WritersButt Wednesday — Week 2

Hello my lovely WritersButt Warriors!  You have survived the first week.


I have to thank you all so much for the enthusiasm, the Tweets and ReTweets, the FB love, and the decision to join Linda and me on this journey.  Anyone can join at ANY time, there is no cut-off date, so spread the word because as they say, the more the merrier!

If you’ve participated this past week, you should have consumed at least 100 ounces of water every day, done 10 ‘potty’-squats every time you tinkled (grin) and jotted down 3-5 gratitudes, things you were grateful for that day, in a journal every night.

How’d you do? How do you feel? Give me some feedback?

Here’s how I did:  I drank my 100 oz daily. Well, I ‘may’ have been a little shy on Sunday. I was driving back from Houston and wanted to get home and not make a million pit stops like I did the day before on the way TO Houston. I did my squats, even during the writer’s workshop at attended on Saturday and when there was a line of women waiting to get into my stall.  I just did them faster and attempted to be quiet so as not to cause bizarre speculation.  Gratitudes: Started off great and then failed the last couple days, so I will need to be better next week.

You might have wondered why I picked ‘potty’ squats.  I have to confess something. I didn’t pick squats simply because they are a great exercise to do. They are great, true, but they are much more than that, they are fundamental! I’ve heard of doctors who tell their patients not to squat because it’s bad for them. When a client tells me they’ve been warned of the ‘dangers’ of squatting, I ask them if they sit down to eat a meal, sit on a bench in the park to read, ever sit on the toilet to … you get the picture.  Of course they do and they are SQUATTING! Squats help develop lean muscle in your legs, specifically butt, hamstrings and quads. Done correctly they promote a healthy, strong back position and they also work your core.  Here’s a fact you may not know. One of the requirements to live on your own, as in to avoid assisted-living as a senior for instance, is if you can get up off a chair or the toilet without help. Lose the ability to do that and you could lose your independence.  Who wants to do more squats?


 I’ve had some emails and questions about knee strain.  Squats done correctly can be done safely without hurting your knees.  That said, you may already have knee issues which are getting flared up by this new thing you’ve added into your day. The key is to strengthen your large leg muscles so they not only do the work of the squat, but also work efficiently to keep the strain off the knee.  In some cases, this will take time, but your muscles are in there, big, strong hamstrings, quads and glutes. It’s time to make them pull their weight, literally! Any knee pain/strain is to be taken seriously.  You can use your hands to support yourself in a doorframe, or on the edge of the counter if your legs need a little help from your upper body until it gets stronger.  If you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments, or on the WritersButt Facebook Page or send me a direct message on Twitter.

Was last week hard for you? Or, did it surprise you as being more doable than you expected? The idea is to entwine these healthy habits into your life so you do them automatically and you feel good and energetic. The goal is to tap into and fire off endorphins throughout the day. Say what? Ok, let’s talk endorphins a minute.

What is an endorphin?

The word “Endorphin” comes from the two words, “endogenous + morphine.” Endorphins are small, protein molecules that are produced by cells in your nervous system and other parts of your body.

What have endorphins been knows to do:

  • Control persistent pain
  • Control the craving for chocolate and potentially addictive substances
  • Control feelings of stress and frustration
  • Regulate the production of growth and sex hormones
  • Reduce symptoms associated with eating disorders

Who’s your endorphin now?  Ok, seriously, these puppies are the bomb guys. Let’s imagine that middle benefit above; control feelings of stress and frustration.  It’s not hard to imagine that if you had less stress and frustration that you’d feel better, be calmer, be happier, right? In turn, your mind wouldn’t be scrambling to handle the stress and frustrations of your life and would be ready for another more productive, more creative task!  Hello best-seller!!

There are numerous ways to release them, one of which is EXERCISE!  You will find many articles that tell you that you have to run or perform some aerobic exercise in excess of 20 minutes to tap into these little gems but that’s not true. While that is one way, you can also do short, intense bouts of exercise and release your own little army of endorphins.

This is why I’m going to be giving you weekly challenges and I’m going to make them harder and progressively more intense as we go along. I will do this gradually so your body adapts to this activity.

Often people ask me what is the best workout program. My answer is the one that you will continue to do. I hope to make working out accessible, fun, efficient and effective so you’ll continue to do it because you’ll have experienced all the benefits it adds to your life and your writing.

This Week’s Challenges and a bonus homework assignment:

*Drink your 100 oz of water daily

*Write 3-5 gratitudes in your journal daily

(This will be a constant going forward so embrace it!)

*5 – 10 push-ups every time you go to the bathroom.

We’re going to switch gears and work our upper body a bit more this week.  I’m sticking with the bathroom breaks because I know you’re still going to be in there numerous times. Some of you may be Tweeting me right now telling me you can’t do a push-up. Yes you can! Every movement is scalable and can be modified to any fitness level.

Here is a picture of a classic push-up position. Body straight, hands on the floor under or just outside the shoulders. You go down, letting chest gently touch the floor, you push back up to full extension without looking like an undulating wave.

You can do this exact push-up while on your knees.  Key is to keep a nice straight line from knees to shoulder. (don’t let butt poke up or dip to the floor)

You can ALSO do this against your bathtub, or counter, or the wall.  The higher your hands are, the easier the push up. EVERYONE can do these!

Extra Homework:

Next week I’m going to introduce the topic of nutrition and how it plays a VITAL role in not only your physical fitness, but your moods, energy, and brain power.  If you’d like to be ahead of the game, I challenge you to keep a food journal.  Just 3 typical days at the minimum.  If you’ve never kept a food-journal before, it’s exactly how it sounds.  You keep a log of exactly what you eat. If you grab 5 grapes off your friend’s lunch plate, it goes in the journal. A bite or pint of rocky road ice cream…write it down.  Obviously I can’t make you do this.  But when I talk nutrition next week, those who have a food journal in front of them will be able to see things on it that might be negatively affecting their lives.

Have a great week everyone!  I’ll be cheering you on.


About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on January 11, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 43 Comments.

  1. Oh darn, I started out, then got sidetracked, Ginger. Must join you online for support and reminders this week. I can tell you, once women get past the stage where they’re no longer lifting an carrying small children, the upper body strength does unless they do something like pushups.

    Okay … One, two, three … Oh, you want me to get off the computer first? LOL! Great post. Thanks!

    • You are right, Sheila, it’s a use it or lose it thing. But, if you’ve had it, you can get it back. Heck, if you haven’t ‘had’ it, you can still get it back, but it might take longer.

      So, the little exercises coincide with going to the bathroom for a reason, I KNOW at some point you’ve going to get in there. So, if nothing else, put a sticky note in your bathroom as a reminder. At least you’ll get them done while at home!

      Good luck (and glad your ankle is not broken!)

  2. I’m plugging away at the h2o and exercise. I don’t succeed everyday but, I shall carry on. Squats weren’t hard but, I suspect the push ups will be harder for me. My goal is 10 each potty break. However, if I’m in a public bathroom….I’ll wait and make up my accumulated push ups on my own dirty floor before bed that night.

    Where I’ve failed completely is the gratitude journal. I still have to get to Target to pick out a lovely little notebook. I’ve thought about just using my phone but, I really want to write it out. I’ve tried to keep a journal many times in my life. I’m not sure I’ve ever made it even a month. This is always an endeavor I’d like to succeed at but, just haven’t yet. Maybe……this will be the time for success!

    • You bring up a great point I should have made in the post. No one is going to want to do push-ups on a public bathroom floor. I wouldn’t either. And, I bet, unless you have the bathroom to yourself, you’re not going to want to do them against the counter. So, ‘saving them up’ to do later at home is the perfect solution!

      Start your gratitude journal. It won’t feel like journaling because you’re really just jotting down 3-5 items, not ‘writing’.

  3. Hey Ginger-girl! I totally did the potty-squats in the bathroom at the movies this weekend…and discovered that the automatic flushers will go off EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU MOVE UP AND DOWN. Frigging hilarious. I was giggling so hard by the time I walked out of that stall that the line of ladies waiting to enter the rectangle of filth were looking at me like I’d lost my mind.

    I think I have. Any extra time willingly spent in the rectangle of filth is just so, so wrong.

    I totally sucked at the gratitude journal. Like, big time. But, I am pretty good about taking mental stock of the things I’m thankful for. Water consumption went as well as my poor little bladder would allow. It’s lacking real-estate right now. I averaged about 80-85 oz a day.

    About the pushups – I have this giant thing in my middle that gets in the way of getting my face down anywhere near the floor. Seems like an unfair disadvantage in so many ways…any suggestions? 🙂 🙂

    • Oh My Gosh — your comment totally cracked me up! I can just imagine the rogue toilet flushing! Seriously, wiping tears!

      Alright, push-ups with the bump of Little Miss. You can do them and stop when belly hits the floor. OR–I kind of like the idea of you doing them against a tub when you’re at home. This way your belly can travel lower then the edge of the tub and you can tap your chest to the edge. (Make sense?) Also, in your case, continuing with the squats isn’t a bad idea. Will keep hips loose and open, since you’ll be wanting that soon. haha! 🙂

      • It was hilarious. When I told the girls I was with what I was doing in there I thought they would hyperventilate.

        Yep, can totally do bathtub push-ups…on it. My upper-body strength is lacking (that’s putting it gently), so I’m totally stoked. And I love the potty squats…I was gonna keep doing them and just not tell anybody. 🙂

    • LMAO ROLF!!! 😀 Rogue toilets!! I needed that laugh tonight so bad! Thank you so very much!! I’ve seriously been dealing with crazy sassy 5 and 3 year olds. Not too mention the 3 year old FINALLY pooped in the potty this afternoon (after not pooping for a week and a half)!! I thought that was the end of it. He’d understand what he needed to do and his body would be back to normal. We ate big reward chocolates and danced around. The rest of the afternoon was constant potty issues and I cleaned runny poop off of him, the toilet, the floor, chairs etc…more than any amount of wine can help me forget! Thanks So very much for a laugh tonight…..I needed it INDEED!!! 🙂

      • Oh, my goodness, potty training is the worst. Such a messy, stinky ebb and flow of success and failure. We’re dealing with that with our youngest right now, too. The girl seriously needs a ridiculous amount of fiber to keep her little system on track. Just like her momma. 🙂

        The worst is when you feel like the smell just follows you around. I hate it when I scrub my hands and I swear I can still smell it. Even though I know it’s totally toxic junk, I swear by Bath and BodyWorks anti-bac hand soap – it’s always guaranteed to make the poop-stink go away. Just because I’m a potty-training-SAHM doesn’t mean I want to smell like poop for the rest of eternity!!

        Hang in there!

  4. I so failed at this, Ginger. drank more water than usual but nowhere near 100 oz. and did squats once or twice. gratitude is an ongoing part of my life, so have to love that. I’m bad <— 😦

    • Louise, there is NO failure! There can be room for improvement though. So, try to increase your water intake. You’ll thank me, Louise, I promise! The more water you drink, the better you’ll feel, the more you’ll pee, the more times to do work (squat/push up), WIN WIN WIN!! You can do it!

  5. Oh Ginger, you are so funny. You want me to do push-ups every time I go to the bathroom? That will be awkward in public. Did you mean squats?

    The only thing I like about push ups is that they’re easy to spell; just two very small words with the same set of letters. Push-ups? Really? You’re killing me.

    Okay, I’ll give it a go but no promises.

    Thanks for the continued encouragement, however!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Nope, I did not mean squats, unless you want to do them in addition to push ups. But I totally get the public bathroom thing, so scan up and see my reply to Molly. You can save them up and do them when you get home. The point really is to incorporate push-ups into your daily routine this week. Do enough so that your chest muscles are sore. 😉

      Have fun!

  6. I had a feeling you were lulling us into a sense of this being easy. I drank 100 oz every day except yesterday and did squats every time I was in the bathroom except first thing in the morning. I’m not a morning person and I didn’t like the thought of trying to do squats before my brain is functioning. The water and the squats were easy. Silly me, I didn’t read the part of your last post about doing squats by sitting on the toilet cover and getting up. I was doing squats more like the kid int he picture (although not that low to the ground).

    Push-ups this week will be a much different story. I’m not looking forward to them

    • Great work, Shannyn. I feel you on the morning thing. On the days I have to get up ungodly early to coach the early class at my gym, I barely open my eyes until I have to drive my car.

      You weren’t silly at ALL about the squats. I do them like you describe as well. I only used the ‘potty’ squat thing because 1. everyone was going to be in there a lot so they’d get them done and 2. sitting down onto something automatically puts you in a position to squat properly, with butt going BACK and then DOWN — keeping knees from traveling in front of toes, etc. I thought that would be the easiest way to get people to do them correctly without a confusing tutorial.

      Keep on doing such a great job and I expect you to do your push ups!!

  7. Being thankful is a gateway to happiness. Thanks for getting us going on that. (I put a tiny notebook by my bed and simply list the three things, then say a pray of thanks.)

    I have an exercise program and love adding new things to it. The knee crunches have stirred up past knee issues so I might need to alter the toilet squats. (Wearing a brace today, so will wait a bit.) But I’m IN for the push-ups (starting slowly and working up).

    I had recently cut back on my water consumption, thinking I was drinking too much. How did you come up with this amount, Ginger? (I’m a “need to know” type of gal.) ; )

    THANKS SO MUCH for taking time out of your busy schedule to help us get in better shape!
    (I definitely need the strengthening exercises!!)

    • Hi Patti, I have a little notebook by my bed too and do just as you!

      Linda has a crunchy knee too. (I’m sure she won’t mind me saying so.) If it’s not causing you pain, you will likely be fine and you’ll get a break this week anyway since we’re switching to push-ups. Keep me posted on it though!

      Ah, the 100 oz of water. Ok, you might not be satisfied with my answer because it’s not a scientific response. I say 100 ounces because it’s a great even number and easy to remember. That said, my 11 year old 60-ish lb daughter would not drink 100 oz. Likewise, I have a big 6’+ client who drinks far more than 100 oz. Also, there may be other things in a person’s diet which counteracts the water, so more is needed in those cases. (coffee/alcohol/high sodium, etc.) So, it’s a great target!

      Much literature will say to take your weight, cut it in half and drink that many ounces of water. So a 120 lb person would drink 60 oz. But that’s really not enough. Most people will not over-drink water and at the same time, the vast majority will under-drink.

      Water is so vital to so many things that consuming enough will lead to amazing benefits.

      You are so welcome. It will sound corny, but I will admit that I honestly and truly love helping people who WANT my help. 😉 I love to imagine that I’m helping someone feel better, stronger, and positively affecting their life in some way.

      Anyway, I appreciate your questions and support! Thank you!

  8. Bring it on!! Hahaha!
    Great post!

  9. Sign me up, Ginger. Do I need to wait until Sunday to start or jump in in the middle of the week?


    • Nope, no waiting Sharon. Jump on in!!! The waters fine. And, don’t worry about missing squats last week. I can ASSURE you, they WILL BE BACK and with a vengence! hahahahahaha!!!!

  10. Um, I can only do like five push ups. And I do the on the knees girly kind. I do have tendonitis in my shoulder, so I usually blame that. This will be a good one for me. Especially since I go to the bathroom a lot. All that water…

    • Emma, you are about to see your push-ups improve big time! At first, those 5 knee-push-ups will be hard. By the end of the week, you’ll be able to knock out at 10, I promise and maybe get one from your toes. Your body will adapt, recover, get stronger and away you go.

  11. Julie O'Connell

    GINGER!!! Tell people they can do the wall push-ups instead when they’re at work, or there isn’t space to do the other kind. You just have to be mindful of form to get a bit of exercise, otherwise they’re too easy. Lucky for me, I weigh a ton and a half so I have loads of resistance. 🙂

    Yay for week two! I drank between 80-90 ounces a day (approximately 5-6 Starbucks tumblers), did my squats and wall push-ups at least 6-7 times a day. I never wrote in the journal, though. Bad Julie. And I don’t squat when I pee at 3 in the morning. Too dangerous.

    Again, YAY for week two!!

    • Very true, Julie. I mentioned they could do them on the counter or wall … or if out in public and none of that works, they can ‘save up’ and do them in chunks when they get home.

      Giggling at the thought of you doing your squats at 3 am … you know, cuz I know you. hee hee

  12. Oh Myndi, Myndi, Myndi. God your hilarious. No one could explain that situation better than you! LOL

    Sorry Ginger, but I couldn’t help comment on that.

    Anyway, I am a week behind on this writer’s butt thing. Although I have to tell you that I do drink a lot of water already. I lived in Phoenix for 19 years and with that heat and dryness, you get used to drinking lots of water.

    And because of health issues, I for years have been very aware of healthy eating. Our doctors have been homeopaths/MDs, so I’m into everything organic, etc. And after my husband has his surgery, we are planning on starting a raw diet.

    I do like the squats at potty time idea. I could try those. And what I like to do for my upper body is lean my back against the edge of the sinktop and do reverse push-ups. Does that make sense? It seems to work the front and back of my arms together. A kill two birds kind of thing.

    I will try to keep up with you all as best I can. I’m taking a new class for the next two months with Bob Mayer and wow is it thought provoking so I’m excercising my brain more. LOL

    Thanks Ginger! 🙂

    • I don’t blame you a bit. Myndi cracked me up and apparently my sister (Molly) as well. Sounds like you’re ahead of the game with hydration and that’s great. I know you deal with health issues so I know you’re very aware of what is good for you and what you can handle. I admire you for putting the effort into your health. So many people don’t even try.

      What you’re describing w/ ‘reverse’ push-ups are dips, I think. They are likely working your triceps, primarily. Not a bad thing. The tricep is a small muscle though, so won’t illicit as great a chemical reaction as working larger muscles. Push-ups for instance, work chest (primarily–big muscle), shoulders, triceps and core/abdominals. Again, it’s all good because you’re moving and working.

      Looking forward to your feedback from Bob’s class. I considered it but needed to say no to something. haha Maybe next time it rolls around.

  13. I’m not the part of your program but I can see it is a fabulous idea! Keep going, Ginger 🙂

  14. This is great, Ginger! Having been a pro dancer I’m already body obsessed, so I won’t be following your fit routine, but I’ll be here to cheer everyone on. One thing I like to do when I get up from desk is a long lunge to stretch the soas muscle that can eventually shorten and make us all bent up from sitting too much.
    WritersButt rocks!

    • Thanks so much, Alicia. What kind of dancing did you do? Do you still dance? I totally get the past-pro-athlete thing. For me it was water skiing (show skiing). We still ski any chance we get. We also own a CrossFit gym so I have an intense workout routine outside of this. 🙂 I’m also doing WritersButt because I won’t ask people to do stuff I’m not doing along with them.

      Hey, great tip on stretching the soas! I’m going to start doing that. Thanks!

      • Water skiing! Wow! I did ballet, modern dance and jazz. And did the gymnastics and cheerleading thing back in school days. I don’t take pro-level classes anymore, but I keep one room empty at home as a studio with a barre. Also have an elliptical runner and do nautilus weight training at a gym.

  15. push ups??? gah! lol Okay, so I’ve finally gotten used to drinking all that water & had to modify my squats and do them w/ an exercize ball against the wall because I’ve been recovering from a back injury this year. Gratitude journal hasn’t become a habit yet, but working on that!

  16. I did okay on week 1 ~ mostly I forgot to do my squats in the potty. It’s on my list for this week as well as mixing it up with the push ups, although I really don’t want to do push-ups in my bathroom. Yes, it’s clean because I’m ocd that way, but it’s small. So, I’ll do them during commercial breaks in my living room or in my office to break up my writing time.

    The water challenge stumped me at first ~ I’m really good at getting about 32 ozs. in, but then falter. Then I realized that while I drink 32 ozs. of plain water, I’m also getting up to 48 ozs. of tea, which is water too. Yes, I know you aren’t supposed to count liquids with caffeine, but seriously, I’m not going to drink 48 ozs. of tea and 100 ozs. of water. I would have to just hook up my laptop in the bathroom and work from there all day.

    It feels great to be back on track with my exercising! I’m loving the WritersButt challenges, bring on more!

    • Hi Tameri, I love that you’re thinking outside the box for getting your push-ups done. Commercial breaks, writing breaks, that’s exactly what this is about. The reason I’ve been linking them with going to the bathroom is because I know everyone will eventually go potty, especially if they’re drinking their water. If I said, drop and give me 10 push-ups about 8 times today … I suspect people would forget.

      Wow, you’re getting more tea than water. Is all 48 oz regular caffein tea? Any herbal thrown in there?

      • Hmmm, I hadn’t really thought about that ~ getting more tea than water ~ until I commented. Yes, I get a good mix of black tea, decaf tea, green tea, and herbal. I’m sensitive to caffeine, so I can only have two cups of it a day or I start sounding like a chipmunk on crack. Not pretty.

        I’ve been rethinking my water intake now that I realize I get more tea than the plain stuff. Still not to 100 ozs, but getting closer.

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