The Double-D Workout Challenge!


A great big hello to any new readers out there. I got a ton of traffic yesterday because the Everyday Health column about me was featured on the AOL Homepage – what a wonderful surprise to wake up to! So… I welcome any new readers that are sticking around (and I hope you do!) – and don’t forgot to follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Last week, during my weigh-in post, I mentioned that I’ve been communicating with my two sisters in an ongoing text message stream as a way to stay accountable and check in about how we’re doing. I find it very helpful and fun, but it’s just one of two things that I’ve started in the past couple weeks to help with accountability. The other is…

…The Double-D Workout Challenge!

My friend Debbie and I came up with this program together (Debbie… David… hence Double-D!). I’ve known Debbie since middle school. Here we are, with our friend Steve on the left, in a photo taken at our high school graduation party in 1997.


If I look like a zombie in that picture, and I think I kinda sorta do, it’s because that picture was taken in the middle of the night. Maybe 2 or 3am. Oh, and we’re all holding money we won in a cash-grab machine!

After high school, Debbie and I went to different colleges and fell out of touch for a good long time, but a few years back we reconnected (yay social media!) and now chat pretty regularly. Debbie lives in Boston with her hubby and kid, and she’s been trying to get more active. Since I’ve been trying to get back on track after my 2-week relapse, we came up with a plan that motivates us both to exercise. It’s a plan that has penalties and rewards. And it’s totally customizable, so steal it and make it your own! Here are the official rules:



1.) Participants will work out at least five days per week.  Each week will start on a Sunday at 12:00 am and end on Saturday, 11:59 pm.

2.) Exercise must be at least 35 minutes of moderate (or more) activity.  Lighter exercise is acceptable, provided that the time spent is equivalent to 35 minutes of moderate.

3.) Participants must provide a weekly report by Sunday, 11:59 pm via email.  Each report must contain the day/date of each workout, the type of exercise, and number of minutes for each exercise. Participants may also include reflections, encouragement, or a healthy recipe in their email.

4.) Bonus workouts (like a 6th workout during one week) may not be applied to another week or ‘banked’ for use during a future week when you don’t reach your goals.  Extra minutes on one day cannot be ‘banked’ for another day.


5.) A missed workout equals 1 strike. (Therefore, working out 4 times instead of 5 during any given week equals 1 strike). Every time a participant reaches 3 strikes, they must provide a $5.00 gift card/egift card to the other contestant within 72 hours, from a retailer that is accessible to both participants. Gift cards cannot be used to purchase unhealthy foods. After reaching 3 strikes, your strike count gets reset to zero.

6.) Any participant who completes three weeks of working out with no strikes will receive a non-monetary, homemade gift provided by the other participant.

*All rules will be followed using the honor system.

We started drafting the rules about a week and a half ago, emailing versions of it back and forth, making tweaks and additions. The week that ended three days ago was a trial week, and the challenge started for real this past Sunday. The trial week was a complete success for both of us; we each completed 5 workouts of appropriate length and intensity, with Debbie doing additional exercise, thanks to dogs she has to walk and a toddler son that she walks to preschool.

The great thing about the Double-D Workout Challenge is that is can totally be adapted to fit your life. All you need to do is find someone to challenge! If 5 days of exercise isn’t right for you, than make it 4. Or 3. Or 6!  If you’re new to exercise and can only do 20 minutes, adapt the rules to accommodate that. If you and your Challenge partner live in the same town, a reward could be one of you taking the other to the movies. If you and your Challenge partner live in the same house, make a penalty a chore that neither of you like doing, or a project that you don’t want to tackle (like cleaning out the garage)! The template is there – how you switch it up is up to you!

It’s Monday evening as I write this, and I’ve already completed two of my five workouts this week. So far so good! The bummer is that in a few days, I’ll need to suspend my involvement in the Double-D Workout Challenge for a few weeks. Debbie knows this already and is supportive. It ties into the health concern that I very vaguely mentioned a few posts ago. A lot has happened since I wrote that post, and I’m going to share some of it in a post later this week. Don’t know how much, I have yet to figure that out, but I want and need to address it, because it’s going to have definite ramifications on my physical activity over the next month. It’s not going to be an easy month. So… um… tune in next time for a big update!

I’ll end this with a run down of my workouts from the trial week:

  • SUN 4/28: Hike – Fryman Canyon – 90 minutes (moderate-to-brisk pace, significant elevation changes) – This is the hike that ended with an unexpected moment of inspiration.
  • MON 4/29:  Arc Trainer (Cardio Machine) – 40 minutes
  • TUES 4/30:  Slimmons class – approx 75 minutes – These break down to 45 min cardio/dance, 10 min toning, 10 min situps/pushups, 5 min motivational pep talk.
  • THURS 5/2: Adaptive Motion Trainer (Cardio Machine) 40 minutes
  • SAT 5/4:  StairMaster – 12 minutes (43 floors); Seated Elliptical – 24 minutes

Keep it up, David!

One Response to The Double-D Workout Challenge!

  1. angie v says:

    That is an awesome idea! I’m recuperating from knee surgery, so my activity is limited, but I love the idea of this. I normall do not have a problem getting my exercise, but a friend does, so this might be an idea to help get HER motivated. Thanks for sharing!

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