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I Took the 30-Day Squat Challenge and Here's What Happened

Photograph by Twenty20

Help, my ass has fallen and it can't get up.

This is a problem because my butt used to be one of my best physical features. It really knew how to rock a pair of jeans and made up for my unexceptional breasts. I was even in style when the J.Lo's of the world made the butt a fashion must-have.

That all changed after two pregnancies. I assumed my midsection would be shot to hell, but I didn't realize my derriere would droop entire inches. I guess dramatic weight fluctuation plus a total lack of self-care takes its toll, even on the bum. Sure, having kids is worth a little bodily wear and tear, but I'm not gonna lie—I missed my bodacious booty.

So, when #SquatChallenge started trending, my butt and I were intrigued. Could an intense regimen of tush-squeezing squat moves restore my behind to its former glory? I was eager to find out, and the internet was waiting with tons of free printables (like this one, which begins at a doable 50 squats and ends with a horrifying 250). Every fourth day, you rest.

The longer it took to finish my daily regimen, the more Netflix I could watch.

I decided to keep my squats pretty basic, using only my body weight (not extra free weights) and usually with my feet shoulder distance apart. I would push my hips back and sit as if in an imaginary chair, keeping the weight in my heels. Sometimes, for variety, I squatted with my feet together or wide apart with toes out (a sumo squat).

More importantly, I posted the schedule to my fridge so I could cross off each day’s accomplishments with a thick blue marker (hello, endorphin rush!).

The first few days were not so bad, because I don't totally hate squats. But by the ninth day, when I hit 100 squats, I had to start breaking them up into groups of 30 or 50. This was OK because the longer it took to finish my daily regimen, the more Netflix I could watch.

Eventually, though, I hit some snags. One day, I noticed myself wincing in pain as I climbed the stairs. Even with the rest days, my glutes were screamingly sore. A pro at the gym where I work out (occasionally) suggested I get more protein to help my muscles recover faster. I added a whey shake and it truly made a difference, almost immediately. So, there's a tip from him to me to you.

Then, just as my squat challenge was back on track, a cold knocked me flat on my tired butt, and I swear my body went on strike. It marched around with a "No squats while sneezing!" sign. It took me more like 35 days to get through the 30-day challenge.

But I did it! And I feel proud. I completed more than 3,000 squats, which is at least 2,900 more than I would have normally done. I can't tell you my ass magically defied gravity and climbed back up two inches, but it does seem firmer to me.

Vanity aside, I definitely feel stronger in my lower body. I have a history of back issues and I've noticed that strengthening my glutes makes my back feel supported and way less creaky.

The best part is feeling like I'm on the road to a healthy new habit. As a busy mom, it's unrealistic for me to promise myself that I'm going to triple the time I spend at the gym, even though that would be super healthy. But adding five minutes of squats a day is very doable.

And my butt is totally on board.

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