Oh, mid-January. The holidays are over, the decorations are (mostly) taken down, all the treats at work have slowed down a bit, and now there’s 2 months minimum of dealing with ice and slush and bitter cold to look forward to, without the holidays to warm the cockles of my heart. I don’t know about you, but that does not bode well for my desire to exercise. When it’s cold and nasty out, all I want to do is snuggle on the couch with a book or a few episodes of Friends.
Which is why I’m so thankful for my work’s yearly fitness challenge – it comes at the perfect time, and brings with it lots of perks and motivation to get me
slightly more arsed raring to go. One benefit of working at a university is that it comes with its own medical center that has stock in the well-being of its community! The 12-week challenge is sponsored by that medical center and involves weekly minute goals for exercising – 150 minutes the first week, 165 the next, etc. The gym offers discounted membership as well as lots of fitness classes and personal training sessions. Two years ago I took a 5K for Beginners class which really launched me into the world of running, and participating in the challenge the past few years has at least guaranteed that I wouldn’t be a giant lump for the entire winter.
Today was the kick-off event, which included free tiny smoothies, apples, and cheese sticks, as well as a raffle to win a FitBit and a chance to take a fitness test. I usually wander through the kick-off to grab string cheese and enter the raffle, but this year was the first time I tried out the fitness test… partly because I was really curious and partly because it would give me something to blog about, since I’ve been hard-up on things to write about lately!
The fitness test includes 3 portions – cardiovascular, flexibility, and muscular endurance – and the idea is that you do it at the kick-off, at the mid-point event, and at the closing celebration to see if you’ve improved during the 12 weeks. For the cardiovascular part, I had to basically march awkwardly up and down a step in time to a metronome for 3 minutes:
then find my pulse and compare it to a chart. I scored a 108, which is apparently average for my age group. Then for flexibility I had to do a stretch test exactly like this:
With my legs straight out I had to push a little metal thingie as far as I could without my knees bending, and I got 3 tries. I didn’t expect to score well on this, since my legs are notoriously tight, but I was able to push the thingie a half-inch further each time, finally scoring 15″, which, again, is average for my age group. (Thank God I’m now in the 30-39 group… I’d be failing all these in the 20-29 one, I think!) Muscular endurance was either sit-ups or push-ups until you couldn’t do anymore, and I went with push-ups since I can’t do a sit-up to save my life. I managed 6. And the 6th shouldn’t have even counted because it was the sorriest push-up you’ve ever seen, but the lady took pity on me. 6 got me a “needs improvement” score, which I could have told you without doing any! With that, I logged my results, grabbed my free tiny smoothie, and went back to work.
The challenge doesn’t officially start until February, but I’m super excited about it this year. There’s another running class which I’m debating signing up for, and it culminates with the CityRun 5-Miler that I’m already signed up for (though, had I waited a few days, I could have saved 50% off my registration through work! D’oh!). Plus, now that I have a gym membership I feel like I’ll be much more apt to actually work out and log some minutes. This should be a decent challenge this year! Huzzah for GetFit!
Does your work/school offer any kind of fitness event/challenge?
Do you struggle with being active in the winter?
I can’t be the only one!
[Edit – Here are some fun pictures of me yesterday with my tiny smoothie and two ladies I don’t know. We were all reaching for cups and the smoothie lady asked if she could take our picture for their site, and the other girls side-eyed me awkwardly because I was a total rando. Good times!]