When is a “X” day challenge a good idea?
With summer and the dreaded bathing suit season approaching (although I have noticed a LONG needed return to bathing suits that cover our bums so that’s nice) there has been an explosion of 21 day challenges of one type or another here there and everywhere. I have a good friend who is a health coach and I am kinda doing her challenge. By this, I mean I have agreed that it would be great to lose a bunch of weight in 21 days and I have also agreed that the meal replacements that accompany it are better than I thought they’d be.
Even though we are in the fitness business and I know there are no magic bullets, I am not immune to the lure of accomplishing amazing things in 21 days. I think done properly they can be great kick starters to a healthier lifestyle. On the other hand, if they are done improperly, they can do a lot of damage. So here are some things to consider when embarking on a challenge.
When a challenge is a good idea
When you’re doing 80% or better in your eating or exercising to your nutritional goals, but think a little bit of structure will give you the oomph you need to achieve the next level of results.
When you’ve done a thorough and honest evaluation of your eating and lifestyle and are 100% committed to a lifestyle change. If this is you, a 21 day challenge, with the structure and support is a gret way to get started.
When you’re bored with your current routine and want to do something different to shock your body a bit.
When you know you’ve been making poor choices and are committed to taking 3 weeks to break free of your sugar/carb/processed junk addiction.
In other word, a challenge is a great idea for people who know that it is one component of a healthy lifestyle.
A 21 day challenge is a bad idea in a couple circumstances:
First is if you are not ready to maintain after the 21 days. If, in your heart of hearts, you think the challenge will help you lose weight and that once you lose weight you will be a thin person and not have to worry about dieting anymore, then you should not embark on the challenge. Really. Save your time and money and work on identifying your ‘why’ for getting strong and healthy.
The second applies not to ALL 21 day challenges, but to highly restrictive or radical, short term ‘diets’ The reality is that if you do something extreme for a short time, not matter what results you get, you will revert to your previous state once you stop doing the extreme thing. Worse, your body will attenuate to the extreme thing and sabotage you once you go back to ‘normal’.
So once again, slow and steady is the way to go. Chase health, chase strength and be patient.
You ARE Limitless!