WHY THIS CHALLENGE?

I’m not normally one for quick fixes. But I’ve been reading over the weekend about the new trend for doing a workout a day for 10 days to get in shape quickly. And I have to admit I’m a bit intrigued.

What I like about this is that it’s not about severely limiting your diet or cutting right back on calories. But instead is exercise based and about doing daily hard workouts for a week and a half. As part of a normal exercise routine, I would definitely advocate rest days as that’s your body’s time to rebuild and recuperate, preventing injury and overtraining, as well as giving your body the opportunity to capitalise on the exercise you’ve been doing.

I’m really interested to see if something like this really can give you the results without leaving you feeling a bit ruined! So, in the interests of science I’m going to be giving this a go from today.

The main rule is that whatever you do you make it high intensity, so I’ll be doing 40 minute workouts comprising a warm up, cool down and an intense 30 minutes of circuits and HIIT training in the middle. I’m not planning on making any changes to my diet – I’ll continue with the usual high protein, high veg, lowish carbs diet that I usually eat (although I am doing both a friend’s birthday drinks and an afternoon tea at the weekend) so the results will be purely about the intense exercise.

DAY 1

Workout 1 in my 10 day experiment. That was a good 40 mins of hiit plus a warm up and cool down so I’ve smashed day 1 but then I come to this workout with rested legs…..remains to be seen how the body feels by day 10!!

DAY 2

I combined weights with some quick cardio blasts. Was a great challenge and I’ve got a proper sweat on. Now just 30 mins to get presentable for my 6-week Challenge Class….

DAY 3

That was another toughie – I set my watch for 30 mins, chose a load of exercises (upper body, lower body and full body…including a few sets of different kinds of burpees) and then started with 90 secs of the first, 80 of the second, 70 of the third, all the way down to 10 secs, before starting again at 90 and going until my 30 mins was up. I took the odd break along the way, but kept the breaks as short as possible.

It was a toughie, and although I was feeling the effects of yesterdays weights workout in my quads a bit, I still managed to power through.

Have to say that I was actually looking forward to doing this workout tonight – because I know that I have no choice but to do the workout it actually makes it easier to look forward to (no time spent wondering if I should have a stretch day instead!)

7 days to go and feeling good so far….be interesting to see what the scales say in the next couple of days too!

DAY 4

I spent in the company of Shaun T and his Insanity workout. I have 1 word (actually 2, but I don’t think I should say the first one on Facebook) = DRIPPING

I used to do these workouts loads a few years ago and haven’t done them for such a long time. They are HARD. Nice change to let someone else lead me though….

And the other amazing thing I noticed is that when I did this a few years ago (before I knew what I know now), there were certain bits I just couldn’t do because they would make me leak. Jumping jacks anyone?! Tonight they were no problem – my pelvic floor did its job.

DAY 5

Managed to squeeze in a 40 min weights session while the girl was at gymnastics and the boy watched octonauts.

I chose 5 exercises and did 20 of each, then 18, 16, 14, 12, 10. It may have been weights only but certainly got my heart rate up and had me sweating.

DAY 6

Before I go out for afternoon tea (another friend’s birthday!) I’m about to do session number 6. I have to say I am feeling the last few workouts in my legs now (particularly in my calves today) so I’m going to do a quickie cardio workout after yesterdays weights. Not feeling particularly keen on doing a workout today but I am buoyed by the fact that I’m already half way through my challenge.

DAY 7

Day 7 of 10….I got on with another workout mixing weights and short intervals. Definitely got my sweat on. Weight loss or not this week I am definitely noticing lots more definition, particularly around my tummy. It’s not for the feint hearted but goes to show that this high intensity stuff does the job IF you do it regularly enough and also have a good awareness of what your core is doing throughout.

DAY 8

Just did today’s workout and I found it hard….my legs got tired really quickly. Not my best performance but it’s done and only 2 more to go!

DAY 9

I have a confession to make….tonight I chose what I knew to be an easier workout. I still worked and I still sweated but it wasn’t all out. My body is tired. But on the plus side just one day to go before I get to rest!!!!

DAY 10

Happy and knackered. Day 10 of 10 DONE!!!

Finished with weights tonight. Chose 5 exercises, did 1 minute of the first, rested 20 secs, did 1 minute of the first then the second, rest, 1 minute each of 1, 2 and 3 and so on until all 5 were done in a row. Had a break then did all 5 again. Took about 28 mins with short breaks.

Can’t believe how quickly 10 days has gone and am very much looking forward to a couple of days off now.

FINAL THOUGHTS?

First thing I would say is that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would – now, I do like a good exercise session, but I also like rest days as I think they’re really important to build your fitness (giving your muscles time to repair and strengthen). However, knowing I had to do a workout every day meant I never spent any time procrastinating or thinking I might not do a workout that day. I just got on with it. And it was quite addictive too – I really looked forward to getting another workout done each day.

It was tough and towards the end of the Challenge my muscles did start to feel it. I had the odd day where I felt a bit stiff, but nothing major – but I think that’s to do with the fact that I do exercise regularly anyway and always make sure I get a good warm up and cool down in.

In terms of actual results, my weight didn’t change. But then given that half way through I had a really indulgent fizz/cocktails/cake weekend due to a couple of friend’s birthdays, that’s no great surprise. I think on a normal week I’d definitely have seen a change on the scales.

But what I did notice was a difference in tone. I definitely toned up more, particularly around the tummy and had quite a few comments to prove that. My husband kept saying that I looked more toned and so did a few friends. That included a couple of people who actually had no idea that I’d been doing that particular challenge.

So, would I do it again? Definitely. I found it a great way to do a bit of pre-holiday toning without having to do any drastic dieting or juice fasts, etc. Yes, it did take time out of every day, but once you realise you have to do it, it’s surprising where you find the time from.

It’s not something I would recommend to a new mum or to someone who hasn’t exercised for a while. It’s quite hard on the body, so it’s one for experienced exercisers only. That said, I think there could be great benefits from challenging yourself to do a short 10 minute low key session every day for 10 days to get you back on the track to fitness.

Finally, I also wouldn’t recommend any more than about 10 days – as a rule your body does really need rest days as that’s when the muscle repairs and rebuilds properly. But for an occasional challenge I thought it was great. Just keep it varied and you’ll definitely notice some quick changes.