  t.v. presenter here who makes really great exercise videos with her trainers). It’s one of my older Davina boxsets, it contains the three 30 minute workouts on one dvd and the “Power of Three” on the other dvd.

I chose “Cardio Box” because it used to be my old standby and I know it doesn't mess with my knees too much. I had to stop it halfway through for a pee/catch my breath break, but I finished it, which was much harder than it used to be, I will say that. My arms and shoulders feel a little bit sore today and my calves a bit tight, but overall I am feeling in not too bad shape. It is still early days though I know! I think I will aim to do a longer workout two days a week, and a shorter one the other two. I also walked around 40 minutes in total (to and from a bloggers meetup, which I will write about later!) where I probably consumed more calories than I burned all day, oops!

On that note, I am trying to eat healthier, because I know exercise alone is not enough for me to lose weight, but I am not following any particular diet. I want to find a way to eat well most of the time and have it be sustainable, which means I will be incorporating aspects of past diets into our normal diet (dinner is the only time I really have to worry about meal sharing). To be honest meals aren't a huge issue, I do need to work on portion control and not eating junk for snacks. The past couple of weeks I have been making a smoothie most days, and for whatever reason the act of doing that is making me feel more “mindful” generally in terms of eating, so I will stick to that. Even if I don’t lose weight I am hopeful that the exercise will tone me up and make me feel better regardless (look at me all gung ho after one day of exercise! ;-0)

I have quite an extensive exercise dvd collection, so I will be revisiting them, even the ones I never quite got the hang of (Tae Bo, gr!), for a laugh if nothing else, and sharing my blood, sweat, and tears with anyone interested! 

Some of these are quite "of their time" - Hotpants workout anyone?! But I will give them all a go in the name of blogging science! Any rec's for dvd's are appreciated because clearly I do not own enough! ;-0

Oh I just realized my Pilates dvd is missing from the picture - it's the 10 Minute Solutions box set one if anyone is interested! I like it because it has a wide variety of workouts/different focuses on each dvd. I actually think I am going to struggle to do this more than the more aerobic ones because I am super lazy when it comes to doing slow workouts in particular at home.

To my downstairs neighbours I apologize for the thundering elephantine stomping you are about to undergo, but hey, payback for all your endless hours of piano scales! 

I do like the idea of a 30 day challenge, whatever it may be, it feels much less daunting than saying "I shall lose 30lbs/write a book of poems/learn to play Stairway to Heaven on guitar!" (etc add your own daunting challenge here!). To start small isn't something I'm very familiar with, my whole life I approached diet and exercise with the typical attitude of "I need a whole new body in three weeks!" or whatever craziness I was up to (another story..but you maybe know what I mean?!). This feels do-able and exciting to me. How about you guys, is there any challenge you think you'd want to try for 30 days?


  1. I love this idea and I am looking forward to seeing more posts about it. I may actually do a 30 day challenge thing myself - I really like this idea! (Ok, sounding crazy cheerleader over enthusiastic is not intended.) But yeah...I am liking this idea and I it will be really cool to read about and also nice what you promised NOT to do...not that I expected you would suddenly turn your blog into crazy fitness blog, but knowing there won't be green juice or chia seeds made me smile because I think the exact same thing - these things make me want to cry for tastebuds the world over. I do not care what anyone says: green juice tastes like liquefied greens, no matter how many different fruits are added. : )

    1. Ha, thanks for the cheerleading, I can use all of the encouragement I can get! I can't afford a personal trainer so my blog will be my motivator! I also figured a more regular series would be a good thing to keep me blogging even if I'm drawing a blank on what to write. I don't mean to snark on super healthy clean eaters, I'm like "You do you" I just get irked as it's so proliferating Instagram and it's not something I personally find motivating or what-ever. I mean, I feel like it's all Yay already skinny person eating nothing, rah rah. I have a long history with eating disorders in my youth so I do find a lot of "fitspo" to be borderline "thinspo" and for me personally that's a dangerous pool to tread in. So many "recovered" disordered types just become super vigilant clean eaters instead and it's the same b.s. imho. I am all for eating as healthy as you want, truly, but the whole lifestyle glamorizing of it makes me :-(

  2. ^ EXACTLY!! I am all for sharing some fitness and health stuff on instagram, but it kinda makes me nuts when fitness pics are all it becomes about. For myself, I want to get healthier and thinner and stronger, but truth? - I don't actually even like the way six/eight packs look on women (and I honestly don't care on men) - it's like, slender is fine, but having my muscles show through is not my life's goal. It does become an obsession and it is totally glamorized. Like, I want to be able to run from zombies, but I truly do not care if I have a softer body as long as it's healthy and strong and I'm happy.

    1. Yeah, muscles weird me out. I don't understand people who get all drooly over Channing Tatum's abs or whatever, I'm like where's the pretty pale boy with no muscles and a guitar? ;-0

  3. Yay for exercise! I keep meaning to start my workout with my rowing machine, but you know, lazy.

    I'm glad that you have found some motivation though! I've been having a hard time with my husbands weight loss, i dropped the ball on healthy lunches this week and he gained four pounds :(

    1. I keep lamenting I don't have room for an exercise bike but tbh most exercise machines in my house have historically become clothes hangers! Sorry for your husband's setback, maybe it was just a bad week. You do so much for your household nutrition, I find that really inspiring. :-)


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