monthly challenges recap: june edition

Welcome to the sixth installment of the 2014 Monthly Challenges Recap, and quite possibly the last. I’ll explain towards the end of the post.

10409427_10152540597688474_7698136362598907994_nAs a reminder, my June goals were as follows:

1. 30 Day Arm Challenge:


So I started strong on this one, but eventually got bored, due in part to finding the first few days of this program to be less than challenging. I started combining days (i.e. doing Days 1, 2, and 3 all in one day, etc.).  I never felt like I fully committed to it because of how I randomized the completion of this challenge through my creative execution. Conservatively I’d say that I completed 15 of the 25 active days of this program.  Mission not accomplished. But, as challenges go, this one wasn’t all that challenging. So… meh.

2. Bruce Lee Challenge:



Like challenge #1, this one started strong. I followed the calendar exactly. Even when my condo was registering 94 degrees Fahrenheit, I still got my Bruce Lee on. Next Bruce and I left for NYC for four days. Doing the challenge in the tiny NYC hotel room was interesting, but it got done. And then I continued on once I got to Toronto. Then the wheels fell off the bus the week of the 15th. I only did 2 of the 5 workouts scheduled. That trend carried forward to last week, when I repeated my 2 of 5 scheduled programs again. In my defense, I did jump head first into a really tough weight lifting program, called StrongLifts 5×5, which got my primary attention. Also, I will sheepishly admit that I have done more running in the 9 days since publishing my breaking-up-with-running post than I had in the previous 2 months. So between running and lifting, I shirked on kicking.

I decided to make up for the missed workouts by completing Bruce’s Day 30 program climax: 1,000 kicks, 1000 punches and 120 push ups. So, yeah, after that little Kung Fu extravaganza, I’m declaring this a successful mission.

3. More Movement:

My goal for June was to hit a minimum of 10,000+ steps per day for at least 24 of the 30 days in June, something which was proving to be a challenge for me in my WFH-but-sit-in-front-of-a-laptop-all-day routine.


I think I’m most excited about this one because this challenge was all about addressing what had become a VERY sedentary lifestyle since I went back to work in January. Outside of intentional workout time, I was getting little to no movement until well after 6pm. My goal was to get at least half of my steps in outside my formal exercise routines, making the workouts just gravy. And… MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!  I had well over 10,000 steps on 25 of 30 days in June, and just hit my 500 mile badge on the FitBit (lifetime miles since I started wearing it in February). Yay me! Where’s my cake???

Change in Direction?… Maybe.

In 2013 I had a clear plan: workout for 365 consecutive days. Towards the latter half of the year I decided to start keeping track of exactly what I was doing to get all sweaty each day. In retrospect, I wish I had done it from the get go. I introduced the idea of a weekly workout summary in this post here. These posts were tagged clearly so that those not super interested in the specifics of how I got my sweat on could just skip right over the updates.

2014 arrived, my 365-day challenge was complete, and I struggled to find my groove on how to set new goals for myself.

At the end of January, I finally shared what my plans for 2014 were. I would be setting ‘big challenges’ for myself each month and then reporting back on the success of those challenges. The only problem with this system was that it gave me a built-in ‘out’. By not declaring the goal up front there was no risk of having to report failure on missed goals.

Seeing the flaw, in April I decided to get more bold about declaring monthly challenges BEFORE I set out to pursue the goals. This felt like something that would drive a lot more accountability. And it did. The only problem was that it also felt very forced. I found myself struggling to come up with a list of challenges each month since then. Not fun.

So I’m at a bit of a crossroads here. I’m thinking that if my goal is to prove to myself and others that I’m actually maintaining this healthy lifestyle and working out every day (give or take a few), then why not just return to my old Weekly Workout Summary format, and be done with it? That’s not to say I won’t have monthly challenges, it just takes the pressure off having to make a circus of it every month. I’m not yet convinced one way or another. But for now, I’d rather just stay committed to being active every day, and picking up challenges that pique my interest as they come up.

Stay tuned…


Normally at this point in the monthly challenge recap I would share the full Bad-Ass Round-up. The truth is, I’m crunched for time, and doing a thorough round up of all the awesome stuff you guys are up to is a lot of work, involving a ton of online sleuthing. So I apologize in advance for a very abbreviated Monthly Bad Ass Round-up.


I was able to copy/paste these awesome challenge-takers from the June challenge declaration post. I know there are more. And I’m so sorry I can’t link to y’all.

If you took on a challenge in the month of June, please leave a comment, linking to your challenge summary post – or just leave a comment describing your challenge. I love reading about your awesome and bad ass accomplishments!

Carry on warriors!

Keep moving!

xoxo nancy

44 thoughts on “monthly challenges recap: june edition

  1. your June challenges have been more sucessful than mine.

    I got bored with my arm challenge too…but switched midway to some new challenges so I am not to worried about not finishing june as prescribed…

    Bruce lee challenge is awesome well done 😀

    I liked your weekly workout round up (I have blatantly stolen it as an idea) I think it is a good way to keep yourself accountable without having to declare success or failure every month. But I also like the challenges, I am just leaning away from the multi reps of the same thing challenges…

    (woohoo thank you for making me a badass…I am never getting used to it, I am constantly surprised and pleased 😀 )

    • Sam, once again you’ve shed the light and provided total clarity on what my issue has been the past couple of monthly challenges: the repetitive nature of those challenges bores the crap out of me. I’m too ADD to do the same thing every single day. Thank you for helping me realize that’s a big part of the problem!

      The other piece though is that I hate the pressure of having to decide what I’m going to do ALL MONTH at the beginning of that month. It’s enough to know I’m committed to doing good, hard exercise virtually every day. Why do I need to say specifically which type I’ll do?

      I like to take on a specific challenge when I feel inspired to do so. Or when the timing makes it logistically possible. i.e. I knew I wanted to do the rim to river hike, but had to wait until I was in Vegas and had the vacation time. I have a bunch of other crazy-ass hikes that I’ve shortlisted – but it’s just the logistics now, so I can’t declare them challenged in a specific month until I know, within that month, that I am there and have the time.

      Anyway – I think I’m reverting to weekly workout summary posts, because I know some readers read this blog for weightloss/fitness inspiration, and I don’t want them to think I’m off track with any of that (I’m not). And then, if I’m inspired to do big (or crazy) things in any given month, I’ll blog about those in individual posts (like I used to do in 2013).

      You have helped me immensely, Sam, to see through the muddy waters I’ve been navigating.


      • 😀 I am glad I could help!

        I have been thinking about the same things! I want to do challenges because they interest me and are going to provide me with a challenge.
        my end goal for a challenge has got to be more than just an increase in reps, and a slight increase in specific muscular endurance 🙂
        Setting a challenge because you have to is not very inspiring!
        I should really write a post about this too…and why I don’t think I failed at Junes challenges, even though I didn’t complete any of them…

        😀 xxx

      • I had a dream that we created a new blog that we regularly contributed to (similar to that Fit, Feminist, Almost 50, or whatever that blog was called) where multiple women were contributing. Between the two of us, endless fodder. 🙂

        And I agree 100%, it’s not a failure when you make a conscious choice not to finish something because you have valid reasons for wanting to prioritize on something else. It’s not as if you (or I) abandoned the challenges so we could sit on the sofa and eat bonbons.

      • exactly!
        choosing to focus on something else is not failure 🙂
        unless it is as you say…sitting on the sofa eating bonbons…or possibly my possibly year of pizza and cake!

        We would have endless blog material!! That would be awesome!

  2. I was worried that this was some sort of farewell post. 😦 As far as the challenges, life does get in the way at times, especially during the summer months. I think that challenges are an excellent way to prepare for events and/or keeping us motivated during the fall and winter doldrums. You don’t have anything to prove, so just keep on keeping on. And yeah, more videos of your hiking expeditions and colorful commentary are welcome. 🙂

    • I’m sorry I had you worried. 😛

      It’s not so much that life gets in the way of challenge completion. That would be an excuse, and we don’t do excuses ’round these parts. 🙂 Sam nailed it on the head in her comment (and see my AHA moment in my response to her). It’s that the repetitive challenges (which most 30 day challenges tend to be, for obvious reasons) bore me silly.

      I hate the idea that readers think because I didn’t complete a 30 day challenge on doing karate kicks every day that I wasn’t crazy active and still focuses on fitness and health. I just got so BORED of the 45 mins+ it would take to finish 680 kicks, etc), especially if it came AFTER a gym workout or a long hike, etc.

      I think, for some reason, I felt like I needed to change my format up in year two, when in reality the 2013 weekly workout summaries combined with individual posts about workouts that seemed more of a ‘big deal’ to me was a winning combo.

      It’s the forced feeling of having to say at the beginning of a month exactly what I’m going to do that month that trips me up. And I pick things that sound like they might be interesting, only to find myself dreading that same stupid workout day in, day out. So, I think it’s safe to say that the 30-day repetitive challenges are being retired, and that the 2013 format will return starting next week.

      Onward (as I said so often during my rim-to-river hike video). 🙂

      • Are you kidding me? I had one of the best blogging days ever yesterday and you decide to up and go? 😉 I understand and agree with your sentiments about the challenges. They become a chore and somewhat of a wet towel over my enthusiasm to work out. I’d rather do what I do, the when I feel like it, post my methods and results.

  3. Thank you for making me a bad-ass again, I feel honoured when it happens! I’m just happy to read that you’re carrying on with your commitment to fitness and health, and that you will continue blogging – I’m another one who was a little worried that this was turning into a goodbye post!

    • You, my dear, are a bad ass. You show up. You do what it takes, even when it’s not fun. Even when it takes you out of your comfort zone. You have taken responsibility for your life and your health. You are holding yourself accountable. You are a bad ass. xoxo

      • Aw thanks, you’re making me blush now! I wish I knew what had shifted in my head to make me want to keep trying even when it’s difficult or when I slip – if I could bottle it I’d make a fortune!

      • You and me both. Rob (weighttolose) asked me about my decision to take on the 365 day challenge in Jan 2013, and I couldn’t explain what clicked for me that day, but I knew that was the moment I was changing my life.

  4. Nicely done, Nancy! I just finished reading a book called Forever Fat loss, and the main emphasis of it was the powerful effects of just increasing your overall movement throughout the day… Not adding workouts or anything like that, but increasing moving time and decreasing sedentary time. So in terms of that challenge, I think you are definitely on to something.
    As far as the other two… Love that you had a big giant Bruce Lee blowout at the end of the month, and I’m sure that arm challenge would get redundant to me. Plus paired with SL… Well, at least in my world, the day after heavy lifting, sometimes even a handful of push ups is out of the question.
    I love reading weekly wrap ups. It’s a mini addiction of mine. I say go for it 🙂

    • Thank you, ma’am! This direction feels right for me.

      Those findings from Forever Fat Loss are interesting, but not entirely surprising. I think it just makes sense that more movement throughout the day would be beneficial. Not to take away from formal workouts — those will always be a part of my daily schedule — but in addition. I’m committed to getting to those 10,000 steps each day, even if it means marching around my family room at 10 pm while watching tv. 🙂

  5. Go you! I would say that you deserve a gold star (and a pizza) for the month. You’re a perpetual motion kick ass (bad ass) machine. Hiii-Yahhh!

  6. Onward! Yes, I do think of you when I hear that word now. 🙂 Of all your goals from last month #3 has got to be the best, I love it. As I am struggling to fit structured exercise into my new daily routines I keep repeating the same thing in my head – just keep moving and it will all be ok. 🙂

    • Just keep moving and IT WILL all be okay, Lisa. I don’t have any scientific data to support what I’m about to say but… I truly believe that if people just did two things: 1. Cut out sugary drinks, and 2. Just move every day – that the obesity problem in North America would significantly decline.

      • I agree 100%, Nancy. Our local school district has set up some new, slightly controversial, programs to promote these two ideas. The elementary kids all get activity trackers like fitbits and curriculum in PE that promotes healthy activity and movement. They’ve also banned sugary drinks from vending machines and don’t allow birthday treats in the classrooms. I’m so happy! One step at a time…

      • That’s awesome, Lisa! I’ll bet they’d have a tougher time instituting those practices in the southern states. Again, could be wrong about that; just my gut opinion.
        So great that pockets are starting to move towards healthier mandates.

  7. Nancy,
    Maggie and I are out walking each morning before I head off to work in the beige & brown 70’s cube farm. Since this new routine, thanks to your challenge, Maggie, has had only one accident in the house. I blamed myself for not reminder her that this time was set aside for her potty business and not reading the pmail. Since then all has been deposited outside. Funny thing is, I have less to clean up in the backyard…but more poop bags in the trash can. When the weather gets cold I can uses them as hand warmers. I would call that a success!

  8. Nancy – I think you hit the nail on the head for me too. I’ve never been inspired to set monthly goals for exercise outside of any training plan I had for a race. I would get too bored – fast. In fact, that’s the reason why I always scheduled a race. My attention span is too short and I need the focus of a race date to keep to a training plan, otherwise I would slide back into *slug* mode. A fixed date on a committed race keeps my workouts honest.
    I guess we all need a different formula that works for us … the magic is finding the right one!! It seems that you’re closer to finding yours …. it’s the spontaneity of the moment. You’ve already embraced the concept of *sweating* every day. How you chose to do it *today* is actually not important – as long as you do 🙂

    • I just don’t like the idea of having to scramble to declare exactly what it is I’m going to so each month. The 30- day challenge things are an easy out, because someone else took the guesswork out if it — but good God they’re boring. Honestly 300 squats in one sitting?? 800 karate kicks, then 840 the next day?? It’s way to repetitive for my ADD personally. I’m taking the pressure off myself to do something that feels unnatural just so I can feel like I’ve held myself accountable? What nonsense! I have held myself accountable everyday for 18 months now. Time to start respecting myself enough not to worry that I’m not impressing others.

      Thanks Joanne for your support! ps I responded to your email. Hope you enjoyed Canada Day!

  9. I love my fitbit. I have had it for 2 years so I haven’t received a badge in a while… when you mentioned your 500 mile badge I was like, did I hit that? Somehow I managed to miss that I got the 28,000 flights of stairs climbed badge in March. Those badges are great motivators! You did great on your monthly challenges!

  10. To me, the baddest of bad ass is recognizing what works and doing that–even if it means a little backpedaling. You kick ass Nancy . . . plain and simple. Peace, John

  11. I have to tell you in all seriousness, I find you very inspiring. I especially love/admire that your program (for lack of a better word) evolves, and you aren’t too hard on yourself if you take two steps back during a challenge. Want to be my life coach? lol #kiddingnotkidding

  12. Well, you should take me off your badass list because I didn’t accomplish one thing on my list….it was another crazy hectic month. I did and still do drink green smoothies every morning but that has just become habit now. I do have a July goal though that I plan to post soon, maybe tmrw 🙂
    I like your new plan….I think I’m gonna break from the monthly challenges as well.

    • You have, understandably, had other priorities these past weeks. Not a single person could fault you for focusing on the big stuff you have going on. xoxo

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