30-day Exercise Challenge

Not me, but maybe some day.

After my one-week retreat, I set a long-term, personal goal; but to accomplish it I’d have to become physically stronger. I watched a few YouTube videos about building muscle and then researched gyms in my area. There was one a short distance from my home, the membership was [somewhat] reasonably priced, and it was well stocked with equipment. I joined and set a short-term goal of exercising every day for 30 days.

But I didn’t have to work-out at the gym to meet my daily exercise requirement. Any of the following would count toward achievement:

  • Working out at the gym.
  • Working out at home.
  • Hiking.
  • Digging for fossils with a local university.

And this is how these activities were actually distributed.

70%     Working out at the gym.
13%     Hiking.
7%       Working out at home.
7%       Digging for fossils.

The shortest exercise period was 30 minutes. The longest was a 7-hour hike with few breaks.

So let’s add the numbers:  70 + 13 + 7 + 7 = 97. Three percent is missing from the total. What happened?

During one hike, I’d gotten lost on the trail, resulting in an 11.5 mile (18.5 km) walk in hot weather. I ended the trek with seizing leg muscles and heat exhaustion. I felt my body needed a recovery day, and so I took it easy for 24 hours.

But I don’t find a missed day discouraging. In fact, my efforts were 97% successful!

What differences did I see after 30 days?

  • All muscles show more definition.
  • Physical strength increased. During the first week, the amount of weight I could leg-press or lift was embarrassingly low. But now I can move a respectable amount of weight.
  • I gained 4-5 pounds (1.8-2.2 kg) of muscle. When I started, there was little fat on my 60-plus year old frame, and increasing concern over muscle loss.
  • I eat more, and must increase caloric intake further to gain additional muscle.
  • More attention is paid to protein intake (I use vegetable-based protein sources.)
  • I had loose flabs of skin above my waist (the female version of love-handles). The flabs on one side of my back are nearly gone; on the other side they continue to fade.
  • Posture improved.
  • Energy level increased dramatically.
  • Feelings of happiness increased. I’ve found that if I exercise until I feel weak and wobbly, I feel pleasantly high afterwards.
  • Body image improved; can’t wait to buy some muscle shirts.
  • Skin became smoother and more vibrant.
  • Facial wrinkles decreased.
  • Digestion improved.
  • My body seems to heal more quickly. For example, I recovered completely from my long hike in less than 24 hours. During one leg press, I felt a tendon shift in the back of my ankle, causing a bit of pain. But that, too, recovered within a day. Minor cuts and abrasions seem to vanish within a few hours.
  • The chronic, severe pain in my neck, which I’ve had for at least six months, went away.

So what happens now?

I challenge myself to another 30 days. I can’t wait to see what happens.


Photo of body builder by scottwebb with Pixabay.

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She has a passion for day-hiking and nature, and also enjoys writing. Be sure to visit the TenPaths YouTube channel, which is still in its infancy.

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