My 2018 Fitness Challenge

*tap tap tap* Is this thing on? Helllooooooo? … Okay, sure, I know better. I’d never ACTUALLY tap on a mic (my stage technician friends are probably ready to lunge at me for even implying it…). But hey! Hi! It’s been a while. Like, a looooooong while. And a lot has happened, and there’s a lot I want to blog about, but this one is the most pressing and exciting thing for me so we’re starting here.

On Thursday, February 1, I got an idea. An AWESOME idea.

Endorphins = BRAIN POWER

An idea that makes me so excited to actually talk about fitness again. An idea that is making me JUMP out of bed to do to my workouts idea. An idea that I probably wouldn’t have ever had if something else hadn’t happened… (and if you just want to know about the awesome idea, jump down to this part of the post!)

But if you want the whole backstory to how I ended up here and why this idea is so exciting and important to me, I suppose there are some other things you need to know.

Not a happy camper.

On December 23, 2017, I ended up in the Emergency Room where I was diagnosed with a ruptured appendix and a spreading gangrenous infection in my abdomen. I had surgery on the morning of December 24 and, thankfully, was discharged on December 25 so I got to spend most of Christmas at home on my couch and not in a hospital room. More on that in another blog post coming soon, you have my word, but it’s important to the rest of this story…

Prior to the whole “I have to have my side cut open” thing, I had been majorly slacking when it came to fitness. Somewhere around…well, heh, probably the last time I wrote a blog post, I decided I was just TOO STRESSED OUT and had TOO MUCH TO DO that I would be okay if I only worked out 3x/week. Now, 3x/week is great…if you actually do it. I was usually doing 2x/week and spending the rest of my time sitting on my ass and eating as much junk food as possible (because when you’re only working out 2-3x per week, it makes total sense to eat everything under the sun, right?). Somehow, I’d reverted back to my 2014-and-earlier self where EVERY excuse under the book seemed perfectly rational and reasonable and EVERY goal I had to live a healthier and better life I’d shoved into a closet and chose to ignore.

Why yes, I will eat ALL THE COOKIES, thanks!

…well, the Universe has a hilarious sense of humor as it knocks you on your ass…

This is what I imagine the Universe saying: “Oh, so, after 2.5 years of taking your health seriously and improving your life, you’re just going to throw it away for Christmas cookies? Hahahahaha not on my watch! Maybe three days in excruciating pain (followed by more weeks of mostly-tolerable-but-still-very-present pain) will remind you that THIS SHIT IS SERIOUS AND YOU NEED TO QUIT EFFING AROUND.”

Um, Universe? Have I said I’m sorry enough times yet?

So, this is how I spent basically every day from December 25 through January 27:


On January 29, I had a follow-up with my doctor who finally said I could actually start working out again! (See, the title of this post is starting to make sense, yeah?) She did say I’m still healing, which I am, and to focus on low-impact cardio workouts for at least another 3-6 weeks to make sure I don’t tear anything in my core area. So, I went back to doing Country Heat because you know I love to dance around my living room as a way to get my sweat on!

Y’all, it feels SO GOOD to be getting my sweat on again!!!

In the middle of my third day of Boot Scootin’ around my living room, I was struck by (proverbial) lightning, the ceiling (metaphorically) opened up, and I was (figuratively) greeted by a choir of angels singing what I needed to do next…


Okay, the name is a little weird, but it works nice for a hashtag (#BodyByMeChallenge) in case other people want to join in on my little adventure. But the name isn’t quite as important as what it means…

The Body By Me Challenge means that, for 2018, I will only be doing fitness programs and/or exercises that require no equipment. No weights. No bands. No loops. No sliders. No spin bikes. No gloves. No treadmills. No ropes. No suspension systems. No reformers or chairs. No pull-up bars. No sandbags. Just me and my body. 

I know this may sound weird, especially since there are a ton of Beachbody programs out right now that are awesome and getting people great results…but that do require a lot of additional equipment (for example, 80 Day Obsession needs multiple sets of dumbbells, three strengths of fitness loops, AND a set of floor sliders). But there are also a ton of amazing programs that don’t require anything except your own willingness to show up and do the damn thing.

This was me after finishing Insanity Max:30 – a total bodyweight, no equipment needed program — and I felt stronger and more proud of myself than I have EVER been.

Now, there is an exception: a mat. The reason I’m allowing this exception is in most cases, even in yoga, a mat is optional equipment and is just there for comfort. Plenty of people do yoga flat on the ground. A “jump mat” or a “core comfort mat” are also there to increase comfort, but are still optional. So any type of floor mat = still okay for this challenge.

So, why exactly am I doing this? 

Well, for one thing, for the challenge of it all. I want to see how much progress I can make with strength and flexibility using only my own body as the tool I use to shape it. I’m an academic — if there’s a hypothesis put in front of me, I’m going to want to test it and see the results. So, I’m doing it just because I want to see what happens. 

But, if you read through the whole big story above about how I got to this point, I’m also doing it for a deeper, more personal, more psychological reason. Throughout the last part of 2017, I was feeling completely disconnected from my body. I wasn’t listening to its signs, and I wasn’t treating it well. Then, after needing surgery and going through a ROUGH recovery period, I was left feeling like I wanted and NEEDED to find a way to reconnect with myself while also getting my health and general wellness back on track. One way I feel like I can accomplish this is by removing the “noise” and putting all of my effort into JUST ME.

HOW will I be doing this?! 

I do still plan on using Beachbody programs (and Shakeology and the Performance Line) to achieve my results. The good news is, there are SO MANY programs included on All Access that require zero equipment, including 3 Week Yoga Retreat, Insanity, Insanity Max:30, Core de Force, Turbo Fire (first 12 weeks), Country Heat, CIZE, and some of the older programs too…

Plus, there’s non-structured stuff too (going for a walk/run, doing some burpees) and other venues to find options (yoga classes, YouTube videos).

And if you’d like to hop in and join me on this challenge, lemme know! You can read more about who I am as a “coach” on my Wellness page if you’re curious, or you can just do your own thing. Or just start hashtagging your posts #BodyByMeChallenge and tagging me (I’m @ThatColette on Insta, Twitter, FB, and Snapchat (which I can’t link to directly – just gotta search). 

So here we go… 

Now for the big scary part (for me). My “starting out” photos on this challenge. I took these on January 30, the first day I was cleared to begin working out again:

January 30, 2018: Starting Country Heat

These will be the same poses I’ll do month after month to compare progress. And yeah, I have some wearing just a sports bra and leggings, but I’m not ready to share those quite yet. That’ll be better for a “big reveal” of final progress for this challenge come December, don’t you think?  


  1. This seems like such a fun group. To bad I don’t qualify as I’m doing 80 Day Obsession right now. I hope you have many people join you!! 🤗


    • Hey Jen! Thanks. To clarify, this actually it *not* a group. It’s just an ongoing personal challenge I’m doing for myself throughout the year. If people want to do the same challenge themselves, anyone can join at any time they’re doing a program that’s bodyweight-only, whether for one month or many, just by using the hashtag #BodyByMeChallenge on social media (I’ll be checking it just to see who is there). I do hope you’re enjoying 80 Day Obsession!


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