Challenge Yourself…With A Challenge!

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Setting Ourselves Up For Success

As human beings, we like challenges, or short-term goals. Remember James? He used short term goals to help him lose over 150 pounds of fat, keep it off for over 8 years, and achieve a healthy lifestyle.

If you’re someone who wants to get started on a healthier path and you struggle to find the motivation, then I highly suggest setting a short-term goal for yourself…and getting your friends to join you!

Last month, a friend posted the Dr.Oz  “Squat Challenge” on Facebook. She said she was doubling the number of squats suggested, and I liked the idea so I shared her post and tagged a bunch of friends.

I started adding daily squats on top of my regular workouts.

I was thrilled to see that some of the people I tagged did the Challenge as well! It was fun to achieve it (squats are tough!) but it’s even more fun to know that others did it too, and we kept each other accountable.

As our butts were getting tighter, or resolve was getting stronger. Day by day, we stroked off the number of squats we had done, and it became part of our daily routines.

Yes, there were days when I was tired or found myself at the end of my day and hadn't done my squats. But instead of skipping them, I would do them in my pyjamas. 🙂

I just had to make sure I got them in because I didn't want to let myself, or the others doing the challenge, down. (I did skip one day but made up for it on the next day which was supposed to be a rest day.)

On that last day, this past Saturday, as I counted to 100, I was so proud of myself for sticking to something for 30 whole days. I had accomplished my goal, and I knew my Challenge-mates had done the same. It was a great feeling.

And so we celebrated!

I also treated myself to a deep tissue massage and an evening on the couch watching a movie with Roger and some dark chocolate. 🙂

In fact, the Dr. Oz Squat Challenge was so rewarding, that my friend and fellow Challenger suggested this Challenge...

...and I accepted, along with a few others from the Dr. Oz one. 🙂

We started yesterday, and I posted about it on Facebook.  A few people messaged to say they couldn't quite make out the different exercises...totally understandable!!

So, I shot this video showing how I do each of the moves.

If you didn't already do it, I hope you try the Dr.Oz Challenge (and if you want the extra push, you can double or even triple the number suggested) or join us on this Challenge, and bring some friends along!

It really is fun, and so rewarding, to make a decision and to follow through with it. I promise you won't regret it. 🙂

If you DO decide to join us on this one...

A Few Caveats

1. Remember that I am not a personal trainer. I am just someone who likes to work out. Please check with your doctor to be sure you are able to do these exercises.

2. Know that I believe I am doing these in proper form that won't cause injury, but if you have a better way, by all means do it your way (and share with us!). Note, too, that although the diagram shows a weighted bar, I used a kettle bell for the Low Pulse Squats (I made a mistake, but it works the same). 🙂

3. You may choose to start using only body weight or very low weight. Listen to your body.

4. Note that this Challenge includes a LOT of repetitions (reps). Please adjust the reps according to your fitness level and comfort. You can always work your way up, but it is not worth risking an injury.

5. If you want to use weight but don't have a weighted bar or kettle bells, simply use hand weights. If you don't have a Bosu or Ugi ball, simply use a small stool or anything else for the Elevated One Leg Squats and the Step Ups.

6. Have fun! These exercises are supposed to be challenging but also fun. If you feel pain, stop.

Tips For Proper Squat Form

To elaborate on Dr. Oz's tips;

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than hips
  • Keep your back straight, chest out
  • Engage your abdominals throughout the exercise (to take pressure off your back)
  • Slowly squat down (like you are going to sit in a chair), making sure your knees don’t go past your toes
  • Focus on using your legs and glutes (bum) and pushing your hips back
  • Exhale going down; inhale coming up
  • Hold for a moment at the bottom, and slowly rise up
  • Squeeze your bum at the top to complete the movement

Other Challenging Ideas 

Whether or not you decide to join in on a squat Challenge, I encourage you to set a short-term goal and get your friends involved too.

Who knows? This could become the starting point for you towards creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself!

When I was getting started, I developed a few ideas that helped me on my journey towards a healthier me. Perhaps they will serve you as well.

  • For 21 days, cut your coffee or tea consumption in half and for the rest of the day, drink only water (feel free to add citrus or berries or cucumber to flavour it). Log how you feel each day. After 21 days, cut your consumption in half again.
  • For 21 days, eat a protein-rich breakfast every morning within an hour of waking up. Think outside the box and try having last night's leftover steak or chicken with veggies; or, do something more traditional--maybe a 3-egg omelette or 3 hard boiled eggs and oatmeal with berries; or whip up a Smoothie with ¾ cup of Organic Greek yogurt, some spinach and berries for an energy boost on-the-go. Be sure to log how you feel each morning.
  • For 28 days, go to bed at 10 pm every night. Lights out at 11. Or, determine a bedtime that allows you 8-9 hours of sleep per night for a week. Log how you feel and consider making this part of your lifestyle.
  • For 30 days, stop eating out at lunchtime. Set this goal with your colleagues and pool the money you all save to donate to a charity of your choice or to put towards a celebratory lunch out at the end of the month. Prepare your lunches for the week on Saturdays or Sundays.
  • For 28 days, only eat REAL food (fruits, vegetables, lean meats, grains, legumes, eggs, dairy etc…) and avoid all processed foods (crackers, chips, candy) for 6 days of the week. On Day 7, take a “cheat day”, where you can eat one meal that is off the plan. Choose whether or not you will exercise that day; it is up to you. Log how you feel each day.
  • NOTE: If you choose to log your food intake/exercise, I have posted the Food-Mood Journal on its own tab on the home page. 🙂

The Bottom Line

Why did I share these Challenges with you? Why did I shoot this video for you? Why did I create the Food-Mood Journal for you?

I did it for you.

To serve you.

Because I care about you.

Because I know from experience how hard it can be to start something; but I also know how rewarding it can be to finish something.

So why did I do it?

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

 

P.S. Please comment below if you have been inspired to start the Dr. Oz Challenge, this new Challenge or perhaps one of the suggestions above. Or maybe you've started your own Challenge that you can share with us! We all benefit when we learn from each other.

P.P.S If you know someone who could benefit from this information, I would be so grateful if you shared it. Thank you! And let's be friends! Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. 🙂

P.P.P.S. If you haven't already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won't miss anything. Plus, for joining, you get a week's worth of easy, tasty meal plans! http://sarahtalksfood.com/

 

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