I Say: SQUATOBER: The world’s largest knee-bending party

My brother-in-law is a strength and conditioning coach at Michigan State University. In his household, October means “Squatober.” Squatober, put on by Sorinex, an exercise-equipment company, is “the world’s largest knee-bending party.” Basically, for the month of October, Sorinex sets out a weight-training plan each day to get its followers strong in the month, ultimately leading to a new personal best in back-squatting by the “party’s” conclusion.
The fact that it’s a “party,” and Sorinex uses the tagline, “some pretend, some knee-bend,” just got me so motivated for the month. Having wanted to sign up for a gym membership for a while and “get back into it,” as so many of us say, this felt like the perfect excuse. I gym-shopped, ended up shelling out $70 for a month pass to the Neighborhood Club and, on Sept. 30 — Squatober Eve — I was ready for the month of work cut out for me.
The anticipation built on Thursday the 30th. I talked about day one at work; Laurel Kraus, my fellow staff writer, decided to join me and we awaited what was to come for us. We posted a quote on our cubicle walls to motivate us throughout the month: “We don’t limit our challenges, we challenge our limits.” 
Day one was posted on Sorinex’s dedicated Instagram page for Squatober (@sorinex_squatober) around 3 p.m. The day was lined up with back squats, bench press, slow strict chin-ups, deadlifts, dumbbell rows, slow strict pushups, reverse lunges and a farmers walk (this last one is deceptively hard, mark my words). The self-doubt filled the air — “What do you mean we have to do all of that?” — and the nerves kicked in.
Nerves were coupled with excitement and adrenaline as we arose at 6 a.m. to head to the gym and partner each other through the first day. Before work on that fateful Friday, we headed to the Neighborhood Club and conquered our first Squatober workout. 
Let me tell you, the pride I felt on that day and have continued to feel because of Squatober since then outpowers the intense pain in soreness that drifted down my hamstrings as the days progressed. Squatober has become not just the action of bending my knees, but something much bigger: It has sparked a new purpose. A mental strength. 
It’s getting up between 5:50 and 6:15 a.m. to put the work in before coming to the office for the day. It’s talking to Laurel about the workout and the little wins each new routine brings. It’s talking to my brother-in-law, laughing at the Squatober jokes and memes Sorinex comes up with. It’s getting into healthy eating, making my own homemade protein bars and shakes and eating lots of chicken and eggs. It’s seeing how big of a difference working out, being active and chasing goals can have in my life.
It definitely hasn’t been easy — mostly the waking up early part, let’s be real — but I know it’s a good habit that’s encouraging me to be the best version of myself. 
And it goes far beyond me. Sorinex’s Squatober Instagram account has 62.4 K followers. Sunday, Oct. 10, was World Mental Health Day. Since 2015, Sorinex has reported dozens of impactful statements from participants. 
“I’m just beyond thankful this program has brought back my discipline and has brought more internal joy than you will ever know,” one participant said via Instagram direct message to the account. “You probably won’t get this but thank you! You are possibly saving my life.”
I know I’m only around halfway, but I’ll keep bending my knees in the name of good health and determination. Thanks to Sorinex coming up with Squatober, the hard work has been coupled with fun, as it should be.