I joined the Challenge for several reasons:
- To connect more with other RHF members
- To experience the Challenge as a participant rather than marketing what I've only observed
- To have accountability for eating healthy
- To work towards my personal fitness goals--a.k.a. dead lifting and expanding yoga move repertoire
I believe that the first three out of these four objectives were met. Although I was only able to attend the first of the weekly meetings, seeing other members who were at that meeting as well as a couple of my office mates who were participating created a sense of camaraderie that I almost took for granted by the end of the 8 Week Challenge. Whenever I saw another participant, especially at the gym, we would ask each other how the Challenge was going. I actually completed my final check in tests with a couple other participants at an unplanned time when I was scheduled to run the gym on a Saturday: Lynn and Lena had come to complete their tests and I joined them on the rowing part out of solidarity. After rowing, my enthusiasm was strong and we finished the rest of our check in together. I'm also glad I got to be on a team with Tyra and Debbie. I didn't really know Debbie that well prior to the 8 Week Challenge so am thankful to have deepened my connection with her. And participating on a team with Tyra was just a good excuse to message her every day! Connecting with both ladies was a huge blessing spiritually and socially.
One unexpected discovery in participating in the Challenge was that posting my workouts and healthy food pics on Instagram made me feel like a total fitness nut! This gave me more empathy for members whom I'm constantly asking to post pics of working out at RHF on our social media and to tag us.
The 8 Week Challenge's nutrition journal combined with the accountability of my teammates definitely helped me succeed at eating healthier. Like many, I try to clean my body's system and break addictions to sugar and caffeine (a.k.a. chocolate) post-holidays by eating healthier, and the Challenge gave me the accountability to do so beyond the first couple weeks of January.
My biggest frustration during the 8 Week Challenge was suffering from the flu for the first four weeks! I would like to participate again at some point when I'm healthy and can exercise and participate more. I was particularly disappointed that I was unable to attend any of the Nutrition Workshops.
I thought I'd discovered an epiphany around week 6 or 7 when I switched my 30-40 minute morning back & neck exercise routine for working out at RHF. However, as an RHF employee, my workouts were constantly interrupted. Also, after about a week, my back and neck both started bothering me. I realized I do all my daily exercises for a reason!
Overall, I'm super glad I participated in the 8 Week Challenge. One of my biggest takeaways was developing the habit of PLANNING my fitness routine. Three seasons later, I continue to pull out my planner prior to the start of each week and jot down times and days when I schedule workouts. I'm happy to experience an increasing ability to do functional movements with fewer injuries as well as increased strength.