Image credit: fouroAny normal health blogger writing about a "fitness challenge" would first propose a laudable fitness goal, break it down into small steps, and then urge everyone to join along and see how much we can all accomplish together!
But hey, this is Cranky Fitness. Those of you expecting a sincere, helpful, motivational pep-talk about Striving and Achieving and a nudge towards Doing your Utmost--where the heck did you wander in from? Maybe you were googling "big fat ass," "flat belly diet," or "fitness porn?" (Three of our most popular search terms--we're so proud!)
Anyway, you may have noticed that there are a lot of fitness challenges out there in blogland. They've got the "Couch to 10-K" and the "100 Push-Ups Challenge" and the "Nine Zillion Sit-Ups Challenge" and whatever. From what I can tell, these things work really well for most people. Fitness challenges may seem grueling at times, and not everyone finishes, but the majority of y'all seem to get pretty pumped about taking them on and quite pleased about succeeding. (Our own Merry Sunshine, for example, triumphed over the 100 Push Up Challenge. Hooray!)
However, I am not Merry Sunshine. I too saw lots of posts about 100 push ups, but this did not motivate me to do 100 push ups. A hundred is a big number.
No, this is not Crabby, but it's exactly how the prospect of 100 push-ups makes her feel.
Most importantly, rigorous physical fitness challenges are prohibited by my religion, Crankyism.
I admit, it's tough to be a devout Crankyist. Crankyism requires the ritual wearing of Slankets, the consumption of virtuous but unappealing vegetables balanced by the enjoyment of celebratory cupcakes, and frequent attendance at the Church of The Most Holy Gymnasium.
Crankyism also has demanding rules of conduct. Too much slacking is a sin! On the other hand, there is a strict prohibition against partaking in activities that sound exceptionally unpleasant. And a hundred push-ups, or 200 sit-ups, or 26 miles of running all in a row, rather than sensibly spread out over a couple of weeks? That would violate my religious principles.
However, even a devout Crankyist is sometimes tempted by cool-sounding challenges. What to do?
For anyone thinking of abandoning their cheerful go-get-'em approach to physical fitness and taking up Crankyism instead, you may need some guidance in situations like this. So I'm proposing a different sort of challenge...
The Cranky Fitness Resistance Challenge! No, this kind of "resistance training" had nothing to do with building your muscles by lifting big-ass heavy things. It simply calls for you to resist taking part in the next fitness challenge that comes along.
I did it; you can too. Peer inside the brain of Crabby McSlacker (acck! it's weird in there!) and discover the exact process by which I was able to resist a recent Fitness Challenge Temptation myself.
The temptation: The 100 Burpee Challenge. (What is a burpee? See the video below).
The temptress: Hoop, who commented on Merry's water cooler post and led me to the evil, evil Burpee Challenge site. But what should I expect from a woman who plays rugby and throws people out of widows? (Or perhaps that's not what she meant by 'defenestration?') Anyway, she sounds way too fit and fierce for me to be taking exercise advice from.
Why The Challenge is So Tempting:
1. I can do burpees! I even did some on our recent cross-country trip, at rest stops, to the amusement of squabbling families and truckers on their lunch breaks. (Note: bring gardening gloves if you want to seriously try this.)
2. I watched this video demonstration which convinced me that if I could just do more, better burpees, then I too would be muscular, fit, attractive and 20 years younger. (And watch the whole thing if you want to know why I really got jealous. I want to be able to do that cool ring thing!)
3. The challenge starts off with just one Burpee, and works day by day up to 100. So I got the first week or two nailed already!
4. Maybe I could turn it into a Blog Thing and get a bunch of us doing Burpees together. And then you guys would tell all your friends, and then some famous actress would google "Burpee Challenge" and get mine instead of the real one, and she'd tell Oprah about it, and pretty soon Cranky Fitness would be famous too and well on it's way to World Domination!
Oh my goodness, this is really starting to sound tempting now! What to do?
Hmm.... I know that doing "negatives" is really helpful trick in breaking through other sorts of "resistance" plateaus, like when you're struggling with pull-ups... let's try that concept here and see if going negative will help!
Bring it On!
There must lots of reasons not to try to do 100 Burpees. Yep, now that I'm properly negatively motivated, they're coming fast and furious.
1. After the first 3 or so, I hate burpees! I kinda forgot that. Do I seriously think that burpee number 67, for example, is going to be more fun than burpee number 4?
2. I will probably give up and fail anyway! Even cool people sometimes do. For example Shauna, the Amazing Diet Girl, failed the 100 Push-Up Challenge. True, she had a good reason, which was because she was already doing a bunch of other things like weight training and kickboxing classes. As she explained: "We always do heaps of push ups at kickboxing and I hated looking pissweak in class because I'd fried my arms the night before doing the Hundred Push Up Challenge."
(Note to self: must start working the expression "pissweak" into conversations, it's a winner!)
3. I still haven't accomplished the last challenge I set for myself, almost a year ago, which was to complete one freakin' unassisted pull-up. (I did one chin up though... before I started slacking on the cross-country trip and I can't even do that anymore). Ironically, the thing that's got me stalled with the damn pull-ups, in addition to general laziness, is that I hate negatives, which seem to be critical. Too bad I seem to embrace all things negative except actual negatives!
4. The Burpee Challenge participants themselves are making a great case for staying way the hell away. I mean, sure, there are some who are cruising through all empowered and shit, but a lot of them are dropping out from serious injuries or abject misery. (One of my favorite posts on that site is a break up letter to Burpees, but alas its author Frankie is not a Crankyist and apparently perseveres anyway.)
5. The 100 day challenge is almost over! No way in hell I'm jumping in on day 95 or whatever and trying to make up for lost time.
Whew! I feel so invigorated now! Success!!!! I have no residual desire to start doing daily burpees.
How about you folks, do you like fitness challenges? Do they motivate you? Or are there any other Crankyists out there who won't go near 'em?