At the beginning of September, I set myself a fitness challenge. There were various reasons for this and even more effects. What did I do? I had 6 training sessions per week for 30 days. Three running sessions, three gym sessions, and then a rest day. Why did I do it? I can tell you.
In the last two years, I built a business and continuously developed myself. I learned a lot, acquired structures and systems, and got faster in my work. Instead of doing more in the same time, I wanted to use some more leisure time for myself. This is where my 30-day challenge came in. I wanted to run 3 times a week and go to the gym 3 times a week. Simply having more “free time” would mean working on something else for me. Instead of creating a website, I would develop a new product or illustrate a picture. However, my body and mind need movement to be able to do creative work in the long term.
Therefore, I filled the last 30 days with a lot of sports to get used to more leisure time and still do something.
Why did I choose a fitness challenge?
I love being creative. However, my activities often take place digitally. Drawing on the iPad, writing a book on the MacBook, designing a painting template on the phone. I always feel the need to produce something good, which is why drawing feels more like work. I enjoy it, of course.
In recent months, I went to the gym in the evenings when I felt motivated. But that’s another sticking point for me. After work and the occasional overtime, I just don’t feel like exercising. I’m also not the type to go to the gym early in the morning. So, I needed a different solution, which initially was: exercise before lunch break.
What were my expectations for the 30-day challenge?
I had a few expectations for my fitness challenge. I wanted to feel more comfortable in my body, integrate more sports into my daily life, better use my leisure time, and rediscover running for myself. There were probably other expectations, but at the end of this post, I’ll tell you which ones were met. But first, my training.
This is what my training looked like during the fitness challenge
There was a time when I was reasonably good at running, capable of completing 10 Km in under an hour. Unfortunately, I didn’t continue my running training. It wasn’t easy for me to fit in an hour of running now and then. After I moved, I went running irregularly a few times and then less and less often. When I did put on my running shoes again, my legs felt heavy. The ease I once had while running was gone. That was also why I didn’t like to run before the challenge. The goal of the challenge was to find joy in it again and start from scratch.
My goal was to run between 30 and 40 minutes during my sessions. I started very slowly. Running very slowly is no fun, at least not for me, but it’s necessary at the beginning. So, I pushed through and actually got a bit faster with each training.
During the 30 days, my training was to run for 40 minutes, pacing myself to endure the time. After the fitness challenge, I now approach running with a bit more system. I try to alternate a slow endurance run, an interval training, and a “normal” run.
I’ve been back in the gym for over half a year. I enjoy getting stronger and seeing certain changes in my body. I usually went 3 days a week, sometimes only 1 or 2 times. That was to change. It should be an absolute must for me to enter the gym and work on a healthy body. I’ve done well over the last 30 days, planning my training to fit it into my daily life.
My gym training is divided into two parts. Therefore, I do a full-body workout 2 times a week and a leg day once a week. So, I work on my whole body but focus on my legs and lower body. If I now approach my running training more systematically, there might be changes in the gym, and I might do one full-body and one upper-body day instead of 2 full-body days.
The facts about the 30-day challenge
So what really happened during these 30 days?
30 days have 720 hours, of which I slept 240 hours. That means there were 480 hours left to work, do the housework, meet friends and family and do sport. In total, I spent 16 hours in the gym over the 30 days and 10 hours running. I ran 73.30 kilometres and did a lot of repetitions in the gym.
I started with a weight of 72kg. My final weight was 72.2kg. My abdominal circumference was 80 cm at the beginning, now it’s 77 cm. My thighs were 64 cm and are now 60 cm.
In all this time I have burnt 4,735 calories running and around 4,380 calories in the gym.
With 8 exercises in the gym, I have improved so much that I can now use more weight. And when running, I started with an average of 6:38 minutes per kilometre and ended with 5:56 minutes per kilometre. I attribute this mainly to the fact that I’ve been so fast before and my body has a certain memory of past performances.
Now, of course, we are all interested in the outcome of the challenge:
- I haven’t lost any weight. At least not on the scales. Although I’ve lost a few centimetres on my stomach, you don’t notice it on the scales. For now, that’s the reason why I won’t weigh myself again. Muscles are heavier than fat deposits. That’s why weight can increase through regular training, even if we lose weight.
- I was able to integrate sport more easily. The question of when I do sport in a week no longer arises. Before it was more like: if I don’t do it today, I might do it tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow. As a result, I often had more rest days than was good for me. During the fitness challenge, that wasn’t a question. It was just a question of: how can I fit my training in perfectly today? And I want to keep that up.
- I’m more balanced and probably happier too. Daily exercise is quickly noticeable in your state of mind. When I went running, I felt better than before 100% of the time. I was outside in the fresh air, I was moving, I could tick a box on my challenge.
- I made sport a habit. I’m writing most of this text on a rest day. Which is important, but I could easily go for a run right now. It took 30 days for this mindset to become well ingrained. And now I wouldn’t want to be without it.
This is how it continues after the challenge:
In theory, this fitness challenge was there to really push through for a month. The plan was not necessarily to keep up this high level of training. But that’s what I want to do. I want to continue to combine running and fitness and it’s good for me to do it almost every day. The challenge has shown me that it works. But now I’m going to train a bit more systematically. My plan for the next few weeks is as follows:
Leg day in the gym, slow endurance run, full-body workout, fast run, upper body, interval, rest
My conclusion after the 30-day fitness challenge:
I have no regrets about this challenge. I enjoyed doing it. I am thrilled that I can see a few changes in my body and in my speed/strength. Even though I would have liked to see more visible results on the scales, I am a different person after the challenge. Well, at least a little bit. Fitness is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. A long-term investment. Some people might look defined and slim after 4 visits to the gym. Most people need a little longer. It’s a healthy lifestyle that becomes visible after months or even years. A defined figure is a nice side effect, but a healthy and fit body that allows us to cope with everyday life is an absolute gift.