Something I struggle with as a coach in the fitness industry is the focus on fat loss and having the perfect body. Many gyms offer challenges advertised to help you lower your body fat percentage, lose weight, or drop pants sizes. While I recognize body composition is an important aspect of fitness and many people’s motivation for working out it doesn't always feel good to focus on the way we look in the mirror. I prefer to focus on movement and strength, when you improve these aspects of fitness sustainable fat loss follows.
I strive to educate my students that fitness is about a lot more than our waist size including emotional well-being, improved health markers, and just the youthfulness and freedom that comes when you are stronger and know how to move well. Because of this my students report looking forward to coming to class and feeling rejuvenated after, not beat down or shamed.
In short, fitness is a lifetime commitment that can’t be accomplished in 21 days of eating too little and shocking your body with a drastically increased activity load. That being said, we do have to break down our goals into smaller goals and this is where I see the value in these “21-day challenges.” Goals are a necessary step to making change and a short-term challenge provides accountability to your goals. I also need to find the balance of supporting body composition goals with out continuing the dirty cycle of body shaming. So, I am going to experiment with a challenge that is focused on movement, strength, and building good eating habits, but can still have the end goal of fat loss.
My goals for this challenge are two-fold. 1. To educate people that you can see progress with just a couple changed habits, it should not be an all or nothing approach. 2. To raise my personal fitness level to be a better coach. As a fitness professional I would like to be able to do a chin-up. I know part of achieving this goal is continuing to improve strength, but part of it is losing the extra fat I carry. So, my specific goals for this challenge are to execute a dead hang chin-up and to lose an inch around my waist. I will do this by focusing on 2 new habits each week.
5’3”, 157.5lbs, 33” waist. I currently meet the female strength standard of a 15sec flex arm hang and can do a pull up with a 5lb counterweight (so I’m close, but have been here for a couple months)
My Week 1 habits:
Nutrition Habit: Make 80% of my own food by preparing my breakfast and lunch ahead of time. When I get busy it’s easy to skip making meals and to just go to one of the local eateries where I undoubtedly over indulge in rich foods.
Exercise Habit: Block off 1 hour (M-F) to practice my movement and strength so that I am consistent. Move outside on the weekends either via a run or other outdoor activity.
Also joining me on this challenge is my kettlebell coach Shaibi. Shaibi's main goal is to lower his body fat percentage so he can get back into boxing.
6'4", 242lbs, 20% BF percentage.
Shaibi's Week 1 habits:
Nutrition Habit: Drink a gallon of water a day, and eat a serving of veggies with every meal.
Exercise Habit: 100 push-ups, 100 KB swings, 5 Turkish get-ups, and a movement flow a day.
Note that the habits that we are working on are specific for us and where we are at. The purpose of this blog is not to give someone a 21 day challenge, but to show that 2 habits a week can make a difference. Want to get started coaching with us to improve your fitness? We have group classes and individual coaching designed to help you improve your habits and improve your fitness.