I love a challenge – particularly health and fitness related challenges. Well it seems I’m not the only one; challenges are like the new black nowadays. All sorts of challenges are popping up that are either food or exercise related, 40 day yoga challenges, 90 day body transformation programmes, 8 weeks running challenges to name but a few. Although I stand by my belief that the most effective and sustainable rewards come from prolonged lifestyle change, I can definitely see the benefit in stepping up to a new challenge to re-ignite the motivation and provide a sense of purpose. Not to mention the prospect of success when the challenge goal is achieved.
In past I would have a set a running related challenge, like breaking 3hrs for the marathon or training towards a particular event. Whilst being injured and unable to run one of the things I missed most, (apart from the pure joy of running itself) was having a goal to work towards. Not having an event I was working towards left a void in my training, and as sad as it may sound, my life too. I would still love to exercise because it’s part of who I am, but I admit it did become more of a chore without a specific purpose other than general wellbeing. I would set myself little gym, rehab and strength related goals to feed my spirit and keep me focused, but I missed the bigger challenges and felt like I’d lost a little bit of my identity. I’m back running now (whoop whoop) but I’m not in a place that I can set running goals at the moment, so I’m always looking for things to inspire me and fuel my training motivation.
Enter stage left the new BodyRock 30 day challenge. For those of you that have not discovered BodyRockTV check it out, either on its website or facebook page. It is the BOMB. BodyRock calls itself the ‘Home Workout Movement’ as each workout can be done in the comfort of your own home (or discomfort should I say). It’s a web site that provides daily kick ass circuit style workouts for FREE. Each day the BodyRock team post a new workout via a youtube video link. The workouts are circuit based and last about 12mins to 18mins – it might not sound that much but it’s guaranteed to get you sweating like a sumo wrestler running on a treadmill. I’ve been a fan of BodyRockTV for a while and often incorporate their workouts into my training – they’re fun and effective.
I’ve been getting a bit bored and lack inspiration with my training lately so when I saw BodyRock had a new 30 day challenge coming up in May I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Bodyrock post a new workout on the site each day as scheduled on the timetable they provide and you just get stuck in in the comfort of your own home. Easy peasy huh? Well it might be easy to follow but not so easy on your body, it definitely pushes you if you do it correctly. I’d consider myself reasonably fit but boy oh boy – the grunting noises that come out of my mouth during a Bodyrock workout must make my neighbours think we I’m watching a replay of a women’s grand slam tennis final.
In the true spirit of ‘Eat-Sweat-Think’ I wanted to make the 30 days not just about the physical element so have also thrown in a nutritional and emotional wellbeing aspect to the challenge too. My eating is pretty healthy but there are always areas for improvement, so for the food part I’ve vowed that for 30 days not one cappuccino (my beloved beverage of choice) or milky drink alternative will pass my lips. I’ve also cut out all sugar (and anything containing sugar) and finally under no circumstances will I hoover up any of the of the boys leftover food (yes I’ve become one of those mothers and it has to STOP).
So last but not least, the mental / emotional side of the challenge. This side of the challenge is about focusing on the happiness in life and all the good stuff going on. By contemplating the things in life we have to be thankful about we become inherently more positive and less likely to focus on the negative. Quite often it’s the stresses in our lives that dominate our thinking. When we watch the news it’s full of stories of woe and tragedy. We rarely hear about all the good things going on in the world (and there is lots of good stuff), it’s just not considered as news worthy to the media. This culture leaves a legacy in our mind that unconsciously prompts us to focus on the negative or worries in life. This challenge is about turning that behaviour around and involves doing the following each day.
- Write down 3 things you are thankful for in life (has to be 3 new things each day)
- Journal a good thing that happened that day
- 5 minutes of meditation
- Exercise (easily done – see first challenge – but seriously it doesn’t have to be hard out – yoga, a walk anything – the very act of exercise makes magic happen in our brains to helps us feel good)
- Perform a random act of kindness (doing things for others without expecting anything in return makes us feel good)
Watch this video if you’re interested and want to know more. It explains the theory behind it and is amusing to watch. It actually sets it for 21 days but hey I’m signed up mentally for the 30 days so why not.
….and so what happens at the end 30 days you may ask. Do I lie out starfish like on the floor buried in a mound of the boys cheese toasties while gurgling on a large cappa with extra chocolate? Nah I think not. For me the 30 day challenge is about giving me an added sense of purpose as well as kick starting new habits and seeing the improved health and wellbeing that they can bring. Call it a spring clean and shake up for the body, mind and soul. Even though everything is pretty tidy there is always benefit in dusting away the cobwebs that can accumulate over time.
There is something about the duration of 30 days that I really like when it comes to a challenge. It’s not so long to make you feel like you can’t make it to the end but it’s long enough to make a difference and inspire you to keep it up. I remember reading somewhere that it takes 3 to 6 weeks of doing something new to install a new habit and break an old one and I reckon that’s about right – it is for me anyway.
I’m now nearly 3 weeks in and I’m hanging tough and really enjoying the process of this whole 30 day challenge thing. I’ve got my goal mojo working again. So has it whetted anyone’s appetite to jump on board and set themselves a 30 day challenge – it’s never too late to start. Whether it is the same challenge as I’m doing or a whole new challenge you’ve seen or thought up yourself. If you’re confused as to what challenge to set yourself then have a good long think about your habits and things in your lifestyle that stop you achieving the result you desire. Is there anything that often holds you back from achieving the health, body, fitness or even inner peace you aspire to? It could be that cake and muffins call to you, or maybe you never make the time to exercise or it could be that your work life balance is all work and no life. Think about it, is there any area that you can set yourself challenge to focus on and improve for 30 days (or maybe longer) and see where it leads? A healthier and happier YOU could be waiting on the other side.