Stop Ignoring Those Fitness Challenge Notifications

Sometimes, you’re ready to challenge your fitness. But every so often, your fitness journey needs a little help.

Thankfully, the rise of the virtual fitness challenges just may offer a solution. What is the virtual fitness challenge? Check your Apple Watch, or your Google Watch, or any of a myriad of websites. More and more, our increasingly connected world is doing everything it can help motivate you in your fitness journey.

This comes in a variety of ways. Sometimes, it’s as simple as your Apple Watch pushing you to complete your rings for 10 consecutive days, or it’s your Peloton driving you to log at least three workouts in six consecutive weeks. Other times, it’s a chance to sign up for a virtual 5k, a 5k you run by yourself with the support of an internet community.

Either way, these challenges just might push you to get a workout in. They do it in a variety of ways, and all of that can help you get in the shape you’ve been working for.

Goals

One of the hardest things about staying fit, whether for beginners or gym vets, is having and maintaining a goal. Sure, you wanted to lose 20 pounds, or you wanted to bench press 225, 10 times. But what happens once you’ve achieved that goal?

For many, it gets easy to relax after they’ve achieved their fitness goals, but that’s where a virtual challenge can come in. Whether you’re taking on that virtual 5K or working through a 30-day ab challenge, it suddenly gives you an endless supply of goals. Your mind gets to go on autopilot while still working towards achieving something, and that keeps your fitness journey moving in a positive direction.

New Challenges

The other beauty of a fitness challenge: It can push you outside your comfort zone. Frequently, people fall into habits and basics when they train by themselves. Do you enjoy bench pressing more than, say, squatting? Then you can bench press more if you train alone. Do you skip running workouts in favor of weight workouts? You can do that, too, when you’re training outside a group challenge.

A group challenge can force you into new challenges and hold you accountable to taking on those challenges. That 30-day squat challenge can push you to do the exercises you may have skipped, just like a running challenge forces you to do cardio. Let the challenge guide you, and you’ll learn new motions and challenge new energy systems.

A bonus: When you return to your preferred training style, count on the fitness you built in the challenge to aid you. By improving your mobility, you get stronger bench pressing. Adding strength training can make you a better runner. And improving your cardio will help your strength gains, too.

Community

Once you’re in a group challenge, you’re no longer alone on your fitness journey. And this is the best part of a fitness challenge. If you’re trying something you’ve never done before, it’s incredibly easy to just ... stop trying. Why do you have to do this 10-mile run? Why do you have to do 100 pushups? Why do you have to train abs 30 days in a row? 

Because you’re not alone, and that dose of accountability can push you, the same as a group fitness class helps you perform consistently for 60 minutes. It all adds up to plenty of reason to take on a group fitness challenge or participate in a virtual race.
Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Fitness Director for Men’s Health Magazine and CSCS trainer -

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men's Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. He's logged training time with NFL and track athletes, and his current training regimen includes weight training, HIIT conditioning, and yoga. Before joining Men's Health in 2017, he served as a sports and tech columnist for the New York Daily News.