Some Thoughts on My Peak Challenge

Just like I had suspected a few weeks ago I didn’t chronicle every day of the My Peak Challenge program I’ve signed up for. I did post a bit on the closed Facebook group, where a lot of discussion and motivation and inspiration is going on, but following up with posts and discussions there got a bit overwhelming. And for any future reference (even if it’s just for myself) I thought I’d share some thoughts about my experience so far here on my own blog.

#1 My Peak Challenge is awesome.
It’s the first fitness / lifestyle program I’ve actually stuck with for more than just a few days in the last 15 or so years. Maybe I was just in the right kind of mind space this time? Either way it just works very well for me, even though I’m not following it too religiously, especially the meal/food plan. I knew changing my eating habits more than just trying to stay below a certain calories count, would possible set me up for failure quickly. Getting used to working out more regularly proved change enough for me.

But just by trying to be a bit more aware of what I eat and starting to work out more I lost around 4.5 kilogram (= 10 pounds) in the last two months. Some of clothes fit better and I feel fitter. It helps that all exercises can be done at home without (much of) equipment or machines. I bought some small stuff like an resistance band and an aerobic step in the mean time, but that’s about it. I love that the program is so scalable and each exercise is offered in various levels for the ones who haven’t worked out in ages as well as for the ones who have worked out before. The way the program is set up I also see progress from week to week.

In all honesty I should also admit that, the fact, that Sam Heughan is one of the people behind the whole program, of course was and still is another reason which keeps me going. I’m a huge fan after all and to be part of something he’s personally involved with and to support his chosen charity with the fees I’ve paid for the program, is a nice experience and feels good.

But all in all I most surprised how nice it feels to see my own progress in the workouts. Because it makes me feel accomplished and make me feel good about myself. It’s something I haven’t felt too often recently, at least not about fitness and my body and such.

#2 Working out is hard (for me at least).
I’m not even talking about the actual act of working out. Because that’s supposed to be hard and suppose to make you sweat and that actually feels good and makes me feel good, once I’m done. But getting there…. Putting on the workout clothes and doing the warm up and the drills and the exercises, that’s something I’m still struggling with. When I get home from work I’ve often been out of the house for over 10 hours (work + commute + errands) and my first impulse often is to spend the rest of the evening curled up on my sofa with a book or watching TV. My idea of unwinding after a long day was and still is “being lazy”. Being a world class procrastinator doesn’t help much either, because there are so many other things I could/should do (check social media once again, watch Six Nations Rugby, finally writing this blog post here) before I change into workout clothes and finally do the workout of the day.

For the first few weeks in January I was motivated enough to actually keep up with the official workout / active recovery / rest day schedule and worked out after work on the assigned days. But then work and life got busier again and I felt exhausted more often when I got home. Add some other things that weighed heavy on my mind (changes at work, state of US politics), and my mind is worrying too much even in good and peaceful times and I started slipping in my workout routine. The first time it happened I was tempted to just skip the scheduled workouts and continue with the program as it went on. But then I also realized that – knowing me – this would also set me on a path to quitting the whole thing soon as well. In the past I tended to give up on things because I told myself “I can’t do something and it will never work anyway” and I was afraid that by skipping workouts I’d start on the slippery slope into that mindset. So instead of skipping workouts to keep up with the “official” workout schedule I regarded the days as additional days off and kept going with doing the workouts one after the other, just not in sync wit the official schedule any more.

Being too exhausted or busy or just too distracted by things on my mind to do the workouts happened a few more times since then. I still didn’t give up, but kept going through the motions on my own pace, which by now sets me about two weeks behind the official schedule. But that’s ok, because… 

#3 My Peak Challenge taught me to go easy on myself.
Which is another surprise effect of signing up for it. It might have to do with seeing all the other participants sharing their stories and failures and success in the Facebook group. It might have to do with the progress I’ve noticed in the first few weeks already and knowing that I can do it, even if I take a few additional days off. I admit the first time I hit a slump (week 3) and took some days off I was beating myself up about it for a while and worried about what it would mean and if I really could/should go on. The 2nd (and kind of even 3rd) time this happened these past few days  I’ve been much more relaxed about it. Because I know as long as I keep going – even if it’s at slower pace than the official program –  I’m doing something for myself. I’m improving my health and my fitness and with it also my state of mind. One step at a time. And that’s all that matters…

Thank you for this amazing experience so far, My Peak Challenge. Sam, John, Jordana and everyone involved. You are amazing! xoxo

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