Challenges...both good and bad.
Friday, March 09, 2012
I work out at my local YMCA. They currently have a great thing going on called the "Stay Healthy Fitness Challenge". Basically, its an eight week challenge. At the beginning they take measurements of your percent of body fat versus lean muscle, weight, and hydration levels using new biometrics equipment (daunting, I know, sharing this with the trainers who take the measurements). The challenge lasts 8 weeks, during which participants are tasked with working out at least 4 times a week. They are encouraged to make at least one of those workouts something "new". They keep track of your workout sessions using giant charts with each participants name and the dates of the challenge that line the main halls of the Y. You get a blue dot next to your name for each day you work out, and if you do something "new" that dot is yellow. If you keep with it for all eight weeks, you get a t-shirt. If you do something new once every week you get entered in a drawing for a prize. You can also win prizes for losing the most body fat or gaining the most lean muscle.
Let me tell you what's genius about this challenge: the way they track you. I can tell you I don't want to be one of those people that has no dots by my name on the wall! Granted, I suppose you could lie and say you worked out when you didn't, but that's not really the YMCA way and the only person you are cheating is yourself. So far I have successfully completed three weeks of the challenge. I have tried something new once each week, which has really been the most challenging part. When I plateaued a month or two ago, my doc suggested changing up my exercise routine, so I took a bunch of different classes: kettlebell cardio interval; cardio strength; spin classes; cardio funk and zumba. I stuck with the spin classes, cardio funk and zumba. I don't think I'm at the fitness level necessary for some of the classes that I didn't try like kickboxing, cardio bootcamp; etc. So I've been creative, trying new wii games and workout videos.
The Y challenge is a good challenge and I fully intend to have that T-shirt at the end of the eight weeks. A more difficult challenge has been eating right. I haven't had much of an appetite lately and have generally been skipping either lunch or breakfast. I know this is bad for my metabolism. A clear goal for the future is to eat three square meals a day and make sure I get my protein in.
I also need to start with the weight training. It can be boring and tedious, but I need to suck it up and do it. I just got a subscription to shape and found a couple of good workouts in there, so I may try those to add a little spice to the routine.