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December’s Monthly Challenge


In my post, Have You Tried A Fitness Group?, I shared the concept of joining a group of like-minded people in order to achieve some of your fitness goals.  It’s a great way to get motivated for better health.  I’m involved with other family members, via an Apple Text Group, where we challenge each other and share our participation via texting in this group.  We’ve been doing this since the May 5K a Day runs in May of 2020.

I figured I would share with you this month’s challenge and how I’m personally doing this challenge.  I hope to inspire you to join a fitness group and start monthly challenges.  This month we’re focusing on shoulders.  This is the first month we’ve actually started using weights, versus the more cardio or body-weight challenges we’ve had before.  Here’s the breakdown…

What do we do?

We perform the following 3 exercises in a circuit, with no rest in between each exercise:

1.  Dumbbell Shoulder Shrugs

2.  Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Presses

3.  Dumbbell Upright Rows

We perform the circuit 3x with a 1 minute break between each round.  So the whole challenge only takes like 7-9 minutes, but if done with a challenging weight, it’s quite the challenge.

Everyone uses the weight they are comfortable with.  I use 50lb dumbbells for the shrugs and 30lb dumbbells for both the presses and the upright rows.  This can get pretty difficult in a circuit, so I also keep a set of 20lb dumbbells close so that if I can’t complete the full set with the heavier weight, I can at least finish it with a slightly lower weight.

When do we do it?

We do the exercises whenever we want.  I use the monthly challenge as a supplement to my current routine.  I lift weights on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays and run on Tuesdays/Thursdays.  I complete my typical workout and then take a 2-3 minute break, and then jump into the monthly challenge routine.

On Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, I workout with moderately heavy weights with Chest/Triceps on Monday, Back/Biceps on Wednesday, and Shoulder/Legs on Friday.  On Tuesdays/Thursdays, I perform a 15-20 minute Run/Walk/Sprint routine.  I say 15-20 minutes because some days I only have time for the 15 minute run due to work.  After that, I blast my shoulders with the Monthly Challenge.

We are allotted 2 “rest days” a week.  Since I’m the 5and2Guy, I typically take my rest days on Saturday/Sunday.  All we do is send a text to the group, “rest day”, when we’re taking the day off.  Other days we post that we’ve completed the challenge.  Some even post screenshots of the workout from our workout apps.

How do we increase the difficulty?

We started the month with repetitions of 10 for each exercise.  We slowly move up in reps each week.  After the first week, we went up 5 repetitions.  This week, we went up 3, for a total of 18 reps with each exercise now.

The Takeaway

Monthly Challenges are a great way to keep yourself connected to like-minded individuals as you work towards your fitness goals.  The check-ins to each other daily holds us accountable and pushes us to complete the challenge each day.  A side benefit of the Monthly Challenges is that it’s pushed me to workout 5 days a week now, versus 3-4x a week.  I figure…I have to do the challenge anyway, why not get a full workout in?  This month’s challenge is our first with weights and focuses heavily on the shoulders.  And trust me, when I’m done, my shoulders are burning.

If you want to add something extra to your fitness activities, consider joining a fitness group, either virtually or physically (be careful with COVID).  The exercises and the accountability can do wonders for your health!!!

Share with your friends!!!