Have you ever fallen off the wagon when it comes to fitness? You start off so strong – setting goals, buying new workout clothes, getting up early to hit the gym. Then after a month, 3 months, maybe even 6 months, you start to fade… the emotions that got you there just don’t seem to be strong enough anymore.
Maybe you’re even a regular gym-goer: you show up every week, you attend classes and you’re consistent, but you just can’t seem to hit your goals – whether it’s losing that extra 5 pounds or cleaning up your diet. You feel good and motivated when you work out and even still, there’s a part of you that still feels stuck.
Targeted short-term “fitness challenges” (21-day, 6-week, 8-week, etc.) have been around in the fitness world for many years and there are good reasons why they work. I’ll share with you WHY they work, HOW they work and WHAT you can do to maximize your results. And KEEPING those RESULTS… well, that’s a whole different BLOG post that I promise to write soon! 🙂
THE WHY, WHAT AND HOW
- SETTING A SPECIFIC START + END DATE
- WHY – Ever wonder why Monday is the busiest day of the week at the gym? Or January is the busiest month? Even the beginning of each month is frequently an ideal time for people to get started. The mind locks into these timelines as if to say, “NOW I AM DOING THIS!”
- WHAT – Creating specific goals with a start and end date to achieve them increases your chances for success. And, unlike New Year’s resolutions, having a specific end date is huge for motivation.
- HOW – Join a challenge (or set up your own) with a friend to make sure you BOTH commit to starting and ending at a very specific time. We find 6 to 8-week challenges are ideal as they have a better sticking point to the new habits… but sometimes even a 30-day kickstart will be just what you need to get started.
- BEING CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT BY PICKING A VERY SPECIFIC GOAL
- WHY – Goals are concrete. Just wanting to “get in shape” isn’t. If you can clarify what you want and how you’re going to get there, you can actually wake up every day and follow the steps, rather than just wishing you could get there.
- WHAT – What do you WANT to achieve? If it were the end of the program, what would need to happen for you to feel you’ve been successful?
- HOW – So decide on what you want. Maybe it’s to just be consistent again and reinforce healthy habits. Maybe it’s weight or fat loss or you want to compete in an upcoming challenge and you want to be super-fit. Pick something… the more specific the goal the more likely you are to achieve it.
- MEASURING YOUR STARTING POINT, PROGRESS AND YOUR FINISH
- WHY – As the saying goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” So, it’s so important to know your starting point. Many people would rather stay in the dark about their true weight or fitness level, but it’s so gratifying later on to be able to look back and see the progress you’ve made.
- WHAT – Take a picture, measure your body fat (weight), do a fitness test – anything that can give you a snapshot of where you are. Then, a few weeks into your challenge, you can measure your progress along the way by LOOKING BACK on where you’ve come from. If your challenge isn’t working for you, you can adjust it. JUST DON’T QUIT (as far as I can tell, that never works).
- HOW – Challenges should have some type of measuring system in place to track where you are, see if things are working during the challenge, and a final (motivational) measurement to truly see how you did overall.
- CREATING A CLEAR ROAD MAP (STRATEGY) FOR ACHIEVING RESULTS
- WHY – If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? You have to have a plan of attack by outlining actions you can take every day to move you closer to where you want to be.
- WHAT – This is where an expert comes in, someone who can provide clear, specific workout, nutrition and lifestyle changes that can help you get to where you want to be.
- HOW – Challenges need a complete approach! They must address both exercise and nutrition, the KEY factors to achieving success. You can’t get fit by adhering to only one or the other. Ideally, you’ll also want to weave daily healthy living habits into your day, such as walking, standing (more than sitting) and other little ways to move the ball forward.
- ENLISTING SUPPORT + ACCOUNTABILITY
- WHY- The big lie is that we should be able to do this on our own. The reality is we need as much help as we can get. This is why a coach (teacher/trainer) and teammates (other participants) are crucial for everyone’s success.
- WHAT- Connecting with other people, committing to a specific group or person has been proven over and over to increase the level of success for all involved. This is why SMALL GROUP TRAINING has become more popular in the fitness world than 1-on-1 training. It just works better.
- HOW- The simplest way to do this is to sign up or commit to the challenge with at least 1 friend. Have someone that can hold you accountable and that YOU can hold accountable. Chances for success are much higher for both of you as you commit to keeping each other on track.
If you’re stuck in your fitness routine or not seeing the results you want or looking for a way to get back into shape, join a challenge or create one for you and friend. Use our 5 strategies for success:
- SET A SPECIFIC START + END DATE
- BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT – PICK A VERY SPECIFIC GOAL
- MEASURE YOUR STARTING POINT, PROGRESS AND YOUR FINISH
- CREATE A CLEAR ROAD MAP (STRATEGY) FOR ACHIEVING RESULTS
- ENLIST SUPPORT + ACCOUNTABILITY
Remember, we don’t join a gym to take classes, or run on the treadmill or lift heavy objects. We join a gym to become a better version of ourselves. One that is healthier, happier and has more positive energy for the world and people around us. And a Fitness Challenge may just help you get there.
Phil Dozois, Owner, Breakthru Fitness, Pasadena, California
Questions, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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