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5 Reasons Why Fitness Challenges Work

Remember when you first started class? You were so motivated! You bought new workout clothes, woke up early, and regularly attended class each week. You were looking and feeling great! But we all fall off the fitness wagon from time-to-time. Or maybe you are a habitual exerciser and you are sitting pretty in your routine, but your comfort zone has become a little too comfortable lately. Enter the fitness challenge. If you’re stuck in your fitness routine, or looking for a way to get back into shape, joining a challenge will change your workout and your results. Here’s why:

1. There’s a timeline. Having a specific start and end date creates clarity, and a sense of approachability. It increases your chance of succeeding if you commit to not only starting something, but there’s an actionable end date, and typically it’s sooner than later. It may be a kickstart, but building a new habit over the course of 3 weeks, or longer, will increase your odds of success to maintain that habit post-challenge. And knowing that there’s a short-term finish line allows you to schedule around those next few weeks and make your challenge goal a priority. It’s amazing how many people ‘find time’ to attend class much more than average during a challenge. Imagine if you prioritized your health like that year round – what the potential of your results would be?
2. There’s a clear goal. The goal has already been set for the challenge group, and you know exactly what you’re going to be doing over the next few weeks. Just saying “I want to get in shape” or “I want to lose 5 pounds” will likely lead you to the same habits you’ve been doing. (Otherwise you’d have already lost those 5 pounds, or would be exercising regularly on your own.) The goal should be clear, and specific, with an actionable timeline, and a measurable way for you to track your progress. This keeps challengers on track, accountable, and motivated throughout the challenge.

3. You’re measuring your progress. There will be good days, and bad days. But being able to look back and see what you’ve already done, or alternately knowing that there’s only 10 days left, can be so inspiring. It’s important to know your starting point, so you can measure your progress. You can do this at the beginning of the challenge in many ways, depending on your personal fitness goals. Take a picture in your sports bra. Measure your body fat or list your current body weight. Count how many push-ups you can do on your toes or how long you can hold a wall sit. During the challenge, you’ll likely be able to track your progress through a class count as well. It’s incredibly gratifying to check yourself off before or after a class, and to watch that number grow throughout the challenge. Don’t forget when the challenge ends to circle back to your personal benchmark. Have you lost an inch or two from your waist, or hips? Can you do more push-ups than before?
4. There’s a road map to follow. This is where your studio’s guidance can really come into play. Typically the challenge goal is set around an attendance amount that pushes most out of their comfort zone. It may even include other optional elements, like attending specialty classes, workshops, nutritional components, or maybe even attending two classes in one day! Would you do this on your own? If you’re being honest, probably not. Keeping the challenge goal focused, and within a timeline, allows you simple steps to get to the finish line. “4 classes a week? It will be tricky at times, but I bet I can do this!” A weekly goal sounds different than the sum of its parts – 24 classes in 6 weeks. “I can’t take 24 classes! I usually only come twice a week.” Taking the approach of one class, one day, one week, at a time pays off.

5. There’s a support team. We like to think we can do it all, ourselves. We’re adults after all – we don’t need a gold star or a personal cheerleader to do something like work out – right? Wrong. We all need a coach and teammates to keep us accountable and honest with ourselves, and rallying around us to go a little longer or a little harder than we mentally think we can. Connecting with others (fellow clients and instructors alike), provides a built-in support group for you to lean on. It’s also incredibly helpful to experience the same thing, at the same time – together. Everyone’s on the same playing field, focusing on the same goal. And celebrating together at the finish line makes victory even sweeter!
Check in with your local studio to get signed up for our Fall fitness challenge!