On Facebook, I joined a January tabata challenge. The goal was to do two tabatas every day for that month. A tabata is four minutes of 8 sets of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. The 20 seconds always feels way longer than 20 seconds and the 10 way less than 10. I chose body weight movements for the most part, though I got into the gym a few times for it and did things that I can’t do at home, like rowing, ring rows and kettle bell swings.
I tried exercises that I thought would be too easy, like handstand holds, and rudely discovered that they were not, in fact, too easy. (I really need to work on keeping my arms from hyperextending during handstand holds!) Even jumping jacks are a challenge, at a sufficient rate of exertion.
Once I started, I couldn’t bring myself to stop. I got onto a streak of 7 days – 10 days – 15 days. Even when no one else was posting on the Facebook page, and I felt rather embarrassed to be the only one still doing it. Even when I was exhausted and had trouble finding time to fit even the short tabatas in. Even when I scheduled myself to do burpees… I was driven by the challenge.
One thing that bugged me about the challenge was that I didn’t see a lot of improvements. I didn’t post my scores to the Facebook page, but I did keep track and I kept getting lower numbers of reps the second time I did a tabata, sometimes even worse on a third or fourth try.
And yet, I was the only one on that challenge to complete it.
There was no prize involved, no bonus for winning.
The only thing I got out of it was the knowledge that I can take a challenge like that to the end. I know now that I can do those exercises, and that I, in fact, feel better when I do a couple of tabatas to start the day. I know that I can keep going even when I don’t want to.
I’m not going to keep on doing it every day, because I do think my body is in need of some genuine rest days, but I’m going to try and do it more often. Three to four days a week, for February, tracked on a google spreadsheet so I can see if I can improve.