So, the 30 day squat challenge….
This hasn’t been on my radar (as over the years I have developed a strong bullshit filter) but someone in the daytime class asked about it and I feel compelled to give my feedback on this.
At first when the person asked I was a little taken aback, I thought that this would be something that wouldn’t be on our members radars either but as the gym has grown I feel that SDSC has maybe lost a small bit of its edge and possibly I have too. So this is a perfect chance to voice my opinions on the challenge and in turn rediscover my ranting mojo and help you guys sharpen your own bullshit filters…
First up, if you view this as a challenge, you need to raise your goals and self-expectations. You are capable of more. I am quite sure that if you had to grind through 250 squats in one go, you could do it. Set the bar a little higher. In fact, start by grabbing a bar(bell). As an aside, when I mentioned this to Steph, she did agree it sounded challenging but then I had to explain that in this case bodyweight doesn’t mean bodyweight on your back – which, for 250 reps would be a proper (insane) challenge.
The initial piece of text claims ‘Take up this 30 day squat challenge this month and tone up and boost your leg and butt muscles and body strength to the max.’ Does that not sound a little ridiculous already?
(Note, it appears there are few different sites and apps and the above piece is from the first one I read. I really wasn’t bothered looking at any of the others.)
Taking a whole month to build up to doing 250 air squats in one day will do pretty much nothing to ‘tone’ your leg and butt muscles. And I am certain being able to do 250 bodyweight squats (again, just to clarify, thats not a barbell-on-your-back bodyweight) will not improve your absolute strength, unless you have been training for a week.
Give me a beginner (or anyone for that matter) and I will take them on a proper squat progression with a barbell for one month and we will compare them to a 30 day squat challenge ninja and see who has gotten stronger – sorry, boosted their strength to the max. And not to mention see who has toned – or as we like to say, dropped more bodyfat and built muscle. Incase you’re still unsure, it won’t be the person doing the 30 day squat challenge.
And then IF (that is a BIG IF, hence the caps), IF ALL of the reps are performed with perfect technique and range of movement – they won’t be, most people doing this challenge will have some sort of undiagnosed imbalance or tight hips and this is going to compound the issue and really tighten up those IT bands and flare up those patellar tendons nice and good!
A lot of people that run through our assessment initially are quad dominant and in some cases, their glutes are failing to fire properly (or at all) and if this is the case, your butt muscles won’t be working at all. This imbalance, coupled with the above challenge will serve to compound the issue, which in turn will sideline you from doing any sensible exercise afterwards and slow everything right down until we can find the next challenge to dive right into. For a couple of weeks.
The piece also claims that this challenge ‘gives off the best results’ – proof please? A few anonymous facebook comments at the end of the post doesn’t prove anything and then you have some genius advising that after the first 30 days (if you don’t die of boredom) substitute squats for sit ups and repeat. Obviously as long as that doesn’t mess your back up before the month is out – and again, through her work, Steph has already seen one case of someone aggravating a back injury by making their hip flexors extra tight after attempting the sit up ‘challenge’ and that person knows someone else who also did the same thing.
Please stop the nonsense folks. If there were shortcuts, they would have been found out years ago.
In fact there are incredibly efficient ways to get strong and fit in the shortest time possible, but it still takes time and the longer you have been inactive or injured, it will take even longer to turn around. C’est la vie.
SDSC is about is creating lasting change, changing peoples lives for the better long term and in ALL cases trying to make people as self sufficient and in control of their own health as possible.
I have never seen a quick fix work when it comes to health and performance, everything takes dedicated work. Those with ‘natural’ gifts and the high achievers are working their backsides off. This mindset of success requires a long term commitment and buy in. That is just a fact. Anyone telling you that they can change your life or body for the long term in just a few weeks is full of shit.
Anyone that has achieved anything worthwhile has had to make sacrifices and have not thought short term in their process. They are committed to the journey. Positive lasting changes don’t happen by accident and it is easy to fall off the bandwagon but the healthier and fitter we become, the easier it is to stay on the path.
Fads like the squat challenge perpetuate the cycle of failure and frustration as they promise the world for absolute minimum buy-in, and that is bullshit.
As our tribe has grown I feel that maybe our message has been diluted somewhat and these days gyms, studios boot camps are cropping up like the plague and there are a tonne of options for someone looking for guidance and unfortunately this is not a good thing – it is perpetuating the quick fix mindset – ‘I’ll try this gym for a month, turn up a couple of times, don’t get the unrealistic expectations I was looking for and move on to the next trial memberships etc…
Wherever you decide to train, stick with it, tough out the hard times and soldier on, you will be better for it in the long run and not only will you improve your strength and fitness but you will build a mental resiliency that will spill over into your every day life and make you a stronger, healthier, happier and generally more useful person.