7 Steps to help you through and continue your success of a 12 week challenge.
It has arrived… I call this time of year the ‘Challenge Season’. The time when winter has passed and people are sick of feeling lathargic, overweight and unmotivated. The time when we kick ourselves into gear before it’s too late (it’s starting to heat up people!) and a time when we take the plunge and sign up to a 12 week transformation challenge. But it’s certainly not an easy road. Below are 7 steps to help you along your journey and for long term success.
1. Your first goal is to complete the entire 12 weeks.
This by far should be your first goal at the top of your list. 12 weeks is a LONG time! And that’s entirely why we do it. It’s tough! Life gets in the way, social events come up and you are going to be challenged with choices on food options or if you say yes to that next glass of wine or call it a night. You will experience both the highs and lows that is life. So get ready, but most of all enjoy the journey.
TIP: Don’t think of it as one x 12 week challenge but more like 12 x one week challenges. Smaller steps will keep you on track and are more obtainable.
2. PLAN EVERYTHING!
That’s right. The most successful people plan absolutely everything. Remember the saying ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail.’ Well it’s true! Plan what you eat, when you eat it, to what and when you train. And schedule it in like it is an important business meeting. That’s right – put yourself first as you are important too! Prepare the night before and don’t allow yourself to stem from your plan.
3. Track your progress and document you changes.
A great way to keep on track is to track your journey. You may not realize how amazing you feel one day until you look back on how unhappy you once were. It also tells your story, one that not only you but many will want to hear about when you are finished.
TIP: Start a blog and take photo’s or videos of your transformation. It will make you just that much more proud of yourself when you can see where you have come from. Create your story.
4. Tell everyone!
Use accountability to keep you on track. The more people you tell the more people will be interested in how you are going and will ask you about your progress on a constant basis. It also gets easier at social events to stay on track if everyone knows your current health and fitness goals. You will be surprised how many people will be interested, or may even be inspired by you to start change in their own lives. You will also have a responsibility to others to see the challenge through as the thought of failure becomes embarrassing.
5. Understand that motivation alone will not get you through to the end, but consistency and routine will.
Motivation is a great tool to use if done correctly and on a consistent basis, but for most of us, our motivation stays high for 1 – 4 weeks and then it all goes to sh*t. You need to stay positive, but you need to stay consistent. ‘Consistency is the key to success.’
TIP: Momentum builds momentum. One perfect day leads to another, but so does one bad day. So if you slip up one day, just aim for a perfect day thereafter to put you back on track. If you can be consistent 90% of the time you will succeed.
6. If your mind doesn’t need a cheat meal, your body does.
Food is fuel, but it is also there to be enjoyed, and when you cut out many of life’s pleasures to eat clean it’s great to reward yourself for a positive week of clean eating. It also stimulates your mental satisfaction and allows your mind to relax and not have to think if this is going to set you off track. On the physical side, studies have shown that a cheat meal high in calories once a week actually boosts your metabolism and enables the mind to refocus on the week ahead.
TIP: If you crave certain unhealthy foods during the week, write them down and incorporate them into your cheat meal. Be disciplined; you are in so many other aspects of your life so now it’s time to also be disciplined with what you eat and when.
7. The REAL Challenge: Lifestyle change and MAINTAINANCE!
These challenges are a great way to get your body back on track after constant neglecting and to beat the winter hibernation. Congratulations if you complete one – less then 50% of people actually follow through. But remember; fitness is not a 12 week challenge but is for life. There is no point in using a 12 week challenge to transform your body if at week 13 your back to eating crap and have already gained weight. Learn from your experience and learn what works for you. As your body becomes stronger and fitter, change your goals to adapt and succeed. Consistent clean eating, daily exercise and a goal to work towards are all you need. Aim to get you body to where you want it and where you feel the strongest, and aim to maintain it for a prolonged period of time. I would say goodluck, but luck has nothing to do with it.
Train hard and eat clean.