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The Squat Challenge 2017… a review

Updated: Aug 18, 2020


Squat Challenge action in the cafeteria!

I have a desire to be fit and fabulous in my 40s. If you have been with me for a minute, you know I am a mom of 8 kids including 2 sets of twins and being under 200lbs has been a goal of mine for a long time. Well, I FINALLY reached my goal thanks to lots of education about food and how the foods we eat impact our body and overall health. I’ve been reading a bunch of different books and watching different documentaries, click here for the list.

Transformation Lifestyle

From then until later

I also discovered that as I lost weight, I lost strength. I didn’t go from a super hero to a high school underweight, but I did feel like I was losing strength and muscle tone. Or perhaps what really happened is, I discovered that my sheer mass gave me lots of perceived strength and that allowed me to do many things but I ignored cues that my body was alerting me to.  I found that I used my neck and shoulders to compensate my lack of core strength to stabilize my body. I paddle and when my arms got tired from holding the paddle, I used my shoulders. When my back got tired of holding up my boobs, I used my shoulders and neck and thighs! Say what?! How is that even possible right? Well, you’d be surprised what our bodies will do to function. They are amazing and wonderfully made and can adapt to many different situations.  Mine had adapted to pain and found ways to compensate and redirect the strain to another area which ultimately led me to pain all over and physical therapy.

It is there, in physical therapy, that I really began to understand the makeup of my body and how to help it heal itself by getting stronger.  I cannot say enough about yoga and pilates for everyday basic health. I honestly think they should teach pilates in PE and it should be mandated all through primary school years.  That is another issue for another website.  Here is where the story changes, as I build my strength, I am finding other areas screaming out in pain.  I remember my girlfriend told me that since I’d been losing weight, I would need to come in for another swim class to learn how to manage the weight of muscle versus the buoyancy of fat.  Who knew?! She was so right.  I had to almost relearn how to sit and stand because I have always found a way to compensate for weakness in supporting muscles. Enter the squat challenge.

Did you know that building up your glutes IS NOT VANITY! That’s right! If you spend time focused on toning the very large glutes muscles that we all have, you will discover a few things.  One, improved posture. The spinal support that the glutes muscles provide helps us to sit and stand more erect and allows our spine to follow it’s natural curve.  We have better posture when we stand erect naturally than trying to force ourselves to stand up straight. Two, increased range of motion. Yes, when your muscles are strong and tone, they support the groups they are built to support, the entire muscle group can do more of what it is designed to do.  Third, our core is more stabilized in the front which alleviates stress on the low back muscles. The glutes muscles are very large because they play a very large part in our overall health.

I decided in January to do the squat challenge. I had been on Instagram and watching all the different fitness “models” show off their amazing transformations and I wanted more  from my body too.  I had finally found healthy eating, weight loss and it was paying off, but I needed an ass. Let’s just call it like it was. I did NOT want to be a 40+ mom with a 80+ body and that’s how I felt. I saw that they offered at home programs and gym programs so I opted for the at home program because I knew I could not rely on my desire to drive to town to go to the gym more than once a week. I also ordered the 16 week program. I don’t know if there were other home programs available at the time, but I know that it takes time to build lasting results and 16 weeks sounds like good habits will be built as well as muscle.  I got through one week of the challenge in January and decided that perhaps I needed to start with something less intense.  So, I took an 8 month break. I did try other workouts though. A couple yoga challenges, (read about those here soon) and a different bum growing challenge.  I have to say that I failed at the first challenges. I would forget after a couple days and then guilt myself into quitting because I didn’t do it perfectly.  Please don’t do that to yourself.  I have since learned, by continuing to challenge myself, that there is not ever a reason to quit something that is important to you. There may be a slow start, lag during and the end may seem like it’s far far off, but the truth is, you can do it! Stay the course and push yourself to believe you can.

This particular Instagram squat challenge I began in August was to use ANY of the squat challenge workout ebooks and work it for 6 weeks. There were weekly emails to direct us on the photo posts required during the challenge and deadlines to meet for accountability.  It was very organized and simple.  The organizers used hashtags to track participants and that allowed us to be supportive of each other during the challenge because we could search the hashtag and like each others photos and encourage each other on posts. I was a little hesitant about sharing photos of my fat on Instagram but I appreciate the challenge helping me to push past that and love on myself as I am and to be excited about the changes my hard work was creating.

I was challenged during week 2 when I picked up a second job. My schedule had me at work from 7 until 1 M-F, but with the second job, I was out of the house until 5:30pm now.  This changed my ability to workout at home as we are an active family.  We have sports practice after school or church or community volunteering.  I think the only evening we are all home is Thursdays and let’s be honest, that’s my drama night. I watch Shondaland from 7 to 10pm.  I have watched while on the elliptical because I know 3 hours is a long time to just sit on your butt and watch tv. I don’t always, but I have. I want to have full disclosure with you so you do not think I am some extreme fitness person. I am not. I am just a person trying to live a balanced, healthy life while being a mom and wife. Sometimes that includes 3 hours of television. 12 hours a month. 144 hours a year. I don’t think I should think about that too much… Let’s move on.

squat challenge cover

The ebook has most of the information that I could need to complete the challenge exercises. There are tips for success on the challenge, tips for proper form and great information on types of workouts for maximum results. I did use google a few times to see the exercise in motion or if I could not find the graphic for it in my copy.  The organizers do send updates to the ebooks as the occur so it is important to check your emails for the latest information.  I found that out the hard way in week 5 when I discovered I had missed an email about an update to the food part. Luckily, I have been working on my diet pretty hard anyway so I was able to feel confident that I would be ok.  I will admit, the thought of going 5 weeks without following the most updated food instructions did send me in distress mode for a minute then I calmed myself down with the acknowledgment that if it’s meant to be, it will be. Simple as that.

The most challenging part of the challenge of course are the actual exercises. The lower body muscle systems are lots of large muscles that need to be exercised and stretched out to be sure to not injure the supporting minor muscles and tendons.  For example, doing lots of thigh work will make your legs look super sexy, but if you don’t stretch your hip flexors properly before and after working those amazing thighs, you might find yourself cramping or having serious back pain.  Yup, back pain. Tightness can affect every part of your body and derail your workout plans so being sure to warm up and cool down is essential. I also cannot say enough about staying hydrated.  When muscles are worked up and worked out, many different things happen inside our muscles and when one method of energy burning is depleted, the body uses it’s back up method.  This back up method releases lactic acid into the body if the energy is not used up as quickly as it is produced and that buildup will cause lots of stiffness and soreness in the worked out muscles. Without getting too heavy into the science of things, since I am not a scientist or doctor, basically lactic acid is a great tool to have in our body but we must stay hydrated to move excess acid safely out of our bodies. Hydrating is always key to keeping toxins moving out of our system. I find that amino acids help also, as well as continuing to exercise. That is where walking at work was helpful for me. There are lots of stairs on campus and I am walking up and down them all day so I was able to push out that lactic acid much faster than if I took my rest day and just sat around. I also increased my magnesium intake by eating more bananas and drank apothe- cherry for extra help to detox my body, taking supplements when I felt like I needed extra attention to calm my muscles.

6 week results of the squat challenge

6 week challenge completed and I am ready for another 10! Let’s get rid of all this and tone, tone, tone!

If I had to recommend a challenge to someone, I would definitely encourage that person to try this challenge. There are several versions of it based on your goals, the meal plans consider if you are trying to gain or lose weight, vegan or not. Theres information on goal setting and managing the feelings that come with working out and so much more. I have not been disappointed in the results I have received so far with the challenge and I have just finished week 6, so it’s on to week 7 for me. I plan to finish all 16 weeks before I try the next challenge. Yes, I do have another challenge already lined up. Actually, I have 2 challenges lined up.  Just for you, I plan to take notes during and share with you how it all went.  I want to encourage you to find what feels good for your body and do it. Do it consistently and watch your body respond to all the love. If you are like em and want to workout but need some motivation some days, find a challenge that excites you and go for it! Leave me a comment below if you are a challenge participator so I can cheer you on!

📗 About D Goosby of JDs Organic Productions