Emily Wyckoff

The exercise bet

If you are any kind of parent – stay at home, working, or work from home – finding the time and motivation to exercise is tough. I do like to exercise but the later in the day I push it off, the less likely it is to happen. And I feel like I get less things done if I exercise later in the day. The ideal time to squeeze in exercise is to do it first thing in the morning before the rest of the family rises.

I have tried to exercise early in the morning off and on for years. I am successful in the summer when the sun is streaming in my window at 6am, birds are chirping, the quiet summer morning is beckoning. Come December when it’s pitch black and my husband has turned down the heat at night in my drafty old house to 62 degrees, you better believe I am leaning on that snooze button. Enter the bet.

My friend’s husband has had an ongoing bet for years with an out of town buddy. The bet is simple – they both have to run (on their own of course as they are in separate cities) four times each week. If one of them doesn’t run four times, they have to pay the other $50. Yes, sounds like a lot, but I think in the five years this bet has been going on, it’s only been broken two or three times. Money=motivation.

So enter my friend and our bet. A while ago we were talking about how we wanted to exercise in the morning, how is gets your day off to such a great start, it’s out of the way, you’re in a good mood, etc. So we established our own bet. Money as a wager didn’t make as much sense for us – and my husband would kill me if I had to fork over $50 – so our bet is as follows: Each person has to exercise three weekday mornings before the kids get up. This means you have to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes and it has to be wrapped up by 7 am. If someone doesn’t fulfill the bet one week, she has to make the other family a dinner (of their choice) and deliver it one night the following week. We have been doing this for a few weeks and we have both held up the bet so far. Dinner=motivation. Another friend has actually joined us – and she’s a really good cook! Wish me luck……

3 Responses to “The exercise bet”

  1. Joanne says:

    Great idea, what a nice motivation to exercise. It also helps to work exercise into the day as much as possible – climbing stairs, taking an extra flight up, parking further out in the parking lot for a longer walk into the stores, etc. Every little bit helps.

  2. Denise says:

    Wow…what an interesting idea! I may have to find some friends to make that sort of bet with…..

  3. Gary says:

    A number of years ago, I used to organize weight loss contests with my co-workers. some times there would only be three of us but other times we’d have 6 or 8 people joining in. The core concept was based on, money = motivation.
    This is how it worked:
    We would agree on a time period, how long the contest would last. Usually this was around 4 months. Long enough to make a difference but not so long that people would lose interest.
    We would then agree on an amount of money. I think it was $50 per person if the group was small and $40 per person if we had a larger group. We would pool the money and decide who would get the winnings. With a smaller group, the person that lost the most weight got all the money. With a larger group, the money was divided 75/25 or 80/20 with the first and second biggest losers.
    One of the important things with the contest is having a common place to weigh in. Most of the time we used the scale in the health office, but on occasion went to a gym nearby that most of us belonged to.
    Also important is weekly or bi weekly weighins. This is to make sure everyone is on track and also to record progress, but will also give a person a warning if they are going up instead of down.
    For the most part, it would encourage going to the gym together or walking further to get lunch or sharing articles on better eating.
    On occasion if I were winning, I’d find a bar of chocolate on my desk.
    It’s all good and was fun and while I won a couple times I basically maintained a healthy weight.

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