I’ve mentioned briefly that this week I started a 4-week fitness challenge at a local gym. I wanted to take some time to talk about why I decided to do it.
What does the challenge consist of?
- Exclusive workouts at the gym 4-6 times a week (you can take yoga and mobility classes outside, but nothing else)
- Personalized meal plans based on 12-point bio-sig data (skinfold measurements) that helps take into account hormonal differences in each person
Each person is given their own meal plan based on the data acquired by the skinfold assessments. We were also able to attend a nutrition seminar that went over details about tracking our macros (carbs, proteins, and fats), water intake, and the importance of sleep in recovery and growth.
Working out is nothing new for me, but committing to certain restrictions is. Thankfully, the type of workouts we are doing are the direction I was heading anyway in my fitness journey. I felt like I was plateauing with only high-intensity classes and had been slowly shifting to adding more serious strength training into my routine.
In addition to it feeling like a natural progression, here are some of the other reasons I decided to do it.
I don’t do them often, but when I choose to do a challenge I’m all in. My first self-imposed challenge was when I decided to train for and run a half marathon. I read all about it, found a training plan that worked for me, and ran my first one in September 2014.
If something is easy, it’s not really a challenge. There were parts of this that I knew I could do and others that I had some reservations about (mainly being able to get there as frequently with my schedule and some of the food issues). Since I knew some things would take sacrifice, like waking up well before I needed to in order to work out, I knew this would be good for me. Forcing myself to do those things makes me feel incredibly accomplished when they’re done.
Another thing I loved about training for my first race was the structure. I knew what mileage I was running each day and when to rest. In fact, when the race was over I almost felt lost without a plan.
I go to a couple places normally to work out, so not having to worry about which place I’m going on what day has been a bit of a relief. I know I can only work out in one place, so it’s just about finding times that work with my schedule. Keeping track of my foods also ensures that I won’t go on crazy snack attacks when I get bored.
You guys know I love food. In order to stay away from obsessing about it in a negative way, I’m all about advocating for balance and enjoying whatever your heart desires (in moderation). My problem is that recently my “in moderation” has shifted to “whenever you damn well feel like it.” I know what foods to eat, but over time I’ve gotten super lenient on things like pizza, burgers, donuts, cookies, etc. — things that used to happen only on the weekends after a week of eating very well.
It’s only been four days, but actually paying attention to what I eat and tracking it (we are using the My Fitness Pal app) has made a huge difference. It’s not about denying yourself things you want to eat, it’s just being smart about how you allocate your calories and macros throughout the day. I’m spending this first week getting back to healthy and in the swing of recording my food, but as I get more comfortable with it you’re sure to see more desserts sneak back in. 🙂
The main thing that sold me on the challenge was doing it with friends. I have at least six of my friends who are also participating and having that many people to talk to and work with makes it more fun and way easier than doing it alone. We have a series of group texts and emails where we share recipes, coordinate workout times, and really just serve as a base of encouragement and support.
Ultimately, I wanted someone else to tell me what to do. Programming individual and group workouts and telling others what to do is a daily routine for me, so having all that taken care of for my own life is amazing. For this month I will gladly give someone else the reins to figure out how to progress in training and (loosely) guide my eating.
I’m planning a recap when it’s done and will likely sprinkle updates here and there, but if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email or leave them in the comments!
Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.