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30-Day Fitness Challenges: The Good And The Bad

30-Day Fitness Challenges: The Good And The Bad

You have probably seen fitness challenge calendars pop up all over your social media. Whether it is a 30-day plank challenge you saw on Pinterest or a trendy squat challenge that advertises giving you a Kardashian booty in only one month. Joining these programs can be extremely tempting to most people, especially those who do not know much about fitness. I mean who wouldn’t want to do these challenges if they gave you washboard abs in only 30 days? But the real question is, do these trending 30-day challenges actually work? The answer is yes and no. No, you will not be left with the physique of Kim Kardashian or Arnold Schwarzenegger, but, you will develop a new behaviour to help you foster better habits that encourage you to keep making fitness a top priority. With patience and effort put into developing new, healthy habits, you will then begin seeing changes in your physique over time.

The Science And Stages Of Change

Forming new habits or breaking bad ones involves multiple steps including making the decision to change, initiating the new behaviour, and repeating it often. Building new habits requires patience and can take some time before it becomes a regular part of your routine. A 30-day challenge is a great way to get the ball rolling to start incorporating these new behaviours. Humans are creatures of habit, so once you push through those first 30 days of the challenge, your body will slowly begin to crave it, therefore, making it more encouraging to complete a workout.

Change is made in small stages. The “pre-contemplation” stage occurs before you even think actively about making these new changes. After this stage, you then begin thinking and planning, but no actual observable change as far as taking on the new habit is concerned. The third stage is when you start to actively work at creating a new healthy habit. Failure will be a part of the process as well, so you mustn't get discouraged if you miss a workout or do not complete a workout to your fullest potential. What matters is that you do not slip back into old habits and that one missed workout does not turn into two and then into three and so on.

Benefits Of 30-Day Fitness Challenges

Whatever new healthy habit you would like to create — whether it is fitness, meditation, lifestyle habits, gratitude, etc. — you are very likely to find a 30-day fitness challenge for it. Research shows that it takes an average of 66 days to develop a new habit, so doing a 30-day challenge does not guarantee that your new fitness habit will continue after 30-days. Committing to a 30-day fitness challenge does have some benefits, however, including:

  • Daily repetition boosts momentum to implement your desired change consistently. 
  • It provides the jump start you need to start your fitness journey
  • Throughout the 30 days, small successes will motivate you to keep working hard
  • Taking the challenge with a friend or family member will add some accountability and friendly competition to help keep you motivated to complete the challenge.

Negatives Of A 30-Day Fitness Challenge

“Tighten your bum, tone your legs, and feel great about yourself!” “ Get your dream body in only 30 days with this full-body fitness challenge!” There’s just one problem: not everyone will receive the same level of results from any fitness challenge. There are so many other factors that contribute to improved fitness that these challenges leave out. For example, someone who is eating healthier food options may notice changes in their body while doing these fitness challenges whereas someone who does the fitness challenge and then goes and grabs a burger from a fast-food restaurant may not. To see real, lasting change, it is necessary to keep up with a fitness program after the 30-days to uphold results and keep improving upon them. You cannot just start a 30-day fitness challenge and expect the results to stick if you fall back into old, unhealthy habits once again. A strong fitness program will encourage you to make changes that will last more than a few weeks and instead will focus on actually improving your overall health for the long term to help you live a healthier lifestyle. 

Calgary Online Personal Training

Using a 30-day fitness challenge can help you kickstart your fitness journey while helping you build healthier habits. They are effective workouts to get you comfortable with fitness and to motivate you and keep you accountable. It is important to recognize that these 30-day fitness challenges will not transform your body. You will not have the physical form of a bodybuilder or come out of the challenge looking as toned as Jennifer Lopez. However, you will come out of the challenge with a stronger motivation to continue working out and will have the confidence that you can implement these healthy habits into your lifestyle. Choose your challenge carefully to ensure it aligns with your goals and set realistic expectations for what you hope to accomplish.

If you are looking to kickstart your fitness journey, one of the best ways to ensure you receive safe, effective, and noticeable results is by hiring a personal trainer. The Jensen Fitness team has some of  the best personal trainers in the Calgary area and provides tailored virtual personal training and in-gym programs that help our clients reach their fitness goals in a safe, sustainable manner. To find out how our personal trainers can help keep you motivated online or in the gym and see results that last longer than 30 days, contact us by calling 403-200-0199 or by filling out our online contact form.


Q: How often should I start working out if I am just getting started?
A: It is recommended that you exercise at least 3 days per week with rest days in between. Rest days are just as important as your workout as they allow your body to heal and recover and muscles adapt and grow stronger. 

Q: Can I exercise and eat whatever I want and still see results?
A: “Abs are made in the kitchen” is a saying most of us have heard, and it remains true to this day. You cannot expect to see drastic results in your fitness if you are not fueling your body with nutritious foods. If weight loss is your goal, you must burn off more calories working out than you consume in a day. Exercise and diet go hand in hand and must complement each other to receive the desired results you want.

Q: Can I target what area of my body I wish to lose weight in?
A: Targeting weight loss or spot reduction is a myth. Your body burns fat based on overall fitness, not small muscle fatigue. While you can’t necessarily choose where your body loses fat, you can choose where you look more toned and defined by targeting the underlying muscle.



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