Minimize Yo Butt: 6 week fitness challenge

I finally stepped on the scale over here and wasn’t surprised to see that I am up 5 pounds since first getting word about our move overseas in March. My workout volume dropped and my chocolate consumption escalated as we got closer to the big day.

No more!

Faith had an idea to run a Fitness Challenge to get herself motivated and I couldn’t wait to join her. For the next 6 weeks I’ll be documenting my progress here on Thursdays. My goals:

  • run 3 times a week: since Faith told me about this a few weeks ago I’ve been steadily upping my runs and am back to running an hour 3 times a week. For me running is all about not getting injured as I have a habit of upping my mileage too quickly. Instead of running continuously I take short walks breaks. Right now I am running 9 minutes and walking 1 minute. This program has worked well for me and I’ve successfully trained and run two full and two half marathons with this way. By the end of the 6 weeks I would like to be back to running 10k in around an hour. Right now I am running about 8.5 kms in an hour with Henry in the jogging stroller. Not sure how much he slows me down but we’ll see when I do a 10k at the end of August without him.
  • 2-3 body weight workouts a week: I’m really missing my Crossfit gym (not the membership fee though!). So I’ve been doing some Crossfit type workouts in my living room. Squats, push ups, lunges, planks and burpies mostly. Sometimes I even throw Henry in our Ergo carrier and wear him on my back for squats. Extra weight and it calms him down if he’s cranky.
  • no bad snacks during the week: I eat pretty well at meals. Lots of whole foods, fruit and veggies, eggs and lean meats. But my snacking habits are the pits. They’ve been especially bad with all the interesting UK chocolate bars I’ve deemed necessary to try. So no more chocolate or sweets during the week. If I want something I can write it down and have it on the weekend.

As for losing weight or inches, I’m going to keep track here each week of any weight loss and also my waist measurement at the beginning and end of the six weeks. I’m not looking for anything hugely dramatic but my jeans are just a bit tight in the waist right now and losing some weight will make running easier. There’s also a chance I might run a half marathon in October that Jo from SimplyBeingMum is already training for. So I at least want to be ready by the end of August to start doing the longer runs needed to finish a half marathon.

Anyone else need a little fitness motivation? The 6 Week Fitness Challenge starts July 18th and Faith will be posting tips and updates on her Facebook page. There will also be prizes! So head over there and put your hat in the ring. It doesn’t have to be something big. Commit to walking three times a week or taking a bike ride each weekend. I find small changes are easier to stick to and breed motivation to take things to the next level.

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  • As you know I have always been convinced of some link in our ancestry :-) I too am doing 3 runs a week with a view to a half marathon, and am trying to do 3 weight sessions. I’ve just discovered kettlebells – a proper simple workout with minimal equipment and so easy to do at home – combination of great strength training and also cardio – really burns the fat. Haven’t seen Faith’s challenge yet but definitely interested in finding out more, may be the motivation I need to step it up a gear! Good luck Rachel!

    • I love kettlebells! Looked into buying some when I was in Canada but they were really expensive. But now I’m not paying Crossfit dues and they would really help my at home workouts. You are full of great ideas =)

      PS. The half marathon in October becoming more of a possibility. Had a glorious, stroller/push chair free, run last night. Only 9 km but it felt great.

      • Rachel – there’s a great shop by me. My 6kg kettlebell was £14.99 (half rrp). The beauty of kettle bells is you only really need 1 or 2. then as you progress sell your bell on eBay and get the next weight up. They will sell, particularly as from the discount sports shop they are so cheap. I have some York dumbells which I’ve had years, but it irritates me keep adjusting the weights – takes up too much time.
        I’d love you to come over for the marathon it’s be fantastic… we’ll have to see eh? It’s the start of the half term over here, so you could even stay a few days depending on your plans (I know you have a busy itinerary!). Well done on the 9km – as you know its just time on your feet and keeping motivated. I did just 4.5 miles last night – whats that in km Hmmm just over 7km. Have a 10k planned for Saturday, and the each weekend I’m going to increase by about half a mile to a mile. Bit slow at the moment, but going for distance rather than speed, hard to increase both at the same time. Just off to write my No Waste Tastes Great!

  • Maybe I should buy some kettle bells and bring them over? I will weigh my luggage and figure out of this can be done.

    Can’t wait to run with you and H! I’ll push the stroller since I’ll have 2 months of crossfit behind me to help.

    • I want to get a 16 kg and a smaller one. Maybe in Dublin? We won’t be bringing much but I’ll check baggage restrictions.

  • Good luck Rachel!
    Kettel balls sound good. How to use them?
    I also want to loose about 3-4 kgs & firm up. I’m not able to run and can only do low-impact excercises. Any advice?

    • There are a few websites that show kettlebell workouts. I haven’t looked into them too much but if you search for them I am sure they will pop up.

      The main kettlebell exercise I did in Crossfit was a swinging motion from the squat position to overhead. Excellent way to strengthen your legs, gluts and core.

      If I find a good kettlebell exercise website I will post about it.

      Low impact: walking? Walking 3 miles burns almost as many calories as running 3 miles (just takes a bit longer).

      Good luck!!

  • Good idea! I could really use the motivation. I started running about a year ago and finished my first 10K in March. Last few months I haven’t been motivated, and last month I actually didn’t run at all (and it was reflected on the scale…) Two weeks ago I started running again and I was shocked how tired I was after running just 30minutes!

    PS you might want to change your first sentence (over hear)

    • Ooops. Thanks for the catch, Eva, Can you tell I’ve been writing late at night? =)

      It is shocking how quickly cardiovascular training can slip away from you. The good news is that once you’ve been in 10k shape it is easier to get back there. You’ve already put in the work and your mind, and body, remembers what to do. I’m quite excited for the start of this. I’ve never done anything so public for workouts and nutrition before.

  • Last summer I started running 2-3 times a week in lunchtime: dropped 8 pounds in 2 months and was able to run for 15 minutes without stopping (at first, I was only able to do the 2 min run-2 min walk combo). Now those 8 pounds are back on me and I have gained another 4 pounds.
    2 months ago a 24hr gym opened up across the road from my workplace. I have been meaning to go ever since… I have even received a trial-pass for a week. I will be watching for your posts and hopefully joining. My goal for nowis to be able to run for 20 minutes, maybe a 5K in the fall.
    My butt is not too bad (thank you Mom), the extra is mostly on my thighs:(

    • Sign up for a 5k in the fall. I always find signing up for something gets me motivated. I just ran 10k today, not very fast, but I’m thinking about signing up for a half marathon in October to keep me going.

      Good luck!

  • Oooh, a fitness challenge! Right up my alley… except a little too early for me :) I’m planning to do a big “lose the baby weight” challenge after the little guy is born, including before and after measurements and photos.

    Here are a few relatively inexpensive pieces of equipment that I keep on hand for doing workouts outdoors in the park or in any inadequate gym:
    – kettlebells (12 and/or 16 kg)
    – gymnastics rings (you can find them for about $50 online, and they are fully portable – you just need a high, level bar to suspend them from, such as the top of a small swing set at a park)
    – jump rope (my favourite is the Buddy Lee rope with the ball bearings, but really, any lightweight, adjustable rope will do)
    – box of chalk (good for marking distances, drawing agility ladders and other agility courses, keeping track of reps, etc.)
    – soft (non-bouncy) medicine ball (12 or 14 lbs)

    Those are the basics that I would say can keep you busy doing some seriously hard workouts. You can use the rings a lot like a TRX system – doing suspended push-ups, rows, etc., and of course the standard ring dips and other CrossFit stuff.

    I also try to make use of whatever is in my surroundings, such as playground equipment (ad hoc chin-up bars, or if you’re lucky, real ones), benches and concrete planter boxes, stairs/ramps, walls, etc. It’s amazing what you can come up with if you just think outside the box :)

    Oh, and one more thing I’d recommend, if you haven’t got an unassisted pull-up yet, is to spring for one or two resistance bands.

    Can’t wait to hear how it goes for you :)

    • This is a fantastic list. Thank you! I’ve used all of that equipment before but hadn’t thought of investing in it for home/park workouts. Most of it is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take up too much space. Going to have a look on-island first to see if I can find any of it.

      My prediction: you’ll be back at pre-pregnancy weight by at least 3 months post-partum. Especially if you breastfeed. You haven’t gained much weight and you’re in great shape.

  • I love this minimalist approach to fitness! Simple goals, totally achievable! I love the clean eating during the week and allowing treats on weekends; that’s totally been my maintenance plan. But I need to get back to my regular work out routine. Summer time (or just me) has really messed it up!

    • It’s so easy to get out of a routine. I’m trying to be more adaptable and recognize when something isn’t working. I used to get up at 6am and workout by myself before Henry and my husband woke up. It just hasn’t been happening the last 2-3 months. So now I jog with the stroller in the afternoons and do workouts in my living room when my son is awake.

      Good luck!

  • I used to love going to the gym pre-children, but have neither the time nor money to go now. Several years ago my husband and I realised we’d put on some excess weight, so we joined the gym and went two/three times a week. After six months (without any dieting, but we never ate enormous quantities anyway) we’d both lost two stone, just from regular workouts! After having my third child I’ve become quite skinny, I eat well but am constantly on the go running round dealing with the children! I also walk everywhere, which is a great way of keeping fit and saving petrol money/the environment at the same time.

    • Pre-baby I enjoyed training for marathons but it just isn’t feasible now. Like you, I walk everywhere. I’m even starting to plan my longer walks/errands for non running days. That way I have some cardio every day.

      Good for you for keeping that weight off for so long!

  • You are pumped up for this challenge Rachel! I keep waiting for some of your motivation to rub off on me. I’m giving myself until this weekend to get my head in the game. :)

    • That garage sale was a time and energy drain for you. Luckily a profitable one but work nonetheless.

      Get excited! It all starts Monday. Which is why I’m going to enjoy myself at my husband’s work party this weekend.

  • You’re achievable and my achievable are two different things. Still, I love that running for you is all about not getting injured. I sustained nerve damage during my first (back) labour and delivery (8 years ago!). I’m still pretty wobbly on my left leg so I have to be extra careful not to train lopsidedly. You’ve inspired me to take my extra careful from the couch to the next level. Thanks!

    • If you’re not running straight injury is inevitable =(

      Better slow than sorry. That’s why I’m all about run/walk programs. Good luck!

  • Love this post! I started working out at the beginning of July, and also tracking everything I eat at It helps me stay sane, and on track. While its tempting to only enter certain foods, it keeps me from cheating and makes me be honest with myself about what I’m putting into my body. It challenges me to eat healthier if I indulge in a treat. I feel guilty when I don’t work out, but I know my body needs some rest! We recently got a jogging stroller, and having my 2-year old with me keeps me motivated and pushes me a little further.

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