Exercise Monthly Challenges Organisation and Productivity

July Challenge Evaluation – Using Things Up and Exercising

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through my link, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. I only advertise products that I have used myself and would genuinely recommend.

In July, I set myself two challenges. Firstly, to continue the challenge I set myself in June, which was to use 3 items each day from my pile of things that need using up. This didn’t mean I necessarily had to use the items right up in one day, as some would take multiple uses. You can read more about this challenge in my post: Using Things Up in June.

The second challenge I set myself in July was to exercise for 30 minutes each day, specifically doing the ‘exercise game’ that I described in my post: How to Make Exercise into a Game.

How did I do in my July Challenges?

Using things up

Like in June, I managed to use 3 things every day in July! The things I used included:

  • Magazines
  • Craft sets
  • Bath products
  • Body lotions
  • Teas and turmeric latte
  • Hair products

Overall, I have spent more time using things up in July than I did in June. Back in June, I was quite busy and didn’t have a lot of spare time. This meant I tended to use things that didn’t take much time, for example, I’d just read one page of a magazine. By spending more time on things in July, I managed to fully use up quite a few items. My ‘use up pile’ began to look a lot emptier!

Within the last couple of weeks of July, I added quite a few more things to the pile. This is because I had been clearing out my room, and I found lots of extra things that needed using up. This means the pile is now quite full again! I don’t mind this because it’s fun to have a larger variety of different things to choose from each day.

I have enjoyed this challenge, and I plan to carry it on into August because I still have lots of things to use up.

Exercise Game

For an explanation of the game I played in July, check out my post: How to Make Exercise into a Game.

I followed the rules exactly as laid out in my exercise game post. I had all my exercises written in a numbered list, and used my calculator to generate random numbers to pick the exercises. Using my phone timer, I timed 2 minutes for each exercise. Towards the end of the month, I changed this system slightly by using an app instead. I found an app called Random Picker which allowed me to enter all my exercises into there, and it would pick them at random. This saved me from needing a written list and a calculator, as I could do everything on my phone.

Random Picker App
I downloaded the Random Picker app onto my phone from the Android Play Store. You can make customised lists of options for the app to pick from.
Random Picker App
This is my ‘spinning wheel’ for all my exercises. It looks crowded because I added so many exercises, but it works well! You tap the wheel and it spins, choosing an option at random.
Random Picker App
Here is my ‘spinning wheel’ for just my Pilates and yoga exercises.

What types of exercise did I do?

These are the types of exercises I had in my list / app:

  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Weight lifting
  • Cardio exercises
  • Other random exercises including kegels, ab roller, and Powerball.

At the start of July, my list consisted mainly of Pilates, yoga and weight lifting exercises. Partway through the month, I added several cardio exercises to my list, but I only included these when I was exercising downstairs or outside where I had enough space.

In the app, I also made sub-groups of different types of exercises, including just pilates, just yoga, gentler exercises, and just cardio exercises. This meant I could choose a sub-set if I only wanted to do certain types of exercise on a particular day. It made it easier to miss out strenuous exercises like weights if I had already exercised that day or was feeling sore or delicate.

Near the end of July, I also added more yoga exercises because I didn’t have many in my list. I discovered this when I made a sub-set of yoga exercises in the Random Picker app, and I only had 4 exercises in it!

Did I manage to exercise every day?

I managed to do my exercise game every day apart from 3 days when I was out all day. I caught up on these missed days by doing an extra session on 3 other days, so by the end of July I had done 31 sessions in total.

The first time I did two sessions in one day, I found that my neck ached, so I soon learned to do gentler exercises (i.e. no weight lifting) when I was doing a second session in a day.

Due to the random nature of the game, it was complete luck and chance which exercises I did each time. I got a mixture of hard and easy workouts. Sometimes I was a bit lazy or distracted during my workout, for example, I would get tempted to reply to messages on my phone between each exercise. But most of the time I managed to focus on the exercise.

Where did I exercise, and what equipment did I use?

I usually exercised in my bedroom, but sometimes I exercised downstairs in the lounge or in the garden. It was nice exercising in the garden, especially on sunny evenings when the temperature was not too hot.

Equipment

I used my yoga mat which made a lot of the exercises more comfortable to do. I made use of some equipment I own, including my Powerball, hula hoop, push-up handles, ab roller and skipping rope.

Exercise equipment
Here is some of the equipment I used in my exercise sessions.

I got the push-up handles, ab roller and skipping rope as part of a set which I bought on Amazon UK. They are handy pieces of equipment and I use them all regularly, although I am not very good at the ab roller yet! You can purchase the set here.

I also bought the dumbbells from Amazon UK. They are easy to hold and they are shaped so that they don’t roll away! They come in various weights and you get a free poster too. You can order them here.

The Powerball was yet another Amazon UK purchase! If you haven’t heard of a Powerball before, it is a device that you hold in your hand and spin, which creates resistance. It is designed to strengthen your hands, wrists and lower arms. This particular model lights up in red, purple and blue when it spins! It displays your spinning speed on the screen, and it’s fun trying to beat your record! I would highly recommend the Powerball, especially if you want to strengthen your arms, wrists and hands. You can purchase it here.

Music

I found it helpful to play upbeat music in the background while I was exercising. This helped keep me motivated and focused. During a few gentler sessions where I was just doing pilates and yoga, I opted to play nature sounds instead.

Did I see a difference in my body and fitness level?

I think I have got stronger and better at the exercises throughout the month. This is particularly evident in the weight lifting exercises, because some of them feel easier now than they did at the start of July, and I have progressed to heavier weights. I currently own 1kg, 2kg and 3kg dumbbells. I am planning to purchase 4kg ones soon because for a few of the exercises I have progressed to the 3kg dumbbells and am finding them fairly easy.

At the start of the month, I noticed my joints were quite clicky when doing some of the exercises, which is an issue I experience generally. Because of this, I was extra careful when doing exercises that made me click. Fortunately, I seem to have got less clicky which I am really pleased about. 

During this challenge, I learned to listen to my body. I adapted some of the weight lifting exercises to make them easier if they were too hard even with the lightest weights. If any exercise didn’t feel right on any occasion, for example if it was causing me pain or I was clicking lots, I would adapt it to make it easier or I’d take breaks within the 2 minutes. I found the weight lifting to be the most strenuous part of my workouts, so I also had a couple of ‘weights-free’ days when I felt my body hadn’t recovered from the last session.

The main difference I have seen in my physical appearance is that my arms and shoulders look more toned and muscular. One of my main goals is to have visible abs, and so far this has not happened. I am planning to carry on exercising regularly, and I hope to see even more of a difference in my body.

Would I recommend exercising in this way?

I have really enjoyed doing this challenge, and I have never got bored of exercising in this way. It adds variety and an element of fun to a workout, because you never know what exercises you will get. I would recommend this method to anyone who struggles to exercise consistently. It makes me genuinely look forward to my exercise sessions which is something that rarely happened before!

I think 30 minutes is a good amount of time to exercise for because it flies by quickly but you can definitely work up a sweat in that time! I also think that 2 minutes is a good amount of time to spend on each exercise.

Am I going to carry on with my exercise game?

I definitely plan to carry on doing my exercise game every day where possible. However, I won’t set it as a challenge to do it every day in August. This is because I don’t think it matters if I miss the occasional day. In fact, it is probably healthy to have rest days! Also, on some days I might do other forms of exercise such as a long walk or a run, and I wouldn’t necessarily feel the need to do extra exercise on top of that. I will plan to do my exercise game on the majority of days though, especially on days when I am not doing any other form of exercise. 

As I mentioned earlier, I hope to continue getting better at the exercises. I would like to gradually progress to lifting heavier weights, as well as meet some other fitness and flexibility goals, such as achieving a full push-up, and being able to touch my toes without bending my knees. I also hope to see more physical changes in my body, for example, seeing visible abs.

What’s your exercise routine?

Do you have a specific exercise game or routine that you follow? Do you find it easy to stay motivated to exercise? What are your fitness goals? Let me know in the comments!

July Challenge Evaluation

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