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A Simple Fitness Plan, Part II


My husband is the king of spreadsheets. And not just in our extended family — I’m fairly certain he could hold his own against anyone in a spreadsheet throwdown.

More than a decade ago, he decided he wanted to have a better idea of how he was spending his time to see where he might improve. So naturally, he created spreadsheets to track nearly every area of his life. As a result, he knows exactly how many (and what) books he’s read, how much television he’s watched, how many times he’s exercised, how many words he’s written, and MANY more statistics – dating back to 2000.

Sound nerdy? It’s not. It’s actually very cool. In a Big Bang Theory kind of way.

It’s inspiring to see how disciplined he is about updating those spreadsheets. And how motivating they are to him to make sure he likes the numbers he’s entering. If not, they serve as a great reminder that it’s time to make some changes.

So I was not exactly surprised to see a new spreadsheet appear recently on our bedroom dresser. What was surprising, however, was the title:

SUPs and PUPs.”

I was intrigued. A spreadsheet for …? Dinners? And … baby dogs?

After taking a closer look, I realized the acronyms stand for sit-ups and push-ups. The spreadsheet outlines a detailed, six-week plan calling for sitting up and pushing up three days a week, starting with five sets per day. (By week six you’ve worked your way up to nine sets.)

Not to be outdone, I decided to start doing SUPs and PUPs too.

Due to my appalling lack of upper-body strength, I’m in the beginner category for push-ups (roughly 2-4 per set for the first week). But thanks in large part (no doubt) to winning the 8th grade sit-up contest at Frayser Baptist Academy, I am in the “expert” category for sit-ups (15-22 per set for the first week).

If interested, you can find the whole plan at There are links to additional sites on the left sidebar; the sit-up plan is here: And because my lower body could really stand some conditioning, I’ve added squats to the mix. The sites (created by 44-yr.-old marathoner Steve Spiers) are nice because they also offer basics, starting with “what is a push-up/sit-up/squat?

Thanks to my general lack of physical condition, I’m already seeing (and feeling!) results after just a week. And unless I have a fever, there aren’t many excuses I can conjure to avoid doing them. The whole routine takes only 15-20 minutes. Even the equipment is optional, although it’s nice to have a yoga mat for cushioning. And a sweat towel. (Not that I need it.)

So there you have it — my simple, no-equipment, no-gym, no-excuses fitness plan for 2011:

  • Running + walking/sprinting four days a week
  • Sit-ups/push-ups/squats three days a week

Note: If you’re lucky, someone (who may or may not be your spouse) might even encounter you in the midst of your routine and bark, in their best drill-sergeant voice, “SUPs and PUPs!”  But only if you’re really lucky.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. 02/02 12:53 PM

    Jen! So glad I found your blog! I read a couple of your posts just now. I’ll have to make that Advent Calendar this Christmas! I’m also going to post on my wall the quote: “Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication” so that I, too can be inspired to de-clutter and simplify my life. Thank you!

    • Jennifer permalink*
      02/02 1:13 PM

      So glad you stopped by, Jason! Love all the photos of your family, too — so glad you included the link. Perhaps 2011 is the year of our HON reunion luncheon?

  2. 02/02 5:24 PM

    This post made me laugh out loud. I shan’t be doing the SUPs and PUPs but it was great fun to read about your routine!

    • Jennifer permalink*
      02/02 5:54 PM

      Come on — I’d love to have you join me as soon as your knee heals. We can *not* sweat together!

  3. 02/02 6:05 PM

    Good luck with the PUPs, SUPs & squats, and thanks for your support.

    Have fun,


    • Jennifer permalink*
      02/02 7:33 PM

      Nothing *but* fun, Steve — right? And thank YOU for making all that information available — you are an inspiration!

  4. 02/02 6:56 PM

    cute post. Very clever
    Love your hubbies pics. He’s very good.
    Spreadsheet mania.
    I just might have to David make me a spreadsheet too.

    • Jennifer permalink*
      02/02 7:35 PM

      Thanks so much, Tami. And if David won’t take you up on your offer, I might possibly know someone who will… :-)


  1. A Simple Fitness Plan, Part I « Edit by Design

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