Fitness challenges: gaming or failing?

Last month I had occasion to participate in a fitness challenge as part of a work team. I had to promise to meet a minimum number of steps each day, share three pictures of healthy meals, drink 32 ounces of water and carry out four mystery exercises.


Photo by Kobu Agency on Unsplash Image shows water pouring into a pretty glass. Does it help to drink from a pretty glass? Yes. A straw is nice too.

I learned a number of things from doing this challenge, some good and some not so good. So I’ll deal with the good stuff first:

1) I really liked being part of a team. If I didn’t meet my daily commitments, I felt like I let the team down. So I was motivated to complete the actions because my bit added to the overall team standing.

2) I really liked easy-to-follow criteria. I had to meet my steps, eat three healthy meals, and drink water. Nothing complicated: I had to eat, I had to drink, and since teleporting is still not a thing, I had to walk.  All three were things I had to do anyway, so it wasn’t an issue to do more of it. So I did, albeit in a more focused manner.

3) I liked having a daily goal. I create a daily list of things I want to do each day before I go to sleep. Usually, it’s work-related or family-related. I’ve since started looking at how to build in activity each day as part of pre-planning instead of just as an afterthought.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

1) I didn’t like the mystery challenges. I would have preferred a choice of movements each time. Instead, I was stuck twice with exercises that simply did not work for someone who has wonky hips like me.

2) The app only works if there is a challenge. It would have been great if I could have kept the posting/tracking going even if there wasn’t a competition. I still keep track of my steps with my Fitbit and I do work in a half-hour of step walking if I’m short, but the meals and water kind tracking fell by the wayside. However, I have noticed that if I fill my water cup twice a day, I meet my daily allotment so while I might not track, the water drinking habit has stuck.

So what now? I’ll probably consider fitness challenges like this in the future because it was fun and I learned new things along the way. In the meantime, I am working on making my own challenges and seeing what I can do to meet or exceed them weekly. Starting in the new year, I hope to have a jar full of activities that I can pick from to ensure I keep my daily fit on.

How about you? What fitness challenges have you been a part of and what have you learned?

MarthaFitat50 gets her fit on through yoga, swimming, trail walking, and powerlifting.



4 thoughts on “Fitness challenges: gaming or failing?

  1. I find these work fitness challenges really interesting, and I have a few questions about how they constructed the program if you don’t mind answering them.

    1. What was the definition used for “healthy meals”
    2. What accommodations were made for people whose movement of choice doesn’t involve steps (either because of preference or disability)
    3. What accommodations were made in the “mystery exercises” to accommodate disabilities and preferences?
    4. Was the choice not to participate encouraged and supported?
    5. What were the consequences (explicity stated and or social/cultural) for those who took on the challenge but did not complete the daily requirements
    6. What were the consequences (explicitly stated and/or social and cultural) for those who didn’t participate? For example, was this something that your work team discussed during worktime in such a way that those who weren’t/couldn’t participate would feel left out?
    7. What steps were taken to make sure that this wasn’t triggering for those who are dealing with/recovering from an eating disorder?

    Thanks in advance!

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