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Weight Loss Challenge: the inspiration you’ve been looking for or flash in the pan?

You’ve probably read about a weight loss challenge before. Some of you may have even tried one. With the dawn of a new year inspiring many to get fit and lose weight, there is a seemingly never-ending selection of weight loss challenges available nowadays.

In this article we unpack what a weight loss challenge is, helping you decide if a challenge is right for you. If the answer to that question becomes ‘yes’, we also hope you’ll jog away with enough information to find the weight loss challenge that is right for you.

What is a ‘weight loss challenge’

Also referred to as a fitness challenge, a weight loss challenge is a fixed-period program that combines a diet plan and a structured fitness plan to maximise weight loss over that period.

How long does a weight loss challenge last?

It varies and there isn’t one right answer. Typically, weight loss challenges range from anywhere between 2 weeks and 8 weeks. There isn’t one reason why the length of programs differ although it is probably part due to varying weight loss philosophies, part due to just wanting to be different and stand out in a busy market!

Whilst we can’t completely discount the effectiveness of the weight loss challenges at the 2 week end of the scale, it is reasonable to assume that if the participant can remain disciplined, the weight loss challenge that last closer to 8 weeks would have the best chance of maximising results.

Why are weight loss challenges so popular?

Three key factors behind the popularity of weight loss challenges;

- Community - knowing that others are going through the same experience as you can help you stick to the program

- A clear finish line - Many people have weight to lose for an event (e.g. holiday or wedding) whilst others just don’t trust their ability to lose weight steadily and consistently over a long period of time

- Results - typically the length of the weight loss challenge is long enough to actually see results

Is a weight loss challenge a good idea for you?

If any of the above three factors appeal to you then yes, quite possibly it is worth a try.

Weight loss challenges can be an effective ‘circuit breaker’ for those that have struggled to kick-start their fitness and weight loss – think about it like taking a running dive into the ocean as opposed to slowly inching your way into the cold water.

There are those, however, that find the immediate fitness and nutrition discipline required to compete in a weight loss challenge a bit too confronting. Many simply struggle to get past the first week whilst others experience issues with injury as a result of ramping up too quickly.

What should I look for if I want to give a Challenge a try?

There are two major things you should look for;

- Cost. Generally, weight loss challenges aren’t free, even if they might try and make it sound like they are. Many businesses will require you to subscribe to their app, once you’ve done that you get free access to the weight loss challenge

- Does it seem achievable? Look at the meal planning and recipes – do they require significant preparation time (and money) that you just don’t have? What about the workout options – do they require equipment that you don’t own? If the answer to either of the above is ‘yes’ then you’ll probably struggle to make it past week 1. The good news is there is a wide range of different weight loss challenges out there so you’re be able to find one that suits your circumstances and needs

Who offers weight loss challenges?

We plan to conduct a deeper comparison of weight loss challenges in market but until then we’ve listed out some of the more popular options available;

- 12WBT – Michelle Bridges is famous for the weight loss challenge, in fact her whole business revolves around them

- Sweat – typically their challenges are 6 weeks in length and focus on individual workout themes e.g. pilates Challenge

- 28 by Sam Wood – have been running popular 8 week challenges for several years now – a focus on the balance of nutrition and movement to drive weight loss

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