The first 100 days of 2017 has passed, which means April 9th marked the day that I completed the #100DaysFitnessChallenge. Set out by my good friend David, over at Kinetic Fitness, the challenge was simple: to do some physical activity for the first 100 days of the year – sorted. When I got to the halfway stage, 50 days ago, I wrote about the 4 things I’ve learned during the challenge. Now that I am 50 days wiser since the previous article, allow me to present 4 more things I’ve learned after completing the challenge:
1.I’m in the best shape of my life!
I spent most of 2016 undoing the last few years of an unhealthy lifestyle, so 2017 in many ways has really felt like a new beginning! The great news is based on on a variety of measures I am in the best shape of my life: at 106.5 kg I am at lightest I’ve been in 7 years, I started off the challenge at 109.7 kg; I am faster than I’ve ever been, also my core strength and overall endurance is better than it’s ever been. It’s no secret about the benefits of exercising, however being consistent has been the key! I’ve certainly made more progress in terms of my health and fitness in the first 100 days of this year than I did for all of 2016. With that being said, I still have my own personal health goals I am still aiming for.
Check out: How exercise reduces health risks.
2.Prioritise identifying and avoiding things that negatively impact your health.
#TrueFact For the first two weeks of the challenge I actually gained weight (both muscle and fat), this happened because I was overcompensating in the food I ate, overestimating the number of calories I was burning.
To put this into context my typical 7.5km run used up about 850 calories, this is a lot of calories by any measure of exercise. However, this hard work can easily be outdone by eating extra snacks: that amount of calories can be found in a single snickers bar and half a packet of chocolate chip cookies.
Supplementation is a good technique to solve bad eating habits: in principle, it’s simply the process of replacement one “bad” food group, with a “good” food group that still satisfies the same cravings. The above “Kick Your Craving” diagram does a great job in highlighting how to improve your food choice.
From a standpoint of both nutrition and mental health, being self-aware and identifying how certain foods impact you is key. Do you develop spots, or rashes after eating particular foods? Do you comfort eat? Or perhaps you feel more anxious because of home or work pressures then you turn to certain foods/drink ? Be honest with yourself in identifying these. I have started utilising more Mindful approaches to help be healthier in body and mind.
Check out: 5 Emergency Snacks to Avoid the Binge.
3.Benchmarking helps focus your workout
Particularly towards the end of the challenge, I began to push myself a lot harder to achieve my personal best in running. I eventually managed to achieve new personal bests in the last two consecutive weeks. This is one example where framing my workout to a particular goal helped focus my training. The same applied to my nutrition, keeping a food diary helped me understand both the number of calories I was taking, but more importantly the amount (or lack thereof) of nutrients. It made it easier to make the required adjustments. I would suggest this technique if you’re fairly new to working out, or if you want to gain or lose weight. Also, benchmark against what you can already do, don’t worry about how quickly someone else can run or the size of the weights they use – YOUR health journey is your own!
I am not a personal trainer or nutritionist, however, my business partner, Eze, and I started up ZeeFit Health because we both have a keen interest in understanding how the human body works. Particularly as it relates to our diets, many foods, including “healthy foods”, simply do not benefit or help us in the same way their marketing suggests. Therefore, the onus is very much on YOU to do due diligence in researching more about what you are putting into your body, how it affects you, and how you can lead a healthier lifestyle.
Check out: The Importance of Good Gut Bacteria
So, what now?….
As crazy as it sounds I’m going to do another 100 days, #100MoreDays Challenge! YOU can get involved by posting your progress pictures on Instagram, follow us over at @ZeeFitHealth and use the hashtag #100MoreDays. See what happened on Day 1!