Welcome to the Fresh Start Fitness Challenge!
Getting back to healthy living after a short (or long!) hiatus requires determination, organization and consistency! Our primary goal this month is to get back to our pre-time-off exercise and nutrition routines. Never had one? Never fear! Newcomers to fitness will also benefit from the ‘Fresh Start’ approach!
Each week, I’ll be outlining a set of challenges. These challenges will be of three types;
- nutritional (knowing what types of foods to fuel your body with, understanding your food triggers, getting portion size under control)
- physical (challenging your body with the right types of exercise, balancing cardiovascular and strength training, staying flexible and limber, avoiding injury)
- emotional (how you feel about yourself, how you talk to yourself, your attitudes about food and exercise)
In my opinion, the 3rd is by far the most important. Without a positive self-image and the ability to celebrate small victories, it’s extremely hard to continue making healthy choices over the long haul.
As you work through these challenges, come back and comment on your successes, near successes and soon-to-be successes (there’s no room for the word failure here!).
Comments need to be made on the main page, using the Rafflecopter widget. You can comment as many times as you like, as long as your comments are relevant to the challenge : ) ONLY COMMENTS MADE VIA RAFFLECOPTER COUNT!
At the end of the month, I’ll select a random comment from all the comments made over the month. The ‘commenter’ will win the 8 week Fitness Coaching package.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Week 1 Challenges:
- write down your own, personal goals for this challenge. Goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-appropriate). Share if you’d like!
- practice positive self-talk at least 3 times each day. Compliment yourself on a good nutrition choice. Look at yourself in the mirror without criticism. Notice positive changes in yourself and how you feel after you exercise. Tell us what you said to yourself!
- reward negative self-talk with pushups; as many as you can do, every time you catch yourself body-snarking or talking down to yourself. You’ll just get stronger faster…
- identify your trigger foods (those foods that you can’t eat just one of). Throw them out. Don’t buy replacements. Tell us what they are.
- keep a food journal for a minimum of three days. (If you prefer, log your meals electronically on myfitnesspal) Write down everything you eat. EVERYTHING. Identify the empty calories that you tend to eat and the TIMES of the day you eat them. Don’t worry about calories. Just be honest about your intake. Share, share, share.
- eat breakfast every day. You must include both a lean protein source (eggs, egg whites, turkey, nuts, protein powder, tofu) and a complex carbohydrate (fresh fruit or vegetables, whole grain or sprouted grain toast). Take pictures. I love Instagram!
- avoid alcohol for the entire week (alcohol has no nutritional value, is stored immediately as fat and tends to lower your defences to other high fat, high calorie foods)
- NEXT WEEK we’ll use this week’s ‘homework’ to fine-tune your nutritional goals. Can’t figure out what needs fixing without a bit of taking stock!
Perform the following baseline fitness test; your specific instructions for this week’s Physical challenges will depend on these numbers.
- Do as many, good form pushups as you can, without rest. (If you get to 25, STOP!) Choose knees or toes, depending on your fitness level. Write this number down.
- Get down into plank position. On forearms and toes or forearms and knees. Hold for as long as you can. Record your time.
- Perform as many body weight squats as you can, without rest. (If you get to 25, STOP!). Go as low as you can, keeping knees behind toes and eye focus forward. Write this number down.
This week’s physical challenges don’t need to be done all at once. I’m leaving it up to you how you want to break down the workout. For example, the first challenge is;
- perform 120 minutes of cardio at an RPE of 6-7 (that means, on a scale of 0, you’re asleep, to 10, you’re about to have a heart attack, you’re at a 6 or 7). This level of intensity should make you sweat and huff and puff. You should still be able to have a conversation, perhaps needing to stop talking after every 2nd sentence ; ) Check in and comment after each cardio workout!
It doesn’t matter how you get your cardio done. Could be 5 days of 24 minutes each day. Or two 1-hour workouts. You decide. Just keep track of your minutes (don’t include warmup and cool down) and make sure you’re working hard enough. Options might include speed walking, cycling, jogging or running, taking a spinning or cardio kickbox class. You decide! Make it something you don’t hate!
If you’re already doing more than 120 minutes of cardio each week (good for you!) KEEP ON KEEPING ON! Write it all down and tell us about it!
A tip? Plan it all out in advance. Use a calendar to schedule your workouts! And keeping track of your workouts in a notebook or a computer file is a GREAT idea! Something to look back on when you lose motivation or don’t realize how far you’ve come!
- multiply the number of pushups you did during your test by 10. That’s how many you need to do this week. Again, in total. Not all at once. But working to fatigue is always a good thing… Bonus challenge for those who need more? Double that number! Tell us when you’re finished them all!
- plank and plank again. Every day, you’ll be holding your plank for as long as you can, resting for the SAME amount of time, then trying again. Your ‘test’ plank should be the lowest number of the week. Your goal is to increase the length of your plank EVERY DAY! Keep track of your progress and share it with us!
- multiply the number of body weight squats you did during your test by 10. That’s your weekly goal. Again, on your schedule…. Bonus challenge is to hold dumbbells in your hands at shoulder height. Tell us how heavy you went!