Long intro because I haven’t posted in a while! To skip directly to my thoughts on the challenge, please click here.
Wooo! It’s been a while since I uploaded a post and I have to admit, I’ve had one stuck in my drafts that I’ve simply never completed. I have had trouble concentrating and get distracted way too easily, and – ehhem – I don’t typically prioritise writing blog posts. Much has happened lately but I haven’t really written about it.
Looks like this blog is really mostly a faith, food and fitness blog haha. Food has been business as usual lately (we go through phases of eating healthy then eating junk. Gotta keep it balanced, but I have a few restaurant review posts I want to get up) though faith may need an update!
This post is going to be a fitness one though.
Fitness posts tend to be the ones I’m most consistent with, but since finishing Chloe’s last challenge, I haven’t really started a new one, so haven’t really posted anything. I have, however, started attending wushu classes! I’ve only just started and I’m pretty weaksauce, so there isn’t really much to blog about in that regard.
It feels like ages ago since I finished Chloe’s challenge but it was only 6/13, a couple of weeks ago. I feel like I’ve rested way too much and have become lazy, but in reality I tried out a wushu class on 6/16, only a few days after completing Chloe’s challenge, then wanted to try a different place on 6/18 but ended up not being able to make it.
Last week I went to wushu class on Tuesday and Thursday and did a Caroline Girvan workout on Wednesday as well as some wushu practice. I wanted to go on Saturday as well but ended up not being able to make it either. So, actually, I still worked out 2-3x/week over the past couple of weeks!
Not as much as I’d like, but perhaps I’m being a little too hard on myself for feeling lazy. There were days when I felt like I wanted to do some wushu practice, but I just struggled to find the mental energy to start, and then I just gave up and didn’t bother. I haven’t really been out for walks either (mostly because it’s been sweltering these days. Highs of 35-37°C all last week, ugh.)
I am, however, thoroughly pleased to announce that I was able to do 5 proper pushups a couple of days ago.
I watched a video about the power of the mind and how most of the time our minds give up before our bodies do, so I figured why not just try. Try actual push ups. So I did. And I did one. Then two… then three… four… five. Then I stopped. I probably could have done a couple more. But I was already thrilled.
This is the first time I’ve been able to do proper pushups. I’m actually amazed. Two years ago I set my goal as being able to do 10 proper form pushups. I’m finally getting there. I mean, let’s be honest, my form wasn’t like amazing. I could have bent my elbows a lot deeper. But I also wasn’t on my knees, and that’s a huge win for me.
Yesterday I went to wushu class again and I plan to go again tomorrow. Today? I tried out day 1 of Caroline’s Epic Heat. I don’t think wushu 2x/week is enough exercise for me (I know, I don’t even recognise myself sometimes!) so I’d like to supplement my week with other workouts in between, where I can do a quick workout and also get in some wushu practice.
The hardest thing for me is starting my workout, but I’ve realised that if I’m doing something more structured (like a CT/CG Challenge), then my body just naturally prepares for warming up and working out. Good to know I’ve actually developed some degree of discipline with all the workout challenges I’ve been doing!
I realised I struggle to start wushu practice on my own because it’s just mentally taxing to try to remember what I’ve learned and then also have to practice it without someone guiding me. I’m such a beginner, and I don’t have the mental capacity to “teach” myself and push myself at the same time. It’s daunting, so my brain just gives up before starting.
I don’t want to warm up and get it done, especially since I don’t know how long I’d actually exercise for and I hate getting sweaty for only a 10min workout. But if I’m already sweating and warmed up from a workout, then I’ve already conquered the first hurdle. It’s far easier to tack on 5-10mins of wushu practice to the end of a workout when I’m already in the zone.
So that’s where Caroline comes in! Chloe’s new challenge doesn’t launch until 11th July, and I’m not sure what it is yet, plus I’ll need something I can take at my own pace between wushu classes starting now, so Caroline it is.
Why Epic Heat?
I’ve been eyeing her Epic Heat program for a while now. I loved her Beginner EPIC series and I thought her IRON series was pretty good too. I love her style of exercising – it definitely pushes me harder and to failure more easily than Chloe’s challenges would, but that makes sense: Caroline’s workouts are usually more about hypertrophy and strength, and I’ve typically done Chloe’s challenges for cardio.
I think Epic Heat is going to be a big phat struggle but that’s what will push and challenge me harder. I’m excited and here for it. I did look at some of Caroline’s other programs like Epic I that’s supposed to follow the Beginner EPIC, but mentally I just can’t get over the length of some of those days. I see a 1hr workout and my brain just nopes out.
The best workout is one that you’re actually going to do, and I know myself. At this point in my fitness journey, I will still see 45min+ and, without a team pushing me to do it, will just give up before I start. I also want to do some wushu practice after my workout, so if the workout portion is too long, I just… I’m just… yeah. It’s just too much.
30min/day though? That is literally perfect.
She’s also included calisthenics and plyometrics workouts that look insanely difficult but also very fun. I’ve always wanted to give it a try so I’m looking forward to riding this struggle bus to the end. I’m confident I’ll be able to get stronger by the end of it.
It’s going to take me a lot longer than 10 weeks to complete because I will probably only do 2-3 days/week to supplement my wushu classes (I don’t plan to do them on the days I have class. Class is more than enough) but that’s totally fine – Caroline says to make these your own, so that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Okay let me just say, I loved this workout. I loved all the exercises of this workout. I loved that it was reps-based but also you were limited by time. I also loved that a lot of the movements were was focusing on one side and then the other. I’ve been very open about how much weaker my left side is than my right, so workouts like this is perfect to help me balance it out a little.
I made sure I did the same number of reps on each side and used the same weights for both sides, even if my right side could have lifted heavier. I definitely went far slower than Caroline. I think she was able to do two circuits but, for me, I was often only able to do one (or even less than one) circuit in the 3mins.
That’s totally fine though, and if I ever come back to this workout or if Caroline has a similar one later down the line, it’d be interesting to see how much I improve. I was able to use two 5lbs dumbbells for the squats at the start, but immediately dropped to one 5lb dumbbell for the lunges.
My legs were on fire. My glutes were burning, I also felt it in my hamstrings. I think this is the first time I’ve felt my glutes and hamstrings all so activated during lunges to be honest. I’m quite impressed! My legs were definitely rather wobbly afterwards. Even my right side was struggling. And yes, of course I fell over a couple of times :p
I used both dumbbells again for the close squats but my goodness did those 1/2 reps and squat rocks hurt like a beach. My legs were already shaking from the everything and you wanted me to hold a squat and rock back and forth? Caroline! Girl, no.
I dropped down to a single dumbbell for the staggered squats because, well, that was plenty. Lol. I had to keep encouraging myself while I did those because otherwise I might not have been able to push through the pain. But also, I feel like believing in myself was so important to pushing through the pain and actually being able to get it done.
I’m actually really impressed with my RDL form. I think it’s the best I’ve ever done. Excuse the mess, but I’m actually hinging at the hips, my back is not rounded and my head isn’t protruding forward! There’s a slight bend in my knee and my dumbbell was kept close to my leg. Also, I definitely felt it.
I didn’t bother with dumbbells for the sumo squats because I tried to do the wushu horse stance. My horse stance is so weak, not gonna lie, so this was a perfect opportunity to practice and increase my strength for horse stance. I did pick up both dumbbells for the RDLs though, then dropped my dumbbells again for the squat -> RDL… and nope, of course I didn’t need those dumbbells again because I wasn’t even able to finish the last 10 reps in the time.
For the reverse lunges, I didn’t bother using dumbbells because I know my left side can’t handle them, so instead I did 10x reps of reverse lunges on my left side only, then 10x reps of reverse lunges on my right side, followed by alternating forward lunges. And then my time was up ;p
The finisher… finished me for sure, but I felt so accomplished. I was able to complete the workout in better form than I’ve ever seen myself do, and was also able to practice some kicks (weakly, with my jelly legs lol) and my wushu form after.
What a fantastic way to start a new challenge. I’m excited for day 2, but that’ll probably be a couple of days later. Catch up then!