Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fitness Challenge 2011 {Sign Up}

[snazzy challenge button to come]

Last year was the most athletically active year of my life and I'm so excited to see this year be even better. Last year, I biked a total of 640.7 miles between April and November, ran at total of 150.7 miles from January through December, and spent literally hundreds of hours at the gym in fitness classes. I had visions of running upwards of 250 miles last year, but I've been nursing planter fasciitis [inflammation of the tendon that runs along the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes, resulting in sharp pain in the heel area] on my right foot since early last spring. If you've ever had this injury before, you know it takes a really long time to heal. My case is almost completely healed, but I am still being very cautious about the frequency and duration of high impact workouts, i.e., running and jumping type activities.

So what am I going to do in 2011 to make this year even more athletically active than last year?

I'm going to strive to be even more consistent than ever with my workout schedule. I had been exercising 3-5 days a week for many years and thought I was doing a the best that I could. Turns out I could have been doing more. I started working out 6-7 days a week last year and my fitness levels took gigantic leaps. To be fair, I started carefully tracking calories during this time, as well, which lead to weight loss, which in turn lead me to a better overall health and fitness level right there. I'm not saying I follow a perfect diet or that I'm an exercise expert, and I still have 20+ lbs. to lose before I'm at my goal weight, but I have learned first hand the benefits of keeping your diet in check and exercising every day. I feel better than I have since ... well... since maybe forever. I don't want to lose this edge on life and not only that... if I feel this good now, I can only imagine how incredible I'll feel physically [and emotionally] when I'm at my absolute best shape. And frankly, I don't want to just imagine all that. I WANT it to be real, so I'm going for it!

Which brings me to my Fitness Challenge for 2011. The idea for this type of challenge is not my own. Many companies and gyms sponsor fitness challenges that have participants track their progress in fitness miles which are measured by actual mile per mile walked or run or mile per specified time intervals spent in other cardiovascular or strength training activities. My inspiration for this challenge comes from the ladies at the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge blog.

Fitness Challenge 2011 Rules:

1. The challenge will run month to month throughout the year. 
Anyone can join at any time for however many months you chose, although I'm hoping for company throughout the entire year!

2. ONE mile walked or run  = ONE fitness mile
Note: If you use the metric system, divide the number of km walked or run by 1.6 to convert km to miles. 

3. 15 minutes of 'other exercise' = ONE fitness mile
You must exercise continuously for 15 minutes without stopping for it to count. If you work out for 20 minutes, it only counts as 1 mile, and you don't get to save the 5 minutes to pad onto the next workout. You may as well keep working out for 30 minutes to get full credit and then you've got 2 fitness miles to your name. A 60 minute fitness class at your gym would equal 4 fitness miles. 40 minutes on the elliptical counts as 3 "miles." You may as well stay on another 5 minutes to get credit for 4 "miles"! Get it?

4. 'Other exercise' is specific only to designated workouts such as fitness classes at the gym, fitness videos at home, exercise machines, biking, swimming, weight lifting, etc.

5. Do not count daily activities such as shopping, cleaning, etc.
This is because those types of daily activities are already accounted for in our daily caloric needs. You do them all the time as part of your daily or weekly routine, so you don't get exercise credit for them. You'll only be shortchanging yourself if you count them. However, some activities that are strenuous and not routine, like shoveling snow or manually tilling a garden bed, can be counted. Use your own judgement regarding distinguishing routine daily activities and exercise specific activities.

6. Decide how many miles you want to challenge yourself to finish in a month.
It might take you a month or two to figure out how many miles will offer you the best challenge. You don't want to set the bar so high that you get frustrated, but at the same time, you also don't want to make it too easy that you're not pushing yourself.

7. Keep track of your "fitness miles" on a piece of paper, a file on your computer, or even on your blog on your sidebar or in a post like I do at See how she runs... . Then share your success and struggles with the group at the end of the month.

8. Share your progress in the Fitness Report Card post here on the first day of the month.
The first Report Card post for January's challenge will be on February 1. I'll also try do a Progress Report type post in the middle of the month so we can check in on each other.

9. To join, leave a comment below telling me you're up for the challenge and how many miles you're going to challenge yourself in January.

10. IMPORTANT: Please consult with your physician before starting any new exercise program. This challenge is for camaraderie and motivational purposes.

 I'll edit this post to include the names of participants and their challenge miles as people join. 

Fitness Challenge 2011 Participants:

1. Christine  100 
2. Lori  75
3. Gina   16+
4. azteclady  25
5. Brandy  80
6. Deanna  TBD
7. Leslie  50
8. Crystal  90 
9. Zee  TBD
10. Sarai  32 
11. Beverly TBD

Who's next? :) 

Looking forward to many happy, healthy miles with you in 2011!


  1. All the best with that challenge...and that final 20 lbs!

  2. I'm in. I'll go with 75. That should keep me motivated, but is still doable (I average 1.5 hours at the gym... when I go...)

  3. ok, ok, you twisted my arm! I think I'm planning to do 4 fitness miles a week. I try to use the elliptical twice a week for 1/2 hr each & since I really need to get off the couch & I can read while running I think I can do it....

  4. Oh criminy!

    I want to but...

    I'm afraid I'll fail and I hate to fail--HATE it!

    On the other hand, I really need to get off my duff and DO something other than work, you know?

    Baby steps... I'll start this month with 25 fitness miles (yes, I know, ridiculous--I already feel like a failure, gah!)

    Quick question: I ride my bike to and from work at least five times a week--it's a bit over two miles each way. I shouldn't count that since it's part of my routine, the same way cleaning, etc. are, right?

  5. Sounds like you have some great fitness goals for 2011! Wishing you all the best with your challenge!

  6. So, though I usually manage around 8 miles per time on the stationary bike, that would only count as 1 or 2 miles? I don't like to fail, but will try. And will choose to be conservative-I'll say 80 miles over the course of the year. What would weights count as, btw?

    Best Wishes and Blessings for your Challenge!

  7. Thanks, orannia! I'm excited for this year to be my best yet! :)

    Lori, excellent! I'm so happy you're joining me. :)

    Gina...awesome! I put you down for 16+ based on 4 "miles" per week for a month with four weeks, but you'll probably end up with an extra one in there. If you make the 16 easily in January, you can always bump up to 20 "miles" for February. :)

    azteclady! Yay!!! I love that you use 'criminy'! ^_^
    No, I think you can count your bike riding to and from work as exercise because the "exercise" intent is there and besides that is so admirably green. I love that you do that! Use every 15 minutes spent biking as one fitness mile, though... not the actual miles.
    Thanks for joining. :)

    Thanks, Tracy! :)

    Brandy, you can DEFINITELY do this. I know how much time you spend at the gym, too, so I think 80 fitness miles per MONTH is a great challenge for you.

    If I understand your question, I think the answer is yes, you have that correct. If it takes you 30 minutes to ride 8 miles on the bike, it's only 2 "fitness" miles. Keep in mind that it takes much less effort to bike for 1 mile than it does to run it, and therefore less demanding on your heart, lungs, and muscles, so the two activities cannot be treated equally per mile. Fifteen minutes of Zumba, though... is more closer to the amount of effort needed to run 1 mile.

    . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Does everyone understand how to calculate the "miles" for the challenge? I'm just repeating this with examples to make things as clear as possible.

    If you walk or run on a treadmill at the gym, outside on a track or in your neighborhood... the miles are equal. One mile walked = one "fitness" mile.

    Any other exercise you do, whether it be Zumba, yoga, weight lifting (nautilis or free weights), or stationary bike... you count every 15 minute interval doing those things as one "fitness" mile. So your one hour Zumba class = 4 miles, your one hour yoga class = 4 miles, and 30 minutes on the stationary bike = 2 miles. The catch is that if you're on the stationary bike for 20 minutes, it's only 1 mile. You don't "earn" the second "fitness" mile until you get to the 30 minute mark... and it has to be 30 continuous minutes. In the end, you are you're own keeper, so use your own judgement. :)

    And have fun!!! No one's failing here. We're all doing something together to keep motivated and do something awesome for our bodies!

    I don't expect to reach my 100 miles every month, since I know I typically do 85 or so anyway. The challenge is in aiming for that 100 and the thrill will come those few months I actually do it! Embrace the challenge. You can do it!

    *pom poms* ^_^

  8. I LOVE THIS IDEA!!! I think I am going to replace my weekly quotes with my fitness/track to my career goals. I want to become a police officer and inorder to do that I need to get, and stay, in very good shape! I am in for every month this year. :-D

  9. I liked your posts related to fitness. Liked it. Are you on Twitter? Can you also have a look my Fitness blog and share your ideas to improve

  10. I'm in desperate need of motivation so please add my name. Not sure how many fitness miles per month to put. I think I'll start conservative and put 50. If I can do half of what you do, I'd be happy. Probably very tired too. :)

  11. I'm in - I have to get these 20 pounds off this year and I want to do it through fitness and be as fit as I was 3 years ago when I was training for a half-marathon.

    I'm in for January and I'll go for 90 miles.

    Thanks for having this challenge.

  12. I would love to join you on your fitness challenge. I am definitely dedicating this year to being healthier!

  13. Alright I'm going to do this I must since I am now 30...

    So if I do Insanity which is a DVD at home and its a 45 min DVD that is 3 miles right?

    The goal then would be to do 8 miles a week.

    So I am going to go with 32 miles a week. Yeah that sounds good...

  14. Whoops meant 32 a month LOL not a week cause yeah that's not happening...


    *cake* <--virtual so it's calorie free! :D

    Happy Birthday, Sarai! xo

    So glad you're joining the challenge and yes, 45 min DVD is 3 miles. :) 32 miles per month! You got it! :)

  16. Omgosh. I had this huge comment typed up to everyone who commented ahead of Sarai and blogger ate it. :( And now It's late and I'm too tired to type it all again.. and my alarm goes off in 6 hours for the gym, so I'll start over tomorrow morning after coffee. Sorry... long day...

    Thank you all for joining! I'm so excited to have you all do this with me. :)

  17. Thanks for stopping by The Wormhole! I am your newest follower! I would love to join the fitness challenge - I have joined a walking challenge at the school where I work. The goal is 10,000 steps per day. I don't know how to change that into fitness miles - HELP!

  18. Christine, I wish I had chosen to go green, but the truth is that the lack of a different kind of green has forced me to ride the bike--everywhere.

    Turns out I cannot count the ride to and from work regardless, because it's some ten minutes each way--if it takes longer than that, it'd be the equivalent of strolling, not walking!

    However, the plan is to stick Beachbody's Power90 DVDs, which should get me close to the 25 fitness miles per month. The occasional trip to the mall or the post office (30+ minutes each way) should make up the difference.

  19. Okay, let me try this again. :)

    Deanna, I'm so psyched that you're joining in on this challenge! How awesome that you want to become a police officer!? I am so impressed!!! Have you thought about how many "fitness miles" you want to aim for in January? Let me know.. otherwise I'll make something up for you. *evil laughter* ;)

    Admin, thank you so much for visiting and letting me know you like my fitness posts. I will check out your blog. Thanks.

    Leslie, YES! So glad you're in. I think 50 is a great place to start. You can always bump it up or down for the best personal challenge for you next month. You're going to feel great! :)

    Crystal, Hi! Welcome to the challenge! And to my blog. :) I'm so happy to have you here. WOW! A half marathoner is among us... I'm in awe. A few of my workout buddies did a half marathon last spring and while a part of me envied them... the other part of me was totally intimidated! One of them does the NYC marathon every other year and this year is doing an Ironman tri... omg she blows me away, but I feel so lucky to have her as a workout buddy at the same time.

    I visited your blogs and see we have a lot of interests in common! I love making new friends like this. So glad to 'meet' you and plan to visit your blog regularly! :)

    Zee! SO psyched you're joining!!! :D
    How many "miles" do you want to go for this month? If you're not sure, tell me how many hours you want to try to exercise each week and I'll set you up.

    Sarai, you're in for 32 a month. Hope you had a rockin' birthday, sweetheart.

    Beverly, you're so very welcome for the visit. You've got an awesome blog over there at The Wormhole! I am so thrilled to have you join the challenge!!! :)
    Thanks for following me! :)

    As for translating those steps per day to fitness miles, let me think... I assume you are using a pedometer to track your steps and reach 10,000? When you have the time over the next few days or over the weekend, why don't you make note of how many steps you take in 15 minutes, then we can translate your steps into "fitness miles" to figure out your goal. Let's try that.

    azteclady, it's still 'green' no matter the reasons you are opting to ride your bike in lieu of using a car or bus to get places. I still admire you, even though I am simultaneously bummed that the other kind of 'green' is driving your decision. Hopefully 2011 will be a more prosperous year for everyone.

    I think that if you are riding your bike for 20 minutes total to and from work, and it is enough to elevate your heart rate during that time... count each round trip as 1 fitness mile. I think that's fair.

    Beachbody's Power90 DVDs sound awesome!

    You guys all ROCK!

  20. Thanks for the bday wishes. Mom got me an Ipod for my birthday so that should help with motivation and well great tunes when I'm kicking it LOL God I hope it helps anyway!

    Thanks agian!

  21. I would so love to join in. Just saw this on a friends blog. I will get a post up about it as quickly as i can but i wanted to jump in in time for Feb.

    Start me at 15 and let's see how that goes for the month.

  22. Welcome to the Fitness Challenge, SenoraG!
    I'm so happy to hear you got wind of this challenge and are enthusiastic about joining. I've got you down for 15 for February. :)
    Thanks for participating!


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