At our fitness facility we have just completed a four-week fitness challenge aptly named the “Move It and Lose It” contest. Teams were formed, named, tee shirts printed, photographs taken and then, each team member was measured for their body weight, body composition and girth. They each had their own specific four-week goals and those included a positive change in their measurements but also improving strength, stamina, power, lowering blood pressure, decreasing diabetes and heart disease risks and improved dietary habits.
The individual team members’ statistics were kept confidential; however, the entire team goals were compiled, combined and then posted. Each team had four weeks to achieve their team goals. We kept track of the individual and team goals and then everyone was re-measured at the end, or as close as possible, to the end of the four weeks. The team that had the greatest body weight loss, body fat percentage loss and girth measurement loss, won the contest and received great fitness tools as prizes.
But the real prizes were that the majority of the team members either met or exceeded their goals. So, even if you were not on the “winning team,” you still won. There were no gimmicks, no special pills or supplements utilized. Most team members attended their exercise programs consistently, made a few simple dietary modifications such as finding 100kcal/day to eliminate from their current eating regimen, increasing high quality protein intake as advised by licensed registered dieticians, not going in to deprivation mode regarding caloric input, but becoming acutely aware of what was being inputted, with some keeping a food journal and all noting portion sizes.
Additionally, we sent frequent fitness/nutritional tips/guidelines and workout programs to the teams throughout the competition, more attention was paid to working to momentary muscle failure during strength training, truly performing high intensity intervals during those designated workouts and keeping a laser focus on the caloric output of each workout. They kept track with a statistics log in the cycling class formats and by wearing heart rate monitors as well as personal training sessions.
The team environment kept this process fun and kept most everyone on track throughout the four weeks. Team support, encouragement and a little bit of good humored nudging, was very effective as well. The point to this story is that weight loss/management, for the relatively healthy adult, does not have to overwhelm you. You too can set a four-week goal and achieve it as you head into the holiday season.
While it is true, and has been featured many times in this column, long-term weight loss and management require long-term written goals. However, if you have struggled to “get your brain around” a long-term commitment, try a smaller step approach. Each five pounds you lose, every percent of body fat that you drop and every inch that you reduce, will help to motivate you to take the next step and then the next.