Friday, February 28, 2014

Fitness Friday: The Challenge and an Upper Body Workout

After writing that this was the first year that I didn’t have any fitness/diet New Years Goals, I went and joined a “Challenge” at work. Oops.

A coworker of mine and her friends, and a friend of mine started this 8 week challenge from this blog, and asked me if I wanted to join! After checking out the challenge I realized I did most of the tasks, and it was more about encouraging healthy lifestyles than actual weight loss.

Quick summary: Everyone pays into the challenge (we chose $10) each, and you get points for doing healthy things on a weekly basis (Monday-Sunday). There are certain items that have a built in rest day (exercise up to 5 days a week), so it seemed like it is a very doable challenge. The person with the most points would get half the money (in our case $40) and the person who had the most weight loss points (based on % lost, and maintaining weight) would get the other half.

Points are given based on the following:

1 Point-Contact with a Teammate
3 Points-64 oz. of Water
3 Points-Stop Eating Before 9pm
3 Points-2 Servings of Fruit
5 Points-3 Servings of Vegetables
(6 days) 5 Points-No Sweets
5 Points-Keep a Food Journal
(5 days) 5 Points-30 Minutes of Exercise OR 7 Points-45 Minutes of Exercise

I knew I wouldn’t be winning the weight loss part of the challenge, so that wasn’t my main focus, I wanted to win the healthy living points. From week 1-3 I didn’t lose any points, and I lost a few pounds. I think the slightly increase of exercise (4x a week to 5x a week) and the no cookies helped me lose a little more weight per week than I had been in the past (0.3lbs/week vs 1lb/week).

That being said it wasn’t super easy. For me the hardest part was not having sweets (6 days a week), and not eating after 9. I realized from the challenge that I am a big night time snacker, and even though I don’t buy sweets myself, there is always temptation from free work cookies, Valentine’s Day, and sweet snacks while tutoring. Here is a sample of what I was dealing with:
Rocky road brownie, I ate the berries instead
I got those brownies on Sunday after already having a free day and eating sweets the past Wednesday. I then had to wait until Monday to eat them…yay resisting temptation by one day. I had the berries instead. Unfortunately though, the next Wednesday I also was offered delicious homemade rice pudding, and felt very bad about turning that down, so I lost some points...or so I thought.

But on that Friday, after 4/8 weeks of doing the challenge, my coworker emailed me to tell me that her friends hadn’t started and had all dropped out, and the challenge had kind of fallen apart. I was ok with ending the challenge then, but my friend wanted to continue since both of us were having success, and my coworker decided to stay on as well, and then another friend joined in…and then we decided to do it for another 8 weeks.

(Note that there was a weekend “off” the challenge. I may or may not have eaten a lot of dark chocolate).

This time the buy in was $20, and the person who loses the most weight % gets $20, and the person who gets the most healthy living points gets the rest (and yes the same person could get all the money!) So now the potential prize is $80 bucks, slightly more substantial!

We also adjusted the point system slightly, so now instead of having “free” days with working out and no sweets, everyone has a bonus 20 points for each week to decide where to use them. We have also decided instead of no sweets, we have turned the rule into no junkfood (more than 100 calories), so now we can have a small treat every day without losing points.

I know this sounds insanely complicated, but really it isn’t too bad. My co-worker made a fancy spreadsheet to track all the points, so it is pretty straight forward. Nothing too life changing, just little lifestyle changes to be SUPER HEALTHY.

To organize the fitness part of the next 8 weeks I made a little chart (similar to my triathlon training chart) that has different workouts mapped out so I can see my progress. Tuesday was a strength day for me so I adapted a workout from PB Fingers to focus on my upper body and thought it might be good to share!

Anyone else doing fitness/weight loss challenge? Anyone else have a really hard time saying no to homemade baked goods!!

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