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30-Day Fitness Challenge - Day 1

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Updated January 18, 2012

Welcome to your 30-day Fitness Challenge! For the next 30 days, you're going to learn how to focus on daily healthy choices. By focusing on what you're doing today, right now, you can take away the pressure of having to get results and put the focus on learning how to enjoy the process of healthy living.

Just a note: Each challenge is designed to be implemented without too much effort, but some challenges may not work for you. Some alternatives will occasionally be provided for you but, if something doesn't work for you, please choose your own challenges to accomplish. If you're following your own workout program, feel free to substitute any workouts with your own or modify the workouts provided to fit your needs and fitness level.

If you're ready to begin, your Day One Challenges are listed below. Today is your day to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead, so if you need extra days to get ready, just start the next day's challenge when you're ready. Once you get into the daily tasks, try as best you can to keep with the 30-day schedule to get the most out of this 30-Day Fitness Challenge.

Get Ready for your 30-Day Challenge: Put the Scale Away

For the next 30 days, your focus is on being healthy, not losing weight, which is why I'm suggesting you put the scale away for the next 30 days. That isn't to say you won't lose weight or that you shouldn't try to lose weight. However, the focus of this challenge is on daily accomplishments. Taking some time away from your weight loss goals may be just what you need to re-focus and remember that exercise and healthy eating can give you a lot more than a smaller number on the scale.

Keep in mind that this is your challenge. If you can't live without the scale, that's your choice. Just remember, this 30-day challenge really is about breaking out of self-imposed limits so think about that as you make your decision.

Get Rid of Everything Related to Weight Loss

Some typical weight loss paraphernalia might include:

  • Diet books
  • Fitness gadgets or equipment you've never used
  • Clothes that are too big or too small
  • Scales, tape measurers, body fat scales or any other tool you might use to measure your size and shape
  • Anything related to fad diets, fat burning supplements or other questionable weight loss 'aids.'
If you don't want to throw everything away, just put it somewhere out of sight for the next 30 days. Remember, we're trying to shift the focus away from weight loss and onto health and quality of life. Getting rid of things that only serve to remind you of failure (such as 'skinny' clothes or that ab thingee you ordered from an infomercial and never used) is one way to start focusing on what you can do right now, not what you've failed to do in the past.

In this challenge, I'm encouraging you to eat healthy rather than follow a specific, structured diet. Again, this is your challenge, so if you want to follow a diet, it's your choice. But if you've been trying to follow a diet for as long as you can remember, I urge you to give yourself a break for the next 30 days and focus on making your current diet healthy.

Keep a Journal

You can use an online tracking service (like FitWatch or Calorie Count) or purchase your own exercise and weight loss journal (my favorite is The Ultimate Workout Journal). You can also buy a blank notebook or just create your own journal any way you like.

It's here that you'll record your eating and workouts as well as noting how you felt. You'll want to track:

  • Each workout or activity, how long you did it, how intense the workout felt.
  • How you felt before you exercised and how you felt after. Did you feel more relaxed, energized, good about yourself?
  • What you ate throughout the day, including as much detail as you can (calories, portions, mood before eating, etc.).

Part of learning how to enjoy the process of getting in shape is paying attention to what you get out of each workout and each healthy meal. When you're too focused on weight loss, that workout or that salad may not mean much in the big scheme of things. After all, one workout isn't going to help you drop 10 pounds, nor will that salad.

But, shifting your perspective and paying attention to the immediate benefits of that workout or that salad will make it easier to make those healthier choices each day.

Getting Ready for Your Strength Workouts

Each day, you'll receive an exercise challenge. These challenges will alternate between cardio workouts and strength training workouts and will also include yoga, stretching and/or pilates.

If you follow the suggested workouts and are a beginner, click on the link above to brush up on the basics of strength training if you need to. Some of the equipment you may need could include:

  • An exercise ball
  • Resistance bands
  • Dumbbells or weight machines
  • An exercise mat
  • A medicine ball
  • A step or bench
  • A BOSU Balance Trainer (optional)
I'll provide different options each day, but you may find you don't have all the equipment shown or that some of the workouts just don't work for you. Always feel free to substitute other equipment you may have or choose your own workouts.

Getting Ready for Your Cardio Workouts

For the cardio challenges, I'll provide a list of workouts for you to choose from - from walking or running on the treadmill to cardio workouts you can do at home. However, it's always your choice what type of activity you want to do, so take some time today to think about your options:

  • Running or walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Cardio machines - treadmill, elliptical, stairstepper, rowing machine, etc.
  • Group fitness classes - step, hi/lo, spinning, kickboxing, etc.
  • Home workout videos
You may also want to keep track of the intensity of your workouts using a heart rate monitor or perceived exertion. If you need specific information for how to monitor your intensity, take some time today to read through: How to Monitor Exercise Intensity and get a clear understanding before tomorrow's challenge (hint...you'll be doing some cardio).

Getting Ready for Your Flexibility Workouts

The flexibility challenges are pretty straightforward and simply include flexibility, yoga/pilates type routines or light stretching you can do at your desk or at home. If you have specific stretches you enjoy, a class you're doing or a video, feel free to substitute that for any of the stretching/flexibility workouts provided.

Daily Challenge Checklist

Part of your assignments each day will include filling out a checklist for what you did or didn't accomplish that day.

You'll be able to print these checklists, which will include the assignments I've suggested along with blank lines where you can enter in your own personal goals. To get started, here's your checklist for Day One.

| Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Day 18 | Day 19 | Day 20 | Day 21 | Day 22 | Day 23 | Day 24 | Day 25 | Day 26 | Day 27 | Day 28 | Day 29 | Day 30

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