Vortex and Friends Fitness Challenge (by Don)

This might not be as popular as the weight loss challenge Ben is running, but my initial goal was to develop a way to encourage all of us to exercise and be active. “Activity” will look different for everyone (Drew and Don doing suicide hill climbing v. Dave K. and Tim walking on their treadmills). But as my Pulmonologist said to me after my lung surgery when I asked, “when can I get back to training for triathlons?”

“Don. Unfortunately, the stress of training like that might never be something you do again. Your lung may never be strong enough for that. But you can do moderate exercise and get your heart rate elevated and strengthen your lungs. I’ll put it this way. If you walk briskly, and I mean at a good walking pace that gets your heart rate going, gets you breathing heavy, and breaking a sweat. If you do this for 30-minutes a day, you’ll be in the top 10% of fit people in the U.S. That is a fantastic fitness level to strive for.”

He also recommended swimming laps if I could find a pool.

Knowing this, I pretty much got depressed, defeated, and let myself get fat and inactive. Knowing I shouldn’t play soccer anymore and shouldn’t run a 5K or 10K, I threw in the towel and was pushing 180 pounds on my 5’5” frame. I kept thinking I was destined to a life of walking at the mall with all the seniors.

Well, starting at Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), I committed to The Whole30 diet and daily activity (even if only 30-minutes walking with my dog …good for her and for me).

Now, here I am with only 6 days left until Easter and I’m at 157 pounds, I’m doing more than walking, and I feel great and I want to promise my kids, my wife, my family, and my friends that I’ll never let myself go, again. I never knew my Grandfather (died at 59 before I was born) and I lost my Mom way too soon (died at 58 when my kids were not even 2 years old). I have two uncles with high blood pressure and another one of my Uncles, quite likely, had a stroke from a side effect of his high blood pressure meds. We’ll never know, but I don’t want to ever find out.

If I die too early, I don’t want anyone to say, “well, it might’ve been that extra 30 pounds he was carrying around …ya know Don has a history of heart problems in his family.”  Because if that’s the conversation, I fucking failed. I would rather them say, “wow …how did he have a heart attack? He exercised every day and wasn’t overweight at all. Shocking.”

And I don’t want to think or say these things at your funerals, either.

I guess what I’m saying is this – I can’t control if and when I get Cancer. I might develop ALS or Parkinson’s. With my lungs, someday I might get the flu, and that’ll turn into pneumonia, and I won’t be able to beat it and I’ll die, and people will be sad, but those are things I can’t control.

I can control my weight and whether or not I exercise and stay active.

I hope you’ll join me, stay motivated, and we’ll put some money on the line.

How it Works

  • Challenge #1 Duration is 4/2-4/30, Challenge #2 Duration is 5/1-5/31, etc
  • $10 Entry Fee to Start
  • Weekly Minimum Activity* is (4) :30-minute exercise sessions per week (or min. 120-minutes total)
  • If you do not meet the minimum activity goals for a week, you must pay $5 to stay in.
  • Your $5 Penalty will be refunded if, during the following week, you make-up the activity deficit (ie Don only exercises 2x and 60 total minutes during Wk1, but during Wk2 exercises 6x at :30-minutes each, his $5 is refunded).
  • Each 30-Minute Activity* earns (2) points up to (5) Activities
  • Each additional 30-Minute Activity earns (.5) points
  • A picture, text, email, Tweet, or entry into this Google Sheet, a screenshot of your FitBit screen, Stridekick activity, or posting in Facebook Messenger will be how we keep track of activity. Even if you just say “went to PF for 45-minutes”, that’s good enough for me.
  • If a participant leaves the group, or if he shows zero activity or progress for 2 weeks in a row, he must pay $50.
  • At the end of the Challenge window, points will be tallied and a 1st place will get 75% of the pot in a gift card; 2nd place will get 25% of the pot in a gift card.
  • In the case of a tie, the pot rolls over into the next Challenge window – yes. Ties automatically trigger a rollover.

Here’s who I show expressed interest. Reply to donkowalewski@gmail.com if you’re a ‘yes’, or Reply to the Vortex, or to the Facebook Messenger group. This is important to me, so I’ll keep track of allz yallz.

  • Don Kowalewski
  • Ben Cossar
  • Dave Kowalewski
  • Drew Setter
  • Word
  • Kwass
  • Phil
  • Babcock
  • Hallman
  • Drew
  • Krik
  • Tomac

…am I missing you?

Let’s go. Get started. Never look back. Let’s earn those good foods, beers, and bourbon drinks. Let’s look good out on Hallman’s, Darrin’s, or Krikau’s boats if they ever invite we commoners for a ride on their boats. Let’s feel and sleep better. Let’s get living!!!

*”Activity” is defined as any aerobic activity that raises one’s heartbeat, including but not limited to running, swimming, biking, treadmill, etc