Let's start with some facts.
More than 60% of people who join a gym will purchase their membership and never return for a workout.
Of those who do go to the gym, 80% participate in only group exercise classes.
Only 1% of members go three times a week for a full year.
So who's to know what percentage of those active-3x-a-week-gym-members also eat right more than 80% of the time?
So obviously, for the average Joe or Jane who are looking to start a fall challenge, taking on three workouts a week AND a nutrition regime can be a lot of work. It's also most likely that if you're current not eating right, you already know why and how to fix it. But that's obviously easier said that done.
That's why, for this challenge we focus on supplying you with four workouts that build up your strength, endurance and frequencies of workouts, in addition to steady-state and HIIT cardio. We're hoping you'll get into the "fit mindset" (the whole point of the fall fitness challenge), and your diet will fall into place on its own. Depending on what your goals are - say if you have a significant (i.e. want to lose 10 lbs or more) - you'll still see results without altering your diet too much.
So, the key here is to build a habit. And habits are hard to build. Which is why we start you with focusing on just one: get you into the fit mindset via the workouts.
Once you complete the challenge, you can give yourself an overall score. You can rank yourself on your success with your workouts, and reflect (not score) on how your diet varied accordingly. You then know what you can consider your "winter challenge" (hey, that could be a good idea - we should start working on building that now..) and can work toward fine-tuning your nutrition for even more results. Aka building habit #2.
So, while we don't start you with an every-single-macro-counting-meal-plan, here are the basic steps we suggest:
1. Use a meal tracking app. We recommend MyFitnessPal. It has a huge database of foods, and even a barcode scanning component that makes logging in food super easy. It also remembers your recent meals, and you can input your own recipes and serving sizes, so the longer you use it, literally the easier it is to use. Input as many days of food as you can remember before you started the challenge. And include everything. We mean everything! People don't often realize how many calories they're eating in a day. It's also true of restaurants' "healthy items" - yeah right, the salad is healthy, but there's still 1,200 calories in the dressing and zero protein in the whole meal. Then continue to track it throughout the challenge, and see how it improves with time. You can also notice which items are surprisingly 'worse' for you than others. And you'll know where to start for suggestion 2..
2. Focus on elimination first. Even if we don't want to admit it in public or to our trainers, we all know where our diets slip. For me, its a bag of ketchup chips. A whole bag. In one sitting. Take that one thing, and work towards eliminating it. See how long it takes and how easy or difficult it was. Once you've eliminated that thing for 2 weeks, move on to the next thing. By the end of the challenge you will have eliminated your 3 biggest dietary defeats without counting a single macro.
3. Focus on protein. We're kinda stepping on toes of what our next blog post will be about, but focus on protein, protein, protein. Getting in as much protein as you can will help you build muscle and keeps you feeling longer. Make sure you have a protein serving with every single meal (i.e. eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch and fish for dinner) and even with a snack if possible. It shouldn't be surprising that once you make room for protein, you have less room for bad carbs and saturated fats.