Tabata Challenge Round up

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The Tabata challenge was I think the hardest challenge to date. It was mentally very difficult and physically even more difficult. Tabata sets are a form of high-intensity interval training, which I talked about in a previous post, and it focuses on a 4-minute workout. You chose a cardio based exercise, such as burpees, and you do 20 seconds full intensity, rest for 10 seconds and repeat for 8 rounds. The initial challenge was to do one of these every day for 2 weeks. After the first day, I decided to change this to 3 times a week for a month. Every day was likely going to lead to an injury.

The challenge was a really good one. Unfortunately, I got the flu at the end of the month which flared up my asthma so I didn't finish the final week of the challenge. On the days I did the Tabata it was definitely worth it because it took no time at all it really invigorated me for the rest of the day. I could feel the burn the next day even after just 4-minutes and I had that awesome endorphin high and energized feeling. The downside was it was very hard to stay motivated for. There were a couple of days I woke up especially tired and forcing myself to get psyched to do the Tabata was not easy. Forcing myself to do it anyway was a worthy exercise in itself as it's good to have that sort of discipline.Tabata Challenge Round Up

Here's what I did manage!

I would highly recommend it as a form of exercise so long as you can commit yourself to do it. I think the best way would be to plan ahead at the start of each week. Set the exact date and time, and decide what exercise you going to do. This way you leave no room for excuses not to do it you can get it over and done with. It's going to be something I do maybe once or twice a week. They are worth doing it's just difficult to stay motivated.

Next Challenge

All the challenges from now are going to be month long and for the next challenge, I'm going to do a 30-day sit. I'm going to meditate every day for a month. Meditation is something I've enjoyed in the past. It helped me out a lot during stressful times but it's not anything I've committed to a full routine. I think it would be well worth doing more often so I'm going to do it every day of this month.

I'll be doing a basic breathing meditation. To do this, you sit comfortably and breathe, nice and slow. For every breath in and out you count 1, and try to make it up to 10. Every time your mind wanders you start counting again.  While doing this you observe any thoughts that come to mind. Because your mind does wonder and when it does you acknowledge it and return to your breathing. I'm going to start at 10 minutes for the first week and increase this 5 minutes at a time for every week the passes. If you have never meditated before I would recommend going for a shorter time. 2 minutes is a lot better than nothing and you can increase it as the weeks go on.

I'm going to start at 10 minutes for the first week and increase this by 5 minutes for every week that passes.

Here is a great video showing you the basics of meditation for anyone who wants to join in!

🙂

Mandala Challenge Round Up

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The challenge is complete!

Here are all the mandalas I drew in the last two weeks. If You want to see them all individually check out my pinterest board!

Mandala challenge day 1-4

 

 

Mandala challenge day 5-8

Mandala challenge day 9-12Mandala challenge day 13-14I'm really pleased with how they turned out. I've never been an artistic person and because I'm not very good I never wanted to put time into getting better. So forcing myself to complete 14 different mandalas was a great feeling.

It was great just to settle my mind as well, particularly the ones that I coloured. Having to just sit and concentrate on the paper in front of me just cleared my mind. On the days where I was organised to draw earlier in the day it really settled me and just allowed me to smile through the rest of the day. It was great!

My two personal favourites are the second last and the turtle inspired mandala but what do you guys think? I'm definitely going to keep this up but I wont rush to finish them like I sometimes had to do for the challenge.

If you want to learn yourself then check out How to draw a mandala over at www.art-is-fun.com  I can tell you it is well worth it!

I also have a compilation of other mandalas that inspired me over on my Pinterest if you want to check it out!

 

The next challenge!

For the next challenge I decided to do a fitness challenge. I've done health and mindfulness so it's about time I got my sweat on for the cause! 

So I am going to be doing a tabata set a day. 

A tabata set is a 4 minute exercise set that involves 20 seconds going all out then 10 seconds of rest, for 8 sets. It sounds easy enough but trust me after 4 minutes you want to die... But one the plus side after 4 minutes your work out is done! They are normally incorporated into bigger fitness routines but I wanted to see what doing one every morning would do because that can be easily fit into a routine.

You get a load of different apps for the times, I typed in tabata timer to google play store and downloaded the first one. Easy!

The exercises I'm going to be doing are mountain climbers, burpees, russian twists and squat jumps. And I've roped my wife into it with me so it will be double the fun!  Youtube is full of tutorials if you don't know what any of those exercises are, just head over there and search it. Here is another list of different exercises you can do for tabata sets.

So that's it! I encourage you to take the challenge and see the results for yourself! Nothing quite like a challenge where you get a big pile of finished results either. Let me know in the comments if you give it a try!

🙂

 

Why You Too Should Stay Hydrated

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The two weeks are up and the hydration challenge has come to an end!

I would like to say I was triumphant but alas I was not... On two separate occasions, I only drank 1.5 litres before dropping off to sleep. I could blame the fact I'm travelling at the moment but that is just shifting blame so I'll take the responsibility and try harder next time. I found a cool infographic at Aquazania.com detailing why you need water and a few tips as well! The only thing to be aware of is it says you need 3.7 litres of water not 2 but the company is based in South Africa so I feel this is slightly biassed towards much hotter countries.

Water-Infographics

I'm still very pleased as I managed to set up a few good systems for implementing water drinking into my everyday routine so I will definitely be carrying on this habit as predicted in the initial challenge. There were a few different things that worked for me in setting my water routine.

 
 
  1. Having a dedicated bottle and knowing exactly how much is in it. For me it was a half litre plastic bottle though in the future I'm going to buy a proper durable plastic bottle to keep with me.
  2. Always starting the day with a drink of water. First thing when I wake up I have a drink of water, I haven't had any in 8 hours so I'm probably needing a top up right?
  3. Always have at least half a litre of water to hand. I carried my bottle everywhere with me so I could always have a drink when I needed one.
  4. Finally, I didn't count small glasses or drinks from fountains, that way even if your under by the end of the day you will likely be a lot closer than you think.

As soon as this challenge started I quickly realised that this challenge was not going to be as easy as I thought, some days I reckon I would only have drank a litre or less had I not been making the effort. So I begun to feel a lot of great benefits (aside from not being thirsty of course) But two of them stuck out the most for me:

Sleeping

On the days where I drank plenty of water I found I drifted off to sleep much faster than normal. I could get into bed read for a little while then fall asleep in 10-15 minutes. It's awesome! I often take 30-60 minutes of tossing and turning and thought patterns running wild but I found myself just drifting off damn near straight away. This is most likely because your brain is 85% water so being hydrated before bed means your brain can work properly to sort all your thoughts out and allow you to calm out all your worries and go to sleep. Something I will definitely bear in mind if I find myself tossing and turning! Do any of you guys find you sleep better when hydrated?

Mindfulness

Drinking water is a great way to stay in the moment.I would be doing all my day to day activities brain doing it's thing, chattering away to itself but at least once an hour I would have to come back into the moment to ask my self if I was thirsty and when I last had a drink. This would take me in to the present where I could get some water have a drink re energise my brain and carry on into the next task at hand.

This took me by surprise but I loved it, it's such an easy way to ground yourself and have a quick check in with yourself. You cant take on the world unless your on top of your game, and to be at the top of your game you need to be able to stop, self heck and tune up, i.e. get some food, some water, whatever your body is craving.

All in all I'd call the challenge a success. I didn't manage to meet my target but I am not much more aware of my water intake, how it affects me and the routine that works for me. Going forwards I should be able to carry on no problems at all.

For the next two weeks I am going to draw a mandala every day. A lot of people use these as a form of meditation or mindfulness so I'm excited to give it a try.

Mandala A Day

This is a mandala for those of you who don't know and I'm using the site Art is Fun for a guide on how to draw them if anyone is going to join me!. Now I have drawn a few of these in the past but never very regularly so there's a few things I'm hoping to come from this.

  1. I'm interested to see how I improve with doing something I'm relatively new to everyday.
  2. I'm curious to see to see how I feel after, am I calmed, annoyed I cant do it, maybe try before bed to see if it helps me sleep?
  3. I'm hoping to have a lot of fun!

I'll be posting picture on my Twitter for anyone who wants updates mid challenge so give me a follow to keep up yourself and tweet at me to let me know if you guys draw any yourselves!

🙂

The Hydration Challenge

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Welcome to the first ever challenge accepted, the Hydration Challenge!Hydration Challenge

For this challenge accepted I am going to drink 2 litres of water every day. Now this is the recommended amount an adult should drink but it is something that is easily and often overlooked. I'm sure many of you will scoff at this challenge as you already drink that much and more which is great!

I am one of those people that likes to have a bottle of water on hand at all times so I already know the awesome benefits hydration has. More energy, less bloated, easier to fall asleep, and the list goes on! But I am not sure if I meet the recommended amount so I'm going to keep track and make sure I drink at least 2 litres a day.

I think this shouldn't be too difficult but so I'm going to be super strict with myself and try and get into a routine that will carry forwards from the 2 weeks.

We invite you to join us on this challenge or if you are reading this in the future then challenge yourself and let us know how you get on in the comments!

Update!

The challenge has been completed! Find out how it went here!