30-Day Squat Challenge: An Illustrated Guide

May 6, 2016

Winter was tough. Between Making A Murderer and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on my ample posterior, binge watching television and not contributing to my weekly Fitbit step count.

Imagine my shame as I sit on the couch in hour fourteen of a Scandal marathon, unshowered and covered in pretzel crisp dust, looking over as my yoga mat and kettlebell give me the same judgmental stare as Harriet Tubman’s $20 bill in a crack deal.

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I recently read the story of identical twins Miriam and Michelle Carolus who got their apple bottoms from performing 2,000 squats per day.

In the article, they said, “We try to do a couple of thousand squats a day to keep in shape. It will usually be stretched over something like nine hours.”

That’s some top shelf booty. And judging by their photos, I mean that literally. I am not all convinced they haven’t had cement injected into their cakes. Meanwhile, my butt resembles a CSI victim: lifeless and bruised (don’t ask).

Amazingly, the ladies have actual jobs. They also claim to stick to a strict fitness and diet regimen of smoothies, salads, and protein shakes, or as I call it, “lunchtime lipo.”

Meanwhile, I am busying myself preparing a class-action lawsuit against Nutella for domestic abuse and trespassing. I keep telling it to leave but it keeps appearing in my home, talking about, “Baby, please. I love you.” Now you know where the bruises come from.
I have seen these images floating around social media concerning the “30-day squat challenge.”

The internet is ridiculous. Male or female, it is full of unreasonable expectations for our physical appearance, as well as false promises of quick fixes to the things that ail us, playing to our insecurities.

Every guide for the challenge is accompanied by an image of a woman plucked from the escort section of the City Paper.

Squat challenge Google collage

The funny thing about exercise guides like these are that these challenges don’t factor in important things like age, fitness level, or if you have a pulse. Still, the message of the challenge is clear: In thirty days, I will have the butt of Jessica Alba, and to that, I say bring it on.

Ages ago, I printed out the challenge and stuck it to the fridge with the hopes it would entice me to follow through. Nothing helps to shame you more than placing exercise memes in the same place you keep the Talenti Sea Salt Caramel gelato.

The challenge is seemingly simple. You perform a set number of squats, which over time increase in intensity. Fortunately (or mercifully), there are rest days thrown in.

This past month, a wave of determination came over me and I dedicated myself to conquering the challenge.

Here’s a recap of the month.

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Day 1
I would pray and say “give us this day our daily bread” but gluten and listening to everything Oprah says is exactly what got me in this quagmire in the first place.

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Day 2
My knees, hips, and thighs are looser than open carry laws down south. So far, so good.

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Day 3
The tide quickly turned. I’m thinking about the people who regularly do Crossfit. You willingly pay for this kind of punishment that doesn’t include a happy ending?

Day 4 – REST DAY
You know it’s bad when you contemplate quitting on a rest day. Why am I doing this again?

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Day 5
I thought the sound I made was a shart. Fortunately, I only split my pants. Onward we go. I miss you, sofa.

Day 6
Full disclosure: For the previous year, I have attempted this challenge at the start of the month. Each time, I quit on day four (yes, the rest day), so I was fully dedicated to getting farther. Another 75 down… Booty up.

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Day 7
In my world, squats between episodes of Paternity Court and General Hospital is the real soul cycle. Don’t judge me. Meet the Press only airs once a week.

Day 8 – REST DAY

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Day 9
You are my god now, Lord ibuprofen and whiskey.

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Day 10
If it didn’t make my core shake like a junkie during withdrawals, I would be doing the plank challenge instead.

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Day 11
Always thinking of the road less traveled, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of not breaking a sweat while working out since the 1980s.

(P.S. – I spent this same evening illustrating the image of Richard Simmons. If you have a friend/sibling who would take this wayward lonely man in and love me, please use the contact form above.)

Day 12 – REST DAY

Day 13
A friend asked me why I was undertaking this challenge. I replied, “Spring squats for summer booties.” I have never been more disgusted with myself as a human being.

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Day 14
Saying “an irresistible force meets an immovable object” in the voice of the legendary announcer Gorilla Monsoon was never a way I pictured discussing my butt.

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Day 15
I’m here to report that unlike Gatorade, consuming 16 ounces of Nutella in one sitting does nothing for your squat game..

Day 16 – REST DAY

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Day 17
I googled the term “squat” and came across an article on “dangers of a prolapsed rectum.” After reading that a weightlifter squatted out his intestines, it’s time to quit, right? ‬‬‬‬

Day 18
I turned on music to hide the sound of my knees as I squatted. Every dip sounded like macaroni & cheese being stirred in a pot.

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Day 19
Once excited to perform for my lover, I now enter into squat position with the same passion as pre-scheduled intercourse. Remember when we were young and impulsive, dear knees?

Day 20 – REST DAY

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Day 21
Today, I have 180 squats to complete. I would ask if one can squat repeatedly through tears. Then I remembered adult stars do it regularly. #Zing! #RIPPrince (He squatted often, in heels no less!)

Squat challenge FB collage

(P.S. – Today, I learned that it’s been three years since I began this challenge. Now twenty plus days in, I see the merits in not giving up, a learned behavior that’s served me so well in the past. Suddenly, I want to see this through…and turn off that Facebook memories feature.)

Day 22
As Ice Cube put it, “You can do it, put your knees, hips, abs, and back into it.” That song was catchy.

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Day 23
Like other various games in my life (romantic, sporting), I believe I have now come to terms with not having a solid “twerk game.” It may be for the best.

Day 24 – REST DAY

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Day 25
Today I learned that a bottomless mimosa brunch doesn’t mesh with the balance needed to perform squats. I also began developing a pitch for a potential television series. #multitasker #bossassbitch

Day 26
The daily total jumped dramatically from 190 squats to 220. I failed remedial math long ago but I know this figure doesn’t add up.

Day 27
Today with 230 squats to complete, I’ve begun hoping that it was a typo that actually read, “30-day squash challenge.” I got it from Pinterest. It could happen.

Day 28 – REST DAY

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Day 29
Reality has set in. I’m running out of time to get a butt that looks like two captured country hams tussling in a cloth sack.

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Day 30
The end is near. The rear is here. By here, I mean it is in the room. I don’t have much else to say about it.

Chuck Palahniuk famously said, “Find what you’re most afraid of and go live there.”

Every time I walked by the fridge or posted my progress to Facebook, I lived with this test. For thirty days, I leaned (or dipped) all the way in.

When I began my weight loss journey, it was the tiny victories that gave me the strength to continue working towards my ultimate goal. Once again, I was validated in finding comfort in discomfort.

However, seeing my challenge to completion wasn’t the lesson I learned.

The lesson was if you perform an exercise more than once every three years and lay off of the bread, your core won’t completely collapse.

F#$% it. Oprah said, “Let them eat bread!”

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If you plan to take on the challenge, make sure that you have the right form. Check actual professionals like these for some tips.

In the meantime, tell me: What challenge are you looking to take on?

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