As the end of the year looms ever closer, you might be feeling like now is the right time to work on your health or reach some body goals.
You’ll see hundreds of claims online about some secret way to get fit, lose weight, or get toned. The truth is the only things that will get you results are dedication and consistency. While that may sound daunting at first, it’s all about finding a way to move your body that you enjoy. For some, it’s weights. For some, it’s cardio. For others, it’s a dance class, a martial art, or Pilates.
Once you’ve found what you enjoy, it’s easier to incorporate it into your life and make it a habit rather than a chore. It becomes a hobby that happens to also have health benefits.
How to find a challenge that suits you
There are a lot of different types of challenges, so make sure to choose something that you can feasibly do. Here are some of the things you need to consider:
If you don’t have or are going to get a gym membership, then you will have to choose a challenge that involves no equipment or will have to purchase the equipment yourself.
Some programs require a lot of space. You will need access to that space regularly and/or good weather if you’re going to do it outside.
It’s great to set lofty goals, but also be realistic. You might not be able to do a 2-hour workout every day and that’s totally fine. Think about how much free time you actually have and how much of it you want to dedicate to working out.
4. Physical limitations
You shouldn’t pick a challenge that will put you at high risk for injury because of existing physical limitations. These could include breathing difficulties like asthma or emphysema, poor cardiovascular health, a bad back, or an old injury. While exercise can improve your experience of these limitations, you have to start small and work your way up.
Choose a challenge that will help you to reach your goals. You may want to run for longer, have more muscly arms, strengthen your core, or work on your diet instead. Different challenges will focus on different aspects of your fitness, so look for the challenge that suits you.
30-Day fitness challenges for beginners
Whatever floats your boat, here are some types of 30-day fitness challenge ideas for beginners with something for everyone so that you can get into the swing of things and jumpstart your fitness journey today.
1. Targeted body part challenges
If your goal is to tone and strengthen certain body parts, then you’re going to be best off with targeted body part challenges. A great example is the 30-day squat challenge. Squats are an excellent exercise for toning your leg, core, glute, and lower back muscles.
With resistance (weights or resistance bands), the exercise can be much more challenging. With some changes your form, you can target different muscle groups. For example, if you put your feet wider apart and point them outwards, you can target the adductors (the insides of your thighs). If you lean further forward in a normal squat stance, you can target your glutes.
Targeted body part challenges tend to leave you sore and can (but don’t always) require equipment. It’s very possible to get a great workout with just your own bodyweight.
You can do a range of exercises to target the same muscle groups or body parts, or you can do the same exercise everyday and change up the number of repetitions that you do.
It can be as simple as doing 10 squats the first day and increasing the number of squats you do every day by 5. Or you can build your own workout by looking online for moves that suit your challenge parameters.
Whatever the case, you have to do it every day!
2. Cardio challenges
Cardio challenges, much like targeted body part challenges, come in a large variety. It’s a great opportunity to try out a cardio exercise that you’re interested in. Some examples are cycling, high intensity interval training (HIIT), low intensity steady state cardio (LISS), running, jogging, rowing, and elliptical and stair machines.
Do your research to see which you think suits you and then use it in your 30-day challenge. You can even try to do more than one of these types of cardio.
An example of a 30-day cardio challenge is the walking-to-running challenge. At the beginning of your challenge, you walk for 30 minutes a day at a pace that gets your heart beating relatively fast, but not thudding. Every day, you make 1 minute of that walk a run instead of a walk. So on day 2, you would walk for 29 minutes and run for 1. On day 3, you would walk for 28 minutes and run for 2, and so on and so forth.
As with all exercises, it’s important to warm up and always listen to what your body is telling you. Especially with cardio, if you feel like your heart and lungs can’t take it, bring it back down to a level that you can handle.
3. Diet challenges
Fitness isn’t just about exercise. It can be about diet as well. If there’s something in your diet that you feel like (or know!) that you should be having less of, than this is a great opportunity to turn it into a challenge for yourself.
Pick something to take more of, take in moderation, wean yourself off of, or cut out of your diet completely. This can be processed sugar, it can be poor-quality carbs, it can be fruits and vegetables.
During the 30-day period, make sure you take note of any changes you notice to your body, mood, mental function, and general wellbeing.
Whatever challenge you choose, make sure that you aren’t too hard on yourself. You have to listen to what your body is telling you it needs, whether that’s more, less, or just a rest! If you can successfully complete your challenge, then give yourself a treat. Buy yourself something you’ve been eyeing or take yourself to the cinema. You’ve earned it.