Flashback 10 years ago and weight loss challenges were all the rage.
Lose 20# in 6 Weeks.
Drop 10# in 3 Weeks.
Tone Up in 10 Weeks.
You name it, I ran it.
My coaching career began in a challenge-based gym, and I truly believe I would not be the coach I am today had I started in any other setting.
Challenges taught me how to teach nutrition to a variety of educational levels.
It taught me how to coach individuals who have NEVER worked out before and to scale for our seasoned veterans.
I learned how to balance accountability with love and respect for another person’s journey.
In my time there, I saw thousands of clients’ lives changed, but few saw how much they changed mine.
Over time, the idea of a weight loss challenge began to lose its shine.
Too many people lost weight only to gain it back after the challenge.
Too many got hurt.
And too many just couldn’t keep up with the demands and expectations.
When I left, I swore I would never run a challenge again, but after some time away, I realized how transformative these challenges are.
I’ve revamped the traditional challenge to suit our clients’ needs and goals. Now I run 1 free challenge monthly (CLICK HERE to stay on top of those), 6 to 8 client challenges throughout the year and a few public weight loss challenges.
To start 2023, we ran arguably our most successful Complete Performance challenge yet, wherein our winner lost over 11# in a 5-week fat loss phase. Our MVP lost 3 inches around her belly button and 2 inches around her hips.
Here are 5 biggest takeaways from this 2023 Kickoff Challenge:
#1 You Need Tracking (NOT Calories)
Tracking calories and macros took the world by storm when it came to body composition changes, specifically fat loss.
And when you think about it, it makes sense because the only way to lose body fat is by creating a calorie deficit (Want details to create a calorie deficit? CLICK HERE)
Unfortunately, there really can be too much of a good thing…
The #IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) movement drove people to prioritize calories over everything, so food quality was thrown aside so long as you hit your caloric needs.
At the same time, the world moved to prioritize a calorie deficit over everything else, which caused many to run for the hills at the mention of tracking their food.
Our #1 takeaway from this challenge is that if your goal is to lose body fat, you MUST track your intake.
Like I already mentioned, the only way to spark fat loss is through a calorie deficit.
The only way to guarantee you’re in a calorie deficit?
Track how much you move.
Track how much you eat.
Without that, it’s just a shot in the dark at fat loss.
It doesn’t have to be macros.
Heck, it doesn’t have to be calories!
But there has to be knowledge around how much is going in and what is being burned.
#2 Less Is NOT More
Most challenges jump right into meal plans and MAJOR calorie deficits.
Not this one.
See, most challenges are centered around driving as much fat loss as possible in the challenge timeframe. That means they’ll drive up exercise and slash calories to push results.
It’s not sustainable.
(Think of all the times you’ve lost weight in a challenge only to gain it all back!)
But what do they care?
They did their job, you got their results and they never said anything about keeping it off!
This is exactly why we built this challenge differently.
We eased everyone into a calorie deficit using our Zig-Zag strategy (Pull calories, add exercise, repeat).
This left most of our challengers eating more than they had in YEARS while still seeing the scale drop.
The feedback was INCREDIBLE.
Did anyone lose 20# during this challenge?
But they found that eating fewer calories isn’t actually getting them any closer to results…
It’s only leading to:
- A Lesser Chance of Maintaining This “Lifestyle”
- More Hunger & Cravings
- And a Greater Chance for Regain
#3 The Scale Isn’t Everything
Most challenges are driven off weight loss (i.e. Lose 20# in 6 weeks), but there’s a huge problem with that…
WEIGHT LOSS IS NOT FAT LOSS!!!
Unfortunately, the scale is the best way to assess and measure progress week-to-week.
But it’s important to remember that it doesn’t tell the whole picture…
Take Sarah for example!
Sarah lost ~3# in this challenge, which to many isn’t that impressive, but check out how many inches she lost!
What I love about this story is that Sarah was VERY hesitant about taking measurements at the beginning of this challenge (“I just hate them.”).
A challenge should reflect MANY means of progress – ones that relate to body composition and ones that don’t.
In our 2023 Kickoff Challenge, we had clients celebrate victories for:
- Number of Workouts
- Daily Movement
- Number of Veggies Consumed per Day
- Number of Days Tracking Food
- Step Goals
- Accountability Check Ins
- Eating Breakfast Daily
- And MANY MORE!!
If your challenge (or overall journey) is just looking at weight, I’d challenge you to find 1 or 2 other measures to evaluate progress.
#4 Consistency IS Everything
Not long ago I published an article about consistency (READ HERE), and this challenge just confirmed that.
Consistency really is everything.
Everyone starts a challenge with a head of steam ready to FINALLY lose the weight.
You come in ready to workout daily, eat healthy and give up all of your bad habits.
And our challenge participants were no different.
However, those that stuck this challenge through until the end and saw the most success were the ones that stayed consistent through all of life’s curveballs.
These #CPTeam members got back on track after a night out to eat.
They got up and moved their bodies when they REALLY didn’t feel like it.
Time was set aside each day to log their food and plan for the next.
These clients showed up to their accountability check ins for next steps and direction.
In short, these #CPTeam members were consistent.
And they’re recognizing how they thrive with consistency (results drive results), so every challenger has set up Next Steps and pre-registered for our next challenge.
#5 Do the Things
You signed up for this challenge to lose weight and tone up, but I have some news for you…
If that’s ALL you focus on, you’re going to see some pretty lousy results.
You might lose weight, but you’re not going to understand how you got there so when the challenge ends, you’re left scratching your head wondering what’s next.
In our 2023 Kickoff Challenge, our motto quickly became “Do the Things.”
Track your food.
Get your workouts in.
Move your body more than you sit in a day.
Eat your fruits and veggies.
Drink your water.
All of the things you’ve neglected that brought you to this point of dissatisfaction with your body are where you need to focus.
Because that’s what’s not only going to get the weight off, but keep it off for good.
Do the things and fat loss WILL happen.
If you’re ready to “Do the Things,” join in on our next challenge – CLICK HERE for more details!