I love all kinds of challenges, particularly ones related to fitness and nutrition. These are some that I have tried out and which you might hear mentioned on the blog. If you know of any challenges that you think I might be interested in, or if you have any ideas for potential future challenges, leave a comment or email me at email@example.com. Your insights and suggestions are welcome!
What is the Green Smoothie Challenge?
In early 2011 I began to drink a lot of green smoothies and have enjoyed several green smoothie “fasts.” These green smoothie challenges can last anywhere from one day to my longest challenge of 11 days (April/May 2011). During these challenges, I enjoy drinking plenty of homemade green smoothies, and I often “supplement” them with small portions of raw fruit and vegetables and nut butter. I find that drinking a diet rich in green smoothies makes me feel amazing and I often experience a weight loss of several pounds within just a few days of consuming almost exclusively green smoothies. I encourage everyone to try incorporating green smoothies into their lives, as they are a great way to improve digestion, increase energy and promote general well-being.
What is the Real Foods Challenge?
I originally began this challenge in March 2008, with the intention to eliminate all processed foods from my diet for a week. Since creating this challenge for myself, I learned that I am much happier without processed foods and my body thrives on all-natural, wholesome foods. So, I decided to extend the challenge to become a lifestyle. Although nowadays I do eat some processed food, I do my best to avoid it as much as possible and I like to make as many of my own things as I can. My experiments have even included making my own butter! It is incredibly difficult to completely eliminate all processed foods from our diets in our society, but we can reduce the amount we eat by a considerable amount without too much extra effort at all.
What is the 100 Push Ups Challenge?
This fitness regime was designed by Steve Speirs, and is an intense six-week program to build up strength and endurance until you are capable of completing 100 consecutive push ups. It took me about three months to successfully achieve 100 consecutive push ups, and was a wonderful experience! You can learn more about it at their website.
What is the 200 Crunches Challenge?
Steve Speirs followed up with this challenge after finding huge success with his 100 Push Ups Challenge. Another six-week program, this is designed to strengthen the core and abdominals so that by the end of the six weeks you are able to perform 200 consecutive crunches. I completed this challenge after I mentally prepared myself for it. It was a fantastic workout and improved my core strength immensely! You can learn more about this challenge at the 200 Crunches website.
What is the 60 sit ups in a Minute Challenge?
Just as it sounds, this challenge (created by Tim Rosanelli) is a program based off of Steve Speirs’ idea but for the abs. I did crunches rather than sit ups and after just a couple weeks I surpassed the goal and reached 64 crunches in 60 seconds. I fully encourage any and all of you to try this challenge, too!
What is the 20 Pull Ups Challenge?
This challenge, also inspired by the 100 Push Ups Challenge, is a program to build you up to be able to complete 20 consecutive pull ups. An alternative way to do it is by doing 20 chin ups. I find chin ups to be far more doable than pull ups, so for me personally I have been doing this challenge based on chin ups rather than pull ups. I have yet to complete this challenge and am currently taking a hiatus from it, but I still plan on successfully completing this challenge! When I have mastered 20 consecutive chin ups, I intend on going on to complete 20 consecutive pull ups as well. If you’re interested in this challenge, check out Olli Sikstus’ site.
What is the 100 Reps Challenge?
Inspired by theIFlife’s 100 Rep Daily Challenge, for the month of December I challenged myself (and some of you!) to do 100 reps each of a combination of a couple different exercises every day, just to spice things up a little. The holiday season is a busy time for everyone so this is a fun and simple way to get in a little bit of exercise if you’re crunched for time. You can learn more about this challenge by checking out the very first day that we began this challenge.
What is the Sugar Awareness Challenge?
I designed this hugely successful challenge to promote awareness about the dangers of consuming added sugars. This was a week-long challenge of eating only food that did not contain any added sugars; that’s including the small amount of sugar that is added to products such as bread. It was also a way to look more closely at nutrition labels and ingredients lists- when there are over 100 different names for the word “sugar” on food packages, you really have to watch out for it!
I logged what I ate each day of the challenge (including some healthy recipes) to prove that it is possible to eat a very healthy diet completely devoid of added sugars, and to demonstrate the importance of natural sugars. However, this challenge also highlighted the difficulties that we have in avoiding added sugars in our diets simply because there really is sugar in nearly every processed food that we eat. You can check out my first day of the challenge and also my final reflections on the challenge. If you choose to take this challenge, please let me know! I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
What is the One Hundred Day Burpee Challenge?
This is a challenge that was started on January 1st, 2009; the idea of this is that on Day One, you do one burpee. On Day Two, you do two burpees. Continued in this way, eventually the challenge is completed when you do 100 burpees on Day 100 (they do not have to be performed consecutively)! I didn’t find out about this challenge until April, so even though they have finished up the challenge at the One Hundred Day Burpee Challenge website, I only started it on April 6th (click for my explanation of how to perform a burpee). Interested in trying out this challenge? Check out the One Hundred Day Burpee Challenge website for inspiration!
What is the Run a Race this Summer Challenge?
In the spring of 2008 I started training for a half marathon, and then decided to stop training when I realized I was only using running as a way to deal with depression and that I didn’t actually enjoy running. Fast forward a year, after I had gotten past my depression, to a time when I was ready to tackle running once more. As I was training for my race, I blogged about the difficulties that arise with fitness challenges and also what keeps me motivated.
I learned how to love running as I trained and I completed this challenge by participating in a 6k trail race. I now run a couple times a week and am happy to report that I do it for the enjoyment of it and for what it does for my body rather than to work off anger and depression. For me, this was the ultimate fitness challenge: defeating my enemy (running) by overcoming my struggles with it and learning to embrace the sport.
What is the Vegan-for-a-month and Animal Products Awareness Challenge?
I went strictly vegan during September 2009- no meat, dairy, eggs, honey, or even products such as toothpaste, tooth floss, and lip balm which all contain animal ingredients or byproducts- in order to spread awareness about animal products in the foods we eat, to decrease my carbon footprint, and to increase my knowledge and understanding of different diets and lifestyles. I did mounds of research and found it to be a wonderful experience. Although I went into the challenge believing that veganism was an unhealthy diet, I completed the challenge with a decision to eat a mostly-vegan diet while I’m at home. When I go out to other peoples’ homes or to restaurants, I eat what I like, but at home I now eat mostly-vegan, because it is what feels right for my body at this point in time. I learned a lot about veganism and my own body and my perspective has broadened significantly from this experience.
During the month I recorded what I ate every day and also discussed what I was learning and the recipes that I was discovering. You can read about my adventures with veganism in the September 2009 archives.
What is the Raw Food Challenge?
In January 2010, I made the decision to eat a 100% raw food diet. A raw food diet consists of eating everything raw; nothing can be cooked (and I soon realized that the dead of winter was not the best time to try a raw food diet ). As with all of my nutrition challenges, it was an opportunity to spread awareness about the benefits and drawbacks of this way of eating. During the month we discussed the nutritional benefits of various kinds of raw and cooked foods. We also looked at how well the body absorbs nutrients from raw and cooked foods. My conclusion at the end of the month is that a combination of raw and cooked foods will be the healthiest way to satisfy the body’s needs for most people.
During the month I recorded what I ate every day and also discussed what I was learning and the recipes that I was discovering. You can read about my adventures with raw food in the January 2010 archives. I was also interviewed during my raw food journey by a vegan raw foodist, and you can view the videos of our interview at OurRawJourney on YouTube. In it, I answer questions regarding how eating raw made me feel, how it affected my health and my relationships with others, the difficulties of eating raw, favourite meals, and advice for other people interested in trying a raw food diet.