The struggle is real when it comes to maintaining a regular exercise routine. From the many demands of your job, to the “tinatamad ako” variety, there’s a ready excuse to make you skip working out.
We all know that moving more often is good for our health. When you’ve been stuck in a rut and can’t seem to find motivation, however, it’s easy to just say, “Next time na lang!” But how can you get out of this repetitive cycle of laziness? The answer: Starting a fitness challenge.
You read that right. Challenging yourself to reach a goal that requires you to move more is the shake-up you need. It could be as easy as vowing to walk a certain distance a day without fail for 10 days or trying the 22-push-up challenge making the rounds online (it’s for a good cause). If you want something more hardcore, sign up for a race that’s months away and will require you to train.
A fitness challenge presents the mind with a stimulus it needs to get the body moving.
“[Challenges] provide opportunities for people to make progress and feel, a sense of accomplishment which can lead to enhanced motivation,” explains Marcus Jarwin Manalo, M.S.S., E.S.S., a sports psychology specialist for the Philippine National Boxing Team.
If you happen to do a challenge that requires you to post a video on social media like the #22Kill challenge, positive feedback from family and friends can also give you a boost. Manalo says that support from those around you is a crucial element for exercise adherence.
While it gets you going, fitness challenges are actually part of any effective exercise regimen. Our bodies are such beautiful machines that it adapts to any type of movement that we do regularly.
“In fitness, there’s a principle called progression overload, which basically means we need to add stress compared to what the body is used to get desired results,” says Charmie Tomaneng, F.M.S.C., the senior coach at 360 Fitness Club in Quezon City.
Fitness challenges basically guarantee our bodies never get into a comfort zone. Another upside: Once you start conquering what you’ve set for yourself, you’re going to improve your lifestyle further.
“Habit-forming siya. When you reach your goal, you’re going to look for what’s next so you take on another challenge you’d like to beat,” says Tomaneng.
How then can you start adding fitness challenges to your regular routine? For starters, check your fitness levels. If you’re not that active, don’t try one of those high intensity 5-minute workouts you see on Instagram. You’ll just hurt yourself, man.
You can benefit from adding little movements every day. Tomaneng suggests walking an extra kilometer a day or making sure you stand up and walk around for every hour you’re seated at work. You can also try the 22-push up challenge for 22 days, but scale it down to the number of good reps you can perform.
Already have a regular routine? A fitness challenge for you is to change things up. If you run for distance, try running for time. If you go the slow and steady route, try sprints. Already lifting weights? Try doing circuits or density workouts that have little rest periods. Trying a new sport is also good, too.
The important thing you need to remember is to do something you’re body’s not used to. But make sure that whatever challenge you do is doable and realistic. Otherwise, that can make you lose motivation and you don’t want that.
Keeping the body guessing also keeps the mind from getting bored, too. “Doing the same routine repeatedly takes away the fun aspect of working out and it will be hard to get substantial progress which can reduce the feelings of pleasure and satisfaction,” adds Manalo.