31 days of fit­ness? Never again

It starts out feel­ing great, then it’s ter­ri­ble, then great again, then com­pletely un­bear­able

StarMetro Vancouver - - DAILY LIFE - Crys­tal Paul

SEAT­TLE—IT be­gan as an of­fice health ini­tia­tive — “The 31Day Well­ness Chal­lenge” tasked par­tic­i­pants with ex­er­cis­ing for 30 min­utes daily for a month, with ex­tra points for try­ing new ac­tiv­i­ties. I had planned to par­tic­i­pate qui­etly on my own, but af­ter an il­lad­vised glass of wine (or three), I posted about the fit­ness chal­lenge on In­sta­gram. That did it. Now I was locked in by so­cial-me­dia ac­count­abil­ity (the worst kind).

The world prob­a­bly does not need an­other “I ate noth­ing but ac­ti­vated char­coal for a month and be­came a mer­maid” story about the lat­est fit­ness craze. And I didn’t plan on writ­ing one. But af­ter work­ing out for 31 days straight, I did learn some­thing: It’s ter­ri­ble. It starts out feel­ing great, then it’s ter­ri­ble, then great again, then com­pletely un­bear­able. Just be­fore day 31, you de­volve into a sweaty fevered mon­ster ooz­ing self-con­grat­u­la­tory “in­spi­ra­tional” fit­ness ad­vice for all the lesser be­ings who didn’t re­cently jump rope and row-ma­chine them­selves into mi­norly mus­cled gym rats ea­ger to post a mus­cle emoji on any slightly fit­ness-re­lated so­cial-me­dia mes­sage.

When I started, I had al­ready been work­ing out pretty reg­u­larly, prob­a­bly five Mindy Kal­ing’s sit­com, The Mindy Project, pro­vided in­spi­ra­tion for the writer, who would climb 102 floors on the Stairmaster in trib­ute to the ti­tle char­ac­ter’s Em­pire State Build­ing trek.

days a week (or three), so what was two more? Be­sides, I was pretty sure I’d magically trans­form body and soul into Be­y­oncé by the end of the month, be­cause that’s what hap­pens when you do one of th­ese kitschy “31 days of some­thing kind of un­pleas­ant/in­con­ve­nient” things, right? As the In­sta­gram likes ac­cu­mu­lated, friends claim­ing in­spi­ra­tion de­cided to join the chal­lenge, and by Day 3 I was cer­tain I would blast through the month like I was in a mon­tage set to Natalie

Im­bruglia’s “Torn.” But by Day 4, the in­spired friends had tapped out, and I was ly­ing cold and shamed on the floor of my apart­ment at­tempt­ing a half-hearted home work­out. That’s when I re­al­ized the only way I was go­ing to make it through the next 27 days was if I made things more in­ter­est­ing. So on Day 5 I went kayak­ing for the first time. On Day 6 I beat down my anti-so­cial ten­den­cies and signed up for a group box­ing class, where I quickly dis­cov­ered that hit­ting things

was my life­long call­ing.

Over the next two weeks I boxed, lifted weights and ran new routes around my neigh­bour­hood. I in­vented games at the gym like a mini “triathlon” — 10-minute in­ter­vals on the tread­mill, row ma­chine and stationary bike — or what I dubbed “The Mindy Chal­lenge” — climb­ing 102 floors on the Stairmaster in hon­our of The Mindy Project hero­ine climb­ing 102 floors to the top of the Em­pire State Build­ing.

More on The Mindy Chal­lenge at thes­tar.com/life

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