Happy Friday everyone! Another Friday, another blog post. Now, today is actually Valentine’s Day, and since I am my own Valentine, I decided to write about one of my other true loves – the gym! I recently went to the gym everyday for 30 days, which differs from my usual 2-4 sessions per week. Keep reading to find out why!
WHY I went to the gym everyday for 30 days
As I stated, normally my gym routine is very flexible, where I go anywhere from 2 to 4 times per week. I’ve created 8-week or 12-week plans that I just haven’t stuck to because life gets in the way and I can’t seem to push past the mental and physical boundaries.
For example, I would be motivated to go to the gym after work, but after my 1.5hr commute home where the gym is, I’d be completely talked out of it through my own thoughts and actions.
Therefore, this 30 day challenge was inspired after seeing other 30 day challenges around, such as Youtuber Morgan Yates’ 30 days of boxing, and Matt D’Avella’s ongoing challenges. For me, a 30 day challenge would be motivating to not just go to the gym everyday, but to really focus on:
- Pushing past mental blocks
- Creating self-discipline
- Improving my mindset
- Proving to myself that I CAN DO IT!
- Not skipping a muscle group
Clearly, the 30 day challenge was more of a mental experience than a physical one. There is something about creating a challenge that I find fun and exciting, yet knowing the work will come. Even if it’s 7 days of waking up at 6am, 10 days of drinking celery juice (that would be a tough one!), the breadth of challenges is endless.
BENEFITS of going to the gym everyday for 30 days
From doing a 30 day fitness challenge, you benefit from the mental challenge, the changes in physical fitness, or just an improvement in overall health.
Some benefits include:
- Results after 30 days – these won’t necessarily be noticeable, though you may find you’ve gained strength and can lift some heavier weight, or feel more cardiovascular fitness. Personally, my main goal was to just finish the challenge! The result being a sense of pride and achievement!
- Changing behaviours – the old tale of 21 days to form a habit isn’t so straightforward anymore. To continue a habit will also take self-discipline on days that are hard or you feel tired. Furthermore, your ability to bounce back if you miss a workout is also important. You’ll notice from my 30 day chart below, legs day was on a different day each week as I tried to find my groove of what was fun and attainable with my daily schedule, while also working around a knee injury. However, what I did notice, is that on day 30 after completing Back & Biceps, my mind was completely set on doing Chest & Triceps the next day, which I had been doing throughout the course of the challenge, even though I was planning to rest on day 31.
- Confidence – sometimes the gym can be a bit daunting if you’re still new. I find the best way to overcome this is just by showing up, focusing on yourself and your workout. After 30 consecutive days of showing up and going to the gym, you may feel less unease, and may even see a few friendly familiar faces.
- Health benefits – By exercising everyday, even if it is just 30 minutes brisk walking on the treadmill, you’ll be hitting the World Health Organisation (WHO) targets of 150-300 minutes of physical activity per week. In turn, this may lower the chances of morbidity and prolong mortality.
- Increased productivity – Several studies on workplaces show the positive effects of exercise on things like productivity, and related time management. In the past, my longest working days, or lazy days at home, are the days that I don’t feel like going to the gym or working out. On day 29 of the challenge, it was a Sunday and the outside torrential rain made me all cozy in bed all day. Ironically, all this rest made me feel lethargic. Once I got out of bed and to the gym at 6pm, I did an intense cardio workout and felt so energetic afterwards and felt like I could go run some errands. I definitely feel this is aligned with the studies about exercising improving productivity.
READ MORE: 5 Benefits of Owning a Gym Membership
- ‘LISS’ stands for Low Intensity Steady State. This is an easier workout that can let the muscles recover from intense strength training.
- ‘Fat burner’ is a pre-made workout available on machines like the elliptical and stationary bike. The resistance changes automatically. It’s up to you whether you try to keep up a pace while the resistance increases, or change pace to make it more like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Either way, it’s tough, making it a great workout to burn calories.
HOW To Stay The Course
- Do the challenge with a friend – throughout this challenge, I was lucky enough that my brother decided to join in. In all honesty, without him, I don’t think I would have successfully completed the challenge. Being extra tired some mornings, battling torrential rain other days, and the week of my period (need I say more?!) would have all been enough for me to contemplate not going to the gym. My brother and I kept each other accountable. It’s the first time I’ve seen the true benefit of training with a friend and the mental blocks that release as a result.
- Track your progress – whether it is a reduction in heart rate per minute (a sign of increased cardiovascular fitness), body measurements, journaling, or simply marking off the days, tracking your progress can help motivate you to continue working out to reach your goals and complete the challenge. The only thing I did was cross the days off on a physical, visible calendar. That way I could visually see how many days I had done, as well as how I was getting closer and closer to the end date.
- Keep momentum – as tough as it was some days to get out of bed and go to the gym, missing a day would have had worse results. One day may turn into 3 days. More importantly, because I wanted to successfully complete this challenge so much (as I haven’t succeeded at a challenge of this kind before) I knew my mindset would be damaged. I didn’t want to feel disappointed then continue missing days of the challenge since I had already ‘failed’. That’s the thing about a challenge. 1 mistake will require lots of resilience to bounce back and keep going, even if it means adding on a few extra days at the end to make up for missed sessions.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you do miss a day – Contrary to my mindset in the point above, I do hope that if I missed going to the gym one day, that I would show myself compassion and remind myself of the bigger picture (health, enjoying the gym etc.). One missed day in the challenge should not completely change my perspective on my goals and the challenge itself. Remember, just giving it a go is an accomplishment already. And like the point above, you can add on any missed days at the end of the original completion date.
The Aftermath / Final Thoughts
I really did enjoy going to the gym every day for 30 days. If I hadn’t made it a ‘challenge’ and had that mindset to reach the goal of 30 days, I would not have ever willingly gone to the gym for 30 days in a row.
The mind is everything in any challenge, and I definitely believe having a buddy to keep you accountable is the number 1 most important thing. It’s ok to not succeed on your own. A good support team never hurt anyone. After all, they are there to SUPPORT.
In future, I’m keen on doing other ‘challenges’ such as drinking apple cider vinegar (watered down) every morning for 10 days or trying yoga for 2 weeks (currently in progress!). Any challenge you decide to do should be aligned with your goals, interests, and be attainable. The challenges I want to do align with health, fitness, and self-care. In other words, progressing towards Wellness. Challenges are fun but also push us out of our comfort zone, whether physically or mentally. It’s almost addictive because there’s no greater feeling than looking back at how far you’ve come and what you’ve learnt.