If you’re a couple that enjoys the feeling of accomplishment or want to be more active, then you might find this post beneficial. If you’re a couple that is way too busy and don’t have any time, or if you cringe at the word “accountabilibuddy” we recommend that you read a different post (perhaps this one on pre-planned date nights). You also have the option to watch our video on this, which can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the post!
Ok, let’s get to it.
Commit to an exercise challenge for a month. Some samples of what we’ve done during the past year are running, yoga, dancing, walking, and online fitness classes. We wanted to provide you with some resources for each and our antidotes on what we thought of them in attempts to inspire you to take part. Keep scrolling to get to those.
We all have different reasons for why we would want to commit to an exercise challenge, or any other health-related challenge, but we all have the same goal… to be healthier in mind and body. Even between the two of us, we had different reasons for committing to our challenge, which you can read below!
I wanted to start of December with a fresh and healthy mindset. Given the stresses of 2020, I made a goal to myself to exercise more to help relieve some of that stress. Unfortunately for me, at the end of September 2020, I was told I was being laid off after 9.5 years with my company, which was a huge surprise. It hurt, and added even more stress to an already stressful year. With my last day at the end of November, I knew it was important to start December off in a good place mentally. As I learned throughout the year, exercise was a good way to stay in a good mental place. I challenged myself, with Kara’s support, to be good to my body in December, and not wallow. With a commitment to exercise and to my body, I knew I could tackle this transition much more easily, and in a healthier way. I will continue to do so, as I know a healthy body helps lead to a healthy mind.
I’m going to go bullet-style here (because I can!)
- Set healthy habits
- Feel good
- Sustain energy
- Fun memories with my husband
- Achieve a goal
- Have something to work towards
- Get more out of my day/life
- Have a greater capacity to be more productive, I find when I’m active I can get more done in a day
- Doing something for me, and something that I can be proud of
- Endorphins and other chemical releases
Our secret sauce is that we commit together. We are each other’s “accountabilabuddies.” We pick a challenge or activity we know we have the resources and ability to finish. And we plan ahead. We know what the week looks like and set our expectations for when and what specifically we are doing each day for a week. We also allow for some changes but if you have a schedule and set plan, it’s easier to stick to it. It also takes out some of the work of having to plan or schedule it each day. That just gives you more opportunities to be flexible with your time. We also find that having a calendar or a tracker that you can mark off is very motivating.
A TK Tip…Music!
Music is an awesome way to get yourself pumped for physical activity. If you are looking for something fun to add to your workout playlist, you could include “Physical” by either Olivia Newton John or Dua Lipa. But we warn you, it might get stuck in your head. Or “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO
Running is free (minus needing athletic shoes), gets you outdoors, and is a socially distanced way to get the body moving! We can hear the audible groans of people reading about our promotion of running, but trust us, once you get going and build a habit, you won’t want to stop!
Resources: The training schedule I found is from Author Emily Giffin’s sons, George and Edward Blaha. See her instagram post from April 26, 2020 or download a copy of the plan here.
Kara’s Take on Running!
I am not a runner, and have never had a desire to really become a runner. I didn’t understand how people ever got the drive to run 26 miles. BUT I have since had a revelation. I knew Tim used running as a stress reliever during college but he hadn’t really done it much since. However, with COVID and lots of other stressors in 2020, I researched a training schedule to help increase my stamina, and make running feel less like a chore.
Each day, I was able to enjoy small victories while pushing myself further. I loved the feeling of accomplishment after each run, and knowing the next time was going to be easier based on the training schedule. About halfway through I started realizing and appreciating how my body reacted to the increments added each day. By the end of it I was able to run 28 minutes nonstop! Before the training schedule, running 5 minutes straight would have wiped me out. Although I’ll likely never run a marathon (who knows, never say never), I do now see the benefits of running and actually enjoy it.
Tim’s Take on Running!
I haven’t stopped running on a regular basis since May, after Kara researched an amazing training schedule to increase stamina. Anytime the sun is out in Denver, assuming no ice on the roads/sidewalk, I plan on running for at least 30 minutes at a time, with a goal of three times a week. This has been excellent for my stamina, and overall physical health. Mentally, running is used as a stress relief, too. When I had tough days at work, running was my go-to at the end of the day. I needed it, and craved it. It helped me process my day up to that point, and reset for the rest of the evening. I really appreciate treating my body, and brain, well. I’m a little mad at myself for waiting until 2020 to start this regular habit, but now that I have added running to my regular routine, I don’t plan on stopping.
Yoga is great for stretching the body and freeing the mind. You can do simple exercises and stretches, and build up to more active and advanced positions to help keep a sound body and mind. See our takes below!
Resources: We’ve found yoga classes to attend using the following:
- MINDBODY app or online
- Google search for local studios (lots of times the studios have a first time deal for a week or two of unlimited classes)
- Obé Fitness
- Kara also just asked her coworkers for recommendations, and turns out one of them teaches yoga, so she was able to schedule a private session with them
- Ordered Yoga DVDs from Amazon
Kara’s Take on Yoga!
Don’t be intimidated by all the very flexible and bendy photos you might see on social media! Remember, those are very experienced yogis — I’m not even close to their level. Before the start of this year, I only used an at home video of Yoga for seniors, because I knew I was nowhere close to being able to do “real yoga”. However, this year I’ve learned that yoga is the least judgmental practice. Nothing is expected of you besides doing what your body is telling you is comfortable and within your abilities. I also learned that not all yoga classes require the amount of flexibility or balance that you may see in stock photos or videos. Heck, my heels still don’t touch the ground during downward dog, but my body gets the benefits from the movement and stretches while my mind feels at ease from the practice.
Tim’s Take on Yoga!
Kara got me into Yoga almost 4 years ago. Although I still consider myself a beginner, even the most basic stretches and exercises, along with the breathing patterns, help me focus on myself for 20-30 minutes. I have difficulty thinking about my own wellbeing sometimes, so it’s nice to just focus on me during these exercises. I will be 34 soon, so any stretches and exercises that I can do to not make me feel old is a big plus. Yoga has helped with that! I feel I have graduated a bit since the start, moving up from yoga that’s marketed to seniors, to online and virtual classes where the exercises are more rapid and transitions are done at a quicker pace.
We weren’t as great with this one. We did this a couple times a week in June, even though we planned on doing it everyday. We did this as a lunch time activity while working from home, and the instructors were energetic and had simple moves for us to follow. Tim is still very uncoordinated, and will likely never be a professional dancer (don’t quit on your dreams!), but the quick movements and constant moving is great cardio, and helps break an easy sweat.
Resources: We really appreciate The Boss Family Workouts – you can tell they love dance and they get joy by teaching others. They consistantly “go-live” on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 10am PT. If you can’t catch one of their live workouts on Instagram or Facebook, they save the posts so you can view later. Or you can visit their YouTube channel so see all the posts (however if you watch on YouTube you won’t be able to experience the fabulous music mixes that TWitch puts together). Or if you just want to watch some very impressive dance routines, you can watch the two of them dance here.
When lock down orders started in mid-March 2020, we started the three-a-day walks. Our apartment complex is an easy walk, about 12 minutes around the whole complex, so it’s easy to complete and have a goal. Extrapolate that to three times a day before work, lunch, and after work, and you have at least 36 minutes of moving before your night begins, at which time we would consider more strenuous exercise. The 3-a-days helped keep our minds balanced, and not solely on work, while also providing our body the movement needed to stay sane. We were, after all, in our apartment for about 24 hours a day during this time. Although we no longer do the three a days, we have adjusted to longer walk routines during lunch, given we have less hours of sunshine in the winter months.
In December we decided to commit to 25 Days of Fitmas. Where we worked out each day leading up to Christmas. We knew the holidays were going to come with extra sweets and wine and we wanted to get healthy leading into 2021 (a pre-New Year resolution).
Resources: We decided to sign up for Obé Fitness for the workouts. They provide Live Instructor classes or they have a giant library of On-Demand classes. The classes range from 10 min, 28 min, or 45 min. They also range from strength conditioning to cardio and a mix. With COVID restrictions still ongoing, Obé Fitness helps us stay fit in the comfort and safety of our own home! Use this link for a 2 week free guest pass! We also created a fun countdown calendar to keep us accountable!
Tim’s Take on Online Fitness!
I was hesitant at first when Kara approached me with the 25 days of Christmas Fitness starting on 12/1/20. Although I had been to online Yoga classes, I’ve never been involved in any other type of fitness classes. After a couple online classes with Obé, I washed away the hesitation (with sweat) and realized how fun and awesome these classes can be, and right in the comfort of home (where no one can see my lack of coordination). The instructors are active and easy to follow, and the different types of classes bring fresh exercises each time you join. These are also nice during the winter months when it’s a bit too cold to go outside on a run, or if there’s snow on the ground, or since it gets dark at 4:30, essentially right after work. Hooray to Obé!
Kara’s Take on Online Fitness!
I think it’s great that it can be done anywhere (we can even download the videos and watch when we don’t have wifi). I find it helpful that it’s so flexible with my schedule. Plus I feel hip and cool using Obé Fitness and the instructors bring the energy! It’s a great work out and not a huge time commitment. I mean, who doesn’t want to get very sweaty?