Sunday, May 1, 2016

Workout Challenge: Every Day in April

At the end of March, I read an email from a yoga studio I don't attend about their taking class every day in April challenge. The studio's logic for picking April was that there were no holidays in April this year, and the month was only 30 days. I thought about my own April: my calendar was a nightmare (due to extra meetings, tons of grading, and late night events), and I was honestly dreading it. But, I also realized April was the first month of 2016 where we had no plans to travel. This could work I thought in a moment of what I can only describe as sheer optimism.

The challenge also mentioned that participants would have the option of doing video workouts at home four times during the challenge, which added some extra flexibility. Participants would get a sticker chart in the studio. Since I didn't attend the studio, I'd have to make my own sticker chart (obviously that was easy, I have tons of stickers and a planner). With my delusional plan made, I set my alarm for 5AM on April 1st.

I actually worked out everyday the last four days of March, so going into the challenge, I was already sore. Things were fairly easy the first week though. I stuck to my normal barre routine and added an outdoor yoga class on Sunday (my studio isn't open on Sunday).

The 8th of April was the one Friday I didn't get up at 5AM for barre (the other four Fridays of the month, I was there). That day, we had a work event that kept us at school until around 9PM. I came home and did a yoga video in the living room before bed. On that day, I was regretting the challenge since working out was the last thing I wanted to do.

That Sunday, my studio offered a 1.5 hour workshop. I probably wouldn't have attended if it weren't for my challenge, but I was really glad I did because I discovered that I liked spinning much more than I thought I would. I was one third of the way through.

There were times when finding the motivation to workout was hard: days when the weather was bad, and I was the only one in class, days when I just felt really sore and tired, and days when I had had a bad day and just plain didn't feel like going, but I found working out always put me in a better mood. Though sometimes getting to the workout was a source of stress, working out actually relieved stress.

Saturday the 16th was another tough day: we went to a plant sale that morning and worked in the sunny backyard all afternoon. I was exhausted and did another night yoga video. I used the website Tone it Up, which I usually love, but their yoga video was pretty terrible (they didn't talk you through the poses). My preference for yoga videos online is definitely this site because the videos are free and offer easy to follow instruction, plus you can do a search based on your level and how long you want the class to be. Now I know! That Sunday, I went back to the outdoor yoga class.

Tuesday the 19th, I worked 8-2, worked out 5:45-6:45, then went back to work to tutor from 8-10:30PM. It was a crazy day, but I was nearly two thirds through. Whenever I found myself not wanting to continue, I would think of how far I had already come.

On Sunday the 24th, I found myself trying a hot yoga class with a group of friends. It was crowded and sweaty and reminded me of my Bikram Yoga days. Overall, this challenge made me try new classes I normally wouldn't, so I was glad for that.

I finished the challenge yesterday. In total, I worked out 34 days in a row (5 videos/29 classes) and spent a little more than 32 hours in barre and yoga. I think the biggest result is just that I feel empowered from the experience. I learned that no matter how busy my life is, I can make time for working out. I learned that my body is capable of handling a lot. And I never felt bad about indulging, since I knew I was working off the indulgences. Plus, I felt really proud of myself for sticking with it even when it wasn't convenient.

So, would I do it again?

Ask me next April.

Have you ever completed a workout challenge? What was your take away?

Here's to more moments on the mat. I think I'm taking a few days off!


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