Pros and cons of fitness challenges

For this post, I’m going to talk about fitness challenges, but eating challenges/cleanses fall in the same category 😉

Over the years, I have participated in a few different challenges. Everything from a set number of miles in a month to doing a yoga pose everyday. As I was participating in this year’s winter warrior challenge, I got to thinking about why I love these challenges. This also led me to think about the downside too. Here are the pros and cons I came up with…

PROS

Support

To me, this is one of the most important aspects of a challenge. It is pretty easy to get your family and friends behind you for thirty days. Think about it, everyone nods their head knowingly when you say “I have to get in my mile for the challenge I’m participating in”. There is general acceptance to a challenge.

Accountability 

Challenges often have built-in accountability. Normally, you have to log your miles somewhere or take a photo. This automatically makes you accountable to yourself and others. I often joke about the winter warrior shirt, but it truly gets me out there on the super yucky days.

Deadline 

There is an end in sight. It’s easy to convince yourself to do something for a set amount of time. There is nothing like counting down to the end. 

CONS

It ends

Yup, the deadline is a double-edged sword. We know there is an end and no matter how much we think we’ll keep that habit going, statistically it doesn’t happen. Last year I thought I’d keep getting a mile in outside – until it snowed. There was no external motivation. That’s why we have treadmills right 😉

OK, every con I think of really comes down to the fact the challenge ends and we go back to our old habits. With that being said, I keep coming back to the idea we get great support for a challenge, but it’s difficult to continue that everyday. 

How do we change that? Why can’t we simply say, I go for a walk everyday and leave it at that? Truly, it comes down to our own ideas about what is ok. If we are confident in our need to walk everyday, those around us will accept it. It’s funny how confidence plays a major role in many aspects of our lives.

Most of us struggle in large social gatherings, talking about our successes in interviews and owning our choices. Perhaps the answer is taking the confidence from the challenge forward. Learning how to be unapologetic about taking time for ourselves to do what we need for our physical and mental health. 

Do you participate in challenges? What do you consider to be pros and cons?