I began the fitness challenge a week after having a prophylactic double mastectomy.  I actually don’t remember applying because of the drugs I was on! But when I heard I’d been selected (after investigating what it was I had applied for) I thought the challenge could really help my post-surgical recovery, and was so happy I’d been selected.  And I was correct, the fitness challenge was just what I needed at just the right time.

Here are the goals I started with and my outcome:

  • Average 12,000 steps per day – I have met this! As of about three weeks ago I’ve been able to walk my dogs again, which has helped my step goal.  I also started running workouts using the Aaptiv app.  Even though I’m not a runner, I’ve actually enjoyed those runs!  The music on the app helps a lot.
  • Strengthen and tone my legs and core – It is hard to quantify this one, but based on my soreness after doing my body weight exercises, I will mark this one as met also. And I’m not having as hard of a time getting my horse, Calvin, moving at a good pace, so I will credit stronger legs for that.
  • Get strong enough to show Calvin – Met. I tried to meet this too early in my recovery, four weeks after surgery and only three days back in to riding. I didn’t have the strength or endurance to make it more than one class! This past weekend, seven weeks after surgery, I showed again. I want to say with greater success, since I was able to complete all my classes and seemed to have enough strength to compete well. BUT, there was a cow mooing and pacing about 30 feet from the ring, which Calvin thought was much more interesting than cantering, so while I did well from a physical standpoint, we didn’t have a great show. I am a vegetarian, but that day I wouldn’t have minded that cow being steak … kidding!

I really enjoyed being accountable to others to up my fitness game. That small amount of extra motivation is what I need to follow through with work outs, so I will be looking for something to continue that accountability now that the challenge has ended. I am also thankful that I found some workouts that fit in my lifestyle and that I enjoy, so making myself do them won’t be such a struggle.

Before starting the challenge, I hadn’t planned on changing my diet much because I thought I ate pretty healthfully before, but when I had high blood pressure I tried to reduce my sodium intake as much as possible.  I will definitely be continuing that, as my taste buds have adjusted and I no longer enjoy salty things.  It has also been very easy to do, just requires a little planning when I’m riding and showing to avoid drive-thrus or concession stands.

Now is that part that I’m prepared for eye rolls. Unintentionally, I lost five pounds during my challenge weeks. I’m guessing that is mostly due to the reduced sodium intake? I also noticed that my problem area, my lower abs, looked a little flatter. I don’t want or need to lose more weight, but I am hoping that the increased toning continues!

Thank you so much for following me on my journey! It has been a great experience and I encourage everyone to get somegear to help you get started, and then start making yourself stronger and healthier both for you and your horse.