Over the last two months, I participated in the Gunnar Challenge, with the goals of getting my pre-baby body back, eating healthier, and losing 10 pounds. I started with a bang, documenting my calorie intake with the food diary, exercising as often as I could, and trying some of the snacks and recipes that were part of my food plan.
As the weeks progressed, and I followed my progress on the weight loss leaderboard, I stayed on track, for the most part. I missed a day or three in my food diary, and I spent more time running than doing the weight lifting workouts, but I still ended up losing 11 pounds and being #34 on the leaderboard. (Go me!)
It was an entirely positive experience for me, and I am so thankful that I participated in it, because I desperately needed that kick in the pants to get me back on track. It is so easy, especially with our busy lives, to let diet and exercise fall by the wayside. I found myself eating too much, exercising too little, and just not paying attention to how I was taking care of my body. This Challenge helped me refocus on taking the time to make better choices about my health.
Is the Gunnar Challenge for everyone? No, but it does have a lot of great things going for it. If you have never exercised before, the workout sequences are fantastic. Each exercise comes with a short instructional videos from Gunnar, so you know exactly how to execute the perfect Superman or Mountain Climbers. If you need a village (like me) to keep you on track, there are awesome forums, twitter streams to follow, and a leaderboard to check. It is also built on a solid foundation – eat the right things (and less of them), get moving, and once you reach your goal weight, it even gives you tips on how to maintain your weight and adjust your calorie count accordingly.
Even if you have an established workout plan, you can still benefit from the assigned routines. There are even “advanced” versions, so you can amp up the level of fitness. One thing that could be better is the catalog of foods to add in the food diary. I found myself manually adding foods quite a bit, which skews the graphs of what percentage of protein, fat, sugars, etc. you are consuming. However, you only have to add it once, which makes the second entry much simpler. Also, there weren’t many “kid-friendly main courses, which made it difficult to use for my family’s cooking. I definitely used more of the breakfast and lunch options.
Will I jump into the next challenge? Probably not, just because I have reached my goal weight for now, and feel comfortable maintaining. However, if you are looking for a plan that is realistic, practical, and it works…the Gunnar Challenge is for you! Have fun!
When I decided to take on the Gunnar Challenge six weeks ago, I set a goal for myself to lose 10 pounds. At the time, it seemed like a lot, almost impossible, in fact, because my flawed eating habits seemed so deeply entrenched.
And by “flawed eating habits”, I mean eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted…but I underestimated the power of documenting your food intake along with exercise along with the motivation that comes with a weight loss leader board.
Put those together, and surprise…surprise…it works!
Have I slipped up? Absolutely. This week, I found myself finishing the kid’s food again – ouch. Two weeks ago, I had gained 2 lbs. – double ouch. But for me, I feel a lot more confident making “better” choices. Side salad instead of fries, sorbet instead of ice cream, you get the picture. And I admit, it was immensely satisfying to step on the scale last week and see that I had reached the 10 pound mark. I checked it a few times to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke, but it wasn’t. Even better, the inches continue to “inch” off a little at a time.
But I’m up against another obstacle this week…visiting my grandparents in Ely. I am usually guaranteed to put on at least five pounds with all the polish, fried walleye, s’mores, and yum yum bars just sitting there for the taking. Everything just tastes better in the Boundary Water air, and second and third helpings taste even better.
So my mission this week? Portion control so I can maintain my weight loss. I am determined to stay firm by sticking to my “better choices” plan. One homemade polish instead of three at a time. A reasonable amount of toasted marshmallows. Three pancakes instead of six.
I can do it, right?
I came into The Gunnar Challenge with no expectations. I just wanted to get back on track with my fitness and food after a long winter of stress, sedentary living, and sickness.
Two weeks in, I am surprised with my progress. Not only have I lost some weight, but even better, I have lost some inches. And even more importantly, I have gained confidence in my ability to make better decisions about food. My status quo is to not pay attention to what goes into my mouth, which is okay sometimes, but not all of the time, right? I do have to say that I’m glad I can add my own foods into the diary, not just the recipes they include, because my kids complain about the kid-friendly food I make, let alone super-healthy food.
I have also enjoyed the workouts that are included in the challenge. They are easy to do in my living room, but are difficult enough that I walk away feeling tired out. The sets of bench dips off the edge of my couch? Whew. The 5×5 circuit that I almost didn’t finish? Tough stuff.
Six weeks left, and I’m up for the challenge. Bring it on.
Disclosure: I was given complimentary access to The Gunnar Challenge by www.modernmom.com.
Well, I have successfully made it through three days of the Gunnar Challenge…only 53 days more to go!
Here are a few of my observations so far:
1. I did not realize how much unnecessary food I was putting in my mouth until I started to document it. Sandwich crusts, leftover pop tarts, mini chocolate bars at work, double helpings at dinner…you name it, I eat it. The crazy part is that I thought that I would be starving without all of that extra food, but I am perfectly fine. Obviously, I eat simply because it is there rather than when I am actually hungry.
2. They asked you to take a “before” picture of yourself, which I dutifully did (after I swallowed my pride). It reminded me that a) I need to “rock what I got” no matter what and b) I’m not sure if I am enough of a “rockstar” to upload it to the Gunnar website. Blech.
3. Even though I didn’t get my act together to figure out very many meals this week, I did make one of the recipes yesterday – wheat bread with avocado, cheese, and salsa, toasted with a little olive oil – and it was actually pretty tasty. I’m interested to check out a few more of the recipe options, especially for breakfast and lunch.
4. I also attempted my first workout last night – it was cardio + circuit training you can do in your living room. I have been running, but not doing any strength training, so it was a nice change-up, and I worked up a sweat. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), I almost collapsed when I attempted my bench dips. I guess my triceps need a little work. And yes…I’m sore today.
I think that’s it for now…I’ll check back in a few days!
Over the last six months or so, I have watched my weight creep up. Not by a lot, but it is definitely not headed in the right direction. But that is all I have been doing…watching it tick up ounce by ounce, pound by pound. I think to myself (while eating a bowl of chips and cheese), “Wow, I should do something about that…someday”. Yeah, my BMI is in the normal range right now, but the way I’m going? Yikes.
So, when I saw an opportunity to participate in The Gunnar Challenge, I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to start being intentional about eating better and exercising. I’m always up for a challenge, especially one with an end date, and this one is perfect…just eight weeks long.
Basically, it’s an online program designed by Hollywood trainer Gunnar Peterson, and it includes an eight week workout schedule, meal ideas that fit my calorie target, a suggested meal plan, motivational messages from Gunnar, forums to connect with other participants, and even an online food/exercise diary that calculates the calories earned/used. I am especially excited about the workouts and the food diary, and I will probably pick and choose my way through the meal plan while watching my snacks.
I just “accepted the challenge”, and went through the somewhat traumatizing process of weighing myself at 10:30 p.m., and taking all of my measurements. The only downside for me was that I couldn’t figure out how to select a goal weight that was lower than my current weight, since I am in the “healthy range” for my BMI, but that’s not a huge deal, I suppose. I am more concerned about the re-distribution of my weight and the flab from three kids and limited exercise…workouts here I come!
While I received an invitation for free, it does cost $99 for the 8 weeks. But you can try it out for one week for $9, which is a nice option. I would definitely have given it a one-week whirl at the very least to check it out and see if it met my needs.
The challenge starts tomorrow (cue ominous music), so we will see how I hang in there. What have I got to lose?
Oh yeah…a few things…