At the end of 2020, I've decided to make 2021 a challenging year. I have committed to doing 12 monthly challenges, one for each month. You can see the list of all the challenges here. Below is a summary of the October challenge.
What was the challenge?
Challenge: Hang for 7 minutes a day. Not seven consecutive minutes, but seven minutes total in a day.
Why: I found this challenge online and immediately liked it. It's crazy enough and, at the same time, has enough health benefits (shoulders, grip strength, spine decompression, joints, ligaments), making it a perfect candidate for a monthly challenge.
How well did it go?
Challenge completion rate: 20% (6 out of 30) FAIL
How hard was it?
At the end of each day, I recorded if I had completed the challenge for the day. I also rated how much effort it took on a scale of 1 to 10. While it's subjective, it gives an idea of how hard it was to complete the challenge.
Average effort score: 8.33
Lowest effort score for the month: 7 (2 times)
Highest effort score for the month: 10 (1 time)
What did I learn from it?
I have failed this one badly. I wanted to make it work, but I wasn't ready. I did not expect this to be so hard.
How hard can hanging be? Turns out—pretty hard. I went into it without any preparation or warm-up days. It killed me.
Seven minutes in total doesn't sound so much, but I quickly discovered that at the beginning, I could hand 40-50 seconds at a time, at best. Then some rest, another 30-40 seconds, and pretty quickly, each session was shorter, and each break was longer. The whole exercise took probably an hour or longer on the first day. My hands hurt.
Proper preparation for this challenge would have helped. If I had tried it a few times before, I would have known how hard it was and trained accordingly. Without preparation, I dug a deeper hole each day until I gave up after six days. My hands had physical wounds and continuing would be not just hard but also harmful.
- Physical exercise. It's a healthy activity. It makes the whole body work.
- Satisfaction after completing. The feeling when the time finally hit 7 minutes was fantastic.
- Feeling of progress and accomplishment. After the first 2-3 days, when the initial shock wore off, I started seeing progress. Individual sessions began to be longer (60 seconds, sometimes even more), with shorter breaks.
- Takes a lot of time. I don't have much free time, but even with a gym in our building, it took too long. I expected it to be maybe 15 minutes total, and it was an hour or more. Sometimes even a few separate sessions throughout the day.
- Hard to do every day. I wasn't adequately prepared and suffered the consequences.
- Physical wounds. When my body and muscles started to adapt, my hands gave up. Continuing would be masochistic.
Will I keep doing it?
Yes, with modifications. I wanted it to work. When I saw that it takes so long to get to 7 minutes and that I might need to have multiple sessions throughout the day, I decided that going to the gym was not a feasible option. So I bought a portable pull-up bar. It's now on my balcony.
After injuring my hands (I'll spare you the photos), I also bought proper gym gloves.
I'm ready for the second try, this time with a better plan and attitude.
I'll get there. Maybe I won't train every day at first, perhaps not seven minutes from day one, but I'll get there.
What's the next month's challenge?
Challenge: No coffee.
Why: I love coffee, and it has multiple health benefits, but it can also mess with your sleep. I'll go an entire month without coffee and substitute it with other stimulants (e.g., yerba mate), observing the effects of the change, if any.