Archive for May, 2015

Mon. – 6/1 NEW CHALLENGE: 30 Days to Super-Earnergy

The next 30 days are all about energy. Or, as my mother pronounces it, earnergy. As in, something you earn.

June’s daily dares will, each one, boost your energy with short burst workouts, outdoor time, better food choices, cold showers, laughter, unplugging from electronics, better sleep, and everything else science and common sense has identified as ways to up your energy.

Do one or two and you’ll feel better that day.

Do them all and by the end of the month, you will have reset your baseline energy level.

We start with this:

1. Given that social capital is strongly linked to subjective well-being in multiple ways, your first move is to increase your social network in this effort. Recruit one or two friends to join you for the next 30 days. If they’re not getting the daily emails, have them sign up in the top right hand corner of If they’re already getting these daily dares, make a joint commitment to not just read them, but do them.

2. As early in the day as possible on Monday, do

30 jumping jacks, 5 burpees, 30 mountain climbers each leg, 5 push-ups
20 jumping jacks, 10 burpees, 20 mountain climbers each leg, 10 push-ups
10 jumping jacks, 15 burpees, 10 mountain climbers each leg, 15 push-ups

Do these fast and smoothly, then big stretch up reaching for the sky/ceiling onto the tips of your toes,. Then get on with your day. Welcome to June. Earnergy, friends.

Sun. – One (hundred) and done + Staceyann Chin

You knew this was coming, so let’s get this done. On the final day of our Push-ups + Poems Challenge:

100 perfect push-ups, for time.

Strategize the size of your sets for your best overall time. Whether it takes you 5 minutes or 5 hours to do all 100, do them perfectly: straight plank, all the way down, all the way up.

And for our last poem, we get Staceyann Chin. You can hit play on her spoken word performance of If Only Out of Vanity and start your push-ups alongside (it’s a little over 3 minutes). I

Sat. – 5/30 Rest Day + Muhammad Ali

Supergroupers get out to Brownwood Park for our 10:00 workout. Everyone else, Saturday is a rest day. You can make up one of this past week’s dares, or you can truly rest…tomorrow is the last day of the Push-ups + Poems Challenge, and we’ll be finishing with a test. You’ll like it.

The poem for Saturday is the shortest poem in the English language, by the incomparable Muhammad Ali. At the end of a commencement speech to Harvard’s 1975 graduating class, someone in the audience called out for a poem. What about?, asked Ali. About what it is to be Ali, the student called back. The crowd went silent. After a pause, Muhammad Ali delivered this:


Some have written it differently, as:


Either way (and because it can be either way), this is surely the greatest short poem of all time. Now go make your Saturday as great as the greatest.

Fri. – 5/29 invert, plank, sit + Audre Lorde

photo-1 (2)

If you didn’t do yesterday’s challenge, do that today. If you did yesterday today’s dare is:

30-second inversion, 30-second plank, 30-second wall sit
rest 1 minute
45-second inversion, 45-second plank, 45-second wall sit
rest 1 minute
max inversion, max plank, max wall sit

On the wall sit, scoot your feet back so your ankles are directly below your knees.

Leave the stopwatch running on the last bit and let us know in the comments your total time of your max inversion + max plank + max wall sit.

Every day should be an Audre Lorde day –

Audre Lorde

Is the total black, being spoken
From the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open.
How a diamond comes into a knot of flame
How a sound comes into a word, coloured
By who pays what for speaking.
Some words are open
Like a diamond on glass windows
Singing out within the crash of passing sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
In a perforated book—buy and sign and tear apart—
And come whatever wills all chances
The stub remains
An ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
Breeding like adders. Others know sun
Seeking like gypsies over my tongue
To explode through my lips
Like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
Bedevil me.
Love is a word another kind of open—
As a diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am black because I come from the earth’s inside
Take my word for jewel in your open light.

Thurs. – 5/28 Half the Facebook + Octavia Butler

For our Thursday dare, get out your dumbbells and get your mind right. It’s a 20 minute grinder today, which is about three times as long as our average daily, but half the time the average American spends on Facebook. Add Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr to Facebook, and what you have is the nearly 2 hours a day scrolling through social networking sites.

Facebook makes you sadder. Exercise makes you happier. For a superfine Thursday, replace 20 minutes of Facebook with this:

For 20 minutes, AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:

5 push-ups
8 push-presses
10 weighted squats (hold weights at shoulders)
50 yard run (or 20 jumping jacks)

The run is not a sprint – 70% is fine. The tempo here is 20 strong, steady minutes.

Science fiction writer Octavia Butler didn’t write poetry, but she did.

From Parable of the Talents:

All that you touch
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes you.

The only lasting truth
is Change.

is Change

From Parable of the Sower:

There is no end
To what a living world
Will demand of you

Wed. – 5/27 All Day Gorgeous + David Tomas Martinez

If you’ve been following this month’s challenge, you’ll have noticed we don’t go to failure. The kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsouline came up with the phrase greasing the groove (GtG) as a way to describe the process of creating a neurological groove for your muscle fibers to fire in a certain sequence and intensity. Rather than trying to break down muscle tissue for more growth, Pavel’s theory is that training perfect reps rather than max reps is the way to go. More theory here and here if you want it. Or you can just jump right into the challenge:

Count out 15 coins and put them in your left pocket. Then do

5 push-ups (beautiful & perfect)
4 high jumps (get high!)
3 push-ups (beautiful & perfect)

and move 1 coin to your right pocket. Each time you do a round of that, move a coin. By the end of the day, have 15 coins in your right pocket. 15 coins of gorgeousness, each one representing 8 beautiful, perfect, wonderful push-ups. Go be gorgeous, pusher-uppers, all day long.

Today’s poem is from rising star David Tomas Martinez, from his first collection Hustle (2014).

The Cost of it All
David Tomas Martinez

Trade is the buckle of this world’s belt, shiny with dollar signs.

And I know Tibetan windstorms necklace the waking bodies of San Diego. And I know why Muhammad Ali stood over Sonny Liston flexing.
And I know as we age our tongues grow numb from lying.
And I know in a biblical sense the gust of a humid afternoon.

And I know in chronological and alphabetical order, nothing.
And I know riding in an elevator is a close as one can get to the present.
And I know devotion and honor flicker in Atlanta strip clubs.
And I know why the Chevy Nova couldn’t sell in Mejico.

Moon beams of finely threaded rope sway in the wind. At their end, price tags.

But I wish John Lennon was born with Ringo’s nose.
And I wish there were more virgins for me to find and report.
And I wish when she called, the phone protected me.
And I wish every time the moon three-point turns in the asphalt night.
And I wish on continental spots of leopards that California broke into the sea. And I wish Che’s face symbolized more than pimpled years of angst.
And I wish upon a pan with a skiing square of butter headed for steam.
And I wish to tiptoe and hear over the fence of my own teeth.

I have tried to figure the cost of it all with lint and paperclips.

Tue. – 5/26 Level-up + Alice Walker

Rolling into our final week of the Push-ups (+Poems) challenge, remember that what we’re looking for here is quality over quantity. We’ll be doing a lot of 1-level up push-ups this week: an inch lower, a straighter plank, clapping, etc. Whatever is one level up from your regular push.

3 burpees, 5 level-up push-ups, 10 squats
2 burpees, 5 level-up push-ups, 10 squats
1 burpee, 5 level-up push-ups, 10 squats
rest 1 minute

4 rounds

The minute rest between rounds lets you move through the round with speed and great enthusiasm.

Our poem for Tuesday is from none other than South Georgia born Alice Walker. Read this and get those level-up push-ups done, you revolutionary petunias!

The Nature of This Flower is to Bloom
Alice Walker

Rebellious. Living.
Against the Elemental Crush.A Song of Color
For Deserving Eyes.
Blooming Gloriously
For its Self.

Revolutionary Petunia.