Welcome to another week…and I’m kind of hopeful I’m back in the groove of this weekly blog thing (though I already have concerns about how I’m going to get next week’s written in time…that’s a problem for future Michael I guess!!). Special thanks to everyone who made it along to our Christmas bash at Benny’s last night – and thanks of course to the crew at Benny’s – it was a lot of fun and I hope not TOO many sore heads needed mending this morning!
Last week I blogged (a bit) about the challenge and I’m going to go there again…but this time I want to talk about the post-challenge survey rather than the question of who lost weight/gained muscle/gained weight/lost muscle…When I go through these results, I do think it is worth mentioning that the PRE-CHALLENGE survey had more than 60 respondents…whereas this one (post-challenge) only had 27. So I’m kind of guessing most of the people who responded:
1/. Finished the challenge.
2/. Got mostly positive outcomes.
Given that, I think it is important to take these results with a bit of a grain of salt…at the same time, it means the results here are pertinent to those who finished the challenge, and well…what can I say – READ ON!
Category #1: Attendance
First off – this is a MESSY chart…I have merged all of the pre/post graphs into single files for the purposes of comparison and this one contains a fair bit of data:
It’s pretty simple really. BEFORE the challenge, there were a whole bunch of people doing ZERO, ONE or TWO sessions at the gym…during the challenge there were ZERO!
Equally, BEFORE the challenge there were very few people doing 3-4 sessions at the gym, and ZERO people doing more than 4…DURING the challenge, essentially EVERYONE stated that they were completing at LEAST two-three sessions with the majority (> 80%!!) saying they were doing 3, 4 or MORE. Why does this matter and why did I include this chart? I mean OBVIOUSLY since the challenge meant that people needed to complete at LEAST 3x sessions every week, the outcomes in this chart really sort of fall into the ‘So What!!’ category.
I suppose that I included this chart for one simple reason – to try and show the huge baseline shift in the amount of exercise being done by the challenge participants. The following assessments of MOOD, SLEEP and ENERGY will have been undoubtedly influenced by two core things:
1/. The DIET changes (particularly reductions in sugar and alcohol) imposed by the requirements of the challenge.
2/. The INCREASES in exercise (as illustrated in this chart) imposed by the requirements of the challenge.
Category #2: ENERGY
Challenge participants who participated in the survey experienced a HUGE boost in ENERGY whilst the challenge was underway. Before the challenge, people rated their energy levels as 5/10. After the challenge? 8/10. This is so great – cleaning up your eating (dropping the bread, cutting the sugar) and getting regular exercise has led to an increase in perception of ENERGY by more than 50%.
Category #3: MOOD
Similar to the assessment of ENERGY, challenge participants who completed the survey indicated that their overall MOOD increased from 5/10 to > 8/10 during the 6-weeks of the challenge. Of course, exercise and diet play an important role here but I think it is under-rated how feeling that your exercise/diet have a PURPOSE can lead to your mood improving…if you are just going through the motions (so to speak) – and I have to admit that upon reflection I feel I have been a little guilty of this in my own training throughout much of 2022 – then you don’t get that ‘post-exercise’ high or sense of achievement/accomplishment/boy (or girl) “done good” that you can get when first ‘starting out’ on an exercise regime.
Doing something like a challenge really seems to re-invigorate these feelings – I know personally that seeing people in doing their extras in the morning (shout-out to Ash and Kiara doing the ‘SPARC/BIKE challenge) really drove me to do mine later in the day…the challenge helped me feel that I had a ‘REASON’ and seeing others getting stuck in really helped reinforce that feeling.
Category #4: SLEEP
The final assessment was ‘SLEEP’ – and just like ‘ENERGY’ and ‘MOOD’ those challenge participants who completed the survey experienced a huge, positive change in their sleep – going from 5/10 to nearly 8/10. As I think everyone would happily admit, there is nothing worse than going to bed at night…but getting up in the morning feeling ‘EXHAUSTED’ – feeling that your sleep simply isn’t effective.
It seems that getting a little more exercise and tidying up your eating can have an incredibly positive effect on the effectiveness of your sleep!
So – what does all of this mean??
FIrstly, there is no doubt that completing regular exercise sessions whilst ‘tidying up’ your food has the capacity to improve your mood, energy and sleep. Secondly – and I think the follow quote from one anonymous survey respondent captured this:
“Loved that the strictness was up to the participant and it was more of a lifestyle challenge. More achievable and more likely to continue afterwards”.
The changes you make don’t need to be MASSIVE to see positive outcomes. Yes, working to eliminate added sugars from your diet might be the IDEAL…but just reducing it by 20% is a good goal for ‘RIGHT NOW’ and you will experience benefits. Yes, you might look at people who are in the gym every day and be a bit in ‘AWE’ of ‘How they do it’…but just going from 2-sessions to 3/week can provide a real boost!
Anyway – that’s it for today. Basically the results on the Mood/Sleep/Energy survey are EXACTLY what we were shooting for…so I’m 100% thrilled about that. I’m not quite so ecstatic about the lower number of final weigh-ins for this challenge and think in many ways the 6-weeks was a bit of a bridge to far for a lot of participants…living and learning I guess.
See you in the gym,
P.s. Stay tuned for ANOTHER blog post early in the week about some less than amazing feedback re outcomes from the challenge…it’s all about ‘Hard Work alone is simply not enough’. And it sucks. But it’s true!
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