11 Things We Learned From Our 30 Day Challenge

It’s scary how fast time flies, isn’t it?

April 15th marked the beginning of the first ever Dietriffic 30 day challenge.

I wanted each of us to challenge ourselves, push past barriers, and change the mindset that says “I can’t exercise every day!

Lots of you committed to the challenge via the comments section under the original article. I also had emails, Facebook messages and Tweets about what you were doing, when and how it was all going. I loved that!

Having just finished the 30 days I can say that the challenge went extremely well.

It is certainly something I would recommend you try if you didn’t get a chance to join this last challenge. And, it is definitely something I want to do again.

30 Day Challenge: My Experience

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When I started out with this challenge, I had no idea what to expect.

I set myself the challenge of doing 100 dumbbells swings each day, initially using a 15kg weight, then on day 19 I switch up to a 20kg weight for a more challenging workout.

Dumbbells swings weren’t new to me. I have been working on them for a while now, but not as consistently as this.

I noticed that by doing the swings everyday, there were significant (and fast) improvements in my strength.

It was really encouraging to see what you can do with a little bit of determination and a steady routine.

There were days when I delved into my swings the minute I stepped out of bed with heaps of enthusiasm.

But, there were also days when I missed my morning workout, and it kept getting put off until later. On those days “later” ended up being waaay later, and that is when I noticed a complete lack of energy to get through the routine.

So, I discovered that, for me, morning is most certainly the best time to exercise.

1. Do what’s important first

My husband and I were talking recently, and he related this idea of doing what’s important in the morning, before what’s necessary takes over.

I suppose this concept is often discussed in terms of work productivity, but it’s a really great practice to apply to those really important areas of your life where you want to see an improvement.

Most of us have the highest energy early in the day, and the fewest distractions.

So, focusing without interruption, on the highest value task, gives you the opportunity to see amazing results and accomplish a lot in a short period of time.

Remember, willpower wanes as the day extends, so get your workout in when you get up.

When I didn’t exercise before breakfast, I found it so much more difficult to gear myself up for it later in the day. And, as it got closer to bedtime, my motivation to swing that dumbbell was almost nonexistent!

If you struggle with exercising consistently, I recommend you try a similar challenge on your own.

Habits are formed by doing something everyday, so don’t underestimate the power of simply taking one exercise and doing it everyday. Take another look at my original article for ideas.

2. Just make a start, the rest will follow

Another important lesson I picked up through doing this challenge is the importance of just getting started.

I’ve talked about this in the past, but this really shone through in the last 30 days.

By just getting out of bed, putting on your training shoes, and making that start, you can usually get through the mental and physically tough part and find your exercise groove, even on the most difficult days.

Some days you feel like your effort is so poor, but at least you’re doing something.

You always feel better for it. Fact.

3. Accountability is incredibly effective

You know I’m big into accountability, but it is even more firmly established in my mind in the last 30 days.

There were certainly days during the challenge where I really didn’t want to do those swings.

But, I felt a sense of guilt to all the other challenge participants out there completing their challenge for that day.

I also didn’t want to have spaces showing up beside my name… that would not be very encouraging for others.

And, I felt a sense of commitment to the cause/community/tribe… whatever you want to call it :)

So, half hearted as it was at times, I ‘showed’ up nonetheless, and I am extremely thankful to all of you for helping me to do that.

Anyway, here are some lessons, revelations, and results from a few of the other participants.

Be inspired by what they say…

30 Day Challenge: Your Experience

4. Expect improvement in your times and strength

I think it’s safe to say that all of the participants who publicly recorded their times or reps could note an improvement over the 30 days.

Whether this improvement was the ability to go from holding a 26 second plank, to 1 minute 9 second plank. Or, whether it was going from 15 crunches at the beginning to 33 crunches at the end.

Other forms of achievement were noted in the ability to advance exercise technique.

One participant found she could move from a doing a plank on her knees to a full plank during the 30 days. That showed a significant improvement in her strength and stability by simply doing this exercise everyday.

5. Weight loss is a possibility

The idea behind this challenge had absolutely nothing to do with weight loss. It was more of a mental workout to build positive habits, and improve consistency to exercise.

However, a couple of my Big Fat Cure members, also took part in the 30 day challenge, and tweeted their results.

After 2  weeks of the 30 day challenge, and 1 week on the Big Fat Cure program, one member had lost 6 pounds.

Another longer-term member of the program experienced a loss of 4.5 pounds by day 4 of the challenge, doing it alongside the Big Fat Cure diet.

6. You will feel motivated

My husband started the challenge doing burpees, but quickly remembered just how much he hates doing them!

However, what the challenge did was trigger his desire to start running sprints again regularly, something he hasn’t been doing for months.

7. Don’t forget to warm up

On the downside, Helen found out the hard way the importance of warming up.

She started doing planks, but without doing a warm up first she unfortunately pulled a muscle.

While this isn’t fun, it is a good reminder to all of us of the need to warm the body up properly before jumping into a workout. We can all be sloppy on this one.

She says, “I am a perfect example of what not to do, painful as it is to admit it.”

Wishing Helen a very speedy recovery!

Others got in touch via Twitter. It was interesting to see how each experience was so different…

8. Accountability helps stickability

I learned that exercise cannot be done properly at night… I had a sense of achievement knowing I was doing good… I found that doing one excercise I ‘wanted to do 3/4 more… The accountability helped my stickability. ~Ruth

9. Choosing one activity makes exercise achievable

The extra motivation of #Dietriffic30DC really helped me keep going. The way it seemed achievable too, convinced me to try it! ~Glenn

10. Exercising at night is difficult

I learned that trying to keep up with a challenge at 10pm is much harder than tossing it in before a morning shower! ~Carley

11. Your body quickly adapts with a consistent routine

Within 15 or so days, my body had adapted & needed more. That’s consistency… Something I learned was that it needs to remain challenging or the boredom affects compliance. Adjust accordingly! ~Taleen

So there you have it, the first ever Dietriffic 30 day challenge, a success, and definitely something we will be doing again very soon.

Thank you all so much for taking this challenge with me.

For stepping outside of your comfort zone, and allowing yourself to grow as a result.

Don’t stop the process now. What is the point of exercising consistently for 30 days, then giving up?

Let’s keep going… onwards and upwards everyone! :)

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen May 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I totally agree about doing what’s important first in the day. I work from home and the routine that works best for me is to get up before 7 and work for 2 hours on the top priority thing that I identified the day before, then stop for exercise, shower and breakfast. After that the rest of the day just rolls along perfectly.

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Keegan May 20, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Although I missed the challenge, 30 day challenges are great at getting you started down the path you want to be on. Most people just have trouble getting going. I’d like to see all of your readers that accepted your challenge stay on it! Good work.

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