It seems like there is always some fitness or health challenge going on these days and they’re often promoted via social media. From 100 sit-ups a day or no-sugar for 30 days, there seems to be some sort of challenge for you to get into. Don’t get us wrong, they can be a good source of encouragement and way to kick start one’s health goals. Experts also agree that these challenges are great for raising health awareness and if you’re in the right mindset, they can truly make lifelong behavioural changes. However, here at The Wellness Insider, we are not going to jump on the bandwagon and start any health challenges. In the near future at least.
Why, you ask? Here are some simple reasons:
A lot of challenges work because there is a time period which acts like a goal. If your challenge was to “eat clean for 30 days”, you may stick to it religiously for a month but on Day 31, would you continue to go for the salad or would you opt for that fried chicken to celebrate? Chances are, you’ll go for the fried chicken and then for most, it will be hard to get back to the stricter but healthier diet consumed during the challenge. Nevertheless, you will have those who are able to sustain this and kudos to them.
In order to successfully maintain a healthier diet after the 30-day challenge requires a good support group, for example, doing it together with friends and family or having an app which helps you monitor your progress.
2. Might do more harm than good
This is more so for fitness related challenges. For example, 300 swings Kettlebell challenge. Fitness instructors and experts all agree that any fitness challenge that does not have any rest day involved actually does your body more harm than good. That is because you’re starting a new fitness regime that your body is not used to and with no prep but a sudden immersion to it will result in injury and burnouts. Hence, it is always better to gradually increase the intensity of the workout with time.
Going back to the Kettlebell swing example, if 300 is beyond what you’re currently doing, then start small and increase it gradually once it becomes easy. If you’ve never even swung a Kettlebell, then it is highly recommended to seek the help of a professional before doing so. Remember that even exercise needs to be sustainable in the long run.
Moreover, these challenges are a one-size-fits-all and does not take into account your age, gender, height and current fitness levels. That is why there are nutritionists and personal trainers who tailor fit a programme for individuals.
3. It doesn’t address your real issues
If you think you’re fat and are doing these challenges to lose weight, you’re going to find that post-challenge, you’re still going to look for new challenges to help you lose weight. Simple logic: you’re not tackling your real issues as to why you’re gaining the weight or have not lost it and instead of curing the problem, you’re merely resolving the symptoms in the short term.
If you do lose weight after doing a 30-day challenge, you may wonder why there is a plateau and doing the same thing after another 60 days doesn’t work any more. It only goes to show that you are either not eating right for your body type, not understanding how foods work to build lean muscle or not doing a full workout which helps to build more muscles overall.
What we feel is that health and fitness challenges are great way to kickstart your health regime but instead of starting one blindly, consult a nutritionist or a personal trainer to help you achieve your goals in a more realistic and healthier way. This will also help you improve your body image and confidence, instead of crashing and burning through something that may not last.
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