30 for 30 reflection:
Another year in the books and a new milestone reached: turning 30 years old. Growing up during adolescent and teenage years, exercise and sports had been an instrumental part of my life. From participating in organized team sports to staying active with intramural activities, the love of exercise and the drive to maintain motivation was always a constant . That being said, once entering college and living away from home and acclimating to dorm life, no amount of motivation was enough to avoid the freshman 15, or in my case, the freshman 30. I learned that the unlimited meal plan at school was a huge contributor to my weight gain, along with so many changes that come with independence at college, and stress from school work. After cancelling the meal plan, the weight was easier to drop and getting back on track with fitness was more manageable.
Post undergrad, as I pursued my doctorate degree in Physical Therapy, fitness was a daily routine in my busy schedule. I found it to be a release and way to unload from the stress of hours of studying. It became a welcomed break in my day and something to look forward to. I started working out at Crossfit on a regular basis and cooking my own meals to stay accountable.
These days, now that school is behind me and I have multiple years of work under my belt, “adulthood” has posed challenges in my quest to consistently staying active and motivated. This year in particular, I’ve been placing other tasks and responsibilities at a greater priority to my fitness routine. Between planning my wedding with my fiance, focusing on growing my career, and taking part in life celebrating with family and friends, a consistent fitness routine has been lacking. Maybe I could have committed to waking up extra early before work to get in a training session, but at that point I valued sleep that much more.
The “30 for 30 challenge” I began at the start of November was my own way to boost my motivation and drive for fitness to combat developing poor habits and falling into a downward spiral. I did not set any specific weight loss goals or strength gains during this time period. My goal was to be consistent with tracking 30 days of exercise and good nutrition in a log to have visual accountability. This type of challenge is a good example of a goal that is achievable and capable of maintenance. This challenge was about staying consistent and tracking daily progress to build a new habit that would assist in reaching my future fitness goals. Measuring my weight and taking a “before” picture was another way of staying accountable.
So what happened in the last 30 days?
The breakdown: Out of the 30 days, half were spent doing some form of exercise. We had the Thanksgiving holiday, 3-4 family birthday celebrations, friends visiting from out of town, and a week of illness.
The exercise included CrossFit workouts, group training sessions, steady cardio on the treadmill, home gym workouts with weights, body-weight movements, and prolonged physical activities such as indoor rock climbing or moving furniture for hours.
My diet and nutritional intake was comprised of consistent home cooking and prepping with “clean eating” options, family-style dinners during celebrations, and restaurant meals when friends came to visit. Alcohol was limited throughout the 30 days except for a couple of days during celebratory events like my 30th birthday.
What were my the results?
The numbers: Starting weight: 189.6 (AM) ending weight: 188.7 (AM)
30 days of tracking: accomplished!
To sum things up, 30 days have come and gone. Was it successful given the results? I would say yes. The goal was not to achieve a shredded physique or exponential strength gains. However, it was done to increase compliance of fitness logging and make proper choices with activity and nutrition. With all the challenges that presented along the way during the 30 day challenge, I was successful in reducing my weight, even by a small amount. Small gains are still meant to be celebrated. The more important part of any challenge is where the challenge takes you when you are done. Has it prepared you for further success? Or, have you set yourself up for failure? If your challenge was geared in making drastic changes and reaching unattainable goals, the likelihood of maintaining and staying successful are low and progress starts to go down hill. There are no short cuts or miracle pills when it comes to health and wellness; rather, it’s consistency and proper planning that will aid in success.
The take home messages:
1. Set short and long term goals with specific time frames.
2. Make goals realistic and maintainable.
3. Consistency is key.
4. Health and wellness are ongoing challenges with many variables and progressions.
5. Find ways to motivate yourself and keep a positive attitude.
Live to Achieve!