The 6 Week Challenge

I’m in shape for a guy of 47 years old. Under the right conditions, I can run five miles in under 42 minutes. I’ve lost over 50 pounds in the last year, once I decided to take my health and diet more seriously. I did so, because my wife of 25 years needed a kidney and I was determined to be her donor. So, in order to give her the best possible outcome, I made sure that my own health was at its peak.

It worked, because despite whatever odds may be against it, I was a match and we successfully went through the surgery seven weeks ago. Her new kidney is functioning at 100%, with an eGFR >=90 and creatinine levels as low as 64. I have another four months before my system fully recovers, but that’s another story.

Before surgery, I was an avid runner, but did very little strength training, otherwise. As a warm-up, before my runs, I would do one set of 16 exercises, focusing on upper body strength, using dumbbells no heavier that 25 pounds, as well as 25 push-ups, 50 crunches and a one minute plank.

That was then.

After surgery, recovery takes a long time. You’re not allowed to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds, or engage in strenuous activity for six weeks. As anyone who exercises will tell you, that’s very frustrating. Needless to say, at five weeks, I decided to push my luck and while I wasn’t able to complete any abdominal exercises, I was able to get back to my regular five mile run. That was satisfying.

However, my strength training, particularly core exercises, had to wait at least a week or two longer before I could make any real progress. That’s when I stumbled across an app in the Google Play store that caught my interest. It’s called Just 6 Weeks and while it is an incredibly simple app, its goal is to help you obtain some pretty hefty personal fitness goals.

It intends to help you reach the point where you can complete 100 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 10 minutes of planking, 200 squats and 150 bench dips in only six weeks. All of these exercises are interesting to me, because they require no equipment and can be completed virtually anywhere. The app also has goals for 100 dips and 20 pull-ups, but those both require equipment that I do not have.

You start by setting a baseline, completing as many of each exercise as you can, in a single set and entering these into the app, which then calculates the six week program for you, breaking the exercises up into five sets. For my baseline, I was able to complete 30 push-ups, 30 sit-ups, one minute of planking and 30 bench dips. I surprised myself when I was able to complete 200 squats in a single set, without breaking a sweat, but that is of course, because I’m a runner. I still hurt the next day, a lot.

That day is today; and today is my first day of this challenge. I’m going to document my progress to see whether or not I can reach these goals and I’m excited to see how much progress I will actually be able to make.

Here are today’s results:

  • 69 push-ups
  • 72 sit-ups
  • 1:46 plank
  • 0 squats (I still hurt from yesterday and likely will for another day or two.)
  • 72 bench dips

The app recommends you take a day off between workouts, but I’ve never really liked working out every other day. Instead, I’m going to complete these exercises on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Let’s see what I’m able to accomplish. The deadline is January 1st. Oh, neat. I didn’t even realize that. Well, at least I’ll wrap this year up on another high note.


10 thoughts on “The 6 Week Challenge

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