I want to try having a stationary bike at my standing desk and commit to seeing what happens (and you know, writing about my findings or lack thereof).
I’ve been a standing desk connoisseur (that’s what we standing desk users call ourselves) since 2015. I strongly believe that sitting is the new smoking* and it can’t be good for our bodies to be scrunched up into a tightly compacted ball for hours on end each day. Although, if you’re a Cirque de Soleil performer and sitting in a desk chair is how you are able to do what you do… keep on keepin’ on!
Extremely random and unimportant fact: I’ve never seen a Cirque show.
As the years have gone on I’ve wondered if there’s more I could do than just stand at my desk?
Sure, I could be one of those really fit people who set some sort of push-up or jumping jack alarm every hour (but… ew). I wanted to try something that didn’t feel like I was literally exercising for 8 hours each day. I wanted to get some sort of physical benefit from being at my desk while adding another 30-day experiment notch to my belt.
Before we keep going I have to legally tell you that I have a sponsor for this 30-day stationary/standing/weird challenge. Well, do I legally have to tell you? I don’t think I do, but, now I feel like I’ve covered my soon-to-be-sore-from-biking-daily ass, so here we are. It’s time for the background color change so you actually read this next part…
Alright, with that little sponsor introduction outta the way (seriously though, thanks Jake and Dubsado team, you rock!), let’s jump into this experiment!
I’ll be riding for a few hours each day while I work at my desk. I’ll be writing a daily update in this post describing what happened.
Should I track calories burned each day? Miles ridden? Level of butt soreness (on a scale of 0 [meh] to 10 [I can’t wear pants])? Energy levels? Quality of sleep increase or decrease? Sex life improvement (or the opposite if I feel I need to start wearing those tight spandex bike shorts at my desk all day)??
I’d love to know what you want to come back to read? It’s probably just how toned my butt is getting and maybe photos of me in skinny jeans? Or it’s calories burned each day, distance traveled, whatever.
The best way to reach me during this challenge will be via email or I decided to set up a simple text message forwarding thing.
Bonus points if you text me your best butt puns 😅
I think I have a fitness tracker of some sort laying around. Or wait, did I sell that on eBay? I might have. Can my phone just track this if I keep it in my pocket while I stationary bike each day? The RunKeeper app is something I’ve used before. I think I’ll give that a shot?
Ahhh… the huge life questions I’ll be able to answer by the end of this 30-day challenge!
(Note: That’s not me in the photo, I’d never be caught dead owning that rug or those curtains)
That’s the FLEXISPOT Home Office Standing Desk Exercise Bike Height Adjustable Cycle – Deskcise Pro and no, I didn’t in any way shape or form make that name up. That’s the real name. Also, that’s my Amazon aff link, so, yeah.
My favorite review on Amazon was one that said:
“the best part is, YOU DON’T EVEN FEEL LIKE WORKING OUT. And somehow it helps you to concentrate better. I guess because of the working out, my sleep improves as well. Not mention the pains from back. All in all, this thing changed my life!!”
I mean, c’mon! That’s gold. That’s a real recommendation folks. We’ll see if my life is changed in 30 days (again, meaning I end up with 6-pack abs).
It should be painfully obvious to you that I don’t take myself too seriously and I’m not going to try to set any ridiculous goals for this project. I simply want to see what happens each day and record my thoughts in this post. Feel free to bookmark this sucker, keep it open in the never-ending tab catacomb you have going, or get your VA to tell you soon as I publish a new daily entry here.
BTWs: This is a very cheap fitness tracker, if you’re looking for one.
And just to reiterate, by “ride my buns off” I mean casually ride this stationary bike each day and see what happens over the course of the next month.
I’m excited to share that the FLEXITRON 9000 arrived safe and sound. And yes, I know it’s not actually called the FLEXITRON 9000 but that name seems wayyyy cooler to me, so it’s what I’m going to use from here on out.
What a dork, huh? I mean hunk. I totally meant to write hunk there.
I wanted to have a “normal day” tracked to compare to as I go through this 30-day challenge. This day was fairly uneventful (read: no sexy grocery store trips) and included about 6-8 hours working at my standing desk. I went on one walk at the end of the day with my wife Caroline and our pup Plaxico.
That 10,000 steps goal was just the default one, so… cool? I’ll be super interested to see how riding the FLEXITRON 9000 impacts that daily goal.
Note on the sleep metrics: I typically wake up at 5am to feed our pup Plaxico and take him outside to do his biz-nass. The fitness tracker doesn’t account for the fact that I snuggle back into bed for another 2-3 hours. 🤷🏻♂️😴
My normal workout routine involves super-setting weight exercises. If that sentence made no sense to you, the gist is that I get incredibly bored doing one weight exercise so I tend to do 2-3 in succession to avoid nodding off at the gym (never something you want to do, especially while lifting large metal objects).
It’s kind of fun to see the overall difference in steps, calories burned*, distance, average heart rate, and my sleep cycles. Almost nothing else changed between the baseline day and this day besides going to the gym. Oh, and I did the laundry, so that’s about 38 extra steps and +10 husband points! I believe all the scientists reading this will be proud of me.
*Admittedly I have no clue how this little fitness tracker I’m wearing is tracking calories burned. Is it a random calculation of things? Is it a completely made-up number? Who knows!
This post is epic. I want to do the same and compete against you for calories burned and work efficiency 🙌🏼
— Russ Cantu (@russcantu) January 29, 2019
I see you Russ. I’m ready for you.
Okay, here’s the honest truth: I haven’t ridden a bike in years. I don’t remember the feelings and bodily effects that go along with it and I ESPECIALLY don’t remember my… um… man-parts taking a nap mid-ride.
I’m not going to dive into details about my 🍆falling asleep during the first 20-minute “ride” this morning. Let’s just say that was quite unexpected and hello, tingles!
I am recording snippets of video each day to compile into a recap video at the end of this challenge. You can guess what I was chatting about at this exact moment:
To reiterate what I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I’m not going for some big ambitious goal or thinking I’m going to get in the best shape of my life by riding a stationary bike at my desk. I’m also not riding the bike constantly every minute while I’m sitting on it or at my desk (I’m crazy, I’m not a serial killer!)
That being said, I was pleasantly surprised when I wrapped up my desk-time for the day and clicked through the stats tracked by the FLEXITRON 9000.
I rode for a consistent 20ish minutes after eating breakfast and drinking my morning coffee. During that time I…
Those aren’t the most mentally-tough tasks, obviously, but they are tasks that were completed while I was burning a few calories. The rest of the active riding time throughout the day came in random spurts here and there. Riding didn’t affect my work output AT ALL.
Ummmmm, yeaaaaahhhhh! We’ll find out if I achieve those numbers but I’m fairly confident I’ll blow them out of the water (oh, early momentum and inspiration, you’re so neat!)
Seriously though, kind of cool to think about burning an extra 340 calories per day and not really even thinking about it. We’ll see what my 🍆 has to say about all this in a few days/weeks. Also, sorry not sorry for referring to my man-parts as an emoji throughout the next 29 days.
I received an email from the Dubsado team, which was just supposed to be about getting a nifty sticker for my bike, but come to find out this zany adventure I’m on has inspired their team to do something active:
How fun is that?? My wife and I thoroughly enjoy OrangeTheory workout classes ourselves, so it’s cool that the entire Dubsado team is going to take a class. I asked for fun photos and video of them in action (you know, to share here for a very integrated but honest and tasteful sponsor callout).
Also, I got my first few text messages today and one of them was related and pun-tastic:
Kudos to you, stranger from the Internet, who texted me a butt pun and a positive remark about getting paid to do weird things!
Maybe the man-part numbness was the first bit of drama in this challenge? We can argue that later. However, for getting work done while riding the FLEXITRON 9000 I did notice that my palms started getting sweaty almost immediately. Even at a very, very relaxed riding speed, my hands decided it would be fun to perspire on my laptop.
You won’t believe what happened next, my laptop melted! Kidding! Kidding!
Nothing bad happened, it was just, kinda gross. I now have a microfiber towel (because I’m fancy and regular towels are beneath me) positioned neatly next to my laptop. For all my OCD fans out there, don’t worry, the towel is removed from my desk surface while not in use.
Because I’m not trying to Lance Armstrong this bike challenge (insert your favorite doping joke here), I see this as being a fun and fairly simple thing to add to my day.
I did have someone text message me giving me a heads-up on how to deal with chaffing. Hmmm… I guess that is a concern I should think about? Eh, let’s cross that bridge when we get to it, shall we?
You may be on the edge of your seat (which should be a stationary bike seat) looking for an 🍆 update but alas there isn’t much news to report on that front. I mean, there’s plenty of news, lots of news, BIG news… wait, what were talking about? Oh yeah. I had my first video call while riding the bike at my desk.
Everyone say hi to WAIM member, Mason!
I had a scheduled video call with WAIM member Mason at 11:00am but I was on Zoom and ready at 10:50am. I blame this need to show up early on my high school basketball coach Mr. Smith who said what all coaches say:
“If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re early, you’re on time.” – Every coach, ever
Because I find myself showing up for calls and meetings early, being able to get 10 minutes of biking in is a much better use of my time than, say, scrolling through social media feeds or catching up on NBA trade rumors.
To me, this is a fun little life hack and one of the unintended outcomes I hoped to find during this challenge. Oh, I did hop off the bike once the call with Mason started. I have no intention of being the sweaty out of breath guy on video calls.
I certainly didn’t ride a bike at the gym, that would just be plain silly. It was a pretty active workout and I pushed myself fairly hard for about 45 minutes with little rest. When I got home from the gym I wasn’t exhausted but I also wasn’t looking forward to hopping on the bike and continuing to exercise (or sweat).
I had a moment where I thought it would be funny to take a photo of “normal” people on stationary bikes at the gym. Then I felt like a creep for taking a photo of people working out. (Hence the emoji faces!)
After eating something and taking a shower I found myself with no motivation to hop back on the bike for nearly 2 hours until I felt guilty that I hadn’t gotten back on the bike.
I’m not sure if it was just the hard workout I did today or the timing of the workout (late afternoon), but I’ll be sure to pay attention as this challenge moves forward if I’m less motivated to pedal out a few miles on days where I workout.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling a little self-conscious about my lack of beating yesterday’s mileage so I’m going to move the bike into the living room while I watch TV.
Update two hours later: 4.03 more miles ridden! 😂
Be honest, silliest thing you’ve seen today on the Internet??
You know the trope about people who work from home always wearing sweatpants? Well, sweatpants + biking = a lot more sweating. Today I found myself coming back from running an errand and because I’d put on “adult pants” to leave the house, I had to make the tough decision: Put on shorts or just… rock the undies.
I think if we’re both being honest with each other, why go through the effort of putting on bike shorts if I’m biking at home, completely alone?
Not that you asked but I absolutely loooooove my SAXX Underwear. This is not a sponsor mention by any means. I was recommended SAXX by a friend (Hi, Leah Lou!) a few years ago and I’ve never looked back. So many fun patterns to choose from and these undies are suuuuper comfy. Well worth the money, in my book.
I received a DM on Slack from my buddy Kade and was pleased to find out he rocks the treadmill desk. I’d heard of the treadmill desk but had never known anyone to use it. Kade mentioned he enjoys the additional random exercise throughout the day but isn’t on it every working hour. #twinsies
My wife and I currently rent and the main house that our rental unit is attached to is going up for sale. As real estate people were getting ready to barge through our home I figured I’d be a nice person and try to hide the odd stationary bike. You know, trying to avoid the serial killer vibes. (Or maybe I shouldn’t have, if we don’t want to move? Maybe I should go all Step Brothers on them?)
Shout out to the FLEXITRON 9000 designers, this bad boy rolled smoothly from my desk area into the laundry room. I will say, it was a bit sad to see my poor bike nestled away in the dark corner of the laundry room.
Even though I was away from my desk for most of the day, I was able to knock out some pretty solid stats:
I feel like I can easily get to 500 calories burned each day as I get into a rhythm later in this challenge. Because I’m not riding for 77 straight minutes and instead breaking it up into 10-15 minute chunks, it really doesn’t feel like I’m pushing myself too hard.
Then again, I’m only on Day 3. We’ll see how I’m feeling a week from now.
Have you ever had one of those days where EVERYTHING feels out of your control? Maybe a bit like life is 💩’ing on your face? That was me from 7am-10am today. Ugh.
Part of getting through my messy morning was to vent to Caroline and then to blow off steam at the gym. Sometimes you just have to: Step. Away. From. The. Laptop.
A few years ago I decided to create a weird morning ritual. Since then, my morning routine has stayed fairly similar, looking something like this:
*Normally I’d spend 5-10 minutes scrolling Instagram in bed, but because I’m currently off social media there’s nothing else to check on my phone.
I’ve found that these simple tasks are easy to accomplish while putting the pedal to the metal (and by pedal to the metal, I mean putting my naked feet on the padded pedals and spinning at a very moderate pace). I can easily knock out email replies and Slack messages while not even thinking about burning a few morning calories.
Unfortunately, today’s only riding time was done during my morning routine. Womp. Womp.
As much as I wish I’d ridden a bit more, I did get a solid workout in at the gym AND did a 1.5-mile walk with Caroline to our favorite local coffee shop. The gym workout was how I blew off steam from the crappy start to my day. The coffee-walk was just quality time with the wife 😘.
I was bummed I didn’t get more riding done, however, not bummed that instead, you get this sexy slow-mo coffee drinking GIF from our walk (lucky you!):
You may remember from Day 1 that the folks at Dubsado (who are lovingly sponsoring my weirdness) mentioned they were going to do a group OrangeTheory workout. Well, we now have photo proof of this awesomeness:
I was told they accrued 826 SPLAT points as a group! If you don’t know anything about OrangeTheory that means nothing to you at all. In fact, now I don’t want to explain SPLAT points and you can just let your imagination run wild. Either way, congrats Team Dubsado on getting yo sweat on!
Side-note, you guys look way happier than we do after an OrangeTheory workout…
Alright, if you need me, I’ll be dreaming of all the miles I’m going to ride tomorrow. Gotta make up for the lack of performance today!
I don’t know about you, but I’m enjoying sharing the small oddities of my days with you in these updates. I had no idea what I’d be sharing when I had the idea to write this daily journal so it feels natural to share glimpses of my silly life choices.
Now, clearly, you expected to read through this update and find a vegan cookie dough recipe, right? Yeah, you did!
And yes, this was a bad idea, my tummy hurt immediately 😅
Earlier on in the day, before I gorged myself on vegan cookie dough, I went through my morning routine (as laid out yesterday) and spent about 30 minutes riding and knocking out emails.
I’m LOVING this. I feel super productive and that I’m getting a tiny bit of exercise and a small cardiovascular push at the same time.
I did try to ride while editing a video later on in the day and that didn’t go well at all. The more complex task had me starting and stopping my pedaling without even realizing I was slowing down. I’d be super-focused moving something around in Final Cut Pro X, only to look down and notice I’d stopped moving the pedals completely. Hmmm. I think I’ll stick to riding during the less mentally-intensive tasks.
The FLEXITRON 9000 is really becoming a nice time-waster for me. Whether it’s before hopping on calls, while taking small breaks throughout the day, or while lounging around and watching TV. It’s almost replacing the twitch to grab my phone and scroll through social media (reminder: I’m not on social media right now).
I accompanied Caroline to an awesome doctor’s visit today. No seriously, it was really great. I’ll ask her if she wants me to share more about it. For now, you can enjoy this photo of my legs wishing they were riding while we sat in the doctor’s waiting area.
Those are my rubber ducky socks, thank you for noticing.
I know I haven’t ridden the bike an insane amount these first few days. I think I’ll get to 100 total miles in this first week, which is only 2000% more than any previous week for years. I half-expected to have some soreness or to not want to ride… Instead, I’m finding the opposite. The um, 🍆 tingles still happen here and there though.
There’s no soreness. I’m burning some calories. I’m enjoying this!
But now the competitor in me is coming out. Once Monday rolls around and I have a tally of my total time, distance, and calories, I’ll have to beat it the following week. That could spell trouble.
Anyhoo, I’m off to enjoy the weekend. The next update will come on Monday (I’ll still be riding Saturday and Sunday and keeping track of the stats, don’t you worry your pretty head).
If you would have told me a week ago that I’d be riding a bike at my desk for nearly one hour every day I don’t think I would have believed you. Sure, one hour is not a long time in the grand scheme of a day, but when was the last time you rode a stationary bike for one hour? Riding a stationary bike at a gym has always been god-awful. Like, stab me in the eye with a spatula, boring.
Can I get a hell yes?? I feel pretty damn great that I burned an extra 2,561 calories and didn’t feel like it was too much extra work.
Thank you, Chris!
I try not to spend much time at my desk on the weekend so it was actually more mental effort to think about pulling the bike into the living room for a quick ride. Lucky for me, watching basketball on TV has become another great time to hop on the bike.
Thanks to Duke and the Lakers, I was able to burn 642 calories. Instead of the, you know, zero calories I’d normally burn watching basketball games from the couch.
And she liked it! Not only did she like it, but she also mentioned she might try riding the bike when I’m not using it. Ugh, that’s totally going to force me to have to do math each day (obviously I can’t combine her time, miles, and cals with mine – a marriage only goes so far!)
Of course, there are the boring moments during commercials when I’d rather be scrolling through Instagram, but I captured some fun moments when Caroline first got on the bike that would’ve been fun to share.
Don’t you worry though, I’m compiling a bunch of footage, clips, and other little moments for a full recap video once the 30 days are done.
For now, just know that I’m sharing most of the best stuff in these daily updates!
My morning routine was in full effect and then about 15 minutes into my first pedaling sesh of the day I heard a weird sound…
Huh. That doesn’t seem good.
I crouched all around the FLEXITRON 9000, inspecting all the parts as if Sherlock Holmes himself was tending to this stationary bike mystery. What was I expecting to see? A random bolt sticking out that I could push back in place? No idea. All I know is that the bike is making a weird noise above 90 RPMs.
I hopped back on the bike a few times throughout the day and the noise came and went. Sometimes it sounded crunchy, sometimes more clicky. Gosh, I should write technical support manuals or something, huh?
I was thinking I’d try to hit 500 calories burned as a daily goal this second week but that didn’t happen today. I did, however, up the resistance on the bike for the first time… from -1 to 2 (out of 10) 😂
I’m not going to lie, the resistance setting of 2 was noticeably tougher than NEGATIVE ONE. When I looked down toward the end of the day and saw I still had 80ish calories to burn and my legs were feeling a little more tired than normal I decided just to call it for the day. Don’t judge me! I’m going to sleep on the idea of going back to -1 and continuing to have this challenge feel easy. Is that wrong?
Obviously, I’ll keep you posted on the resistance drama (and #CrunchyGate).
Ruth, you just get me!
As I mentioned yesterday I touched the resistance knob on the FLEXITRON 9000 for the first time. I made the humungous jump from -1 (the lowest setting) to 2, the first setting on the way to 9.
While I understand the need for additional resistance if you were using this as a full-time exercise bike, but that’s not what this bike is for me.
Listen, I want to exercise through this challenge, but after 12 minutes I don’t want to feel tired. That’s a recipe for me not continuing to want to get on the bike each day. I gave myself permission to crank the resistance knob back down to -1 and proudly kept riding throughout the day without feeling a ton of strain.
I spent 93 minutes on the bike and pedaled a solid 26.5 miles. A big portion of that time (probably half) was spent putting together our new WAIM Member welcome packages.
Look at that sweet, sweet multitasking action! Riding the bike while assembling 22 packages was a great way to make the time go by quicker.
Not too much else to report today. Enjoying this challenge and looking forward to riding each day (not at the resistance level of 2 – haha).
I hadn’t been to the gym since last Thursday (almost a week ago). Part of me felt guilty because I like to get to the gym every 2-3 days, but then I remembered I burned an extra 2,500+ calories last week.
Heading into the gym today I was going to take it easy and not push myself too hard. Then I decided to finish the workout with battle ropes… What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment.
During the battle ropes, looking good:
60 seconds later:
Also, I have to mention there was a 143-year-old man (okay, he wasn’t THAT old, but he was old!) next to me while I was doing battle ropes. I kid you not, he did pushups for about 8 minutes straight. No breaks. I should’ve asked him what his secret was but I was honestly intimidated 😅🤷🏻♂️.
I did 90% of my biking today before my workout, lucky for me I had a lot of admin-esque tasks today that were perfect for biking. One of which was finishing up our Wandering Aimfully Membership Test Drive (which you can find in many places on this site… If you can’t find it, I’ve done a terrible job!)
Not going lie, I’m a bit nervous of how my legs are going to feel tomorrow. Or maybe I should be more nervous about my inner thighs? We’ll find out!
I would’ve loved to share some dramatic update where I could barely move my legs and therefore didn’t accomplish my riding goal today BUT I’M A BOSS! Well, that, and, I’m still only riding a stationary bike with a resistance setting of -1. #beinghonestwithmyself
I’m assuming you’ve seen one of those ridiculous Peloton commercials by now? It’s not so much the bike they use is ridiculous, it’s that everyone lives in the NICEST house ever in those commercials.
This was one of those work days when I went pretty deep on one task. Not sure if you can relate, but it was a rainy day and usually those are days when I can get locked-in on work and stay free from distractions.
One of the to-do items I’ve been putting off for quite a while is playing around with RightMessage here on the Wandering Aimfully website. Essentially the goal is to add personalization to copy and calls to action, specifically related to the new WAIM Test Drive experience we created. I’ll be doing an in-depth breakdown on RightMessage and how extremely rad it is very soon (also, shout out to their fantastic customer service – thanks Dana!)
And sometimes you just have to troll your customers 😬😆
Today was Valentine’s Day and while we aren’t a big “Hallmark holiday” family we did cosy up on the catch and watch the amazing documentary Free Solo. Wow. Wow. Wow.
I can’t say enough great things about the doc, but also the feat of strength (mental and physical) that you see unfold from Alex Honnold. If you haven’t seen it, consider paying for it on iTunes. It’s a movie that absolutely deserves your dollars.
Oh, and if you were wondering, no, I’m not allowed to complain about my sore butt after watching an accomplishment like free soloing El Capitan.
But… my glutes were sore today. 🤣
The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult on Caroline. She’s been battling some really rough anxiety. Not the kind of anxiety you feel for a few minutes but the kind that keeps you in bed and unable to focus on anything without feeling dizzy (for hours and hours and hours).
Each day is its own journey and we’ve been trying to go for short walks when she’s feeling motivated.
I’d already done my morning biking while knocking out emails and Slack messages but after the 3-4ish-mile walk I didn’t feel like jumping back on the bike. I did, however, get some motivation to go to the gym. Maybe I just didn’t want my 🍆 to fall asleep??
The other day we went for a long walk and I didn’t get close to hitting my 10,000 steps goal. I think I was at around 4,000 steps at the end of the day. Today, over 12,500 steps. Hmmmm. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, you get what you pay for!
Even though I was close to the biking calorie goal, I probably burned the most calories today that I’ve burned in a loooong time. My conservative estimate is:
In case you were wondering where the heck I got that 3,095 number, I googled a “daily calorie burn calculator” and added my personal stats for a general idea (none of these calculators are perfect). I used the first Google result tdeecalculator.net – feel free to see what your daily calorie burn is!
So yeah, I didn’t hit my 500-calorie goal on the bike, but I think I’ve justified that. Hahah. No idea why I felt the need to do draw that out so much. Did you care? Probably not.
That is a fun benefit of doing a daily journal like this. You feel accountable to the people (YOU) who are reading and you want to stick to what you set out to do. Thank you for that, I guess 😘.
I’m off to enjoy the weekend and will still be riding! Go out there and get some exercise, friend.
Wahhhhhoooooooo! My goal during the second week was to try to average 500 calories per day and I made it happen. Not only did I make it happen but I really am enjoying this challenge (especially after giving myself permission to stay at the lowest resistance setting).
Listen, I’ll be the first to admit I know this challenge isn’t going to give me shredded abs (a girl can dream, right??) Even though I’m not going to make a big physical change, I’m loving that I don’t hate this challenge. In fact, I can already tell I’m going to keep riding the bike as part of my morning routine.
To me, that’s a sign of a successful challenge: When you know you’ve tried something that can turn into a healthy habit and bring value to your life!
This is the recipe if you want to try ’em out!
If you’re wondering why I made actual cookies instead of the vegan cookie dough I mentioned last week, it’s because we have a little bit of news to celebrate.
Long story made short we aren’t moving too far, only about 9 miles from where we currently live. We’ve been renting for the past few years since moving to California and that trend will continue in our new place. The celebratory part of this is that it’s nerve-wracking to find modern/updated properties for rent in our area.
I’ll share photos of the place once we get back in there and the updates have been finished. Here’s a sneak peek of us seeing the place for the first time (while still under construction):
Oh, and you better believe we’ve already been building a Pinterest board and mood board to make the space feel fun, unique, and our very own.
I think this will be a nice breath of fresh air to move on from our current place, even though it was great for us. A fresh start can go a looonnnng way.
You might be wondering how I managed to still fit in at least 60 minutes of biking each day while expending tons of mental effort on a potential move…? Well, I’m just a badass I guess. Jk. Jk.
This challenge is really showing me that 60 minutes of extra activity per day isn’t that hard when you pick an activity you can do over and over (without hating your life!)
I’d love to hear from you. Shoot me a text message at 619-500-4770 and let me know what you think I should strive for this week!
The idea of meditation makes total sense to me. There’s science that’s proven its value. Adding more calmness and stillness to one’s life is absolutely something that I believe is important. Yet, I’ve never downloaded a meditation app, I’ve only tried meditating (in conventional ways) a few times, and I’ve always felt a tinge of guilt about not having a meditation practice.
Let’s be honest, we all want to feel happier on a day-to-day basis. Everyone could enjoy any additional percentage points of happiness in their lives.
While you may have thought the revelation-on-the-mountaintop would come at the end of this story, it’s actually going to happen right now…
I actually do have a daily meditation practice—it’s just not conventional.
I don’t sit cross-legged on the floor.
I don’t focus on my breathing.
I don’t wear super baggy clothing (that’s more just a fashion choice these days).
But I do consider it meditation. What’s more, you might already have a meditation practice, too.
You see, here’s the funny thing about life as a human being. You don’t have to subscribe to anyone else’s definition of anything. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I’m living the best life I can for myself when I’m doing things differently and on my terms.
I can feel a churning in my gut whenever I’m told I’m supposed to do something in a certain way. It honestly feels like part of my body is being torn away if I’m forced to do something a certain way. Call it a resistance to any authority ever, or just call it my own biology, but I know that’s what holds me back from conventional meditation practices.
From some extensive Googling, almost every resource I could find that explained “why you should meditate” touched on these outcomes:
These things are FANTASTIC. We should all strive for improvements in these nine areas of our lives (and probably way more). But, who says we can’t improve those things and get the same benefits with non-standard forms of meditation?
Do we have to feel guilty if we don’t want to meditate in the common ways in which meditation is respected? Is it possible we can get similar benefits and amazing results even if we take a different approach?
I should mention that I have absolutely nothing against widely accepted meditation practices, and there are apparently thousands of ways you can meditate. From another quick Google search, you’ll find that I’m definitely not the only one customizing meditation in a way that works for me. If you’re looking for a new way to tackle your life and business, meditation of some kind may be the answer you’ve been looking for! I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for the Headspace app (and their design is beeeeautiful!).
I wonder sometimes if the thing that scares people (like me) off from meditation, or prevents them from keeping it up consistently, is some arbitrary idea about the “right” way to do it. In many ways, this is the same limiting belief that will prevent people from all kinds of things: taking risks, quitting their businesses, worrying about competition, whatever.
But if you look at the dictionary definition of meditate, which I did just for you, it might surprise you: Merriam-Webster says that to meditate is simply “to engage in contemplation or reflection.” That’s it. It doesn’t mention incense, saying “Om,” or wearing head to toe Lululemon (although, I looooove my Lululemon pants #sorrynotsorry). That’s one way to do it, but it’s not the only way.
Coming to that realization has opened a whole lot of doors for me, and maybe for you, too.
Answer: My weird morning ritual. I’ll let you read about my weird morning ritual in its entirety if you like (and the story of how it came to be), but here’s the part of my weird morning ritual that has become my own form of mediation:
This is my meditation. This is the thing I do on a daily basis, no matter what, that lets my mind wander free of any other thoughts. This is the time of my day that I have all to myself and I’ve enjoyed the benefits of this “practice” for years.
(Also, let it be known I never have my phone near me while I’m making my morning coffee. That time is free of all technology.)
I’ve been doing this morning ritual since 2014, and I can directly tie improving all nine of the meditation benefits listed above to it. Sure, there are many other things in my life I’ve done since 2014 besides making coffee that have helped me become happier and healthier, but couldn’t you say the same thing if you’re meditating in the widely accepted ways people meditate?
You don’t need a fancy pillow. You don’t need the perfectly lit room. You don’t need any special beads. You don’t need any apps. You just need to spend time every day allowing your brain to rest in whatever way works best for you (then rinse, and repeat – hah, you catch that coffee filter rinsing joke there?? Yeah you did.)
Please, by all means, try any of the more commonly used meditation practices: Transcendental Meditation, Heart Rhythm Meditation, Kundalini, Guided Visualization, Qi Gong, Zazen, or grab the Headspace or Calm apps. If they work for you, awesome. I’d love to hear about it. If they don’t, shrug it off and try something else.
You don’t need to feel guilty if you don’t meditate like everyone else. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it is proven that intentional quiet space for mind increases your happiness and your health.
(Just kidding. Or not?)
I lost 44 pounds, nearly 15% body fat, and 6″ off my waist in just 90 days.
Let’s not waste any time, here are comparison photos of what I looked like at the beginning of my 90-day challenge: From the front, back and side. The photos below have not been edited whatsoever and were taken on a Canon T4i by my loving wife, Caroline.
I can distinctly remember taking the before photos and thinking, “I’m out of shape, but it’s not that bad…” But with the comparison photos, it really shows how out of shape I let myself get over the years. My posture was suffering, my bathing suit was about to pop off at any given moment, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I felt at the end of the challenge! Well actually, I can:
First and foremost I’d like to admit to you that I used to be in pretty good shape in my 20s. I played basketball at the collegiate level in the early 2000s, but those days were left behind when I tore both ACLs in my knees. I used to be a gym rat when I worked a normal 9-5 job in 2004-2007, but when I started my IWearYourShirt business in 2009, fitness and nutrition took a backseat.
Almost everyone has seen a friend do some sort of health and fitness challenge, and heck, I have to say I was super inspired when I read David Siteman Garland’s 90-Day Transformation. I figured if 90 days was working for lots of other people, it wouldn’t hurt to try it for myself. I had just turned 30 years old (May 15, 2012) and knew I wanted to do something to get back in shape.
It all started with a public declaration: I sent out a tweet that I was fed up and I put a post on Facebook that said I was determined to take action.
Shortly after my virtual proclamations, a previous business client named Tyler Ford emailed me. Tyler, and his awesome wife Mimi, were Body by Vi coaches, but had no interest in trying to sell me on anything. Tyler wanted to help me set goals for myself, have supplements/products at my disposal and be a coach in my corner to cheer me on. After an hour on the phone I was even more excited to get started, and Tyler and Mimi Ford were going to be my official 90-Day Challenge sponsors (what can I sponsor next, right??).
I had 90 days to change my thought process about food, to structure my day around exercise, and to lose weight and get back in shape.
Was it hard? Absolutely. Were there times I wanted to give up? Of course. Am I glad I stuck with it? HELL YES!
At the request of many people, I finally wrote an awesome detailed guide book (that’s only $10!) to starting and succeeding with a 90-Day Challenge. This proven ebook walks you through the first 30 days of your challenge, day by day, step by step. I share my exact workouts, nutrition plans, daily motivation tips, and more. For just $10 you can kickstart your own journey to losing weight and getting in great shape!
You can spend hours on Google and fitness forums reading secrets, tips, tricks, and lots of other junk. The information that keeps coming up no matter where you look: Eat smaller portions (you shouldn’t feel full after a meal), eat more often throughout the day (5-7 meals), drink over 100 ounces of water a day, carbs should be limited to fruits and veggies (they do make veggie pastas), no processed sugar (honey and stevia are your friends), no soda, less salt, and for me no dairy or alcohol.
Both of those statements are absolute garbage. If you want to make a change in your life, if you want to feel better, you need to change the way you think about food and about your daily routine. Not only can you save a butt-load of money each month by eating healthier (I saved about $1,500 a month, no joke), you can spend 1-2 hours and prepare your meals ahead of time for an entire week.
I started my 90-Day Challenge thinking I was going to change my eating habits for a few months, but I realized it’s a lifestyle change. When something awesome happens, you don’t have to celebrate with cake or a night of drinking with your friends. We’ve been trained as a society that food/drinks are rewards and they shouldn’t be, because the types of food we reward ourselves with are the worst ones for us.
Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox and focus more on what you should eat. This blog post outlines exactly what I ate, with slight variations, for the last 30 days of my challenge. A couple things to note:
In less than 90 days I retrained my body to a new schedule that made me feel and look better. The human body is pretty awesome.
I didn’t do cheat meals during my challenge. Why? You don’t need it. You may crave the heck out of cheat foods, but give yourself the chance to work hard for 90 days and then think about doing cheat meals/days. Stick with eating healthy for just 90 days and I promise you’ll survive without pizza, Chick-Fil-A, beer, ice cream, etc, etc. When you want a cheeseburger, make a black bean quinoa burger (without a bun). When you want chocolate, eat some fruit. Find healthy substitutions and your palette will quickly adjust.
Ahhhh yes, everyone wants to know how many crunches I did in the 90 days right? Well, I can tell you exactly how many I did: ZERO.
The new Jason Zook physique was made in the kitchen. Okay, so not totally made in the kitchen, but I firmly believe that 90% of getting in shape is your nutrition and the other 10% is fitness. At least I tell myself that so I eat healthier.
Having worked with different personal trainers in the past, I knew there were tons of different things I could do or try, but I wanted to keep my workout routine simple. Not only because I’m busy and don’t have two hours to spend in the gym each day, but because you don’t need to work out for multiple hours every day to see results.
For the first 60 days of my challenge, I casually worked out 4-5 days a week and maybe one of those days was a cardio day (maybe). Which day did I do my ab exercises? No days. A typical week of workouts looked like this:
When I started I wanted to do workouts that slightly resembled Cross Fit workouts, but without the destroying of my body and therefore my spirit. I would focus on doing weight training for one or two muscle groups (chest and back, arms and shoulders, chest and legs, arms and back, chest and shoulders, etc) and in between each set I might do 50-100 jumping jacks or jump ropes. My workouts lasted about 20-30 minutes, usually longer if I worked out with my supportive wife, but I always worked up a great sweat and focused on what I was doing.
If you don’t know much about weight training, you should definitely think about getting a personal trainer (it’s worth it!). None of these workouts were rushed and every movement I did with a weight in my hand was purposeful, in perfect form, and with 100% of my strength and effort.
This progression photo shows my progress throughout my challenge:
Not bad huh? But then something bit me in my slightly smaller ass – I wanted more. For some reason the thought got in my head that I wanted to get down to 10% body fat by day 90. In fact, I professed this goal on Facebook. I knew that losing 6% body fat in 30 days would be tough, but that I could do it!
I increased my cardio workouts, setting a 1,000 calories burned goal along the way, and streamlined my weight workouts to one muscle group per day (chest, arms, shoulders, legs). I also upped my water intake to over a gallon per day, but nothing really changed in my diet. Towards the very end of my challenge I did cut fruit out of my diet, but that was really only for the last week.
I can honestly say I’m proud of myself for hitting that 10% body fat goal, even if it was only by .1%.
I am, however, very proud of what my body looks like and I don’t want this to go away…
Don’t be afraid to think differently about your workouts, but be realistic when you’re getting started. The more you can get in the gym and get workouts done, the more you’ll want to get better at it. The less you dread working out, the easier it will be to make time for it, and everyone has 20-30 minutes a day to get some exercise (with or without a gym). Think of a gym membership (or personal trainer) as an investment in your health.
Now let’s talk about the hurdles I overcame while doing my 90-day challenge. Yes, I do work from home, but I have a very busy schedule and a very active Google Calendar. One of my biggest challenges was to disconnect throughout the day to make myself food, to get to the gym, to take showers, to sleep, etc. When you work at a 9-5 job, you have structure. I had almost zero structure. It can be hard to convince myself to put on pants some days, so you can imagine it was even harder to cook meals.
I also did a bunch of traveling during the 90-day challenge. Trips to Anaheim, Nashville, NYC, Memphis and Cape Cod. It’s REALLY hard to stick to a nutrition plan while fending off TSA agents and visiting the BBQ capital of the world. But I did it. I packed protein powder/shakers in my bag, I brought snack bars in case of long flights/layovers/emergencies, I picked the healthiest options off menus (or just didn’t open the menu and asked for grilled meat and veggies), and I avoided temptation where I could. I’d by lying to you if I didn’t slip up here and there or didn’t have a bigger meal than normal for my wife’s surprise birthday dinner in NYC, but I stayed on track.
Another big challenge? Oh you know, just completely restructuring my company during the challenge. Dealing with website redesigns, letting people go, finding new clients, creating new processes, and all the stress that goes along with all of that. Yeah, that was tough.
I have my family, friends and my online community to thank for that. Lean on your friends and family and don’t be shy to ask for help. Heck, I’m happy to lend a helping hand to anyone, just don’t give up!
My wife Caroline was amazing throughout the 90-day challenge. Not only did she make changes along with me, she pushed herself to keep up and kept me from breaking down and skipping a workout or eating a bad meal. Thank you Caroline!
Thank you to my Mom for understanding that I do love her homemade mac-n-cheese, but I don’t need it in my life. Thanks for all the support, Mom.
Thank you to my t-shirt wearing partner in crime, Sean Ely. You were a huge help while we traveled to get me to work out, to keep me from ordering something bad off a menu, and to continue to encourage me. You’re like the red-headed brother I never had but always wanted. Gracias mi amigo.
Thank you Tyler and Mimi Ford for reaching out to me and holding my hand on this journey. It was pretty awesome having such a supportive and helpful sponsor throughout my journey.
And to everyone who commented, Liked, tweeted, emailed, shared any of my 90-Day Challenge posts: THANK YOU! Honestly, your support helped me get over so many small hurdles and kept me focused and determined. The IWearYourShirt community was fantastic and I really appreciated you guys letting me share my personal goals right alongside by business goals.
Have you tried other diets?
Are you tired of not seeing results?
Are you ready to invest a tiny amount of money to make a HUGE change in your life?
If you’re ready to start your own 90-Day Challenge and have $0.30 to spend a day for the next 30 days, get all my diets, workouts, habits, tips, and tricks sent to you via my proven 30-Day Coaching Guide Book for only $10.