What Can You Accomplish in a 21 Day Challenge

What can you really accomplish in a 21, 28, or 30 day fitness challenge

Around this time of year it's common for people to take part in 21, 28, or 30 day fitness challenges. Gym membership prices will be at an all time low and new years resolutions will be written and unfortunately broken.

There's nothing wrong with trying out a new fitness routine, it's a great start. What can you really accomplish in this short time though? 

Be on the lookout for a post January 1st where I'll release a program you can follow to lose weight or tone up this new year.

How Much Weight You Can Lose

When losing weight using a well constructed diet, you should aim to lose 1-2 lbs a week

Any faster and you risk sacrificing muscle (which is what makes you look good and is a large part of your metabolism). Any slower and you're prolonging the diet process. It is possible when starting a new diet to lose a lot more weight than that initially. Why is that? It has to do with Insulin.

Your scale weight has to do with a lot of things that change on a constant basis such as fluid retention, how long ago your last meal was, whether you've used the bathroom recently and maybe even that time of the month. A large portion of the constant changing is water retention.

Water retention is caused by a diet high in simple sugars and excess carbohydrates. Basically simple sugars and high carbohydrate diets cause your insulin levels to spike. When insulin levels spike your body retains more sodium, among other things, which is why you feel so bloated and puffy the next day after you increase your carb intake (1, 2).

You should lose 4-8 lbs in a month but you could lose twice that if you switch your diet up.

You can start today

See results and feel confident

How Your Body Will Adapt

If you're not currently exercising, you can get significantly stronger in a month. It may not be because of why you think though!

There is a new term floating around the internet called an "SRA Curve". SRA stands for Stimulus, Recovery and Adaption. Broken down, when you exercise you cause several disturbances that your body adapts to if given enough time and the right environment. 

  • The stimulus is the activity you did like 20 minutes of jogging or 45 minutes of lifting weights.
  • Recovery is the time it takes your body to heal from all of that activity, so long as you're eating right and sleeping.
  • Adaptation is the thing that everyone is seeking, when you get into better shape and grow stronger to prepare your body for the new challenges you've thrown at it.

It's also been called stimulus-fatigue-recovery-adaptation theory (SRA just sounds cooler right?)

Here's an illustration of this:

Stimulus Fatigue Recovery Adaptation Theory Diargram
Stimulus Fatigue Recovery Adaptation Theory

This concept is really important to learn because each system in your body has a different adaptation curve. The recovery and adaptation process begins immediately after a session. 

Some Examples of Adaptations that Undergo this Process:

  • Neuromuscular: Increase the efficiency of movements and coordination, increase the reflex activity of the nervous system..increase muscle hypertrophy.
  • Metabolic: Increase the use of fat as energy for long duration activities, increase the efficiency of the glycolytic energy system, increase the efficiency of the oxidative system. 
  • Cardiorespiratory: Increase lung volume,..decrease heart rate, increase capillary density, increase lactate threshold so that the athlete can perform at a higher rate of oxygen consumption.

Sourced from: Bompa, Tudor O., and Gregory Haff. "Adaptation." Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training. 5th ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2009. 10-11. Print.

Take into account that when you learn a new exercise this process may take longer because you have to get the coordination down first before you can begin to build new muscle. 

WARNING about SRA Curves:

"There is no set SRA- curve. It's different all of the time for each person based off of other stressors, diet, sleep, etc." -J. Bryan Mann, PhD, CSCS, SCCC, Director of Research MU Performance Institute (Follow him on Twitter or Read his Column)

A new challenge is a great way to get started but you'll likely need more time to get all of the benefits of exercising.

You can start today

See results and feel confident

What will you accomplish?

To make it fun for all readers and Columbia, Missouri locals I'll release a basic program for beginners on this blog January 1st of 2017. What makes me qualified to do so is hold a C.S.C.S and can write well designed programs.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association has some classifications that are useful for you to know where you are now:

Beginner Status:

  • Currently training for 0-6 months
  • Current Frequency 0-3 times per week

 It's recommended that you start off training 2-3 times per week

Intermediate Status:

  • Currently Training for 8-12 months
  • Current Frequency 3-4 times per week

 It's recommended that you start off training 3 times per week (total body) or 4 times per week (split routine)

Advanced Status

  • Training for >1 year
  • Current Frequency 4-6 times per week

 It's recommended that you train 4-6 times per week

Phone: 1-573-443-1495