Setting Up the New Summer of Effort Challenge for Myself

Summer of Effort
06 Jun

Last Updated on June 6, 2024 by Michael Brockbank

The last fitness challenge I attempted blew up in my face. But that doesn’t mean we can’t work on fitness to enhance the summer fun. This time, let’s focus on the Summer of Effort and prove we can do this!

As I sit here and write, I think this is the greatest challenge of them all. Mostly because I am tired of being tired and lethargic all the time. Not to mention the fact that I want to see if I can hit certain physical attributes.

Like, what would I look like with chiseled abs? I’m hitting 48 in the middle of this challenge and have never seen what I look like with a washboard stomach. So, that would be interesting.

Anyway, I am putting the Summer of Effort high on my priorities list – much like I do with writing my next book. It’s time to prove to myself that I can do this.

Why the Summer of Effort?

As with tradition, I usually focus my challenges on a 12-week stretch. That’s because I want to prove what can be done by someone with the will to see it through for three months. Not only because I want to prove a few certain influencers absolutely wrong, but because I want to prove to myself that I can stick with it.

Besides, there are a lot of fun physical activities I’d love to do this summer, such as another trip up to Lookout Mountain and possibly a few live streams from Red Rocks. That is as long as I have a signal up there.

If I have the funds, I still would love to head out to Las Vegas and check out Goodsprings a bit closer. Yeah, I’m a Fallout fan and missed out on the saloon the last time I was there.

What Does the Summer of Effort Challenge Entail?

Maximum Effort

This challenge is going to be a bit different than the others. This time, I am actually putting in the effort to plan out the weeks instead of just shootin’ from the hip. However, a lot of the same elements are present in the Summer of Effort fitness challenge.

Maintaining the Diet Plan

First of all, I would like to maintain my Net 600 Calorie Diet plan. It’s what I’ve been using to lose the vast majority of the last 80 pounds and I know it works exceptionally well for me. My issue lately is actually giving a shit about maintaining a healthy weight.

Though, I’ll go into that in a moment.

If you’re following along, it doesn’t have to be my Net 600 diet. You can follow any diet you wish. The idea is to put in maximum effort to do so. If Keto is your thing, or perhaps you want to try out the Carnivore Diet, it doesn’t really matter as long as you’re able to sustain yourself for the next three months.

I’ll also go into the sustainability portion in a minute as well. In reality, sustainable diets and exercise routines are immensely important if you want to lose weight and keep it off.

Increasing Physical Activity

One thing I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time is to add more physical activity to my week. As I am a desk jockey (both career and hobbies keep me at my computer), I didn’t get a lot of movement in the past. However, going to the gym three times per week has made a vast difference comparatively.

Still, I would like to do more. Working from home for the past 11 years has turned me into a bit of a hermit…not that I was mister popularity beforehand.

Part of the Summer of Effort, for me at least, is to see if I can get enough physical activity to rack up 12,500 steps per day. Coincidentally, this is also part of my 1 million steps in 80 days challenge. So, I’ll be killing two birds with one stone. One thing that might be fun is taking half a day in the middle of the week, riding the train out to Lower Downtown Denver, and then hanging out at Caribou for some coffee.

I’m not just talking about walking, though. In reality, you can rack up a lot of steps doing everything from cleaning the kitchen to playing the Oculus or Kinect.

Adding More Sleep!

One of the newest additions to this particular fitness challenge is adding sleep. It’s no secret that I rarely get more than six hours per night. Usually, it’s closer to five and a half. That is just not enough for someone turning 48 this year.

I am usually exhausted at all times and have difficulty getting myself motivated for much of anything physical.

For the Summer of Effort, I’m going to aim to break my average weekly sleeping numbers according to my Fitbit. That means getting to bed at a reasonable time and following my set alarms to drink my Sleepytime tea and read a book to wind down.

Not only will I get more rest, but it also decreases the chances of me snacking before bed and getting away from technology for about 45 minutes. So, it’s a good practice to get into all around.

Not Making Excuses

I rely too heavily on excuses. A lot of what I stress about from day to day is not in my control. However, I admit that a lot of my shortcomings are because I make excuses for myself and my lack of action.

It’s a terrible habit to develop, and it’s going to be an adventure to break. Yet, I need to stop making excuses when there are things that are in my control that I can easily handle.

For instance, I don’t need to be talked into Taco Bell, especially if I have a freezer meal ready to go. For one thing, it’s cheaper. Secondly, it’s about a third of the calories. And lastly, I make some awesome freezer meals.

Caring About Mental Health

This fitness challenge is driven by mental health. That’s because mental fitness is probably more vital than physical fitness. In fact, if you have piss poor mental health, there’s a good chance you won’t care about physical activity.

Part of this involves doing quite a bit of research for upcoming blog posts regarding methods to deal with stress, depression, and frustration. Although I have a few techniques that have worked in the past, a lot of them just aren’t cutting it today, and I’m not sure why.

In any case, I plan on trying out quite a few things over the next few months while reporting my findings. So, look out for a lot more case studies coming soon.

More Blogging and Videos (Journaling)

It’s frustrating to put so much effort into a blog that focuses on search traffic only for Google to drop a Fat Man in the middle of it. However, I am changing my mindset about the blog and how it’s going to move forward.

Instead of getting frustrated with the lack of search traffic, I’m only going to focus on sharing my experiences with those who follow the blog. When I have more time, I’ll post more content.

I would also like to upload more videos to YouTube with the same purpose in mind. It’s more about the journey and recording something like a journal than trying to appease algorithms. Needless to say, I’m not planning on making it rich off of my fitness journey. However, I’m sure I could impart some wisdom while sharing everything I go through.

Oh…and V Shred sucks.

Sustainability for Eating and Exercise

The most important element of the Summer of Effort is developing a sustainable method to lose weight and keep it off. If you can’t see yourself following something for the next decade, it’s probably not going to work as a permanent solution.

Too many people focus on losing it all now but don’t take into consideration what’s going to happen next year or the year after. Seriously, how many people on the fasting diet are willing to do so for the rest of their lives?

Success centers around finding methods that work best for you over the long term. And if you don’t learn why you gained weight in the first place, you’re doomed to gain it back.

This is actually one of the easiest parts for me. I can maintain a weight relatively well, especially since I don’t have a lot of the same behaviors and mannerisms as I did 80 pounds ago. Yet, I’m constantly learning more about myself, so who knows what will happen this time around?

What is the Ultimate Goal for This Fitness Challenge?

From the beginning, this challenge is all about losing the last 20+ pounds to reach my goal weight. Then, I’ll make a few adjustments to continue. That’s because I suspect it won’t take me longer than seven weeks at the most to hit that goal.

But I’ve said that before, so who knows?

After I hit my goal weight, I’ll probably change my focus to body fat percentage. Can a desk jockey, who spends 12 to 16 hours per day at a computer, have the body of an athlete? Well, can this 48-year-old do it should be the question, really.

Because I am so close to hitting my weight loss goals, I’ll need something else for the remainder of the Summer of Effort. I’m not just going to hit my goal weight and call it done. So, I think I’ll spend the last half of the fitness challenge working on breaking personal records.

For one thing, I totally intend on hitting 1 million steps in 80 days. That means no matter what, I’ll be pushing myself to be more active throughout the entire challenge. The Summer of Effort is only 84 days long.

Overall, the ultimate goal for this challenge is to prove to myself that I can stick to something for longer than four or five days. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not all that difficult from a physical standpoint. It all comes down to mentality and not giving in to the “fuck its.”

Remember, It’s a Challenge for a Reason

A challenge isn’t meant to be simple. As the term implies, it’s meant to challenge you. Well, I seemed to have forgotten that aspect over the last few attempts. The only thing that has been challenging to me as of late has been the menagerie of crap that I’ve had to deal with over the last five years.

Nonetheless, I feel that I am ready to push myself and see what I can truly accomplish if I put my mind to it. One of my motivators this time around is the thought of acting out some of the scenes from my books as marketing videos for YouTube. Well, the character I want to play is not as…rotund…as I am today.

Actually, I have a couple of characters from different books that I’d like to portray. If anything, it’ll be a lot of fun putting them together, despite probably getting a copyright strike from using certain music.

Anyway, there are a lot of things I want to do before the end of the year that require a more slim physique. I just need to keep that in mind when I challenge myself to go beyond what I’ve done in the past.

Well, that and V Shred sucks.

Whatever challenge you want to do for yourself, remember that the purpose is to go beyond your normal routine. It’s not challenging if it doesn’t push you to your perceived limits.

Challenging means you need to bring your “A” game.

Maximum Effort!

The Summer of Effort is all about pushing ourselves to achieve greatness. If that means I have to walk for 20 minutes because I don’t have the calories for dinner, then so be it.

Let’s keep our eyes on the prize and the end game goal in our hearts this summer. Our bodies know what needs to be done, we just need our heads to be part of the same game. Losing weight from a physical standpoint is easy. It’s our doubts, frustrations, stress, and depression that often derail those efforts.

Remember, when things start getting rough…

Never Give Up

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