30 day fitness challenges have been trending high on the internet these days. From 30 day abdominal workouts to squatting challenges, thousands of health minded individuals have taken on the challenge.
Traditionally 30 day challenges have involved a month-long commitment in performing one or a series of exercises with the number of repetitions increasing each day.
Based on the Transtheoretical Model Of Change, which conceptualizes the process of intentional behavioral change. Change is found within stages, starting with precontemplation (not ready) to maintenance, an important stage within the model is the action stage. The action stage is where observable behavioral change takes form. Researchers estimate the action stage lasts for about six months. Which makes the 30 day fitness challenges a great place to start, individuals see 30 days achievable, whereas six months sounds more daunting.
Participants also feel a sense of community, when a group of like-minded individuals aim to achieve a goal together. I have watched first hand as a group gets together at the DHF Clinic to do a series of push-ups together , and high fives each other after completing the workout. Amazingly, social media also can create a sense of community as well.
One of the cons with 30 days challenges is that they end in 30 days, and as we know behavioral change takes longer than 30 days. Another con is that the marketing and the individuals expectations of results are unrealistic. Dependent on the individuals current level of related fitness, 30 days is not long enough to achieve their desired results.
The biggest con that I can see with the challenges is the risk of injury. Working on one exercise every day, and increasing the volume of work daily is a recipe for injury. That does not take into account the individual may not be performing the move with optimal efficiency as well.
A Needed Twist
The challenge is to highlight the pros and minimize the cons associated with these challenges. Addressing the biggest con of injury is first and foremost. That is where the Gray Institute’s Matrix System comes into play. The Matrix System was developed to take any fundamental movement and push the “envelope of function”. By exploring various ways you can move within the fundamental action such as a lunge. The system allows the individual to tweak the:
- starting positions
the verticality we move within
the angles in which the move is performed in
the distances which we move in
the speed at which they are performed at
the duration of the Matrix Play
The ability to tweak the above variables allows the body to explore these fundamental movements daily while reducing the wear and tear on the body dramatically. What we have discovered at the DHF Clinic over the years is that although we might choose a move to emphasize one adaptation variable such as balance, the Matrix System creates a spillover effect into other variables. The Matrix System starts with one variable, but in reality involves flexibility, strength, cardiovascular, agility, and more.
The challenges at the DHF Clinic and Remote Trainer are built on fundamental movement patterns we perform each day. Squatting, lunging, pushing, locomoting, lifting, and more have been designed in 30 day intervals to create the environment for you to feel success. Gary Gray of the Gray Institute refers to a coaching strategy to instill success called the “encouragement sandwich”. A sandwich that is layered with 3 special ingredients:
- Encouragement: The movements that are within the 30 days were designed to to ensure success. Although, that does not mean easy. The moves are close to your functional threshold (ability to perform effectively).
Motivation: Once success is found, the participant needs to be challenged appropriately. Your inner strength and will to succeed will be tested.
Empowerment: The last phase of the 30 days is designed to educate you on the thought process, so that you can create your own personal challenges to maintain a healthy lifestyle full of movement.
The final strategy is to have a menu of 30 day challenges, that you and your DHF Coach can explore together to create a long lasting base that supports change. It is very important that these challenges are chosen based on you – your goals -your needs.
Jay Morgan, FAFS