I’ve decided to attempt yet another 12-week fitness challenge but center it around a Summer of Effort. And yes, I’m feeling pretty good about it this time around and look forward to seeing what I can do in three months.

Starting June 10th, I’m going to go all-in to lose the last 20+ pounds and break a variety of personal records. And all of this is coming from a 48-year-old desk jockey who spends 12 to 16 hours per day in front of his computer.

How the Summer of Effort is Progressing

Below is the spreadsheet that I am using to keep track of various metrics for myself. The idea is to collect as much data as I can to write a few blog posts and to develop working fitness strategies.

That’s because I am a dork and love collecting data!

Rows that are just white are days where data hasn’t been collected yet. For the most part, the numbers in the white rows are calculated averages based on my progress throughout the challenge.

Rows that are in Yellow are days that data has been collected. A Green row means that I kept my calorie intake within my diet for the day. And Red means an utter failure of some kind.

The idea is to not see a single red row throughout this particular challenge.

Weekly Updates for the Summer of Effort

  • Setting Up the New Summer of Effort Challenge for Myself
    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!
  • Autopilot This Morning, Almost Failing from the Jump
    This morning, I woke up and nearly talked myself out of going to the gym on the first day of my latest fitness challenge. However, I was able to set my mind to autopilot and worked up a good sweat.
  • Handling Summer Holidays During the Fitness Challenge
    During the Summer of Effort, there are a couple of holidays in the way. These are Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, and my birthday. So, how am I going to handle the fitness challenge during these events?
  • Week 1 of 12 for SoE: Down 3.2 Pounds – Kind Of
    Before Father’s Day weekend, I was on track to lose 9.2 pounds overall. However, I decided to enjoy my day and indulged in quite a bit of goodness. So, the scale says I only lost 3.2 pounds this week.

What I Am Working On During the Summer of Effort

The idea of the Summer of Effort is to put in…you guessed it…maximum effort. A challenge isn’t a challenge unless you push yourself and bring your “A” game. Otherwise, it’s just another Tuesday.

So, let’s take a look at some of the things that I view as a challenge for myself.

Maintaining My Net 600 Calorie Diet

I have never been able to maintain my Net 600 Calorie Diet for longer than a few weeks. It’s not that I think it’s difficult or that I feel like I’m starving. Mostly, it’s because I get into the wrong mindset and say, “Eh, to hell with it.”

My Net 600 diet is how I’ve lost most of the last 80 pounds. It focuses on increasing physical activity while eating less. If I’m active enough and stick to the plan, I wind up eating about 1700 to 1900 calories per day while burning 3600 to 4000.

I’m not saying this is the perfect diet for everyone. But, it’s the perfect diet for me, especially since I am unrestricted in what I can eat. I just need to serve proper portion sizes and be more active.

Getting More Sleep!

Perhaps one of my greatest challenges is that of getting enough sleep at night. Not only does my memory foam bed remember to be a brick, but I have a bad habit of staying up too late throughout the week. This is extra problematic as I am a midnight snacker.

If I would just go to bed at a reasonable time, I could save myself nearly a thousand calories of random junk.

For the Summer of Effort, I’m pitting my average sleep each night against what I averaged in the past. The idea is to get myself psyched about beating those records and actually sleeping for a change. This means adhering to my 8:45 pm alarm to drink my Sleepytime Tea and read a book before calling it a night at 9:30 pm.

Well, at least Sunday through Thursday nights.

Averaging 12,500 Steps Per Day

I can’t really have a fitness challenge without an idea of some kind of activity. Currently, I’m pretty consistent about going to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. However, I need a bit more umph in my physical activity if I want to burn more carbs and fat.

I know a lot of people have no issue with hitting 20,000 steps in a day. But for someone who works and plays at a computer for the entire day, it’s not as easy. I’m going to focus on 12,500 steps per day in various activities. This will help me hit my goal of 1 million steps in 80 days.

Now, these steps are recorded by my Fitbit and will include everything from walking to playing the Oculus and Xbox Kinect. You’d be amazed by how active you can be with the right video game.

Finding Mental Health Improvement Methods

Another one of my greatest challenges is fighting various mental health issues. The last fitness challenge was marred by stress, depression, and frustration. This time around, I’m actively looking for new things to try in order to center myself better.

Even if that means…sigh…committing to Wednesday Night Yoga.

The bottom line is that without improvements to your mental health, the physical stuff will suffer. That’s because you’ll find it exceptionally difficult to give a shit about your physical wellbeing if your mind isn’t in the process.

So, if you’re following along, don’t be afraid to try various techniques to help deal with your mental hangups. Your mind is the primary organ in your body, and keeping it healthy will go a long way to improving your life in a plethora of ways.

Breaking Some Personal Records

I love trying to break my own personal records. After all, in the grand scheme of things, you’re only in competition with yourself. It doesn’t matter what someone else can lift as long as you’re working to improve your own physique one pound at a time.

During the Summer of Effort fitness challenge, I intend to break quite a few, especially once I hit my weight loss goals. This will include things like consecutive push-ups, miles ridden on my bike, weight on the chest press, and anything else that I feel like tracking.

For instance, I’d love to set a few new records riding my bike on Runkeeper. It’s been a while since I recorded data on that app.

Various Sidequests to Accentuate the Challenge

Because I am who I am, you can bet that I’ll probably create a few sidequest challenges while committing to the Summer of Effort. That’s because I love to do things just to see if I can do them.

For instance, I might set up a week where all I do is play the Oculus for exercise. I’d love to see how much weight I could lose compared to going to the gym. Or, perhaps I’ll commit to protein days and see the impact they have on my weight the next day.

How many calories can I burn doing specific household chores?

There are simply so many different things you can do during any given challenge to keep you interested in seeing it through. It’s all about gamifying fitness any way you see fit and following it through.

A More Active Blog and YouTube Channel

Lastly, I would love to be more active on the blog and YouTube channel. We have quite a few ideas for future videos and updates, but we just need the follow-through. So, perhaps that could be incorporated into the Summer of Effort – putting in the effort to create more content.

I’m sure the algorithms would like that, not to mention the few people who follow the blog. Besides, I have a lot of fun stuff planned for the summer and look forward to sharing some of it.

So, What Did the Summer of Effort Do For Me?

As this is an ongoing challenge, I really don’t have much to report. So, as soon as the challenge is completed, I’ll update this section of the post.

But as it stands, I am pretty excited to get this one going.

How Do You Challenge Yourself?

Challenges are meant to push you. That is as long as you put in the effort to see them through. This time around, I am going full-on with my plans and look forward to seeing what I can turn myself into.

What kinds of ways are you challenging yourself this summer?