Should I Do A Fat Loss Challenge?


Should I Do A Fat Loss Challenge?

Nowadays it seems every gym is offering a fat loss challenge for those wanting to shed the extra blubber. These types of challenges are notorious for being money-making schemes that encourage unsustainable weight loss practices. So many participants train hard and eat barely anything while the challenge is on, then go back to their old ways once it’s over. If this is your intention, you’d be better off saving your money and not signing up. However, there are plenty of benefits that can be gained from a fat loss challenge provided you approach it correctly. If you are umming and ahhing about whether or not to attempt one, read below. You’ll learn about the pros of doing a fat loss challenge correctly and whether signing up to one is a good idea for you.

Meet New People

One of the biggest benefits of a weight loss challenge is the social element. You get to meet a wide range of people on the same journey as you. A wise person once said “you go faster alone but you go further together.” Losing weight by yourself is possible but doing it with support is much easier. If your current social circle is part of the reason you are overweight, it might be time to find a new group. Research from Harvard shows that you are 57% more likely to be obese if your friends are too. This interesting phenomenon is sometimes referred to as thinfluence. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn also says that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If this is the case, it pays to hang around with other fit people who are nutritionally inclined. Signing up to your local gym’s fat loss challenge will be a great way to meet others who live near you and also want to change their lives for the better.

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Get Into A New Routine

Most gym challenges come with a structured plan. There will likely be a certain number of compulsory sessions each week combined with additional targets like going for extra walks or tracking your food intake. The reason for this structure is because it gets participants into a regular routine where they don’t have to put mental effort into deciding when and where they exercise. Decision fatigue is a real thing and, for some people, planning out their exercise regime can take up a lot of mental energy. If you’d prefer to do what you’re told and let professionals do the thinking for you, a fat loss challenge is a great idea. The planning is already done, you just have to show up and get with the program.

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Great For Accountability

Unfortunately, the promises we make to ourselves aren’t as likely to be kept compared to the ones we make to others. It is estimated you can lose around 50-60% more weight if you have a partner or professional keeping you accountable. Challenges are great for this because you and everyone else will know if you are attending your sessions or not. You are far less likely to flake on the gym if others are expecting you to be there. It is an interesting aspect of human psychology that we behave better when other people are keeping an eye on us. This tendency to act differently when being watched is known as the Hawthorne Effect and it has been tested in a range of practical settings. This study found that people are more likely to wash their hands when they are under surveillance. Another study found that participants are more likely to eat vegetables if they have regular follow up appointments with a health professional. Weirdly, we are content to disappoint ourselves but feel bad letting others down. If you think you are especially vulnerable to the Hawthorne effect, get amongst a fat loss challenge and let the peer pressure help you achieve your fitness goals.

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Potential Prizes

If the promise of a healthier you isn’t already enough, most challenges also come with a prize at the end for the winner. For those who are motivated by pecuniary gain or material possessions, this could be a great incentive to improve your health. While it’s usually preferable to have internal motivation, sometimes that is not enough. We are all driven by different rewards and if you are willing to work hard for a tangible gift then so be it. Whether it’s money for the person who loses the most body fat or a prize pack for the most muscle gain, use that motivation to get you through. Although there won’t be a prize after the challenge is done, hopefully by then you will have instilled healthy habits and will no longer rely on the promise of a reward.

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Don’t Abandon Your New Healthy Habits

Just make sure not to throw your new healthy habits out the window once the challenge is over. Stick to a similar exercise regime and stay in contact with your new fit friends. Studies show that you are more likely to maintain weight loss if you continue to interact with people who keep you accountable. There is no point doing an eight week challenge just to go back to your old ways and binge eat as soon as it’s over. Make the most of the experience and continue to practise the habits you have worked hard to instil. Challenges are designed to make people realise that they actually can achieve their goals if they try. All it takes is a mindset shift and a few behavioural changes. Once you overcome the barriers that were holding you back before, it’ll be all smooth sailing. Use the challenge as an opportunity to form good habits and become their slave. Your mental and physical health will be so much better if you do.

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Despite often getting a bad rap, fat loss challenges can be life-changing when done correctly. Rather than seeing it as a short-term fix, look at it as an educational experience where you learn to implement new healthy habits. Not only are these challenges an opportunity to improve your body composition, they are also a chance to meet other like-minded people and learn from professionals who know what they are doing. You might even discover a new passion for fitness that you never had before.


Written by Lauren Carruthers