If you follow me on my Facebook page, you know that I’ve been doing a “Beat the Trainer” Challenge the past few days.  My gym is doing this really fun little challenge where each day there are a series of exercises you have to do, and if you can beat the trainer’s score than your name gets entered into drawing for fun prizes like an iPod shuffle, tablet, etc.

Beat the Trainer Challenge
I didn’t actually realize the challenge was even going on until I was doing my 5 minute warmup on the treadmill on Wednesday and one of the trainers walked up to me.  He apologized for interrupting my workout but wanted to see if I was interested in doing this challenge.  He explained how it worked and that Tuesday’s challenge was pushups.  I thought to myself, “aw crap…pushups!”.  My chest isn’t really my strongest area and at first I told the trainer I probably shouldn’t try because I didn’t think I could beat the number (the mark was 40 pushups in two minutes).  He encouraged me to try anyways and I thought, “What the heck.  I guess what do I really have to lose from trying?”

We went to the back of the gym and the trainer explained that each pushup had to be a regular toes-on-the-ground pushup, and your chest had to touch the floor.  I honestly did not think I would be close to the goal of 40 pushups, but I was excited and even had a little adrenaline going right before we started.  He started the timer and I was going fast!  15 seconds in and the trainer warned me that I should probably try to pace myself and not go so quick, but I knew I just needed to get to 40 as fast as possible because I wasn’t really sure if I would make it at all….and truthfully I had a little adrenaline going from the competition and wanted to keep that excitement going.  I was shocked when he told me only a minute was up…I was at 31!  I slowed down a little bit and ended up with 56 pushups in two minutes.  Let me tell you….I was surprised!  The challenge was a lot of fun and I was excited for the next few days to compete again.

I came in the next morning knowing that Thursday’s challenge was 60 full situps in 2 minutes.  The rules were: someone could hold your feet with their hands, you had to cross your arms over your chest, your elbows had to touch your knees, and you couldn’t lift your butt off the floor.  I honestly thought this would be pretty easy for me.  I do ab workouts 2-3x a week and my core is really strong.  Boy was I humbled when I was only able to get 51 situps in two minutes.  I had 36 at the one minute mark, but my speed really started to slow down at that point.  I was so surprised at how challenging this was!  I just had a really hard time going fast.  I don’t ever do full situps in my workouts so I think this may be why it was so difficult for me.  I was a little disappointed I didn’t meet the target, but it’s been a good challenge for me to aim for.  I’m going to start adding full situps in to my weekly ab routine and re-do this part of the challenge each week, on my own, until I get it down.

Taken the morning of the sit up challenge.  My core is really strong, but I was really weak on my full situps!

Taken Thursday, the morning of the sit up challenge. My core is really strong, but I was really weak on my full situps!

Friday’s challenge was 30 burpees in two minutes.  I also don’t do a lot of burpees in my workouts and so after failing yesterday’s challenge I was really nervous for this one!  I even went so far as to look up on youtube, “how to do burpees fast” (kind of embarrassing, I know) #confession.  The main thing I tried to focus on was to just sort of “fall” down to the floor as fast as possible instead of using a lot of energy to squat down and then kick back.  I knew I was getting off to a good start and was so happy when I had 21 burpees at the one minute mark.  I ended up slowing down quite a bit after I heard I was at 21….maybe because I knew I would meet my goal of 30 but also because I was starting to get really freakin tired.  I ended up with 38 and was really happy with that.

Saturday’s challenge was to do 8 pullups (no time limit) but from a dead hang position (no kipping).  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it into the gym on Saturday so just asked if I could do these on Friday instead.  The trainer agreed and after I rested a bit from the burpees I tried them.  I went into this knowing I probably wouldn’t be able to do this.  I have a really hard time with pullups when I do them in my workouts.  I usually have to do them on the assisted pullup machine and need a lot of assistance (around half my body weight of assistance to do 12-15 at a time).  I ended up getting just one pullup in, and it was a pretty weak pullup at that.  I used the narrower-grip handles that point towards you (not sure the name of that hold), not the wider-grip handles the point outward.

So, to recap, this was such a fun challenge.  It made me really  look forward to getting to the gym each day and I was excited for a little competition in my workouts (I always workout alone).  I would encourage you guys to try this challenge at home!  Even if you don’t workout at the gym, try doing this with your spouse, kids, or siblings and see how you can do.  Here were the numbers we had to hit:
Pushups (in two minutes):
40 female / 62 male

Situps (in two minutes):
60 female / 60 male

Burpees (in two minutes):
30 female / 39 male

Pullups (dead hang):
8 female (any grip) / 15 male (wide grip)

Let me know in the comments below if you try this challenge!  My new goal is to be able to do 60 situps in 2 minutes by the end of July and 8 unassisted pullups by Christmas (hoping to add one extra pullup each month from now until December until I can eventually do 8).  Can’t wait to hear from you guys, how you did, and what your improvement goals are too.

Your friend,