Here we are, fast approaching week five of the six-week challenge, which has really been quite the experience. Six weeks definitely feels a lot longer than it initially looked on the calendar when my friend and I started.
The six-week challenge is about setting personal fitness and health goals, big or small, and fulfilling them for the duration. It has been so awesome seeing and hearing about everyone's progress, and I encourage you to go strong these next two weeks. Of course holiday celebrations are a given cheat day, but try to stick to one slice of pie versus three or four.
I love getting text messages and emails from people about what they are doing to stay fit or asking about a particular exercise or food choice. This week alone, I have heard: "I fit into this jacket that I couldn't fit into before because of my arms," "Someone told me I look thinner" and "I'm stoked 'cause I finally can run up this hill without stopping!"
I think it's really cool when people share that with me, because I know they are very excited. It is fun and exhilarating to share our successes and accomplishments in a variety of aspects, so why not fitness and health?
I remember looking over at my friend on week one, day four, in spin class and just shaking our heads and laughing because it was only the beginning, and it was rough pushing ourselves to the limits. We knew that we would eventually push through it, of course, but nonetheless it was rough.
Her goal, remember, is to lose body fat and inches to jump-start a healthier and fit lifestyle. This requires a strict, unwavering motivation, a healthy diet and consistent exercise program to see maximum results.
Even though we live within an hour of each other, it's not like I can monitor everything that she does to ensure she reaches her goals; there is a mutual trust and, of course, her commitment and focus in her own mind.
Your commitment to yourself, your goals and your results is the No. 1 thing, because it doesn't require a six-week challenge to start implementing healthy habits.
My hope for this challenge is that people will see results. Results are my main motivation. I have probably said that hundreds of times. There's just nothing more exciting for me than meeting fitness goals such as running my fastest mile, realizing I have more endurance in spin class or being able to squat a heavier weight.
If I wasn't setting goals, noticing improvements and rewarding myself for them, I probably wouldn't stick to this whole fitness and health thing very long.
The point is, when you try something new or want to accomplish something, go for it. Set a time frame, a specific goal and, most importantly, set a tone.
Make your goals realistic, taking you beyond your comfort zone but still staying attainable. If you see results this time around, what's stopping you from setting new goals taking you to the next level?
Keep up the good work and keep the emails and messages coming. For those of you who use Twitter and Instagram, don't forget to hashtag #6weekchallenge for motivational tips, pictures and quotes so that we can all benefit from each others' motivation as we near the finish.
Lunden Souza, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.