The other day as I sat shoveling my face with pasta, my friend stood next to me asking how in the world I managed to eat the way that I did. I don't track my calories, I love carbs beyond belief, and I snack all the time. I'll admit, it probably doesn't sound that healthy from an outsiders point of view. But it's what works for me, and how I stay fit. I realized that my methods though didn't work for everyone and that how I eat food and manage my own weight can be on the complete opposite side of how someone manages theirs.
However, after talking with many of my friends about what works for them, I've come to one conclusion: the one-month challenges just don't work. Now, disclaimer, I'm no food or fitness expert, but I've been fairly active my whole life. I've gained, lost, and maintained weight, and dealt with self-esteem issues just like almost every other girl on this planet. I've even tried my fair share of diets, calorie tracking apps, and work out routines, and until I've found the system I have now I've never been happier with my life.
Everyone in the next few months is going to start talking about summer break and getting that perfect beach body. In fact, some girls already are with Spring Break right around the corner! But the one-month challenges, I feel, pose a serious health risk and mental risk.
The first thing about the one-month challenges is that it solely based around workouts, usually round core or legs. Building off of each previous day with one rest day during the week. There is no fluctuation though in the plans when it comes to the workouts. it's the same few steps or repetitions, and there is no real cross-training that develops with the plan. This can develop injuries, unused muscles, and not provide the best weight-loss/muscle toned plan there is.
Another issue is that one-month plans don't show immediate results. Factoring in the lack of cross-training (running, biking, elliptical, and other forms of cardio or lifting), one-month challenges will only begin to show results in the areas concentrated by the challenge and then not be fully developed muscle or even show the results someone may want. As I said earlier, everyone has a different system. What works for one person won't work for another, and this applies to the one-month challenges. Some people will have results, while others won't and they will be left to wonder why. This can play with peoples brains, as they think maybe they just can't get slim, in-shape, or ever lose weight.
Lastly, it's unhealthy to try to get a slimmed down body that quickly. Bodies can go into shock, and muscles will pull and get strained from suddenly doing no activity to do an intensive one month challenge. It is all about progression and knowing what foods your body responds well to. I currently do not go to the gym more than three times a week, but I'm still maintaining my weight and toning my muscles at the rate that works for me. The road to the beach body starts slow, with planned workouts that will work more than just one area of your body. The sooner you start, the longer you'll have to figure out what works for you, and finally finding a groove that will get you where you want to be for the summer.
For any active person, this article might not make a whole lot of sense. The reason I bring all of this up is that most people who do the one-month challenges off of Pinterest are people who are inexperienced with working out or don't know how to design work out plans for themselves. Read articles upon articles, go to the gym with friends and see the routines they do, change them to fit you, and lastly, just don't wait until the last month to try and get "beach body ready." It won't happen, it'll make you feel worse, and it won't actually change how you eat, exercise, and overall feel.