Archive for January, 2015

Sun. – 1/25 Rejuvenation Sunday

Our Sunday challenge is to rejuvenate. We’re going to do it fresh water, a heap of awesome protein, and bright sunshine.

We’ve now roared through 14 days straight – I mean queer – of moving our bodies every day (or nearly every day), some days with great intensity. Big round of applause for us! Hercules! Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!

So today we rejuvenate. The challenge today is to do these three things. You have all day to do them.

1. Drink delicious water. No need to drink 8 glasses, which is a myth anyway, but do drink more today than you normally drink. A tip from hundreds of millions of old Chinese people: drink hot water with your meals. It’s weirdly calming.

2. Eat a heap of awesome protein. If you don’t have it in your house, get some. This is your excuse for loading up on clean, inexpensive protein for the week. There’s eggs, beans, and edamame (look for it in the frozen vegetables). Peanut butter is also fine, especially in a milk-banana-peanut butter smoothie. For eaters of meat, do your magic with tuna fish, chicken thighs, ground sirloin, or pork chops. If you’ve been feeling woozy after workouts, you’re probably not eating enough protein.

3. Get out into the sun…and do 100 pushups. The Sunday forecast is for bright sunshine and a high of 55 degrees. It’s January, friends. This is WONDERFUL! So get outside and do 10 sets of 10 beautiful, powerful, lovely, push-ups. If you’re feeling up for it, do ahead and do these in monster sets of fifty. For the rest of us, the standard is to do 10 sets of 10, all outside, throughout the day. When you use your car to run an errand, put your hands or feet up on the bumper and do 10 before you get in and 10 after you get out. That’s 40 pushups total for one trip to the grocery store to buy your heaps of protein.

An extra point for anyone who posts a photo to our FB page documenting push-ups done in your church attire.

Drink, eat, and push up. And congratulate yourself for being awesome these first 14 days.

Sat. – 1/24 Grey is the Color of Hope

It’s been grey and dreary for the last few days and the forecast for Saturday morning is for yet more grey. In 1988, the Soviet writer Irina Ratushinskayathe published Grey is the Color of Hope, about her years confined in a work camp for her “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.” While there, she continued to work, writing her poems on bars of soap and memorizing them before they dissolved. She chose to submit to solitary confinement rather than wear an identification badge. While in solitary, she went on hunger strike to protest the guards’ abuse of her bunkmate.

So. It’s a little grey. Throw on an extra layer and come on out. We can’t wait to see you at 10:00. The sun will be out by the end of the workout.

Fri. – 1/23 Positive Self Talk Squats

Friday’s challenge may be the hardest one yet. 5 sets of 15 squats.

Here’s the twist. You’re going to practice positive self talk as you squat. Here’s how:

1. Catch yourself thinking something positive about yourself. Anything is fine – it may be trivial, silly, vain. It may even be untrue. (“My hair looks alright today”)
2. Amp it up (“That is some excellent hair”)
3. One more notch (“Someone needs to come take a picture of my super hot damn outstanding hair RIGHT NOW.”)
4. Edit it down to 2 or 3 words and add an exclamation mark (“My Hair Rocks!”)
5. Immediately – or if you’re in your car or in a meeting, as soon as you are able – do 15 squats, repeating your mantra out loud with each squat. You can mutter them if you’re in the library or something, but you need to vocalize.

You want to be done with this as early in the day as possible. Can you catch yourself thinking 5 positive thoughts about yourself before breakfast? For the rest of us, it will become quickly apparent why this is the hardest of the challenges yet.

If it’s getting late in the day and you’ve not yet finished your squats, do NOT beat yourself up about your dearth of positive self talk. Here are some phrases you can use to get through your squats:

Strong like ox!
I’m a SEXY BEAST!
Master maker of toast!
Conqueror of the copier!
Most persistent!
The world’s greatest!

As always, 1 point for your team when you post that you’re done. For today, an extra 1 point if you post all 5 of your positive self talk mantras. Get ’em!

Thur. – 1/22 Thursday Duet

Our Thursday challenge is pushups…AND squats. Because peanut butter and jelly. Bert and Ernie. Han Solo and Chewbacca. Thelma and Louise. Kid & Play. Bonny and Clyde. Dolce & Gabbana. mini vanilli.

Some things just go better together. Putting aside your romantic partners past and present, what’s a great duo you’ve been half of? Think on this as you do 8 pushups followed by 10 squats. Think on it some more as you do that again, five more times, for a total of 6 sets. Do this all at once, straight through (right now is a great time to do it…go!), or break it up into two equal parts of 3 sets now, 3 sets later.

And remember that what makes a great duo is both halves being a little bit more awesome together than they are by themselves. To wit, Hall and Oates. So rather than being a distraction, let your squats make your pushups even more amazing. And vice versa.

Share with us in the comments when you’re done, and if you’d like, a bit about your great duo and what make it click.

Wed. – 1/21 Squats for Seratonin

184The challenge for Wednesday is to increase your serotonin. Here’s what you need to know about serotonin: it’s a monoamine neurotransmitter biochemically derived from tryptophan and synthesized primarily in the enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal tract, but also in serotonergic neurons of the central nervous system. It is metabolized to 5-HIAA by the liver, which…just kidding. Come back.

Here’s what you actually need to know about serotonin: if you’re in a funk, it will drag you out of your funk. If you’re doing alright, it helps increase and then maintain your sense of well being.

Two things to raise serotonin levels without drugs? Exercise and sunshine. Wednesday’s forecast is for sunny skies all day, and it’s a day for squats. Our Wednesday challenge, then, is to do 5 sets of 20 squats, outside. Try to spread these sets out throughout the day. If you have to get up out of your chair and go down 3 flights of stairs to make your way outside, that’s great. Think of them as sunshine breaks with 20 squats thrown in.

Go get them done, sunshine, and let us know. Your appreciations of the sunshine are most welcome in the comments.

Tue. – 1/20 The queerfit routine

Your Tuesday challenge…get to Rush Center for our regularly scheduled Tuesday 6:15 training session. If you’re part of the 99% who have a wee bit of trouble sometimes getting yourself to your scheduled workout, do this:

Create for yourself two cues that will help you make Queerfit part of your Tuesday evening routine. The cues can be super simple – if you keep your calendar on your smartphone, for example, you can enter queerfit in as a recurring Tuesday night appointment and set a special alarm to ring 30 minutes before. Your cue can be practical – you can pick out your workout clothes & shoes the night before, fold them neatly and set them by the door. You can pack a snack on Tuesday mornings that you know will help with your workout. You can get fancy with your cues, by asking one of your teammates to text you something inspirational an hour before the workout, or by changing your work schedule so you have plenty of time to make it to queerfit. Your cue can even be purely mental – when you wake up on Tuesdays, you can say out loud with as much enthusiasm as you can muster, “It’s Tuesday, I get to go to queerfit today!”  No matter that at that moment, you’d rather eat an warthog than go exercise. It’s just a cue.

We’ll get into the psychology of routines & habits & all that later. For Tuesday, your challenge is to create a couple of cues. Post your cues to the comments.

Mon. – 1/19 Pushups for Martin Luther King Jr the radical

First, something to notice from Sunday’s challenge: when you saw “100 squats,” what was your immediate reaction? When you saw something that promised to be both uncomfortable and unlikely – and possibly impossible – what did you think, and then what did you do? No judgment on yourself about your reaction…just take note.

Monday’s challenge is push-ups: 6 sets of 8 push-ups. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s increasing radicalism through his life, you’re going to do the first 2 sets the way you’ve been doing them. These are for MLK Jr’s early leadership the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955-56, when he was recruited by women of the Montgomery Improvement Association to lead the boycott. The next 2 sets, step it up and do a pushup variation that’s one bit more difficult than you’ve been doing them. If you’ve been doing them on the table, come down to a chair. If you’ve been doing them on your knees, come up on your toes. If you’ve been doing them from a plank, do them with a 2 second pause at the bottom. If you need some variations, check these out. These middle 2 sets are for MLK Jr’s increasing radicalism from the Birmingham movement through Selma and Chicago in 1965. The final 2 sets you’re taking it up another notch, in honor of MLK Jr’s anti-capitalist, anti-US militarism Poor People’s Campaign, launched just prior to his assassination. Yes, these push-ups are going to be really really difficult, but then, so is taking down capitalism.

Let’s get these done wherever you’re able. It’s ok to let people see you struggle. The struggle for the impossible is what it’s all about today.