3 Week Challenge – Day 7 and 8

Sorry to all of you who read my blog every day, but I decided to skip writing for a day. So today’s blog is going to be two days in one! Isn’t that exciting!? No, didn’t think so.
Anyway, Day 7 wasn’t really anything special. Neck pain = no push ups, finished the rest, etc.

  • Jumping Jacks: 100/100
  • Push Ups: N/A
  • Sit Ups: 100/100
  • Squats: 100/100

But what I really wanted to talk about was Day 8.

In the morning, I decided to look up what might be the cause of my neck pain, since the pain seemed to be spreading to my shoulder as well. I figured, it would be easier to find a solution if I actually knew what the problem was. What I found was that it could be one of 3 things (probably). It could be a muscle strain, which makes sense, it could be a pinched nerve, which also makes sense, and it could also be bleeding in the brain, which makes not as much sense, so I decided on my own that it was one of the first two.

After I decided that it was either a pinched nerve or a muscle strain, I looked up what causes each of them, and I learned that it probably did happen through my exercises, which really bummed me out.

Then I looked up what to do to heal them, and since I had already tried heat and cold therapy, stretching, Tylenol, sleeping on my back without a pillow, physio exercises, etc. and nothing seemed to be working, I decided to take a day off from my exercises to see if that would help.

Day 8’s exercises:

  • Jumping Jacks: 0/100
  • Push Ups: 0/100
  • Sit Ups: 0/100
  • Squats: 0/100

Guess what? It really did help. Now I’m not 100% better, but I definitely feel a major difference from what I have been feeling for the last 5 days or so.

So I guess that it wasn’t only the push ups that was irritating it. So for the next couple of days, I am going to try to phase in the exercises again and see if my neck gets irritated again (hopefully not). For day 9, I am just going to do the squats. On day 10, I will do the squats and the sit ups. Day 11 I will do the squats, the sit ups and the jumping jacks. Then on Day 12, I will do all 3 of the exercises I have previously been doing, and then start phasing the push ups back in, starting with 10 on day 12, then increasing by 5 per day (Day 13 = 15 push ups, Day 14 = 20 push ups etc).

This challenge really has been quite challenging for me so far. I haven’t really been sore in the spots that I figured would get sore (eg. Abs from the sit ups, butt or thighs from the squats). So far I’ve learned that you probably shouldn’t jump all in to a workout right away, because you may injure yourself in ways you didn’t think were possible. Instead, you should probably ease your way into it gradually, adding more each day or each week depending on what your body can handle (apparently mine can’t really handle much).

I have only been doing this challenge for a little over a week now, but I am already learning a lot about how my body works and how it reacts. So so far, I’d say this challenge has been a success not physically, but intellectually. (Hopefully the physical success will come soon).

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3 Week Challenge – Day 6

I know this blog isn’t suppose to be about my neck pain, but it’s honestly affecting the success of my workout immensely. I don’t even want to try to do any push ups for fear of irritating it, and it’s making me have to do my exercises even more spread out than I am used to. This makes it fairly difficult to complete, especially when I have other things to do throughout the day. 

I originally decided to do this challenge because I had 3 weeks off with nothing to do. So instead of sitting at home doing nothing for the  entire time, I decided to try to get into shape by trying something that I could easily do at home. This is what I came up with. 100 jumping jacks, 100 push Ups, 100 sit Ups, and 100 squats every day for 3 weeks. 

I am actually surprised how difficult it can be. Some days, I have no trouble completing them (other than the push ups) and other days I really struggle. I think the weirdest part is that I struggle finishing different exercises every day. So one day I don’t finishing the sit Ups, another I don’t finish the squats. I’ve been doing pretty well completing 3 of the 4 exercises every day, but some days it just doesn’t happen. Like Day 6: 

  • Jumping Jacks: 100/100
  • Push Ups: N/A
  • Sit Ups: 100/100
  • Squats: 75/100

I know, I was surprised by the squats too. But I have a not so valid excuse: I fell asleep. I don’t like to make excuses as to why I didn’t finish something (it reminds me of high school), but I was genuinely going to finish the squats, I swear! Like I said in yesterday’s blog, I tend to do most of my daily squats while brushing my teeth. So just like every day, I left a couple for the end of the night when I would brush my teeth. This time, though, I fell asleep before I could get the chance, leaving me pretty unsatisfied with myself. 

As for the push ups, I would like to start them on day 7, but considering how sore my neck is, it doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to. Someone suggested that instead, I try to lift some weights instead. We don’t really have a lot of weights lying around the house other than the 2lbs weights I got for my physio exercises, and I think Peter has a 10lbs one somewhere, so I can definitely give that a shot so that I can at least feel like I’m doing something with my arms! 

Anyway, like I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I actually have a pretty jam packed weekend, which is really nice since I haven’t really been doing anything this past week. That being said, it could take a toll on my productivity, so I really have to push myself while I’m at home to get all of my exercises in, and that is a challenge on its own! 

3 Week Challenge – Day 5

Day 5 was probably the hardest day so far and I actually really disappointed myself. My neck was even more sore and stiff than on day 4, so I spent a lot of the day just trying to make it feel better. I tried a heating pad, ice packs, stretches and physio exercises, even taking a hot shower and nothing seemed to work so I felt pretty gross and unmotivated all day, making my exercises a little hard to do. I did, get in all of my squats and jumping jacks, which was nice, but even the sit ups were hard to do.

  • Jumping Jacks: 100/100
  • Push Ups: 0/100
  • Sit Ups: 45/100
  • Squats: 100/100

I decided not to do any push ups for day 5 to see if that would help or at least not irritate my neck. And after doing some sit ups, I decided to lay off those for a bit as well.

Around 1:30am (I guess the morning of day 6), I could not fall asleep and I was actually feeling nauseous because of the pain, so I decided to take a couple extra strength Tylenol’s, and it actually helped quite a bit. I am usually against taking pills if I can avoid it, but it was definitely time.

I have split up my daily jumping jacks into two sets of 50, which makes it fairly easy for me, but also doesn’t make my skin super itchy which is super nice (since I had to throw out my antihistamines due to them passing their expiration date).

As for the squats, they are actually super easy to complete. I found that squats are really easy to do while completing every day tasks such as brushing your teeth, cooking, etc. So to be honest, the majority of my squats are done in the bathroom (please don’t take that the wrong way). I usually do about 30-40 squats each time I brush my teeth, and since I brush my teeth twice a day, I do about 60-80 squats while brushing my teeth.

Sit ups are a little harder to get done since it’s a little hard to do them just anywhere. I like to do them in the living room or the bedroom, and since I find it weird exercising in front of other people, it can sometimes be hard to get them done. That is why I usually have to squeeze them in at the end of the night when I am getting ready for bed. But if I am alone in a room and get bored, I definitely will try to do 20-30 sit ups.

With the sore neck, it was a little difficult, but honestly I think I could have done it and that I was just being a little lazy. I think I could have at least tried to push myself to do more of them, if not all of them, but I left them to the last minute again, and I couldn’t do 80 of them in one sitting, which is why I did so few. I am not proud of that, but I promise I will do all of them for Day 6, and by Day 7, I am hoping to start doing some push ups again.

Over the weekend, I actually have quite a few plans, which means I will really need to push myself to get all of my exercises in. I will be out of the house for most of the weekend, so that will definitely be a challenge. But I am always up for a challenge, so bring it on!

3 Week Challenge – Day 4

Day 4 was a little more complicated than I would have liked. In fact, let me just start off by giving you the numbers and then explaining myself:

  • Jumping Jacks: 100/100
  • Push Ups: 5/100
  • Sit Ups: 100/100
  • Squats: 100/100

Yep, you read that right. 5/100 push ups. Why? Well I woke up with a really sore neck, and I figured it would probably go away after an hour or so, maybe after I do a few stretches. So I wrote yesterday’s blog under the impression that the soreness would dissipate and I would be able to move forward with my daily exercises. This wasn’t the case. I spent the whole day trying to stretch it out and doing some of my physio exercises, but nothing helped. I tried using a heating bag and ice packs, switching them back and forth, but again, it didn’t help.

I thought that maybe I just slept funny, but maybe it could also be from exercising incorrectly (using the wrong form?), so I made the decision to not do the pushups. I tried to do 5 and it was just too difficult for me.

So much for 50, am I right?

Anyways, guess who still has a sore neck? Me! So I am going to try some more remedies to see if I can make it feel better so that maybe I can do some push ups today (my arms aren’t feeling sore and that’s a problem!).

Other than the sore neck thing, yesterday’s exercises (minus the push ups) went really well. I think they are actually becoming easier already. I can seemingly do 40 squats in a row without growing weak or tired, which is pretty nice considering it has only been 4 days. And though I’ve always been able to do sit-ups quite easily, it seems as though they are becoming easier as well. I did about 50-60 last night before bed (because I left them until the last minute, oops) and other than a little shortness of breath, I felt great!

I wrote in my notes yesterday that it feels like I’ve been doing this challenge for much longer than I actually have, because a lot of the exercises are getting easier for me already. It kind of sucks though because I mainly wanted to do this challenge so that I would gain muscle in my arms, but with this stupid neck pain, I am unable to do any push ups. So hopefully I can get rid of the pain pretty quickly. If anyone has any good home remedies for neck pain, please send them my way. I am feeling pretty unmotivated because of it, which is something I definitely do not want to happen.

I really do want this challenge to be successful in one way or another. Whether it is just finishing it and me being proud of accomplishing such a task, or if there is actual visible outcome. It will be interesting to see what happens after 3 weeks of this, and I am actually quite excited to see how it pans out.

Now if only I could get rid of this neck pain!

3 Week Challenge – Day 3

Day 3 seemed to be the hardest day so far. I found myself squeezing in the last of my exercises at the very end of the night, and I am sad to say that I did not reach the push up goal that I had set for myself on Day 2. Day 3’s results are as so:

  • Jumping Jacks: 100/100
  • Push Ups: 40/100
  • Sit Ups: 100/100
  • Squats: 100/100

Day 3 was just a weird day in general. With all this time off, I figured I would have all the time in the world, just lying around doing nothing, to do a few little exercises. Yesterday proved me wrong (although it was a little bit my fault)

In the morning I had to write Day 2’s blog post (which only takes me about 20 minutes or so), then I ate lunch, got dressed then Peter and I went out and got some groceries. After that, we came home and played video games for quite a long time before making dinner, then going back to video games. I squeezed in some of my exercises during/between these activities. So I wasn’t super busy, but playing video games took up a lot of my time without me noticing which is fairly new to me since this is a thing that we do not do often.

Also around 6pm or so, I started feeling the symptoms of an oncoming cold. Because of this, I put on some warmer clothing, wrapped myself in a blanket and accidentally had an impromptu nap on the couch before going and having a warm shower.

Because of what felt like an oncoming cold, I went into our medicine cabinet to take a vitamin C tablet, which, when I looked, I notice was expired. So I went and checked the expiry date on all of the things in our medicine cabinet and ended up throwing a lot of things away. Including my antihistamines. This means I really have to be careful how much I exercise at one time until I can get out and get some more.

I also realized something yesterday about myself. I do not like to exercise in front of other people unless they are also exercising. So having Peter home a lot really takes a toll on my performance. I did so well on Day 2 because Peter was away until almost 3pm, giving me a good chunk of the day to complete the majority of my exercises. But on Day 3, he was home around noon, and since I slept until 10:30am, that didn’t give me a lot of time to get in any exercises while I was home alone. I seem to be constantly searching for moments where I am alone in a room knowing that he will not walk in, so that I can do some jumping jacks, push ups, etc. which is usually while he is working on homework or in the shower.

So a new goal that I am going to make for myself throughout this challenge is to become confident while exercising in front of other people (who aren’t exercising). I have no problem exercising in front of people if they are also exercising (eg. At the gym, at a class, playing sports etc). I know it shouldn’t be embarrassing, but for some reason, to me, it is. That is something that I would like to overcome.

I would also like to reach the push up goal from yesterday of getting in 50 push ups in one day. I am really starting to feel sore in my shoulders, which is hopefully a good thing, but I do not want to push it (ha, get it!?). Anyways, I will continue stretching before doing any push ups and start doing more of my physio exercises to keep me from reinjuring my shoulder. Otherwise, I think that so far, this challenge is going pretty smoothly! Hopefully over the next 3 weeks, I will find these exercises to be easy, and maybe by the end of the 3 weeks, I will be able to do 100 conventional push ups! It would be a miracle, but fingers crossed!

3 Week Challenge – Day 2

Day 2 was much better for me. I almost reached my goal! I think I have figured out a way to make this whole “work out thing” actually work for me, and that is really great, considering how early on this is.

When I woke up, I drank a glass of water to hydrate myself, and then I took an antihistamine before I started doing my exercises. And what do you know! No itch. I’m not entirely sure whether there was no itch because of the antihistamine or because I paced myself better so that I would sweat less. Instead of trying to do as much as I could first thing in the morning, I just did a portion. I did 40 jumping jacks (instead of the full 100 that I did yesterday), 30 sit-ups, 10 pushups, and no squats (I did these gradually throughout the day).

Pacing made it easier for my body. If you are reading this today, but have not read yesterday’s update, you may want to go back and read “3 Week Challenge – Day 1”, or some of these things may not make any sense to you.

So without further ado, here are yesterday’s numbers:

  • Jumping Jacks: 100/100
  • Push Ups: 40/100
  • Sit Ups: 100/100
  • Squats: 100/100

I did SO MUCH BETTER than Day 1! I pushed myself and reminded myself that every free moment I had, I should be putting in a couple numbers. I fulfilled my daily goal, except for the pushups, which, if you recall, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do just yet.

I am actually quite pleased with myself. Even with the pushup number. I doubled the amount of pushups I did on day 1, and to me, that is a success. I definitely was feeling it a bit in my shoulder, which is why I chose to stop when I did. I would try to do more, but I really do not want to reinjure my shoulder. And full discloser, I am not doing “real” pushups, per say. My shoulders are still incredibly weak, even though I’ve slowly been building up muscle. So instead of doing “real” pushups, I have been doing what we used to call “girly” pushups, but since that is pretty offensive, I will call them “cheater” pushups, which means that instead of being on my hands and feet, I am on my hands and knees.

“Those don’t count as pushups, Staci. They aren’t real pushups!” Well I don’t really care if you think they don’t count, because they are actually pretty tough for me to do and I am definitely feeling it in my arms and shoulders, so they 100% count for me! And considering I can only do 40 cheater pushups, can you imagine how little I could do if I tried doing “real” pushups?

I put the word “real” in parenthesis because even while doing cheater pushups, I am still pushing my body up, so really what’s the difference other than the amount of weight I am pushing up? The form and the motion is the same, so I don’t think of any other kind of pushup to be not real. So if anyone has another name for said types of pushups, please feel free to inform me!

After doing about half of day 2’s pushups, my shoulder was extremely sore, despite stretching before hand, so I had to do a couple of the exercises I learned in physiotherapy, and that helped quite a bit.

As for sit-ups, they are going about as easily as I originally anticipated. I try to incorporate these and the squats into my every day routines. For example, if I’m watching tv, I will do sit ups between episodes. If I’m brushing my teeth or waiting for food to cook, I will do some squats. I started doing this on day 2, which I believe is the reason for hitting my goal in all of them, minus pushups.

So my goal for Day 3 is to hit 100/100 on everything again except for the pushups. For pushups, my goal in to hit 50/100 so I can still push myself to go a bit further than Day 2, but to still keep it reasonable so as to not injure myself again. Maybe by the end of the week I will be able to do some “real” pushups! Fingers crossed!

If you have started doing this with me, or a version of this which I know a few of you said you are, please feel free to share with me how things are going on your end!

 

3 Week Challenge – Day 1

Day 1 was pretty tough and I am going to be completely honest, I did not reach my daily goal. Like not even close. Here’s how I did:

  • Jumping Jacks: 100/100
  • Pushups: 20/100
  • Sit-ups: 30/100
  • Squats: 60/100

Now I tell myself that it wasn’t close because I was away for most of the day visiting family for Thanksgiving, but really, that shouldn’t be an excuse.

The sit-ups are what disappoint me the most because I actually find sit-ups to be fairly easy. I did the 30 all in one sitting and then just kind of forgot about them (which was sort of like my original plan to get them all over and done with then forget about them for the rest of the day).

So here’s the weird part that may take a bit of explaining. I have this weird condition called Cholinergic Urticaria, which basically means that my skin is allergic to my own sweat caused through hot showers, exercise, fever, stress, etc. which really sucks because when I exercise or take a hot shower, my skin (legs specifically) get extremely itchy to the point that it is painful and I start crying and sometimes screaming in pain. Then I get stressed out because of the itchiness, so ultimately it gets worse. The worst part: there’s nothing they can really do to fix it, so I just have to take an antihistamine and move on with my life.

So yesterday morning when I woke up, I did a good majority of my workout. I did the 100 jumping jacks all in one go, 10 push ups, 30 sit ups and 20 squats. This obviously caused me to sweat, and cue urticaria. That made me rethink this workout. Not that I need to stop doing it, but that I need to space it out better so as to not sweat as much.

Another sucky thing is that I definitely felt the push ups in my shoulder, which is why I only did 20 throughout the day. I have a feeling that the push up numbers will be pretty low for the first little bit while I try to slowly work my shoulder and build the muscle back.

I did stretch my shoulders/arms yesterday before doing push ups but alas I am still sore. I know it was only 20 push ups and that sounds super lame, but I cannot stress enough that I just recently recovered from a 2 year shoulder injury where I wasn’t allowed to lift anything over 5lbs. So my shoulders are currently extremely weak and now I have to regain all of my muscle.

I did not do any sort of warm up or stretching for any of the other exercises, and it seems to be ok. I am a little sore in my thighs from the squats, but not unbearable. It’s actually barely noticeable.

So overall, yesterday wasn’t very successful. But I did learn a few things.

  1. Spread out the exercises more so as to not let the cholinergic urticaria kick in.
  2. I will not hit 100 push ups for the first little while, if ever, in these next 3 weeks.
  3. Make sure to stretch everything so I don’t cause more injuries!

I will try to post about my workouts every day, but no promises.

If you want to learn more about Cholinergic Urticaria, here are 2 links to give you some more in depth information: https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/cholinergic-urticaria/     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholinergic_urticaria