Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fitness Challenge

Recently my family did a fitness challenge that worked out really well, and I wanted to share the details! It was based upon incorporating healthy habits into our daily routine, and hopefully losing a little weight along the way!

Here's a copy of our rules:
Daily Points
5 servings of fruits/veggies: 2 pts.
No eating within 2 hours of bedtime: 1 pt.
48 oz. water: 2 pts.
No treats: 2 pts. (No points on Sunday – “Free day”)
*You are allowed 1 SMALL treat (the size of your thumb or smaller) per day without losing your 2 points
*A treat is defined as candy, cake, cookies, chocolate, pastries, ice cream/frozen yogurt. You may have a reasonably-sized piece of cake on a family member’s birthday without it counting against your points. Whole fruit popsicles and jello are allowed and not counted as “treats.”
Check in with partner via call, text, or Facebook: 1 pt.

Weekly Points
Minimum 100 min. of exercise during the week: 10 pts.
Each additional 30 minutes of exercise: 1 pt. (up to 5 additional points)
Pounds lost: 10 pts. per pound
Maintain: 2 pts.

Other Points
Inches lost: 10 points per inch around the waist and hips, taken on Nov. 14th and Dec. 19th
Percentage lost: Bonus points at the end of the competition for the percentage of weight lost, 10 points for each percent

We each paid in $35, and then had winners for both Men and Women, along with a Healthy Habits winner, who was the person with the highest number of points that did not include weight loss, for some of our participants who didn't have weight loss as a primary goal.

We had a weekly tracking sheet, and then I had an Excel spreadsheet where I kept track of all the points. I've included the links to those docs at the bottom if anyone would like to download and use them, or look at them to get ideas.

One thing that we're changing with the next round is the winning. We found that pretty much everyone who wasn't a serious contender dropped out quickly. This time around we are doing two separate competitions, one for Healthy Habits and one for Weight Loss, and each of them will have a target (probably 95% of the Healthy Habits points and 10 lbs. in the weight loss challenge). Whoever meets the target splits the pot at the end. Worst case scenario is that everyone succeeds and everyone gets their money back. But really, what we really want is for more people in the family to become healthier, so that "worst case scenario" would still be pretty great.

Overall, the challenge was a great experience. I was amazed to find out for the first time how much better I felt when I drank a lot of water and ate fruits and vegetables. While I've tried to incorporate those things before, I was never able to make it stick. The best side benefit is that I was finally able to cut out drinking soda, a habit I've been trying to kick for years. It wasn't a rule of the competition, but I had to focus so much on drinking water that I didn't drink soda very much at home, and then when I finally did, it just tasted strange to me. We started the competition in October, and I've only had one soda at home since then (although I do still have it at restaurants). But we all agreed that whether or not we won money, it was a good experience, and everyone was happy they participated.

I lost more weight consistently doing this challenge than I have ever had with anything else, including Weight Watchers. And I can honestly say I was hardly ever hungry, trying to get in all the fruits, veggies, and water. It was a very fun and relatively painless way to lose weight, and I'm excited to start the next round!

Anyway, I know there are a lot of people out there with fitness resolutions for New Years, so I thought I'd throw this out there and hopefully someone else will give it a try!

Google Docs:
Weekly Participant Tracking Sheet

Rules Sheet

Administrator Tracking Sheet

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