Wondering about whether to take on a fitness challenge?
It’s a good idea to have a think about it first. I know that in the past I’ve been reluctant to sign-up for any kind of challenge because I’ve always thought I might fail. Maybe I didn’t have the stamina or the willpower…? I now realise that I have both stamina and will-power and the things that got in the way of me doing a ‘Challenge’ were resources (ie money), time and desire. I don’t actually want to lose 5kgs that much. But maybe you do, or maybe what you really want is to get into a consistent, weekly training routine, eat better and start prioritising your health and well-being. In that case a ‘Challenge’ might be just the thing for you, especially if you can commit to training 4 x week and you can afford it.
Here are some things to consider to help you make the most of your fitness challenge:
1. Make sure the timing is going to work for you – don’t sign up if, during the weeks of the Challenge, you know you have planned a weekend away, are going to 2 weddings, have people coming to stay and so on…. It’s ok to have the odd night off but to make it easy on yourself, check that there aren’t too many things on your calendar that are going to mess with your training and healthy eating.
2. Be prepared to invest a little – you will need spend a bit of money on additional training and planning healthy meals (or eating out at healthy restaurants rather than grabbing cheap and usually unhealthy options). Will it be worth the $$? OF COURSE IT WILL. Besides you will be spending a lot less on beer and chips.
3. Pick your workout days in advance - don’t go into this thinking, I’ll just squeeze in training when I can. Think about it NOW. In our up-coming five week challenge the group sessions are Mon evenings (or Wed mornings) and Saturday mornings, so there’s two done for you already, then you need to think well I can do a personal training session on a Wednesday and boxing on Thursday and then you’re all set. These times have to be non-negotiable. If you can squeeze in bonus sessions as well, whenever you can – that’s great!
4. Find your why – like I said I don’t really want to lose 5kgs, but do you know what? In the lead-up to my 40th Birthday I REALLY REALLY did! And I managed it because I had a desire to look in the photographs. If you figure out why you want to do the Challenge it will become immeasurably easier. It doesn’t have to be a weight thing, it could simple be that you want to get to a place where you enjoy exercising or you feel comfortable in the gym.
5. Make yourself (and your gym times) a priority – You have invested your time and money into this thing, you need to get in there and do it and the people around you need to be supportive of that. Make sure everyone (friends, family, flatmates) know what you are doing so that they don’t try and convince you to got to the pub with them, when you should be training! Don’t say yes to things that will hamper your success.
6. Use the group – everyone, EVERYONE trains harder in a group. Use the successes of your fellow Challengers to help spur you on to greater things. You will get to the gym for those early morning sessions because you will know they will notice if you don’t!