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Couples Weight Loss Challenge Ideas

Get ready to get sweaty! It seems when we make goals privately, it’s difficult to keep them, right? BUT… when our spouse, friends, and family are involved there is a powerhouse of support to keep our eyes on the prize! That’s why we’ve created the Couples Weight Loss Challenge! Packed with weight loss challenge ideas, this fun couples fitness challenge will help you lose weight and strengthen your body. Additionally, it will strengthen your marriage like never before! In addition, we have included a ton of free printables (like our fun weight loss chart and workout calendar) to help you on the journey. Similarly, we’ve included goal sheets and supportive notes to encourage you and your spouse along the way. Let’s get going!

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Before we start, we have to give a shoutout to our own Diva Elizabeth. She did such a cute job on these printables for us! Feeling great and bonding as a couple! Win-win!!

Included Weight Loss Challenge Ideas & Printables

Your couples workout challenge includes SO many great bonuses and will get you and your spouse feeling great in no time! For example, take a look at all of the goodies below. After that, keep reading the post for a more detailed description of how to use each of them.

  • Couples Fitness Challenge Invite
  • Pre Weight Loss Challenge Ideas & Goal Sheet
  • Fun Weight Loss Chart & Calendar
  • Post Weight Loss Challenge Ideas & Goal Sheet
  • Inspirational Couples Weight Loss Notes

How fit-tastic are those?!

Couples Fitness Challenge Invite

Kick off your Couples Weight Loss Challenge with an awesome couples workout challenge invitation. You could choose to do this as just a couple. However, you might consider inviting friends and family to join the challenge. After all, the more the merrier! Determine the starting date and the ending date (this is designed to be an 8 week challenge) and fill that info in on your invite. After that, send out this cute invitation, to other couples or just to your spouse.

Pre Weight Loss Challenge Ideas & Goal Sheet

We’ve included TWO amazing goal sheets to help you get the most you can out of this couples fitness challenge. For example, one is a Pre-Challenge goal sheet where you’ll discuss your weight loss challenge ideas and plans. Subsequently, the other is a Challenge Review where you’ll reflect on the past 8 weeks of your couples workout challenge. Begin the challenge by sitting down and evaluating your goals on the Pre-Challenge Goals sheet. Be sure and record your starting weight at the top. After that, make sure to write down any concerns or ideas you may have. These steps are super important so don’t skip them!

Fun Weight Loss Chart & Calendar

Once you’ve laid the groundwork for your challenge, it’s time to get going! You’ll want to make sure you have a reliable scale or tape measure to keep track of your progress. Additionally, everyone participating needs their own copy of the printable fitness calendar (which you can also use a fun weight loss chart!). Use it to map out what type of physical activity you will complete each day as well as any notes. It’s important to keep track of all of the little success along the way! Moreover, if you’re looking for some great at-home workouts, be sure and check out our list of 101 of the Best YouTube Workout Videos.

Inspirational Couples Weight Loss Notes

To help support your spouse (and all involved) during the challenge, we’ve added some adorable, supportive notes for a little boost of encouragement during your 8 weeks. Pass one off to your spouse after a difficult weigh-in, attach one to a water bottle for motivation, leave one in your spouse’s lunch, or tape it to the fridge to remind yourself when late night temptation comes your way! We promise they’ll add the perfect motivational boost.

What are you waiting for?! These couples workout challenge ideas are the perfect way to set goals with your spouse and stay active together. What’s better than that?! For more ideas on ways to stay healthy, be sure and check out our Healthy Living Round Up and our list of 100 Healthy Date Night Ideas!

Husband and wife turned dieting into a competition – and lost 17 stone

When Bryan and Leanne Stevens started competitive diets it was clear who was winning.

Bryan watched his wife drop from a size 18 to a 10 and lose three stone while after some initial success his weight kept yo-yoing up and down.

But that was simply the spur he needed to succeed. Determined not to be beaten in their weight-loss battle, the 40-year-old nurse then shed an incredible 12 stone, half his body weight, in just nine months.

And losing a combined total of almost 17 stone has given the couple’s marriage a new lease of life. Leanne, 36, a development manager, says: “We’ve always been competitive. I knew Bryan wouldn’t rest until he was trimmer too.

“I may well have underestimated how competitive he was though because I never expected him to lose so much.

“It just goes to show how healthy a bit of rivalry is because neither of us have ever felt better.”

Bryan adds: “I am very competitive. Apart from the fact that Leanne beat me, which I hated, it was awful being so overweight with such a slim gorgeous wife. I don’t mind admitting it left me feeling insecure about my size.

“I’ve always tried to diet but know I would never have done it if it hadn’t been for trying to match Leanne’s success.”

The couple, from Neilston, Glasgow, admit they were “on the cuddly side” when they met in 2003. Leanne was a curvy size 14 and Bryan was buying clothes in XXXL size.

He already had a daughter, but it was when Leanne got ­pregnant with their son Jamie a year after they married in 2008 that they both piled on more weight.

Leanne says: “We were competitive about most things. We enjoyed fundraising for local charities but always tried to beat ­whatever the other had raised. But eating was one thing we were equally good at.”

Comfortable and content, the couple agree their bad habits got out of control as they settled into family life.

At the end of a long day, they would treat themselves to a curry or greasy Chinese followed by family-size bags of chocolates and giant bags of crisps.

Leanne explains: “We’d pretty much spend all night side by side on the sofa watching TV and munching. It wasn’t long before our clothes got tighter.”

They wore stretchy jersey clothing to hide their weight, and when they finally had to buy in bigger sizes, they told themselves not to worry because they loved each other.

Leanne says: “We were getting fatter together so it didn’t matter so much.”

Slimmer together: Couple have healthier bodies now (Image: Stewart Williams)

Nights out revolved around food with romantic meals or cinema trips laden with goodies to munch.

But with a toddler to look after after it was clear that their weight was causing problems.

Bryan, who is 5ft 8in, says: “Running around after Jamie was exhausting. We were always out of breath if we went for a walk to the park.”

Finally, Leanne suggested they take their diets in hand. She recalls: “We were sluggish and lethargic and I knew it was down to food.”

The wake-up call came when Leanne needed to have her gallbladder removed in 2010. By then she weighed 12st 12lb, but at just 5ft tall, she was obese.

“After the operation my consultant told me I needed to change my diet and exercise.”

She knew she couldn’t do it on her own and urged 24st Bryan to diet too, viewing it as a competition to see who could lose the most. They signed up to the Cambridge Weight Plan which provides healthy meal replacements as part of the programme.

Soon they had swapped sweets, crisps and takeaway meals for three calorie-controlled products a day. The first few days were the hardest but Leanne was determined not to let Bryan know how she was feeling.

She recalls with a smile: “He would ask if I was hungry and I would shrug and say no, even though my stomach was growling.”

She even resorted to pouring washing- up liquid over son Jamie’s leftover dinner to stop her picking at it.

At the end of the first week she had lost 9lb. But Bryan had taken an early lead by losing 1st 4lb.

Leanne says: “Trying to beat each other gave us something different to focus on.”

But each week, Bryan inched ahead. Leanne says: “That was good for me because I remained determined.”

But success for Bryan came at a price. After losing two stone, he began to falter by treating himself with food. It was a big mistake and soon he was treating himself to the odd beer and snack too.

Before long he was slipping back into old habits – but Leanne stayed on track. She lost three stone and was a size 10.

When Bryan congratulated her Leanne tried not to gloat. She says: “Normally I would have teased him, but I could see it was hard for him. I hoped his competitive spirit would get him on track again.”

But Bryan was now a stone heavier than when he had first started.

In January 2013, with a wedding in Spain to attend later that year, Leanne gently suggested he give it another go, saying: “I knew he was already worried about finding an outfit big enough to fit him.”

So he went back on the Cambridge Plan and lost three stone in five weeks.

He says: “I joked to Leanne that I was going to blow her out of the water.”

But after the wedding, he lost focus again and gained even more weight.

Huge: Couple squeeze into pair of Leanne’s old jeans! (Image: Daily Mirror)

It wasn’t until he suffered the ­humiliation of not being able to fit into his nursing uniform he decided to have one more go at beating Leanne.

By now, her success meant she had started working as a slimming consult­­ant. So when she heard Cambridge was running a 100-day ­challenge on Facebook she knew it would be right up Bryan’s street.

He agreed to sign up and Leanne, who was then 9st 10lb, said she would take part too to help keep him on track.

This time he stuck religiously to plan and as the 100 days counted down, Bryan’s weight fell dramatically. By the end he had lost 106lb. Leanne had reached her goal weight of 8st 7lb too.

But Bryan wasn’t finished. Six months on he had lost a whopping 12 stone. This meant the pair had lost almost 17 stone.

Leanne says: “There’s no way Bryan would have stayed big after I lost weight. But the best thing now is being able to run around together after Jamie without getting out of breath.”

Bryan agrees: “We are so much happier and healthier but still competitive, which helps us keep the weight off.”

After reaching their goals, the couple introduced healthy meals into their regime and exercise. But they still enjoy the meal replacement products too.

Six months on, both now work as weight-loss consultants alongside their day jobs and say they are now just as competitive about their clients’ weight loss as they were their own.

Leanne says: “It’s just the way we do things but that doesn’t mean we are not a great team.”

  • See cambridgeweightplan.com for info.

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Adopting a new health and fitness program is tough — full stop, the end! But trying to find one that you can do with your man is the real challenge. There’s so much to consider — will the meals keep him full? Will the meals keep you full? Are the recipes too protein- or carb-heavy? And do the workouts consider your very different fitness levels? All very important questions when you’re committing money and time to overhaul your diet and exercise routine.

So before you choose a diet plan or sign up for a workout that’s all kinds of wrong for you both, here’s a list of programs that are made for you and your SO.

The Body Coach 90 Day Shift Shape and Sustain

Created by Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach) to educated people who fall into the trap of low-calories diets and meal replacements, Joe is on a mission to help people achieve their goals without going hungry. Start with the 90 Day SSS (Shape, Shift and Sustain) Plan and once you’ve aced it you can graduate to the 30 Day SAS Plan, it’s the Support and Sustain Program that gives you an extra six months of content. You’ll get workouts and load of delicious recipes that are quick and easy and designed to impress everyone.

28 by Sam Wood

It’s the program that’s transforming the lives and bodies of 28ers all over Australia, but Sam’s program is definitely not exclusive to us lucky ladies. The food programs and 28-minute daily workouts are suitable for men looking to jump-start, and then maintain (the constant struggle), their new and improved healthy lifestyle. Often reluctant to sign up for the program at first, the men who adopt the meal plans find they lose weight just from changing their diet. If the before and afters are anything to go by, it’s worth a shot.

Lite n’ Easy

Lite n’ Easy has been around for a while now, for good reasons. It’s extremely convenient for people who are time-poor, it helps manage portion control and it eliminates the need to create new and healthy meals because all the hard work is done for you. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is delivered to your door and every single thing you need is included. The meals feel indulgent but are created by dietitians to fit into specific calorie categories (1,200, 1,500 and 1,800 calorie options are available), so you can tailor your meals to your preferred daily calorie intake.

Weight Watchers

Between the SmartPoints, FitPoints and the Connect Community you and your partner can both join Weight Watchers and still have different meal plans and fitness goals. The support groups are available 24/7 so if you’re ever feel you’re about to fall off the wagon, they’ll be there to put you back on.

Amanda Bisk: Fresh Body Fit Mind Program

For the men reading this, stick with us. This program, created by the bendiest human on the planet, Amanda Bisk, is a 12-week workout plan complete with 20-minute workouts that burn fat, promote athletic muscle tone and make you your most-flexible self. With each day comes a new exercise so you won’t be doing the same workout twice!

I Quit Sugar 7-Day Reboot

If you’re looking for a healthy living kick-start, this seven-day sugar-free plan is perfect. You and your beau can eat the same healthy, nutritionist-developed meals.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim

  1. Buy a new workout outfit
  2. Get a massage
  3. Go see a new movie
  4. Enjoy a staycation
  5. Get a pedicure
  6. Buy yourself flowers at the farmers market
  7. Attend a performance driving school
  8. Ski or snowboard vacation
  9. Go on a beach vacation
  10. Get a new hairstyle
  11. Learn a new sport – Try fencing, karate, tennis, or hockey
  12. Learn a new skill – Try playing the piano, singing, acting, or painting
  13. Enjoy a laugh at a local comedy club
  14. Take a day trip to your favorite local town
  15. Take a hunting or fishing trip
  16. Go see your favorite band
  17. Get a tattoo
  18. Buy a new pair of running shoes
  19. Go on a cruise
  20. Attend the next Olympics
  21. Attend a local sports game
  22. Get professional headshots taken
  23. Get a manicure
  24. Golf at your favorite course
  25. Learn to make your own healthy salsa
  26. Buy a new water bottle
  27. Start a garden
  28. Go for a hike and enjoy nature
  29. Go camping in the wilderness
  30. Get a personal trainer
  31. Have a spa day
  32. Take a day off of work
  33. Take a class in photography
  34. Buy a new piece of furniture
  35. Buy a new purse or laptop bag
  36. Get the new iPhone or Android
  37. Take a class in knitting or woodworking
  38. Trip to the go-cart track
  39. Get a facial
  40. Buy one thing off of your Pinterest boards
  41. Buy a new book and enjoy a relaxing afternoon reading

Bonus Idea: Get waxed

How do you reward yourself for weight loss success?

Share your favorite weight loss rewards with our community in the comments below!

25 Genius Ways to Reward Yourself for Weight Loss

Listen to this: Research from Stanford University shows that your food tastes better when you’re slimmer. Sex gets better, too, say scientists at Duke University Medical Center, who found a 10 percent loss of body weight caused an increase in sexual satisfaction. And your cognitive skills could sharpen, suggests a study from the journal Neurology. Our point? Your body rewards you when you lose weight.

But if you’re in the midst of a weight loss journey (first, high-five!), sometimes you need some tangible rewards along the way to keep you motivated and to celebrate major milestones. It’s the proverbial carrot dangling in front of you. (Except, actually, scratch the whole idea of a food as a reward!)

“I think a non-food reward or incentive is a fun way to keep people motivated to meet their weight loss goals,” says Abby Langer, known as Canada’s Food and Nutrition Expert. “But noticed the emphasis on ‘non-food.’ In general, it’s not a great idea to treat food as either a reward or a punishment.” With that said, here are 25 stellar ideas for rewarding your weight loss.

1

A High-speed Blender

Your budget blender is a smooth(ie) operator. But it’s starting to make exasperated noises to signal it’s getting tired. It might be time to upgrade before your blades retire mid-smoothie, leaving you with an awkward salad rather than a green smoothie. Langer suggests investing in a kitchen tool that you might not otherwise be inclined to spend money on. “Consider a high-speed blender that would be helpful in preparing healthy meals,” she says. Once you’ve got a quality one taking up residence on your kitchen counter, you can pretty much throw anything at it, er, in it—herbs to make pesto, nut butters, soup, and, of course, smoothies. Take a peek at our guide to the best blenders for every budget to find your future incentive!

2

A Healthy Meal Service

The only exception to the rule prohibiting food as a reward? A healthy meal delivery service that can help you out for a week or two when your work schedule gets super-busy, says Langer. From Hello Fresh to Blue Apron, we’re witnessing a meal service arms race with the proliferation of meals and ingredients that can show up on your doorstep. If you haven’t tried a service before, the previous ones can be great an option.

3

Cooking Classes

We get it: When you’re losing weight, it can be easy to fall into a chicken breast rut. And how many ways can you dress up that salad before saying kale no? “Cooking classes can inspire you to try new, fabulous, healthy meals,” says Langer. Sounds fun to us, too!

4

Workout Clothes

When it comes to dressing yourself while you’re losing weight, the struggle is real. It might not be realistic to buy a new pair of designer jeans each time you go down a size. But workout clothes that don’t necessarily need to be form-fitting and high-quality yoga pants like these Anthropologie ones are a worthwhile investment while you’re shedding pounds. Plus, being comfortable and looking good are too great incentives to keep going.

5

A Wellness Getaway

You might want to save this as the grand finale reward: Treat yourself to a vacation, especially one that’s centered on your health and wellbeing. A 2015 study from Cornell University found that spending money on experiences brings you a greater, longer-lasting happiness than buying objects. Translation: vacation > big-screen television.

Christy Brissette, RD and President of 80 Twenty Nutrition, suggests booking an active vacation that includes activities like hiking, cycling, and other fun adventures that you might have shied away from when you were overweight.

For a vacation that’s equal parts luxe and adventurous, book a stay at Red Mountain Resort in St. George, Utah. It’s surrounded by—you guessed it—stunning red mountains. Once there, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of itinerary. Guides can lead you out to Mt. Zion to take a river hike or you can go rappelling down those aforementioned red mountains at sunset. Plus, there are plenty of hiking routes that will wind you by the lava tubes and other geologic wonders. Hammocks are stationed throughout the resort if you need to get a little R&R, or you can regain some focus in your life by walking around the resort’s labyrinth.

6

A Kitchen Scale

You know the expression your eyes are bigger than your stomach? Well, your eyes are actually choosing bigger portions for you, too. That why a food scale is the first thing on our list of weight loss tools under $20. If you hit a weight-loss plateau, try measuring out your food and pre-portioning your snacks. A kitchen scale will help you accurately weigh your meals so that you don’t accidentally consume an 8-ounce sweet potato that you thought was half that.

7

A Gym Membership

If you don’t already have one, a gym membership can help you continue on your healthy journey, suggests Langer. To make sure you’re not wasting your money, though, start booking your sweat sessions like you would any other important appointment. And keep your gym groove going by asking for a complimentary pass to a nearby gym when traveling and by scouring Groupon for limited-time deals.

8

A Bike

You remember the joy of getting a new bike when you were a kid, yes? Replicate it as an adult and buy yourself a road bike as your weight loss reward! It can actually be a boon for your weight loss efforts, too. A study from the University of East Anglia and the Center for Diet and Activity Research found that those who started biking to work lost about two pounds, and those who were commuting 30 minutes by bike each way lost 16 pounds.

9

A Massage

Reward your body with a relaxing massage. Not only does it feel good, massage therapy can improve your blood flow and relieve those sore muscles, according to a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago that was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Another study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that massage therapy can lower blood pressure, help prevent colds, and even enhance skin tone. So book that massage, stat!

10

A Pedicure

And these little piggies went to the salon! This is an especially great reward idea for anybody whose feet have been putting in work to help them lose weight. (We’re looking at you, runners and walkers!) Aside from the cosmetics of having well-manicured toes, a pedicure can give your feet a dose of moisture to help prevent them from cracking. Brissette suggests even turning it into a spa day to include a massage or a manicure if you can swing it. “You deserve it for all your hard work!” she says.

11

Party Time

Need a reason to party? Throw yourself a weight-loss success party, Brissette suggests. “Serve skinny cocktails and healthy appetizers and invite everyone you love. Marking this occasion with a party allows you a chance to celebrate and be congratulated. Plus, you’ll be less likely to slip up now that everyone knows how hard you’ve worked.” Need some inspo for imbibing? Check out our tips for low-calorie cocktails!

12

An Official Fitness Journal

Become a track(ing) star! Study after study shows that tracking what you eat can help you lose weight. A Kaiser Permanente study, for example, found that participants in a six-month weight loss program lost twice as much weight when they kept a food journal, compared to those who didn’t track what they were eating. Plus, a study funded by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Cancer Institute concluded that faithful food journaling was the best way to lose weight. Make it fun with a Fitbook that gives you prompts to set goals, log other important factors like sleep, and reflect on your progress.

13

Flowers

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-study-shows-no-benefit-omega-3-or-other-nutritional-supplements-cognitive-decline

You probably didn’t need a study to tell you this, but Harvard researchers found that flowers can make people feel happier and more energetic. But to ace this happiness hack, you’ll want to put the flowers on your nightstand. The Harvard researchers who collaborated with Massachusetts General Hospital were able to confirm that those who didn’t consider themselves “morning people” received the happiness boost when they looked at the flowers first thing in the morning.

14

A Lunch Box

The average takeout meal ordered by adults registers at 836 calories, according to a 2013 study published in BMJ. Yowza! If you packed your own lunch that was 500 calories, you’d save yourself 1,680 calories during the work week. But let’s be honest: your brown paper lunch bag is kind of sad. And it could be holding you back. Upgrade to a lunch bag and buy one that has insulated cooler bags, as well as better storage for your Tupperware and utensils. For more smart mid-day moves, check out these lunch rituals to lose weight!

15

Fancy Water Bottle

Whether it’s a Swell bottle or a Camelbak, having your own special water container that you love makes chugging water throughout the day all that much easier. Not only does keeping a water bottle with you at all times help you stay hydrated, a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism revealed that drinking water can be a boon for your metabolism. Drinking 17 ounces of water translated to an increased metabolic rate by 30 percent among participants!

16

Body Analysis

When you think of Las Vegas, you probably think of buffets and bottle service. But you can consider your Sin City sins absolved by checking in for a weekend at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, which is about 10 miles off the strip and has a health focus. (A must-do: The inverted yoga class.) While there, you can get your body fat and lean muscle mass evaluated in a Bod Pod, a high-tech, egg-shaped device that’s used by the NFL and offered at Well & Being spas like the one at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa.

17

Apple TV

It might seem counterintuitive, but your Apple TV can actually help your weight-loss goals, thanks to a gold mine of exercise videos that can turn your living room into a full-on workout studio. It’s also an excuse buster for those days when you can’t make it to the gym because the weather outside is frightful.

18

Playlist or Music Subscription

The ultimate cheerleader, music can help distract you from feeling tired and instead can actually increase your endurance, according to research from Brunel University’s School of Sport and Education. One caveat: It’s got to be in the 120 to 140 beats per minute range to be effective. Subscribe to Spotify and create your own playlists or let the music service play D.J. for you. (Yes, there’s a “Beast Mode” workout playlist that’s heavy on the hip hop and those songs with high BPM’s.)

19

Comedy Show

Whether it’s amateur night at a local comedy club or a well-known comedian is making a stop in your hometown, reward yourself by snapping up some comedy tickets. A study from Loma Linda University found that when we LOL, we lower our levels of the stress hormone (cortisol), which can improve our short-term memory while delaying fat storage. Plus, when you’re laughing, you’re toning those abs because your stomach muscles are contracting and expanding.

20

Hiking Poles

Take a hike! And do it with some hiking poles. If you’ve been relegating yourself to the same old creaky treadmill at the gym, reward yourself with some weekend cardio of hiking in the woods. A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using hiking poles helped increase calorie burn even though the participants didn’t feel like they were working harder.

21

A New Cookbook

Along your weight-loss journey, those southern cooking cookbooks and cake decorating magazines have probably collected a little dust. Reward yourself with a cookbook that will help you continue your weight-loss journey—or, if you’ve reached your goal, help you maintain your goal weight. Gina Homolka, the blogger behind Skinnytaste, has a new cookbook out that includes expertise from R.D. Heather Jones. Skinnytaste Fast and Slow is a collection of quick weeknight recipes and slow-cooker meals. The cookbook includes recipes like a slow-cooker chicken and dumplings meal and an under-30-minute recipe for zucchini noodles with shrimp and feta. In all, there are 140 nutritious recipes that come together easily.

22

A Tricked-Out Slow Cooker

Yes, we all wish we could clone Rosie, the robotic maid from the Jetsons household. The next best thing, though, is a souped-up slow-cooker, working as your assistant to make one of these healthy crock pot recipes. To sweeten the pot, the latest model from Belkin can sync up with an app on your smartphone so you can adjust temps while you’re at work or the gym.

23

Coloring Book

Take a break from adulting and crack open a coloring book. Focusing on the activity can spur creativity and decrease stress—which, in itself, is a relaxing reward and a great way to unwind at night. But keeping your hands busy in the evening can also mean less mindless snacking.

24

Fitness or Healthy Eating Magazine Subscription

Your mailbox has been eating a lot of junk (mail). Round out its diet by subscribing yourself to a fitness magazine or any other magazine that focuses on healthy living. It’s fun to flip through a glossy magazine! Plus, it might just be the inspiration you need to try a new recipe, yoga pose, or workout. Check out magazines.com for plenty of deals on great titles.

25

Yoga Mat

Reached another goal or weight loss benchmark? Why not roll out a new yoga mat for yourself?! Carving out an hour to do yoga can be a healthy way to reward your body. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that yoga can help mindful eating, too. Another study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that 20 minutes of Hatha yoga can stimulate brain function more than walking or jogging on a treadmill for the same amount of time. Speaking of efficient exercise efforts, don’t miss the insights revealed in our report, Can’t lose weight? Fitness rrainers explain why!

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Day 1: Jump to it with this 24-minute workout.

Eight-minute warm-up with jump rope.

One-minute intervals through two rounds of:

  • Squats
  • Jump rope
  • Push-ups
  • Jump rope
  • Butterfly sit-ups
  • Jump rope
  • V-ups
  • Jump rope

Stretch/foam roll for 15 minutes.

Day 2 : Choose one workout in the a.m. and one in the p.m.

After a 10-minute warm up, complete 10 repetitions of each exercise, moving from one to the next without resting. Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes.

  • Pike push-ups
  • Lunge-hop
  • Rotating side-planks
  • Surfer burpees

Cardio countdown 30-20-10

  • Warm up for five minutes.
  • Choose your cardio — run, bike, or swim. Start with an easy pace for 30 seconds, then increase your speed to a moderate pace for 20 seconds, then sprint for 10 seconds. Repeat this five times.
  • Go at recovery pace for three minutes.
  • Repeat 30-20-10 five times.
  • Go at recovery pace for two minutes.

Day 3: Bottom’s up!

Complete the following six exercises for 20 repetitions, and then again for 10 repetitions, and one more time for five repetitions.

  • Walking lunges
  • Squat-jumps
  • Step-ups
  • Jumping jacks
  • Side-lunges
  • Burpees

Stretch/foam roll for 15 minutes.

Day 4: Yoga

Try this free online month of yoga videos!

Day 5: Choose one workout in the a.m. and one in the p.m.

  • 12 single-leg squats (six on each leg)
  • 10 toes-to-wall
  • 8 box-jumps
  • 6 sit-up-to-stand-ups

Play DJ, and choose eight songs for your workout playlist. Pick up your pace every other song, and continue for approximately 30 minutes.

Day 6: Cardio sandwich

  • Run 0.5 miles or jump rope for five minutes.
  • Do 50 dips. (Break up the next four exercises as you need to accumulate 50 repetitions for each before running/jumping again.)
  • Do 50 supermans.
  • Run 0.5 miles or jump rope for five minutes.
  • Do 50 sit-ups.
  • Do 50 plié squats.
  • Run 0.5 miles or jump rope for five minutes.

Day 7: Stay calm and hold on.

Jump rope or run for 10 minutes and then…

Hold the following five exercises for one minute each — or accumulate a total of one minute in position, broken up as needed. Repeat three rounds over 15 minutes.

  • Plank
  • Side-plank
  • Glute-bridge with leg raise
  • Hollow-hold
  • Squat-hold

Stretch/foam roll for 15 minutes.

Married couple Naomi and Steve Masters were overweight and feeling stuck in a rut, but were ready to turn their lives around with our 12-week diet and fitness challenge.

We find out who fared better and if shaping-up works better with your partner.

8 Before the challenge Steve Masters weighed in at 15st 9lbs and his wife Naomi was 15stCredit: Lancton

HER

Naomi Manser, 47, is an events coordinator and lives in Exeter with husband Steve and their two children Scarlett, nine, and Wilson, six.

“Growing up in Australia, I used to have a very active lifestyle, swimming most days and eating lots of fruit and salads. At 5ft 2in and a slim size 10-12, I was confident about my body. But everything changed after I moved to the UK in 2000.

8 Naomi in 2005 when she was a size 12-14Credit: Lancton

“Working as a project manager, I grew to love stodgy British food like pie and mash. Three years after I arrived in London, I met Steve in a bar. By then I was a size 12-14, but I was still happy with how I looked.

“After four years together, Steve and I started IVF, as we were desperate for a family but couldn’t conceive naturally. For the next five years, my weight fluctuated as I comfort-ate through every failed fertility treatment.

I’d joke about my weight, but my self-esteem was rock- bottom.

Naomi Masters

“In 2012 we adopted Scarlett and Wilson, and in no time I was snacking all day, picking at their leftovers and treating myself to cake on playdates with other mums. By the end of last year I was the heaviest I’ve ever been at 15st, hiding under baggy jumpers and trying not to let Steve see me naked as I felt so ashamed.

“I’d joke about my weight, but my self-esteem was rock- bottom. My children look to me as a role model, so I need to help them grow into confident, healthy adults. How could I do that if I wasn’t like that myself?”

NAOMI BEFORE

Weight: 15st

Height: 5ft 2in

Waist: 48in

Size: 20

Breakfast: 2 slices buttered toast

Lunch: Pie with mashed potato

Dinner: Large bowl of pasta

Snacks: Crisps and biscuits

HIM

Steve Manser, 42, is a senior marketing manager.

“During the week I commute from our home in Exeter to my office in Bristol, and temptation is everywhere. It’s so easy to grab a bar of chocolate or a sausage roll from a shop at the train station, but it was these unhealthy habits plus a sedentary lifestyle that saw my weight creep up from 111/2st 10 years ago to 15st 9lb.

8 Unhealthy habits caused Steve’s weight to go to 15st 9lbCredit: Getty – Contributor

Naomi jokes that chocolate is my drug, but it’s true. If there’s any in the house I have to eat it all. It’s my downfall.

“I’m 6ft 2in, so I deluded myself for a long time that I wasn’t that overweight. But when the buttons of my shirts started to strain and I became breathless playing with the kids, I knew I had to do something.

You wouldn’t have caught me on the beach with my top off, that’s for sure.

Steve Masters

I must admit I knew Naomi was unhappy with her body – even though she always looks beautiful to me – and I definitely felt self-conscious about mine, too. You wouldn’t have caught me on the beach with my top off, that’s for sure.

“But it wasn’t something we really talked about. Maybe if we had, we’d have done something about it sooner.”

STEVE BEFORE:

Weight: 15st 9lb Height: 6ft 2in
Waist: 40in
Breakfast: Nothing
Lunch: Sandwiches and crisps
Dinner: Roast with all the trimmings
Snacks: Chocolate and pasties

NAOMI’S GOAL: Drop two dress sizes

“At my first personal trainer consultation at Unit 7 Gym in Exeter, I realised that if I wanted to reach my goal in three months, my plan would have to be very strict.

I couldn’t be at the gym every day because of the kids and my part-time job, so my PT explained that meant really restricting my calorie intake.

“It was daunting to hear, as I hadn’t tried to lose weight for so long.

“Out went buttered toast, crisps, pasties and biscuits. Instead, I had to follow a low-carb plan with lots of eggs, vegetables and white meat for protein.

8 Naomi hit the gym hardCredit: Lancton

It was incredibly tough, and a huge shock to my body. I also ended up having a couple of slip-ups, including pigging out on pizza and red wine on a night out, and a cheeky Chinese takeaway one weekend. I felt a bit guilty, but realised that I needed a taste of normal life to keep going.

“I’d always told myself I didn’t have time to exercise, but I knew I’d have to make time. So at least three times a week after dropping the kids at school I would meet my PT at the gym and do 30 minutes of cardio, such as the exercise bike, then 30 minutes of weights.

“It wasn’t easy walking in at first, as I was the biggest person there. In the beginning I felt intimidated and was convinced people were staring, but as I looked around I realised they were just getting on with their own workouts.

As I hit the six-week mark I began to see that my arms and legs were firmer and I had a waist emerging.

Naomi Masters

“I was sceptical weights would make much difference to my wobbly body, but as I hit the six-week mark I began to see that my arms and legs were firmer and I had a waist emerging. Of course, there were times when I was tempted to drive past the gym and go home, but I didn’t skip a session once.

“I stepped on the scales once a fortnight. I didn’t want to be dictated to by a bunch of numbers, plus I knew building muscle can affect weight loss, but it was still amazing to see the pounds dropping off.

8 Naomi soon noticed the pounds dropping offCredit: Getty – Contributor

“After eight weeks, I really began to notice that my size-20 clothes were getting loose, and had to buy some new outfits.

“Around the same time, friends and family began to comment that my face was looking slimmer.

“I was ecstatic, and it gave me a much-needed boost to keep going. I also noticed I was sleeping better and felt more positive and happy.”

STEVE’S GOAL: Lose 2st

“When I commit to something, I give it 100%. Once I had a chat with my PT, I was absolutely determined to stick to the three-month eating and exercise plan he’d devised.

Some people might think it would’ve been easier for me because I’m not at home with the children all day, but instead I had to go to the gym at 7.30pm after a long day at work, so it definitely wasn’t a breeze.

“Immediately, I discovered my biggest challenge was meal prep. I had to think ahead and batch-cook steak, rice, avocado and turkey rashers every two to three days.

8 Steve enjoyed his new healthy diet and didn’t feel hungryCredit: Alamy

My diet was less restrictive than Naomi’s as I had less weight to lose, so I did feel guilty tucking into steak when she was having another salad, but thankfully as we were both so determined it never caused arguments.

“Ironically, I found I was eating more than ever before – in the past I would skip meals but then binge on chocolate. I actually really enjoyed my new healthy menu.

“I didn’t feel hungry, unlike Naomi who told me often she was starving. I definitely missed chocolate, but as long as there was none in the house I could cope.

“At the gym, it was a steep learning curve working out how to use the machines and lift weights safely. My regime involved four hours a week of circuits and leg and upper-body exercises using weights and my own body as resistance.

Ironically, I found I was eating more than ever before – in the past I would skip meals but then binge on chocolate. I actually really enjoyed my new healthy menu.

Steve Masters

“On top of that, I walked the two-mile journey to the train station every morning. There were nights I was shattered and it took all my willpower, but the post-workout endorphins were addictive.

“Unlike Naomi, I stood on the scales once a week and got a real buzz from seeing my weight drop. At the start I was losing 5lb a week, but that soon slowed to 1-2lb, which my PT reassured me was normal.

“By the halfway point I had to go clothes shopping as everything was too loose, and at the end of the three months I was wearing clothes that I hadn’t taken out of the wardrobe in years.”

James Corden struggles to stay on the diet wagon and having a partner who never puts on weight

The result

“If Steve hadn’t been dieting, too, I’m not sure I’d have lasted the whole three months. He encouraged me when I was wavering, and I felt a healthy sense of competitiveness to keep up with him.

8 Naomi is now down to 13st and Steve is 13st 8lbsCredit: Lancton

Even when I really wanted to throw the towel in, I refused because I knew I’d regret it when he was slimmer than me. I still have work to do as my new target weight is 12st, and I’d love to be a size 14, but I’m confident I’ll get there. I’ve bought a treadmill, taken up yoga and I’m still eating healthily, although I allow myself the odd treat.

“I’ll never go back to my old habit of mindless emotional eating. Now, when I meet my friends for coffee I pass on the cake, as I don’t want to undo all my hard work. I’m not quite ready to parade around naked in front of Steve, but I do feel less self-conscious. For the first time in ages I’m happy to look at myself in the mirror.”

NAOMI AFTER

Weight: 13st
Waist: 44in
Size: 16
Breakfast: Poached eggs with smoked salmon
Lunch: Chicken salad
Dinner: Cod with vegetables
Snacks: Rice cakes

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Steve

“Even though the three-month plan is over, I’ve carried on walking to and from the station every day, and I’m still working out at the gym when I can. I haven’t quit my chocolate habit altogether, but I’m trying to have it as a treat instead of every day.

8 The couple have completely changed their eating habitsCredit: Lancton

My body feels firmer and stronger and I have lots more energy. I’ve still got around half a stone until I reach my goal weight of 13st, but I’m no longer self-conscious about having a wobbly belly, which is a great feeling.

I hope the new healthy me will be a good role model for my children. Naomi teases me about my newly discovered muscles, but doing this together has brought us closer. We supported and encouraged one another, and we’ll keep doing that until we both reach our next goals.”

STEVE AFTER

Weight: 13st 8lb
Waist: 34in
Breakfast: Turkey rashers with avocado
Lunch: Steak with rice
and vegetables
Dinner: Chicken and vegetable stir-fry
Snacks: Greek yoghurt
and raspberries

  • Hair & make-up: Olivia Todd
  • Styling: Maddie Burrough

Fun Fitness Challenges And Competitions To Do With Friends And Colleagues

Staying committed to your fitness goals can be a challenge. After a while, it can get boring. You lose your motivation, and it seems easier to give up than it does to push ahead and keep going.

Fun fitness challenges and competitions with your friends, family, and colleagues can go a long way toward shaking up your fitness routine and giving you a reason to keep trying.

And there are lots of reasons why you should stick to social fitness, especially at work, to it to boost your activity and improve your lifestyle towards a healthier one. For instance, inactive lifestyle and poor nutrition choices can results in such unpleasant illnesses as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.

We’ve all been there, you get super excited about getting fit and active, but over time your excitement fades, and you’re back to your normal day-to-day routine.

Fitness trackers were invented to help you track your progress and goals. But social fitness goes beyond that. While it’s great to have a visual representation and reminder of your activity, it’s much easier to stay motivated when you have a few partners in crime taking those steps with you.

1. In It Together

If you’re someone who goes to the gym often, you’ve probably learned that it’s a lot easier and more fun when you have a buddy to go with you. The time passes faster, you push yourself a little harder, and you don’t waste time looking around with feelings of paranoia that everyone is watching you, waiting to see if you make a mistake on the equipment (we’ve all been there, it’s ok to admit it).

Social fitness brings that buddy system to life no matter where you are. If you’re going for a walk, vacuuming the house, or running at the gym, you’re not doing it alone – you are connected to others who are trying to increase their activity, too. You can check your friend’s stats and feel motivated to do more, or feel proud of yourself for keeping up. Not everyone can find someone to go to the gym with them every day, but you can easily find people who wear fitness trackers and want to be encouraged on the journey you’re all on together.

2. For Your Competitive Side

Encouragement is a great motivator, but one of the most motivating factors in group workouts, and therefore social fitness, is competition. Almost everyone has that inner need to win, to prove themselves, and to take home the trophy. We love the thrill of beating our friends or strangers during a competition. We want them to come along with us on the journey; we just don’t want them to finish first. It might sound a little primaeval, but it’s just human nature. We compete, we push harder when there’s someone next to us who are doing better than us. We need a healthy dose of competition to boost us to new levels.

3. Everyone’s Invited

Have you ever watched all your friends or team members go to a party that you weren’t invited to? It’s not a pleasant feeling and can lead to you eating a tub of ice cream while sitting on the couch watching a sad movie, and that’s kind of the opposite of what your goal is at the moment. That feeling is similar to the one you might feel if you have a different fitness tracker than everyone else. OK, we are exaggerating, but admit it, it is a bummer when you have a Garmin while everyone else got a Fitbit.

With inKin, you can connect with Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin, Microsoft Band users, and so much more. Everyone comes together on one platform for like-minded individuals who are working as hard to maintain their fitness goals as you are. You’ll meet people from all over the world, make new friends, and become a part of the fun, vibrant international fitness community.

Now you can join that fun fitness challenges in the workplace everyone’s talking about. Plus, you can create public groups and challenge complete strangers. Someone halfway across the country will be running up and down stairs to beat you at a competition, and that’s something you should be proud of.

Convinced yet? Then here are a few group fitness challenge ideas and options (competitions and challenges can be public and private – among a certain group of people or by invitations only):

Option 1: Challenges

There is a broad base of fitness challenges to choose from on inKin. Select the one that most appeals to you and your group of friends. There are two primary types of challenges:
1. Total Challenge, which requires you to meet a particular goal within a specific period of time. For example, walk 500k steps in 40 days.
2. Streak Challenge, which encourages you to keep meeting a specific goal each day for the duration of the challenge (7500 steps daily for 3 months).

You can count the number of steps you take, the time spent exercising, or the number of calories burned throughout the duration of the challenge. You can also check out options like the distance you’ve walked over the course of the day.

Option 2: Team Battle

One excellent option for your fitness challenge is a team battle when one group matches up against another for the ultimate victory. In a team battle, the victory doesn’t depend entirely on one individual but instead rests with the team as a whole. This is a great option for a large group or within an office setting. You can encourage your teammates, attempt to sabotage your opponents, and do whatever it takes to catapult all of you to fitness success.

Optin 3: Duels

Duels are shorter-term competitions between two specific users. In a duel, users take on a sprint step matchup to see who takes the greatest number of steps over a twenty-four hour period. This is a short, one-on-one fitness challenge that is a great kickoff to a larger fitness plan or challenge. You could also hold short duels throughout the duration of a longer challenge to help break up the monotony or offer smaller victories to participants who are trying to go the extra mile.

Option 4: Competitions

Fitness competitions can also be arranged in which a participant who reached the highest results during the competition wins: whatever your challenge might be, everyone digs in and does their best. Whether they’re aiming to burn the most calories, take the most steps, or spend the most time exercising, it’s every man for himself. In the end, the winner takes all!

Incentives For Fitness Challenges And Competition

Sometimes, the spirit of competition is all that’s needed to help many individuals meet their fitness goals. Other times, adding in extra incentives can help push them that extra mile. Earning points, winning prizes, and pitting yourself against someone else will give you plenty of reasons to keep exercising and working to get in shape even when the going gets hard.

Engaging in fitness competitions and challenges at the workplace or among friends and family will help take your exercise plans to the next level while you learn new ways to push yourself and get in better shape. It’s the perfect way to meet your New Year’s goals, lose that lingering winter and holiday weight before spring arrives, or simply add a little bit of fun to your fitness routine.

Want to get inspired and learn a few fitness competitions and challenges ideas? Check out this post.

Photo Credit:

Additional reading:

Social Fitness: Why You Should Try It

The Benefits Of Corporate Wellness: How To Make Your Staff Happy and Cut Costs

Duels – 24-hour Head-To-Head Step Challenges

Couples fitness challenge ideas

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