Plank challenge, squat challenge, push up challenge, bikini body challenge...these 30 -day fitness challenges are ALL over the place these days! As these seem to be one of the latest fitness trends, it’s best to get the facts before you get started on one of these because, as with anything, there are pros and cons and results are not guaranteed!
Let’s look at the cons first. If you Google any of these challenges, there is going to be some kind of guarantee to get you stronger, or more ripped, or skinny or something outrageous. THe problem is, every BODY is different; people have different metabolisms, different muscle strengths, and different body types so there is no possible way to guarantee results by doing a challenge for 30 days. ANother con is that sometimes these challenges can be dangerous. You are, most likely, doing these challenges in the comfort of your own home or in a gym by yourself, so there is no one to look at form. If you are new to exercise and jump right into a 30 day fitness challenges, you could be spending 30 days doing a specific exercise COMPLETELY wrong, and risk injuring yourself. In addition to this, most of these challenges focus on one certain exercise so you are working the same muscle group over and over and over and over...not good people. WHen working out, it is best to work out opposing muscle groups to balance out the muscles you are actually wanting to workout. Repeating the same exercise repeatedly, especially if you are not doing anything else BUT that exercise, can be dangerous and lead to injury. One last thing to mention here, is that results of these challenges are EXTREMELY over exaggerated…it is insinuated that results that are”guaranteed” by these challenges are reached in and of themselves; no mentions anything about additional exercise or, more importantly, diet. If you are putting no emphasis on diet and focusing all of your time on the challenge, you are going to be thoroughly disappointed…
Now, there are a few pros to these fitness challenges. First, if you are an experienced exerciser and know that you are keeping correct form in these challenges, you can definitely build some strength. They are also good for people who maybe stepped away from the gym for a while or are coming back from an injury or having a baby and want something to challenge them and get them motivated again. It is a good way to ease back into working out again.
The takeaway is this: the best way to see results is to do a well-balanced workout regime AND hone in on your diet. These challenges can be a great starting point and are good if you want to track your progress on specific moves, but I will always recommend to my clients to keep it balanced: work the whole body, get some cardio in, if you are wanting more of a challenge in class then amp up the weights and keep your diet clean!