do fitness challenges actually work?

Raise your hand if you’ve thought about going on a health kick or starting a fitness challenge leading into summer?

With a few important life events coming up in the next couple of months, I know I have.

This got me thinking: do fitness challenges actually work?

The idea of being able to make major changes in a relatively short period of time can seem too good to be true, but experts say if done properly these challenges produce results.

28 by Sam Wood’ founder and fitness expert Sam Wood, who launched his next 8-week fitness challenge earlier this week (4 October), says challenges can be exactly what’s needed to jumpstart a fitness journey and set up a wellness routine for future success.

“Fitness challenges can be an excellent circuit breaker,” says Wood.

“They provide clients with practical tools – expert guided workouts for every fitness level, delicious meal plans, a vast library of health resources – and, most importantly, support.

“From a physical perspective, 8 weeks is long enough to see real transformation.

“That might be weight loss, or it could be a change in body shape as muscle starts to build. Whatever it is, it’s sustainable enough to give someone the motivation to continue on after the challenge ends.”

Fitness challenges are said to also provide a unique opportunity for increased motivation, while reportedly from a psychological perspective, the sense of community provided by fitness challenges such as the ‘28 by Sam Wood’s online community’ is invaluable to success.

Sydney-based psychologist, Nancy Sokarno says people are a product of their environment and having support from others who understand the process can be a major factor in whether someone manages to change lifestyle habits and create new healthier routines.

“Whether it is in person or online, we innately require connection and belongingness, a community can provide you with the encouragement and comradery to push you to perform at your best,” says Sokarno.

“In a fitness challenge, it certainly helps to be surrounded by cheerleaders who want you to succeed.

“Challenges also benefit habit formation.

“Psychologically, while there is no set number of days required to form a new habit, our mind takes on goals 12 weeks at a time and this period is the most important for continued success.

“The benefit of an 8-week fitness challenge is that it can kickstart habit formation and provide someone with the tools to fly through this period and lock in those healthy habits.”

Beginning a fitness challenge also provides a starting line.

There is no ‘I’ll get going tomorrow’ or ‘waiting till Monday’ when the start date is set in stone.

“Eight weeks is short enough, so the finish line is always in view, even from the start, which certainly makes the challenge less daunting,” says Wood.

“We’ve seen thousands of success stories – people who don’t just lose weight but also transform the way they live.

“They’ve become the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves,” he says.

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