5 Fitness Challenges That Motivate
I laugh when people say I’m athletic. Hah. I’m the furthest thing from it. I was the last kid picked in gym for team sports. I got turned down for the tennis team… in Middle School. And I took bowling and social dance in college for my two mandatory physical education classes. Athlete, I am not. But I do love to run, now.
My quest for fitness started after I saw this photo of myself at my son’s first birthday party. When I got pregnant with him in 2007, I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. I considered myself back to goal weight after Graham when I got back to that oh-so-high, pre-pregnancy weight. But, I was still heavy. And, that photo was the motivation I needed to change my life.
I challenged myself to my own Biggest Loser, Katie Edition for 8 weeks. I woke up early in the morning to get on the Elliptical. I met friends out for fast walks on the greenway, and I concluded days with a walk/jog around the track. Most days would include two to three workouts per day. I wore myself out. And people told me there was no way I could keep it up. They were right.
I didn’t keep it up for long, but I did for 8 weeks, and I lost 18 pounds over those 8 weeks. Since then, I backed off of the multiple workouts per day, but those eight weeks instilled in me a confidence and determination I never knew I had. I could be fit. I could exercise consistently. I could change my body, and working out didn’t have to be miserable.
Since my 8-week challenge, I’ve exercised consistently with the exception of my last trimester during my second pregnancy. (Yes, we all have our limits!!) I discovered that once you get past the first hurdle of the miserable part of training, your body adapts to regular exercise. It becomes a joy and something your body expects for stress relief.
Jumping head long into an intense exercise challenge like I did isn’t for everybody. In fact, if you’ve been away from regular workouts for a long time, you’ll likely want to talk to a physician before doing so. But, there are many things you can do to get yourself to a healthy fitness level. Since 2009, I’ve done a lot to motivate and challenge myself with fitness. Here are some things that I found to keep me engaged in exercise:
1. Couch to 5K: This program sets up training schedules for non-runners based on a timeline that you create. There are many links to similar sites, here’s one I found though, that I liked: http://www.c25k.com/
2. 200 Sit-Up & 100 Push-Up Challenge: Just as the name suggests, this challenge tests your core! You do a base test and then you select a chart based on your current fitness level. In six weeks, they’ll have you well on your way to completing your goal.
3. Community Running Challenges on DailyMile.com: Into running like me? Sign up for dailymile.com. It’s like Facebook for runners; you log your distance, encourage your friends along their fitness journey, and sign up for various running challenges. I did a 100 Mile Challenge in July last year to motivate myself to lose baby weight, and am participating in a 1200 KM in 2012 challenge this year.
4. 30 Day Shred: If you’ve ever seen the show The Biggest Loser, you know: Jillian Michaels is intense. So is her 30 Day Shred DVD series. She’ll have you sweating in no time in her short sessions of extreme cardio and resistance training. It’s tough, and awesome.
5. Personal Training Classes at Private Studios: Sometimes you need accountability. Sometimes you need to mix up your exercise routine. Training at a studio gives you both, plus instruction on things like basic weight-lifting, how to mix cardio and sculpting effectively, and nutrition tips that you wouldn’t otherwise get. It’s not always cheap, but if you attend a group class at a small studio, you’ll save a lot over one-on-one training. I’m going to refer you to the almighty Google for this one. They’ll be able to help you find a studio with classes in your area!
I know fellow Chiquita Mom, Natalie, is doing the Brazillian Butt Lift which is getting her bikini ready! And Vanessa has been getting busy over at Momma Boot Camp. What have you done that’s challenged or motivated you to be your fittest self?