Are you looking for a 30 day fitness challenge? This challenge will meet you where you are, whether you are just getting started on your journey or already make it part of your daily or weekly routine. This post includes a free printable exercise tracker, to help keep you motivated!
In writing this 30 day fitness challenge, I had help from a good friend Chris who has a PhD in exercise science. He is one of the most kind and sincere people I know and is super knowledgeable when it comes to exercise! (Thank goodness, because I am far from an expert in this field and am hoping to use this challenge to find my own motivation to start exercising consistently.)
To be honest, consistent exercise is something I definitely struggle with. I want to exercise, I’d like to exercise, but it’s not something I intentionally commit to every day (or to be honest, really ever). Just like cleaning, to actually tackle your fitness goals, you must be intentional (words I clearly need to repeat to myself a few more times.) You must find a time of day and a type of exercise that are realistic and you need to make a committment to getting it done. In this post I am going to share several ways to help you get (or keep) moving!
Why exercise is important:
Although many people associate physical activity with weight loss, the benefits of being physically active are much greater than just weight loss. Physical activity has numerous health benefits, both mental and physical, and may help you feel better (which can ultimately increase your productivity!)
- Reducing your risk of depression and anxiety (and can even make you happier!)
- Improved quality of sleep
- Lowering your risk for developing several commonly occuring cancers
And perhaps most importantly, studies have shown that only 150 minutes of moderate physical activity can increase your chances of living longer!
For all of these reasons, you should jump on board this challenge and make exercise a consistent part of your life!
How this fitness challenge works:
The basic gist of this challenge is to get yourself to exercise more or harder for 30 days. The definition of more or harder is up to you – challenge yourself!
This 30 day fitness challenge is based on a printable exercise tracker. This free printable can be downloaded at the bottom of this post. Simply click on the “Click to Download” image.
Between the “Start” and “Finish” lines are 90 stepping stones. Each of those stepping stones represents a certain number of minutes of exercise. (You get to decide! We will talk more about this in a minute.)
Suppose you decide that each stepping stone is worth 5 minutes of exercise. If you go for a 15 minute walk, then you get to color in 3 stepping stones! Your goal is to color in all the stepping stones in 30 days, to reach the finish line!
Choosing your stepping stone value:
The first thing you need to do is think about how active you are currently. (For me, this is easy. I’m only slightly above the couch potato level because I play some intense games of Duck Duck Goose with my kids.)
Many studies have shown that 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly is the golden number to achieve most of the major benefits of exercise. (Source)
Below is a table that shows how many minutes of moderate exercise you’d get on a weekly basis based on the time you choose for your each stepping stone. We will talk more about the flexibility of these minutes later, but for now let me just make some gentle suggestions (which actually come from my expert friend Chris – since I am admittedly not an expert in this area!).
If you are just starting to add exercise into your life, you probably want to start with each stone being somewhere in the 5-8 minute range.
If you already have a consistent exercise routine, you might start with each stone being 10-15 minutes per day.
If you LOVE to exercise, maybe you want each stone to be worth 60 minutes a day (if this is you, comment below, sharing your motivational tips!)
How to Conquer this Challenge:
This challenge is completely up to you. After you decide how many minutes eaching stepping stone represents for you, then you simply need to start! Then you can color in your stepping stones as you finish the indicated number of minutes.
Here are some tips:
- You don’t have to workout everyday. Working out 5 out of 7 days is generally a good way to reach your goals.
- The goal is to exercise at a moderate intensity. Moderate intensity is different for everyone but it shouldn’t be exhaustive. A brisk walk would be moderate intensity
for most people.
- Working out with a friend can help you stay accountable. I like to ride my spin bike (from the comfort of my own home) with my sister in law or friends on the Peloton app. The night before we pick out a class together and set a time to meet virtually in the class. Sometimes (or admittingly every time), knowing that some one is waiting for me to login to get started is the only thing that gets me out of bed and onto the bike. (Sometimes we follow up spin class with a FaceTime coffee date before our kids wake up, which I really enjoy! It makes me look forward to my workout and coffee date!)
- Listening to a podcast or talking with a friend (in person or on the phone) can help make the time pass more quickly and be more enjoyable.
- Don’t let perfection get in the way of working out. In the past I would feel like I had to choose a certain workout (like Insanity) and then complete the entire program. When I got so sick of doing the same workouts over and over again, I’d feel like a failure because I wasn’t “finishing” the program. Then I would quit working out all together. You are not a failure if you constantly switch up your workouts, you are succeeding by simply exercising everyday!
- Try to find an exercise you love (or at least don’t hate). If you hate the exercise you are doing, it will be all too easy to stop doing it. I would look for workouts on Youtube or joining the Beachbody or Peloton app!
- If you’ve seen “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix, then you might remember one of her funny quotes: “I learned a long time ago that a person can stand just about anything for 10 seconds, then you just start on a new 10 seconds. All you’ve got to do is take it 10 seconds at a time.” Do not get intimidated by the 90 stepping stones. Focus on completing one stepping stone at a time. You CAN do this!
And perhaps most importantly, do not be afraid to adjust your stepping stone time during the challenge! If you optimistically denote each stepping stone as 10 minutes, but then find you are tired and dreading exercise, decrease the amount of time! The only person who knows is you and any exercise is a step in the right direction! Don’t get discouraged, your journey is just starting!
But I don’t have time to workout
Everyone is short on time and even 30 minutes out of your day may seem like time you don’t have. If you don’t feel like you have 30 minutes at any one time, then ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have 10 minutes where you could go for a short walk a few times a day (like after each meal)?
- Is there a way you could cut down on something else (like TV or social media) to carve out 30 minutes of daily exercise to make you feel better?
- Is there an errand you could do by walking (e.g. going to a pharmacy to pick something up) to accomplish two tasks at once?
- If you don’t think you can find time to exercise without your kids, can you find a time that the entire family can go for a walk together?
I’ve completed the challenge, what’s next?
First of all, congratulations on completing the 30 day fitness challenge! That’s super awesome and you should feel so PROUD of yourself!
Hopefully you have felt the benefits of being more physically active and are more fit (even if you did not lose any weight). So what should you do now? Well, you should do another 30 day challenge, but increase the time of each stepping stone. See if you feel even better!
If you’d like to be able to workout without tracking minutes, consider getting a fitness tracker. These can track everything from how many steps you take each day to how well
you are sleeping and can be a great way to help sustain a lifestyle change.
The journey to a healthier life doesn’t have to be paved in perfect workouts in picture perfect workout apparel. Your journey can start with a few 10 minutes walks during your work day with a co-worker (that’s how Chris and I became good friends!). No matter what it looks like, start your journey today, with this 30 day fitness challenge that can be adjusted to fit your needs.
As Healthline states, on average it takes a person 66 days for a new behavior to become a habit. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reap all the benefits of exercise (and likely increase your productivity!)
This small challenge could play a significant role in helping you create your best life.