Small steps. Big impact.


#Fitbit2014 Challenge – Week 2: Do a Workout or Event that Scares You


UPDATE: This week’s winners are Elyse Hahn, Reanna McKinzie, and @whirlsy on Twitter. You’ve each scored a Fitbit One and Fitbit t-shirt! Want to get involved? Here’s week 3’s challenge.

Every Monday for six weeks starting January 6, we’ll launch a new weekly challenge for #Fitbit2014 to get your thinking more simple habits and less big resolutions.

Dean photo 3

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 10.12.02 AMThis week’s challenge comes directly from Fitbit ambassador Dean Karnazes. TIME magazine named Dean as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.”  Men’s Fitness hailed him as one of the fittest men on the planet. An internationally recognized endurance athlete and NYC bestselling author, Dean has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits.

Jumping into a workout you’ve never done before can be intimidating, even for me. However, overcoming these fears and attempting new challenges can be tremendously rewarding.

Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. I say, “Celebrate failure, welcome it, and learn from it.” My failures have provided much richer lessons than my successes. Unless you’re willing to fail, you’ll never know how far you can go. So I say bring it!

Here’s a simple plan to follow when launching into a new challenge:

  1. Get the Right Gear – Gear is essential, so do some legwork, figuratively and literally. Investing in a good pair of shoes is the perfect place to start. Having the right pair of shoes will make your activity more pleasant, and you’ll feel plenty guilty if you don’t stay motivated after spending all that time and money on a good pair of workout shoes. Remember, every foot is different – some people have flat feet, some over-pronate, some run on the balls of their feet, etc. So it’s important to get the shoe that fits your foot to avoid injury. The right shoe is the right shoe for you, so get fitted at a running specialty store by a knowledgeable staff member. They’ll watch how you run and walk to make sure the shoe fits you properly and compliments your individual gait. After that, it’s all about preparation, both mentally and physically. Your will to train has got to be as strong as your will to succeed (or else you won’t). It may be tempting to follow the path of least resistance or to look for shortcuts along the way, but I think we all realize that nothing worthwhile in life comes easily. The more lofty the goal, the more dedication, commitment and resolve it will take to accomplish it. And I encourage you to reach for the stars! Here are some additional tips that can help you prevail.
  2. Eat Right: Food and Hydration – Nutrition can make you or break you. My advice on nutrition and hydration is: “Listen to everyone, follow no one.” We are all an experiment of one, and what works for me may not work for you. Try different food and hydration combinations while training so you can learn what foods and beverages seem to work the best. The idea is to find the right formula and stick to it on race day. The amount of food, water and electrolyte replacement you’ll need depends on what activity you’re doing and for how long. While there are some useful guidelines out there to help plan your food and hydration levels, try to listen to your body first. Follow the suggestions loosely, but tune in to the needs and nuances of your body foremost.
  3. Sign Up for a Class/Event – Whether it be CrossFit, Couch to 5K, Bikram yoga, or your first half or full marathon, making a commitment is what matters. Many events require early registration; so the sooner you can set your goal, the better. Plus, when you make a plan and plunk down money to participate, you feel empowered. A deadline’s looming in the future and there’s no turning back!
  4. Set a Training Schedule – Setting a training schedule is one thing; sticking to it is an altogether different proposition (arguably more difficult that the actual event itself!). The routine of building up your strength and stamina can sometimes feel like a drag. Try to project how much better you will feel after completing your workout. Let those feelings of accomplishment and empowerment propel you to get going. A couple of tips: if you like music, play the music you love while changing into your workout gear to help keep you motivated, sign up with a training group, or arrange a group of friends and coworkers yourself if that format works better. Make training and physical activity part of your everyday lifestyle. Use your Fitbit to track your progress daily and try to one-up yourself. Everybody loves a challenge, and there’s no better adversary than yourself.
  5. Take Time to Reflect and Evaluate– In assessing your experience, are you satisfied? Did you live up to your expectations? We are our own harshest critics, and making time for self-reflection and post-workout analysis is a very useful exercise. Could you have done better? If so, how? Rank your performance on a scale of 1 to 10. Then, set a future goal and look to surpass your last. Make it challenging, though fun, and never stop exploring!

So how are you kicking off 2014 with a new workout, race or event? Tell us how you did it using #Fitbit2014 on Facebook, Twitter,  Google+, and/or Instagram. We’ll be giving away a prize each week, chosen from people participating using the hashtag. So get going! Up for grabs this week are three Fitbit One trackers and Fitbit t-shirts. Good luck.