It’s July. Summer. Time for tank tops and margaritas on the deck.
Except the temperature says 5 degrees Celcius and it is raining! Summer?
Since June, 2015 I have been living in Iqaluit, Nunavut: the Arctic. I am that person who has lived on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, my whole life. If you know anything about the west coast of Canada, you know that we never have a real ‘Canadian winter’. Therefore, my experiences in cold weather have been extremely limited!
The weather and temperature in Iqaluit for July and August were exactly the same as our winters on Vancouver Island: below 10 degrees and raining. We definitely had some beautiful, sunny days, but most times I found myself with a toque and down jacket on.
Summer is usually the time I take a break from the gym and take my exercise outside: hiking, paddle boarding, sprints and fun, outdoor workouts. This past summer I found myself inside the gym still needing my sweaty fix, but I felt unmotivated and uninspired.
In July, I came across JillFit’s 20×20 Challenge for August: Complete twenty 20 minute workouts for the month of August. It meant quick, intense challenges in the gym which still left tons of time to explore the icebergs and tundra outside.
I decided to pitch the idea to a group of my closest girlfriends and suddenly five of us were counting our way to getting sweaty twenty days in August.
Our group of girls have different levels of exercise experience and enjoyment. A couple of us enjoy lifting weights and doing quick and dirty high intense workouts, some of us thrive on gym classes, some love walking or running outside, some get sweaty in the pool, some enjoy yoga.
You have to enjoy the form of fitness you choose. From my experience, if you don’t have a positive experience in the activity you choose you won’t continue it. Fitness should feel fun! After a workout you should feel sexy, strong and motivated.
To me it didn’t matter how we moved,
we just moved.
We made a closed group Facebook page. I made up five rules. They were simple:
- Choose an activity you enjoy
- This activity should increase your heart rate
- Do this activity for at least 20 minutes, 20 times in August
- Post a picture during or after your activity and a short description of what you did
- No comparing yourself to the others in the group. Everyone was at their own fitness level
It is now March 2016. We still have the group. We still have goals of completing 20 workouts each month.
We don’t beat ourselves up if we don’t make all 20 because hitting number 12 in one month is still damn amazing.
My goal for pitching this workout idea was simple: I wanted to show my friends that once you start being consistent, you keep going. Consistency: regularity, evenness, steadiness, stability, equilibrium, dependability, reliability.
My initial personal, selfish goal was to increase the intensity of my workouts and have people hold me accountable to that goal. I got that! But suddenly I realized I actually needed to see my friends. I needed to see their gorgeous faces and see them succeed. In almost every post it was either a funny face, declaring themselves drenched in sweat or a big proud, ‘feeling good’ smile!
I have never once asked if anyone has lost weight. Through pictures I can see that they all have, even if they haven’t noticed.
I have never asked them to focus on what they are eating. I knew this would come as they became consistent with getting movement in. And it did.
These girls are maybe not as passionate about fitness as I am and that wasn’t the point of this challenge. What has happened is that some of them are now addicted to the feel and benefits of consistent exercise.
At the end of each month I ask the girls if they want to continue with this group. Each month we all answer ‘yes’! So we continue on.
Each of us probably uses this group for something slightly different. I use it to see my friends faces every day and to increase the intensity of my workouts. Someone uses it as a reason to get moving. Someone else likes to make us laugh with their creative posts.
Whatever the reason we have all found motivation and encouragement to just move.
It is amazing how a simple ‘like’ makes your day.