Sunday, June 30, 2013

LAST CALL! Join Us for a Year!

All right guys, it's July 1st in India, so this is the last call! I will accept people to join up until
midnight here in India (cause that's what I've picked) so you have roughly twenty hours. That means it'll be July 1st in America and I'll still be accepting people, so hurry up and join if you're thinking about it!

If you don't know what I'm talking about I'm hosting a year long health and fitness challenge on the blog. It's really not as daunting as that sounds, as we're very flexible and want to work with you to keep it doable in your life, instead of you trying to make your life fit around fitness.

If you want to know more, here is the details. And here are some FAQs.

If you want to join, please leave a  comment below with your email address or email me at singingpilgrimdancing at gmail dot com with "I'm In!" as the subject line. And then go read about July's challenge here, and pick something to start today!

Hope you join us, and getting excited about starting soon!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

12MT: Pinterest Workout Challenge

All right for those of you who are brave enough to sign up for our year long health and fitness
challenge, 12 Months Together, month one is Pinterest Workout Challenge.

What do I mean by this?

Well, if you have Pinterest you probably have noticed lots of people pin workouts on there. So the idea is you go and you search out a workout that works for you, and that becomes your goal for the month.

So if you're really busy you may search "5 Minute Workout" or even "2 minute Workout". If you're really wanting to focus on a certain body part you might do "Ab Workouts" or "Thigh Workouts", etc. If you're wanting to focus on total body fitness you might search "Total Body Fitness." Do you want to make sure you can do it without having a gym membership or fancy equipment? "No Gym Workouts." Do you have a piece of fancy equipment or gym membership and you want to get the most of it? Search for that.

You get the idea.

They also have month long or week long challenges.

Now, the question comes up of how much and how often.

This depends on your fitness level... which I hope you'll candidly share with the group on our closed (no one outside the group can see) facebook group. If you're total beginner or totally, totally slammed with no workout time, please, please start slow. Just do more than you're doing now. If you're not working out at all, it's okay to say you're going to complete the workout only once or twice a week. Seriously. You have to start somewhere.

Also, this is not exclusive exercise. Nothing is limiting you to this, but we are asking you to commit to doing whatever you choose. (If you really decide to change your mind later, we'll consider letting you change it. We're totally flexible. But we want to make sure you're not wimping out, just realizing you're not too into it.)

So if you think "I can probably do this five times a week, but there's a big chance I won't", why don't you just sign up for 3, since this is the first challenge? If you do five, yay!! And we will encourage you to push yourself as the year progresses. But I want us all to be very realistic this first month, so that we don't feel like failures only a month in.

And yes, you can add other goals to the challenge, especially food goals. Like I said in the FAQ post, those are tacked on goals.

For example, I'm planning on doing the Pinterest Challenge (the one you see here), get back into logging my calories daily on myfitnesspal (Making sure I log completely at least 20 days this month), and by the end of the month be back on the 5:2 diet, which was working for me.

You can add tag ons too. But just remember, whatever you commit to, you're responsible for, and please don't overload yourself. This is month one.. if it ends up being too easy, then just do some extra this month and pick a harder goal next month.

Okay? Ready? Excited?

I am.

[And yes, we are totally accepting new people, before July 1st. If you want to join, leave your email address in the comments or email me at singingpilgrimdancing at gmail dot com with the subject line "I'm In!" If you're reading this after July 1st, there's a chance you can still join. Go read the FAQ post for more information.]

12 Months Together FAQ

All right if you missed it, starting July 1st we're launching a year long challenge. And we want you!

FAQ is a misnomer, since no one has really asked any questions yet, but these are questions I think maybe people are thinking or at least need to know the answer to... got a question I haven't answered here, or in my introduction to the challenge post? Ask it in the comments before July 1st and I will!

Q: How will the team encourage each other during the year?
A: In many ways. I'm not sure which way will take off, but I'm guessing it will be the closed facebook group, where we can talk to and encourage each other every day. I also plan on maintaining an email list and emailing encouragement, and also if someone seems to 'drop out' lovingly coming after them to make sure they realize that if you sign up for  year, you've signed up for the whole year. No drop outs, this is an all success story challenge! I'm also thinking we may use other social media networks, depending on the group preferences. We also will post on here, and if anyone who joins us has a blog, I will totally link to any posts they do on the challenge (if they let me know.) I also think that any of us who are using an app, like myfitnesspal or the like, can have that be known and if another member is choosing to use it, we can be friends on the app and encourage each other there. I'm also open to other ideas.

Q: What is the goal? Weight loss? Just an increase in activity level? Better nutrition?
A: Honestly, this depends on the person. I will want us to discuss what we want to get out of the year, and then also what we want to get out of each month. Different people will have different goals and different needs. I know several of us are interested in weight loss, and I hope we do it, but this isn't about weight loss as much as it is about increasing overall health. So if you're overweight, that is part of that, but if you don't lose a single pound but you improve your cardio vascular health and are feeling better becuase of proper nutrition, you're still a success. That said, I personally hope to lose quite a bit, as I still have about 90 pounds to go before I would have a "normal" BMI.

Q: So is this just everyone sets independent goals and then you try to encourage each other to reach them? Or do you do things as a group?
A: Both.
I'd like us to have some months that we take on a group challenge, but with each others abilities, goals, and differences in mind. For example, if we decided to do a running challenge we'd start the distances based on how much you can currently run at the end of the month before. Yes, that might mean you have to run a little to find out where you are. And if someone can't run, maybe because they have knee issues or it's too hot where they live or something, we may do a parallel walking challenge for them, challenging them to increase their walking increments at the same time we do running. Or if we did a workout video challenge, some people might be so ambitious as to say they'll do it every day (though we'll always schedule in a couple "rest days" both for muscle growth, but also so if you unavoidably skip a day in week one, you're not doomed to not complete a month), some three times a week, and some very busy people (like a SAHM or a 80+ hour a week job holder) might just make it a goal to complete the whole video through at least once a week (so they can stop and pause it.) Additionally, maybe half the group wants to do an aerobic video, and the other half wants to do yoga, so we may have two videos going.

Other months, like in July, we'll have themes. Where we pick a theme, but then individuals will pick their goals. This upcoming month the theme is "Pinterest Workout Challenges" (you don't have pinterest? We'll help you out, no big deal). Pinterest is full of workouts people have pinned. So find one you want to do, and that becomes your goal. So if one person picks something that amounts to 45 minutes of working out a day, and another person ends up doing someting that amounts to 30 minutes a week... that's okay. But the key is doing something realistic to begin with (based on your ability and schedule) and once you've committed, sticking with it unless something changes in your life, such as an injury, illness, or big life change (move, family issue, etc.) Then we're still not letting you drop out, but you can change your challenge to something more realistic.

And I'm planning on having two "personal goal" months, where we can all explore separate interests and encourage each other in them. That way if you're really, really wanting to do something every body else is like "eh" to, you can and still have a community backing you up!

Q: What happens if I want to quit after joining the challenge?
A: You can't. Haha. We won't let you.

Seriously, everyone wants to get healthier, so there's no reason to quit. We are totally willing to work with whatever life throws your way to help you find a healthy way to pursue reasonable goals in your life. So unlike other fitness challenges, where there will be drop outs, this is a success only team. However many of us begin, that many will finish. We will lovingly come after you. Don't give up on us, we won't give up on you!

Q: Is this exercise only? Or will you be doing diet challenges as well?
A: No and no.

That is, we are open to diet and nutrition challenges for members, but we will not as a group do a month where there is a diet challenge. Why? The number one reason is so that if any person in our group has or had struggled with an eating disorder, we try to avoid triggers.

That being said, I already know that diet will be a part of many peoples challenges, including myself. I want to get back on track with calorie counting, which helped me lose weight recently. I also know one of the people who has already signed up is dealing with a knee injury and can't do a lot of exercises and we've discussed her setting diet goals as an alternative to fitness goals she can't do at this time (though there also are knee friendly exercises she can do.) I also think everyone, as long as they feel comfortable, should incorporate healthy diet changes in, unless they feel they're already eating as healthily as they can. That is, perhaps one month they commit to beginning to eliminate sugary beverages, or switching from processed to whole grain products, working up to actually drinking the recommended amount of water or committing to replace one pre-prepared meal a week with a homemade one. That kind of goal generally can be done by all, even those in recovery from an eating disorder. But while that will be encouraged by our monthly goals, and may even be tacked in (ex. In October we're doing ab exercises and making one positive diet change) fitness will always be the primary goal.

Q: This seems overwhelming, and I'm scared if I join I'll fail. Should I run far away?
A: No. Please, if you're tempted to do this, just do it. We will meet you where you're at. Not able to walk up one flight of stairs without gasping for air? Welcome. Running a marathon next Thursday? Welcome. Need to lose over a hundred pounds? Welcome. Underweight and wanting to get to a healthy goal? Welcome.

Seriously, people, this is about improving health, so no matter how healthy or not healthy you are, we all can improve and you know it. (If you really don't think you can improve, then maybe this isn't for you... though you could always join with maintenance and variety to keep you from boredom in mind.)

Q: I'm a guy, can I join?
A: Sure. At this point we don't have any guys, and my gut says we won't get any, but I thought I'd throw out there that everyone is welcome.

Q: I'm reading this past July 1st. Can I still join?
A: Probably, but not until the 1st of the next month. (You can leave a comment with your email address or email me at singingpilgrimdancing at gmail dot com right now though.) I'm thinking I'll have enrollment open each month, if anyone is interested, but I don't know if anyone will join. I have come late to the game with other people's challenges before and been like "Man, if only I'd seen this two weeks ago" and I want to be sensitive to that. However, if you join on August 1st, you're doing it it until July 31st, 2014. No matter when you join, you're doing a full year, not just joining us until June 30th, 2014.

It will also not be a separate thing. That is, if you join in August, you'll be doing the same challenge as everyone who joined in July. It's just when we end in June, you'll keep going.

Will I continue to host it past June 30th? I make no promises. It may be too overwhelming to organize it past a year... or I could addicted and decide to do two years. But I won't close out the facebook group, so whoever is left can do it on their own, together, even if I say a year is enough for me. (If there is only one person, I'll probably stick around with them, so they're not alone. :) )

Q: What if I do "drop out" for a month? That is, what if I don't even do a day of the challenge for a whole month? Am I failure?
A: No! But, you won't be a "total success" on June 30th, 2014... but you can "make up" that month. That is, if say in December you "drop out"... now you have to keep going until July 31st, 2014 in order to be a "total success." And if people join part way through, you just join their "graduating class." But that's all.

That being said, come on, partial credit counts!! If you do at least some at the beginning of the month, you eliminate the possibility of failing the month. So just don't do that, okay?

**If you have any more questions I didn't think of, please ask them and I'll answer them below. If you want to join, please leave your email address in the contacts below or email me at singingpilgrimdancing at gmail dot com with the subject line "I'm in!" to join!**

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Join Me for a Year??

Okay, so today I'm introducing a fun concept. I want you to commit to doing a yearlong fitness
(and maybe diet) challenge with me.

It's not as scary as it may sound.

Each month, before the month begins, we'll set goals. Some months we may set a group goal (like all do the same workout) and many months we'll set personal goals, generally around a theme (like I'm thinking to start out: Pinterest workout challenges!)

During the month, we encourage each other. At the end of every month, we check in to say if we completed the goal, partially did the goal more than 50%, partially did the goal less than 50%, or dropped out that month.

Then the slate is wiped clean going into the next month. So don't let a not completed month discourage you! (We will keep track, but it doesn't affect the next month in anyway.)

At the end of the year if you've at least partially attempted every month, you're a total success! (And even if you dropped out here or there, we still love you! Ha!)

The idea is to give yearlong motivation. I don't want to do a different goal each month, separate from the rest of the months. Then a busy  month might come, people drop out, and never get back on track. The idea is to commit for YEAR because even if you fall down on it, if you've really tried all year, you're likely to have upped the amount of motivation you have going past that year to live healthily.

That being said, I may allow new people to join each month, with the understanding that they are joining for a year themselves, and they only "succeed" when they complete a year.

ALSO and this is very important: We will work around life changes. Like if you break your leg or get pregnant, get very sick etc. goals are totally allowed to be adjusted around that. You can concentrate on arm exercises, focus on pregnancy safe workouts, focus on getting Vitamin C and plenty of fluids, whatever is necessary. The point of this is to incorporate healthier living into your life, with will always include set backs or course changes. I think most  if not all of us are guilty of having healthy living set backs happen when our lives change, and I'd like this to help us re-adjust our goals, not abandon them, so we stay on track.

But that means, no matter what, you don't have an excuse for dropping out all together. Uh-uh, it's not happening. If 3 people sign up, 3 people will finish. If 40 people sign up, 40 people will finish. And by signing up you give me the right to harass you (in a friendly, encouraging manner) if you go AWAL. Haha.

So you're not sure you can do a year?

You can.

Seriously. You're totally in control of your goals, and partial credit counts. So if you know that ten minutes twice a week is all you can do, then do it. We're game for that. And if you feel like you can't join in on a group challenge, no problem. Just let us know and you'll get your own challenge.

And this is totally not my game. I mean I'll be organizing the communication (I have tons of ideas how we can encourage each others) but you guys are totally part of the process. You see a workout you want to do? Suggest it. You have an idea on how to motivate us? Suggest it. And if you just want to come in and have a goal set for you and then you do it? We're game for that too. We just want you to get healthier, over the course of a year, with us.

That said, this is supposed to be a challenge. So you have to be trying to do more than you are now. Like if you're already running three miles a day, you can't set "run three miles a day" as a goal. But you could do "work up to running 3.5 miles a day by the end of the month" or "maintain 3 miles a day running plus eliminate sugary beverages." Got it?

Tomorrow I'll outline ideas on how we can encourage and communicate with each other. If you're already in, tell me in the comments below your email address or email me at singingpilgrimdancing at gmail dot com with the subject line "I'm IN." Feel free to ask any questions you need answering before committing as well, and I will answer them. We start July 1st.

Are you in?