Labor Day Challenge - Week 2 - 2About two and a half months ago I made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle. I committed to eating better and began working into exercise to my everyday life. Some days are harder than others but my hard work is paying off.

Whenever I complete an activity on Runkeeper, that activity is shared on Facebook and Twitter. To my surprise, a handful of people actually began paying attention to those updates and offered words of encouragement. Those posts have even inspired a couple of people to shed some pounds themselves.

This healthy living apparently made me a target for the Labor Day Challenge, as Ron Larimer, of When The Balloon Goes Up, calls it. I was asked if I had any interest in joining him in a month-long exercise routine. The goal was to cover 20 Miles and perform 2,000 Push-Ups and 3,000 Crunches.

Being as I’m a competitive person, especially when competing against myself, I thought long and hard about if I would be able to complete the challenge. Ordinarily if I would fail, I’d pass on the challenge. In this case, any additional exercise is a win, so I was tempted.

Covering 20 miles wouldn’t be an issue. In fact, I was all but halfway there when I saw the tweet from Ron. I didn’t think the crunches would be too bad since my current gym routine doesn’t have any abdominal exercises mixed in. The push-ups are where I became nervous. For a heavy guy that can’t do many reps, the number seemed rather ambitious. On top of that, how would it affect me in the gym since I had no desire to stop my current routine?

I threw caution to the wind and decided to take on the Labor Day Challenge. Being a week behind from the start, I knew I had some hard work ahead of me. To be successful I would need to run 0.8 miles and perform 80 push-ups and 160 crunches every day.

Day one came to a close with 2.75 miles covered, 96 push-ups, and 180 crunches. The added exercises took a toll on me and I was tired and sore the following day. Who would have guessed that push-ups worked more than just your chest? The following day in the gym I struggled with just about every upper body workout that I tried.

After I returned from the gym, I set out on completing Day 2 of the challenge. I was exhausted and my body ached. I pushed hard and was able to finish out the day with 1.9 miles covered on the gym elliptical machine, 100 push-ups, and 200 crunches. I had to break the exercises into numerous sessions in order to complete them.

Here we are on Day 3 and I can plainly say, the Labor Day Challenge is kicking my ass. I went out for a 2.34 mile run this morning and have broken the strength exercises into four session. I’m doing two sets of push-ups (15 reps and 10 reps) and 2 sets of crunches (25 reps per set) per session. So far I’m at 75 push-ups and 150 crunches with one more routine laying ahead of me.

I’m trying to get a little ahead each day so that I can take the occasional rest day without needing to make up a monumental amount of exercise. I have a lot of work ahead of me but I’m confident that I’ll be successful, even if it costs me a little in the gym.

Labor Day Challenge - Week 2