Health & Medicine

Thirty-day weight loss challenge: How do you stay motivated?

Katherine Benbrook, owner of the indoor spin class business Cycle In, knows what it takes to stay on track when your fitness journey hits a bump in the road
Katherine Benbrook, owner of the indoor spin class business Cycle In, knows what it takes to stay on track when your fitness journey hits a bump in the road

Two weeks ago, we introduced a feature, the 30-day Challenge, and invited readers to participate in whatever weight-loss goals they are pursuing. Now, the focus is on staying on track.

Launching your personal fitness journey to shed some pounds is one thing, but sticking with it and fighting through the tough times is a challenge for everyone, at least at first.

As we pass the halfway point of this first 30-day challenge (with more to come), we wondered about motivation. When things get challenging – when you’re too busy to prepare a healthful meal or you step on the scale and don’t see any progress – how do you keep going?

Turns out, fitness is a habit. And that’s the idea behind sticking with something for 30 days. By then, it becomes part of your life, your routine, and if you fall down, it’s much easier to get back up.

During a recent visit to a spin class at Cycle In in Carmichael, owner and instructor Katherine Benbrook was putting her clients through their paces. They ramped up the intensity. They cruised at a moderate pace. They sweated and strained and gasped for air. And when they cooled down, they got off the stationary bikes and held a plank for as long as two minutes.

Benbrook said one secret to her business’s success is that participants reserve a bike ahead of time and, because they’ve already paid, they’re motivated to show up even if it’s cold and rainy (it was) or their muscles are still aching from the last time. Indeed, the class was packed.

But motivation will carry you only so far. To stay on track, you should be having fun.

“I love what I do – absolutely love what I do,” said Benbrook. “You have to pick something that you enjoy doing and you have to pick something that’s reasonable. If you decide that you’re going to get in shape, pick a spin class or choose yoga or Pilates. But don’t decide, ‘OK, I’m going to go do a triathlon next week.’ It’s good to have a goal, but that goal needs to be reasonable.”

At the spin class, the riders were working hard and burning calories by the hundreds. But that’s only one part of losing weight. You can actually erase all that good work by overeating.

“You cannot out-train a bad diet,” Benbrook said. “You hear it over and over again, but it is absolutely true, especially as you get older and your metabolism slows down a bit. Focusing on healthy eating, everything in moderation, is absolutely crucial. You cannot have one without the other. You know the crazy thing? The healthier I eat, the healthier I want to eat.

“If I eat clean for a week and then I go and do something like eat a piece of cake or whatever, I physically feel sick after doing it. So then I go right back to eating healthy.”

Blair Anthony Robertson: 916-321-1099, @Blarob

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