Changing existing habits or starting a new routine can be very challenging. A good way to jump-start progress is by joining our 28-day challenge. The main component and focus is nutrition – the old saying is “abs are made in the kitchen.” Beyond nutrition, we will also be tracking other habits that can affect performance, weight loss, muscle mass gains and recovery.
Our bodies and the world we live in are very complex and sensitive to many factors. You could be doing several things correctly, and still find yourself frustrated with the lack of progress (or sometimes what seems like invisible or slow progress), while nutrition and workouts might be two of the bigger components – little things like recovery, sleep and stress also have a major impact on your body and how it functions.
Everyone is a little different and part of what you can get from the 28-day challenge is support and ideas for making changes and finding what works for you. While many people do the challenge with weight loss in mind – even if you don’t have weight loss goals, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can help you sleep better, have more energy, tone your body, perform better and everyone can benefit from exploring and trying new things and habits. What is your why? And why are you waiting? Why not today?
- Creating a new habit is easier with group support.
- Start small and make sure it is still food and activities you enjoy. If it’s not fun and enjoyable, it likely won’t be sustainable.
- Think one-day at a time. Initially, the whole week might be overwhelming or frustrating to try and plan. It’s okay to start small and grow from there.
- It doesn’t need to be perfection!
- It’s fun with a group! Meet people from other classes, maybe even a few friends and family from outside the gym and make some new friends.
- Write down your goal and your why.
Go into the challenge with the goal of learning and implementing new habits that will continue after the challenge. It doesn’t need to be perfect at first, define your goals and your why. These changes need to be easy/simple enough that you can continue doing it – and it needs to include food and activities you enjoy. It may be time-consuming and a little frustrating at first, but that’s the brilliant part of a challenge – go really hard and focus for the 28-days and find what might help you make little steps and progress in the future. Does this mean you have to stop going out to eat or stop having your favorite beverage? Definitely not! For 28-days focus on improvements – maybe get the burger you love, but swap the fries or soft drink for a healthier choice. If you really love ice cream (or whatever your choice is), the challenge will help you place that in context and balance with everything else. Maybe do give up the ice cream for a month and see what happens – then, you’ll see first hand how it affects your body and overall nutrition plan. The results you see might be exciting enough and you might have found a “new favorite” that you might not turn back. For me, this has been creating a healthy cheesecake option. I used to not be able to resist the cheesecake cups at the store, but through trying out different recipes, I was able to find a new favorite that I actually like just as much as those old unhealthy cheesecake cup.
The InBody scanner is a great way to measureresults over two weeks and to understand how nutrition, workouts, sleep and stress affect the results you see. I have had some fun testing on the InBody – doing it the day after running a marathon (inflamed/fatigued muscles are reported as fat), did it this Monday after vacation where I ate a lot more fat and sugar and not enough water, did it every two weeks during the previous challenge where I focused on really eliminating extra sugar. Seeing how my behaviors directly affect my body has been very motivating for continuing to make healthy choices (balanced nutrition, focusing on recovery, etc.).
This challenge will include the “plate method” – a relatively easy way to have appropriate size portions for protein, carbohydrates and fat. Typically, participants share recipes, modifications and photos to help motivate everyone. From the last challenge in February, I continued to carry forward meal-prepping my breakfasts and lunches. We’ve had several side conversations and chats going on with gym members about awesome oatmeal ideas. You’ll meet people and create a different rapport with them outside the normal gym workout chat. It’s a great way to continue meeting people from other classes and times and day.
Also included in the challenge are points for your recovery and other healthy lifestyle activities. Try getting just a little more sleep if that is something you are short on, or try a recovery drink after your workout. The initial challenge meeting will be able to answer any questions you may have on what to try. For stress release, look for a new activity. If you used to like art as a child, pick up an adult coloring book and a set of colored pencils. Go for a walk (if spring actually comes!).
Be willing to try something – your challenge friends will be right there with you!
~Coach Lindsey Johnson