There are quite a few 30-day challenges out there. Some are for photography, others for cooking and there are a large number of fitness ones. There are those that look easy, while others seem quite challenging. But I am going to focus on the 30-day fitness challenge ones. We have all seen those before and after photos. Where the before picture is a person with plenty of fat on their body. Then 30 days later they are not only slim but have a killer six-pack to boot. However, the kicker is when they claim that no diet change is necessary. All that is required is a 30-day workout and you go from fat to fit. I’m fairly skeptical of this. However, I decided to put one to the test. So, I made it one of my goals for July to participate in a fitness challenge. I will be following the fitness challenge shown below and we will see just how accurate those claimed results are.
The 30-day fitness challenge
I took a lot of time looking through all of the various challenges out there to find the right one. It had to be one that required little to no equipment. I needed to be able to do it in the privacy of my own home. And most importantly, it had to say no diet change required. Because let’s face it, we all know that suddenly eating healthy and exercising regularly would do the trick. However, I wanted to do this as an exercise-only challenge, to find out if they worked or not. It took a few weeks of searching to find one that looks doable but wouldn’t kill me.
As you can see, each day, or sometimes every other day, the number of reps increases for each exercise. This means I hopefully won’t be overwhelmed in the beginning. It should also mean that by the end of the month that I have built up some decent muscle and increased my endurance.
The starting point
This is the part I’m not happy to share. Yet I know it’s an important step in showing whether these kinds of challenges truly work or not. To say I’m out of shape is an understatement. For years I have led a sedentary lifestyle. Most of my time is sitting in front of my computer, often playing video games. But I have also lost track of the number of hours spent watching YouTube and TV. Tack on the countless hours I have spent reading and I certainly have been inactive for too long.
As it stands now, I weigh 150 pounds. I am not happy with this at all. I normally weigh between 125 and 130 pounds. So I’ve obviously let myself go a bit. The crazy thing is, that according to charts at my doctor’s office, for my height and age, 150 is my ideal weight. I don’t believe that one bit. How can this be a healthy and ideal weight when my stomach sticks out past my boobs? Even if the weight was more evenly distributed I don’t see how this is a good weight for me. But I digress. As you can see, most of my extra weight is focused around my waist. I have always had a bit of a gut, but never this much. I have, in the past, been fit but not skinny. No matter what I have done, I have always had a little extra on my belly. Despite this, the excess pudge in my belly has gotten to be too much. I’m not happy with how I look and I do my best to hide it all behind baggy clothes. But there are times when I can’t ignore it. When I change my clothes or have a shower, there it is.
As I stated above, I haven’t always been this heavy. In fact, the last time I remember weighing this much is when I was pregnant with my son. After he was born, I struggled a bit to get back to where I had been, but eventually, I made it there. However, this last year has thrown a few roadblocks in my way that may have contributed to my rapid weight gain. To be perfectly honest, I know 90-95% of this extra weight came on during 2017.
I experienced a large amount of stress in the latter half of 2017. Long story short, there was a giant episode of family drama that really cranked up the stress levels. Now stress alone didn’t pack on the pounds, but the stress eating certainly did. I don’t know about you, but when I am feeling super stressed I am more apt to grab a chocolate bar over a carrot stick any day. And trust me, I put away my fair share of chocolate bars in a couple of months. Not to mention the cookies, bags of chips, and other junk food. And what does one wash all of those goodies down with? Pop of course. Or soda as some people call it. Clearly, this was a bad combination for my waistline as a whole. Toss in a buttload of inactivity and it’s no wonder my weight went up.
I am ‘lucky’ enough to have early menopause run in my family. We hit 35 and boom we hit menopause. Well, guess what? Last year, 2017, was my 35th birthday. While I haven’t seen any signs of early menopause yet, I am keeping my eye out for it. Why? Well, menopause is not guaranteed to cause weight gain, but it can affect it in some cases. It can also affect how easily one loses weight, so that is another factor to consider.
As mentioned above, I picked a challenge that stated no diet change was required. I feel that doing this will better prove whether this challenge actually works or not. Because of this, I will not be changing my eating habits. I will still drink pop. Chocolate and junk food will be consumed. I will still eat carbs because, to be honest, I can’t see my life without bread and pasta. And yes, I may even eat take-out. We rarely have take-out as is, but I’m not going to avoid it. While we are starting to meal plan, I don’t foresee us straying too far from our usual meals – it’s more for keeping track of what dinner will be had on what day.
To show what I am eating throughout the challenge, I will be posting on my Instagram each day what I ate and drank. I will be posting this under #insecurehousewifeeats for those who are interested to see what I eat in a day.
I’m not completely void of exercise. At least not in the summer months. As such, I felt that I needed to mention these things that I have been doing and will continue to do during the challenge.
- I currently walk our dog for an hour each day. This is as much for her benefit as my own. I will be continuing to do so throughout the challenge. Suddenly stopping this bit of exercise would likely affect the results – even if it was likely small.
- I have been doing 15 minutes of yoga one to two times a week. It’s pretty low impact and I feel will be even more beneficial as I work muscles I have ignored for years. As such, I will be continuing to do yoga on a weekly basis.
- Gardening. You’d be surprised at how good of a workout this is. Carrying bags of soil or compost. Pulling weeds. Turning the soil by hand. It all helps to keep me somewhat active. I live for the gardening season, so I will continue to work in the garden throughout this challenge.
- Stretching. Seriously, why is it that none of these challenges ever mention stretching before you start? The last thing you want to do is jump into exercising without properly stretching. Thus, I will be spending a couple of minutes stretching out my muscles before each day’s exercise. Don’t skip this, as it can lead to injury.
The ultimate goal
While I have doubts about how effective this challenge will be, I know it will help get me that much closer to my ultimate goal, which is to finally get back into shape. I would love to be at or below 130 pounds eventually. So even if this challenge isn’t a complete success, it will surely start me on the road to reaching that point again.
If this fitness challenge does turn out to be semi-successful, then I will continue with it until I reach my weight and fitness goal. Though I will eventually likely need to add in a few different exercises to get a full-body workout.