Man, that week sure flew by quickly!
But in all seriousness, you might be wondering where I’ve been. Which is fair. Nosey, but fair. So, just for you, I’ll give you a quick recap before my actual post. These past few months have been a little crazy. I’ve started school, found out I have hypothyroidism (which is always a fun thing to find out), got a new puppy, and have been settling into married life.
But I haven’t stopped working out:
In fact, working out is the most consistent and one of the best parts of my day. I love it so much that several days of the week I go twice a day.
Now, the reason I’ve gathered you all here today is because it is time to get back on track.
For me that means: posting on my blog more regularly, because that’s part of how I’m going to achieve my dreams and becoming more strict with my diet. No more “one more cookie,” or “I can have extra of this or that because I worked so hard.” It is time to stop making excuses and own up to what I have or have not done these past two months. And it’s time for you to do so as well.
No one else is going to tell you to stop eating those Cheetos. We need to tell ourselves “No more snacking.” We need to tell ourselves it’s time to go to bed to get to work on time tomorrow and not watch one more episode. It’s time to look in the mirror and take the blame ourselves, and realize that the reason we haven’t achieved X, Y, or Z is because of our own decisions we make each day––not what anyone else has done.
So this week, whatever your goals are, crush them. If you want to stop eating sugar, stop. If you want to finish all of your work on time and have it done well, do it. You need to eat a pound of vegetables because you haven’t had a single bite of vegetables in a year? Shove that broccoli butt into your mouth. You wanna lose a pound? Then lace up your tennis shoes.
We need to give 120% this week or we don’t need to bother showing up. Give the 120% that you can each day. You might not be able to give the same 120% that you give yesterday, but you gotta give today all that you have. Or else, what’s the point?
Let’s take this week to rediscover whatever it is that motivates us. Is it your dreams that push you? Your family? To prove something to yourself or others? Take two minutes this week to re-find your motivation. You can do this by getting a pen and a piece of paper and writing down what you want to accomplish and why. Then hang it in a place where you have to see it several times a day. The fridge is always a good place, I know I go there a lot. So is the bathroom, I’m there a lot too (Gotta hit that water intake goal).
With this cold weather, it becomes pretty easy to convince ourselves to stay indoors and break into the left over Halloween candy (the leftovers that we did not pass out for this exact purpose). Not that I’ve ever done that. We’re not doing that this winter are we? Nope. This winter is going to be different in the Ledingham/Fraser household, and hopefully different in yours too.
Each week I have decided to throw out two challenges that will hopefully make us grow both physically and as people. So, let’s challenge each other this week:
For the next seven days I challenge you to do a hundred squats with me every day.
“Olivia, why are you trying to kill me?”
“I’m not. I’m trying to save you, okay?”
Why should you do this challenge with me? What good could possibly come out of any of this mess I have thrown before you?
1.) It will increase your strength.
This is kind of a “duh” one. Of course, they do, especially with added weight. Squats help build muscle in your hamstrings, quads, and glutes. And, depending on the variation of the squats you’re doing it can target one of those muscle groups more than the others.
2.) Exercise increases confidence.
Conquering anything, no matter how big or small, always makes you feel like a boss. This challenge is easy enough that you can have it done in no time flat, but just hard enough to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.
3.) The last, and most popular reason among women (or whoever, whatever you’re into. You do you), is it will give you a great butt.
Is it going to happen in a week? No, crafting beautiful things take time. But if you start here, don’t give up, and eventually move on to squatting with a bar (combined with other weighted exercises), I promise something will come from it. You are not going to “bulk up.” Instead of bulking up (which takes a lot of knowledge and a TON of effort) you will slim down and become much more firm.
You wanna know a secret? You don’t even have to do the hundred squats straight. You can do ten at a time, five at a time, fifty at a time. I don’t care how you do them, as long as you do them. Dalen likes to do them straight without any rest, because he’s a weirdo. I’m not a masochist, so I break them up. Just don’t forget about them!
(Because I can’t have you dying on me.) For the sake of simplicity, I am going to do a regular squat [because I tend to make stupid faces when lifting, who doesn’t? Pro tip: If you’re going to take form photos for the internet do it before your workout so you don’t look like a ragamuffin]:
1.) Lead with your butt.
Start with your feet about shoulder width apart. Now, think about how you sit down in a chair. (Yes, I know this is a weird request.) You send your butt backwards, and you stop once your thighs are parallel to your knees, right? Now pretend to sit down in a chair again. Now do it again. You’ve just done three squats! Congratulations! Now, give me 97 more.
Tip: Sometimes, to make sure I am going low enough, I have my backside brush the edge of a sturdy chair of some kind-usually my couch.
2.) Focus on the muscles being used.
For example: when I am doing calf-raises, I focus solely on that and pushing it to its full extent. Focus on your glutes, quads, and hamstrings for this exercise. Try to keep them tensed to really activate the muscle when doing this movement. (Tense everything like you’re on a road trip and there isn’t a bathroom for the next twenty miles)
3.) But Olivia, can my knees go over my toes?
I would prefer it if they didn’t. That’s it. Move along.
Okay, fine. A lot of people say it is a myth that your knees shouldn’t go over your toes, but behind every myth there is truth. Proper form is sending your hips backwards on your descent, and it would be hard to do that if you’re leading with your knees. Our knees can handle a lot of weight, yes, but to truly do the exercise properly (and to get the results we want) it’s best to keep our knees back behind our toes.
4.) On the way up.
While still focusing on keeping those muscles we talked about tensed throughout the whole exercise, push your weight back up driving your heels into the ground. Imagine you are trying to break through the ground with your heels and really shove them into the floor.
Awesome job! You’ve just done more physical exercise than most Americans will do in the whole year.
[If this challenge is too easy for you it doesn’t mean you’re exempt from suffering with the rest of us. I plan on doing weighted squats (either at home with dumbbells, or at the gym with the bar) with as much weight as I can to constantly push and improve myself, and I hope you push yourself too this week. Keep moving forward, don’t stay stagnant.]
There––that should be enough to convince you to do as I say. But in all seriousness, I challenged you to do this with me for a week, because sometimes all we need is a little push and for someone to believe in us to get the ball rolling.
I remember when I first started working out––I mean all the way back, years ago, to the very first time––I had no clue what I was doing. I did what I thought people did: curls and sit-ups. And on again and off again I would workout with the one pair of ten-pound weights that I begged my dad to buy me at Goodwill.
Over the years, my dumbbell collection slowly grew, as did my home workout knowledge, but I still kept giving up. I did this on again and off again, until I built up the confidence to go to the gym for the first time. And I fell in love with it. Though it took me a little while longer after that to say enough is enough, and put myself first, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am right now if I hadn’t experimented all of those years and found something I loved to do and would stick with. (I’ve even stopped quitting permanently.)
Since I know every one of you is more than capable of doing the challenge above, here’s your next challenge. At some point in the next seven days I challenge you, yes you, to do one nice thing for someone else and to keep it anonymous. It doesn’t have to be huge, I’m not asking you to buy someone a car. But do one thing for someone else (bonus points if you do not know the person, or do not know them well). Let’s step a little out of our comfort zone this week, and help make someone else’s day a little bit brighter, because we never know what someone else is going through.
I hope this post encourages you and challenges you to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. I hope I can help push you in a way that my young self could have used just as all of you lovely people push me to be better everyday. Let’s be like Scarlett this week, who never stops trying to eat sharp objects (like tacks she randomly finds on the floor) or who doesn’t stop doing something after being told “No” a thousand times. Never give up, and never listen to the haters when they tell you that you can’t do something. (Unless you’re eating a tack, then you should probably listen.)
1.) I’m obviously not a doctor:
Everything you do, do at your own risk. I’m just a girl who’s seen some results.
2.) Also, I have no money even if you did decide to sue me.
Finally, please subscribe to the blog! New content every week-ish! If you have any questions I would be more than happy to answer them! If you feel uncomfortable posting a question down below, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to speak with you!