Do 30 Day Fitness Challenges Really Work?

The 30-day fitness challenge has been around since the dawn of the internet age, but there’s still no consensus on whether or not it’s a workout tool. efficient. This is partly due to the range of different workout plans that fall under the 30 Day Challenge, which range from isolated exercises for specific muscle groups (like plank exercises (opens in a new tab)) to full-body workouts that change gears daily.

We spoke with a trend expert kinesiologist, who suggested that while you box achieve general improvements in fitness during this time, you may not see dramatic visual results. Any physical improvement you will see will depend on your body chemistry, your core fitness regimen and, of course, the exercises themselves.

If you want to make a lasting change in your fitness level, you need to train regularly. You can try hitting the gym more often or working up a sweat at home on one of the best exercise bikes. (opens in a new tab) But if you’re about to embark on a 30-day challenge, here’s what you can expect.

Short term benefits

Here’s the good news: you may see improvements in your overall fitness after taking part in a 30-day challenge.

Marcus Lawrence, PhD, CSCS, and assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Outdoor Recreation at Southern Utah University, told Live Science, “For general health goals related to improving cardiorespiratory fitness, musculoskeletal shape or body composition, we generally find it takes 3-5 weeks for individuals to see changes.

Marcus Lawrence

Marcus Lawrence is currently an Assistant Professor at Southern Utah University in the Department of Kinesiology and Outdoor Recreation. He did his undergraduate work at California State University Monterey Bay, his master’s work at Appalachian State University and his doctoral work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and his postdoctoral work at Colorado State University and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

That means a 30-day fitness challenge could get you started on some of your health-related goals. But Lawrence also warns that the time frame to achieve different fitness goals can vary — it can take several months of hard work to build visible muscle, for example. Factors such as the type of exercise you do, as well as the frequency and intensity of workouts, can also impact the time it takes to see results.

That said, exercise can have an immediate impact on your body and mind, even after just one workout. “There are immediate effects that occur on the human body after just one exercise session, including but not limited to improved cognition, reduced anxiety and depression risk, a reduction in blood pressure after exercise, as well as a sleep aid,” says Laurent.

Two people doing a 30 day fitness challenge

(Image credit: Getty)

Keep in mind that noticeable physical changes are almost always the result of a long-term, sustainable exercise routine. A 2015 study from Social Psychological and Personality Science (opens in a new tab) shows that for weight loss to be obvious to others, it takes about a 2.93 change in BMI, especially in the face.

Long term benefits

The big question — and perhaps the most important — is whether fitness challenges like this can have a positive and lasting impact on your overall health. Could the short-term challenge lead to long-term change?

Despite the persistent rumor that it takes 21 days to form a habit, a 2009 study in the European Journal of Social Psychology (opens in a new tab) found that it actually takes between 18 and 254 days to form a new habit. So while 30 days might be enough for some, it might not be enough for everyone.

Lawrence agrees: “There is evidence that 30 days is a good starting point for individuals to become entrenched in an exercise routine to purchase their necessary health behavior change. Once individuals have overcome the initial obstacle that prevented them from changing, we hope that they can maintain this change in the long term. The ultimate goal should be long term, not short term, but these fitness challenges could definitely provide the starting point for someone to make lasting changes to their health.

Man doing 30 day fitness challenge with crunches

(Image credit: Getty)

If you manage to complete the 30-day challenge without skipping a day, there could still be other environmental factors that would make it harder to stick with your new routine.

Lawrence says, “There is certainly evidence that genetic and environmental factors play a role in any program’s fitness changes…Environment can include such things as access to safe and nutritious food, clean air and water, as well as access to safe spaces where the physical conditions activity can be carried out. And, regardless of genetics and environment, each person is unique and not all programs will work for every person.

“Additionally, people have different starting fitness levels, different intensity levels they can tolerate, and different anatomy or past injuries which add up to each person needing an individualized plan. No one should follow a “cookie cutter” or “one size fits all” fitness program and expect to achieve the same results as everyone else. »

Should you try a 30 day fitness challenge?

If one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to fitness, does that mean these 30-day challenges are all a wash? Well no. The bottom line is that anything is better than no movement at all, and adding something to your existing fitness routine will surprise you with effective results at best, but harmless at worst.

Women doing push-ups for 30 days outdoors

(Image credit: Getty)

“In addition to good nutrition, following recommendations for aerobic physical activity and resistance exercise, however it is done, including fitness challenges, helps prevent chronic diseases,” says Lawrence.

30-day fitness challenges aren’t quick fixes that will have you shredding overnight. But if you go in with a healthy mindset, as with any fitness program formulation, the format can give you the opportunity to introduce new moves into your routine and work towards your personal goals. Fitness.

This article is not intended to offer medical advice and readers should consult their doctor or health care professional before adopting any diet or exercise regimen.