One of the biggest lessons this challenge taught me was the discipline of doing something every day. One of the many reasons so many people find a training programme doesn’t work is because they cannot commit to the regular exercise required, and they cannot give 100% – particularly if they are “too tired” or just not up for it. I learned that by managing my state and pushing myself to do something that I wouldn’t normally do, I could achieve a far better result than if I had just exercised inconsistently for the past 30 days.
I hope you’ll give me a bit of grace on this one, but during Easter I put on a fair bit of weight. I gave myself the excuse that I was stressed and I needed to work hard, and that this meant I had no time to stick to regular exercise. As you can see in the picture below, I did not look good! That is both the effect of a bad diet and stress which I placed upon myself:
Tired, stressed out, poor diet (I was still eating good nutritional food but I was snacking a lot on top of it), finding any excuse to avoid exercise. Even when I was exercising I was barely giving 50%.
That’s one of the great things about this challenge. It forced me to give 100%. If I were to beat my times each day then I had to give 100%.
My first time was pretty bad. I burned 500 calories in 00:28:29. With each day I gave it my all to beat the previous days time. Check out my times below:
Day | Time
My best time was 00:19:26. I knew that if I were to get a good time I had to burn at least 25 calories a minute, so this is what I aimed for. This is not at all easy, and I can tell you that you are left absolutely gasping for air and water once you reach 500 calories! But 20 minutes is not long and you equally recover quickly. It’s manageable and it’s something you can do every day.
So what did it to my body over the coming weeks? Take a look at the Gallery at the top of this post!
Not bad going for 30 days training for just twenty minutes. I did do this on top of my usual workout, but my usual workout (weights, calisthenics) did suffer. On some days I felt very tired, others I felt my muscles had nothing to give. But I still pushed through!
Do I think this is sustainable every single day? No, only as a 30 day challenge. Is it effective as part of your workout? Yes, this is a great way to burn fat in a short amount of time, and you can add it to the end of a workout. I wouldn’t do this without recovery days (unless I were to do the 30 day challenge, which to be honest I would still recommend 1 rest day a week).
What do you think? Would you like the training programme to build up to burning 500 calories a day? Would you like to take on the challenge? Drop me a message and I’ll send you the details (all for free!)
All in all this has been a great amount of fun, and I am going to continue utilising this particular exercise and add it into my own training.
However, my muscles are a bit stiff, I am feeling tired, and a few times I have felt a bit ill (but still done it anyway!). The importance of eating right, sleeping well, and stretching has been crucial to sustaining this. I often struggle when I do not get an early ish night, or if I don’t eat well. Hydration is another key factor. I sweat so much during the burnout that I am having to drink plenty of water to stay cool and hydrated.
To be honest, training this way is giving me a real sense of commitment, achievement, and it’s helping me learn how to stay truly competitive with myself, and it’s also shown me just how hard I really need to work during the time I have dedicated to training. It has already changed my training habits entirely, and I know believe that I have simply not been training hard enough during the time I have set to train. I now have new boundaries and I am able to push myself much further than I thought I could – every single day as well!
I will be taking a rest day on Saturday (yes I know, this will ruin the challenge a bit!), but I won’t have access to my X Trainer whilst away. I will be doing it tomorrow before I go, and when I come back on Sunday night I will also do the challenge, so I will literally only be resting once which is this Saturday. To be honest, I wouldn’t set this challenge to anyone without a rest day or two. Recovery has been an issue but it’s not prevented me from doing the challenge so far.
One of the questions has been answered for sure. Is it possible to burn 500 calories in less than 20 minutes? Yes, absolutely! I have achieved this within 15 days! If I can do it, then anyone can do it! My cardio is certainly been a neglected area of my fitness over the years, as I much prefer resistance training. So I know that anyone else in a similar boat can achieve this. I have had to use strategies such as:
- Starting with Ta Ba Ta for 10 minutes, and then 10 minutes consistent pace
- Starting with consistent pace for 10 minutes, then Ta Ba Ta
- Increasing/changing Ta Ba Ta sprint time (i.e. 40 seconds sprint, 20 seconds rest)
- Warming up before doing the challenge (sometimes I have tried to do it without a warm up – something I have stopped doing and I do not advise. It doesn’t help at all. Always warm up)
I am doing this on top of my usual resistance training too, so I am most likely (most definitely) burning more than 500 calories a day. This challenge was not intended to replace your usual workouts, but to add to it.
500 Day 16 result
Do I believe this is sustainable? Certainly not every single day without a rest. But many athletes or serious competitors out there are training 5-6 times a day and are burning a lot of calories too. This differs in that you are working as hard as you possibly can at a consistent rate for 20+ minutes, which is a huge demand and stress on your body.
With each day I just find it hard to believe I can push myself any harder. But clearly I am getting stronger because from somewhere I am developing the strength to better each time. As long as I can maintain burning 25 calories or more each minute then I know I am on target to make 500 calories in 20 minutes. Here are my times so far:
Day | Time
14 00:21:49 <— felt really ill here!
Day 14 and Day 15 I really had nothing to give! But the main thing here that I am absolutely loving is that I have a daily target which I can set for myself, which I can work hard it, and which I can see is making my training far more effective. Whatever you are currently training for, I highly recommend setting targets, work hard to achieve new PB’s (personal bests), record your results (very important), and especially if you’re looking to lose weight or change your appearance (i.e. going for 6 pack abs) then do record your progress by taking pictures! Keep a daily record of your progress – this has been the one thing that has kept me going more than everything else.
More updates to follow soon!
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Can it be done? How hard will it be?
So the challenge (or more accurately, the research) is:
30 Days, 500 calories burnt every day through 1 session of exercise.
Questions I am looking to answer:
- Can it be done?
- What are the positive and negative impacts on health?
- Will I become more tired or more energetic?
- Will my appetite increase?
- How long will burning 500 calories in one go take?
- What is the shortest time I can burn 500 calories in?
- What does it feel like to burn 500 calories in one go?
- Can I do it after my usual workouts? (as a finisher?)
- Could I sustain this for longer than 30 days every day?
I started my research this morning into burning 500 calories a day in one go, every day, no rest days, and here’s how the first session went.
After starting work at 5.15 am this morning, I planned to do my first 500 calories at 7:30 am. I’ll happily admit, my cardio fitness isn’t the greatest. I am much more of a strength and muscle endurance type of person (lot’s of body weight, heavy weights, using pull up bars – anything with interesting and challenging movement).
About 10 minutes in and my mind was telling me “it’s time to give up now, this is going to be too hard”. Which is absolutely crazy! I knew my body had more so there was no way I was going to stop at 10 minutes. So I had to put a real effort to switch my state from giving up to giving it a go!
I could definitely feel the effects of an easter diet, and I’m a little bit…well say we say…shy…at the thought of posting my shirtless photo on day 1 at the moment (I’ll be keeping a visual diary and taking a photo each day before each workout.)
To my surprise it didn’t feel or hurt as much as I thought it would, and it certainly was not outside of my comfort zone, nor my ability. At the moment I definitely feel like I could do this every day – but it’s only day 1 so best not get carried away! Let’s wait til the stress on the legs and mind start to kick in first before I get too cocky!
The outcome of this morning was that I managed to burn 300 calories in under 17 minutes, and burnt 500 calories in 28 minutes and 29 seconds. So that is now my minimum standard and my time to beat tomorrow.
I’ll post my update in the weekly email and keep sending a few of these updates throughout. I’m also keeping a health log (which I use with all my clients) to track my health too (heart rates, blood pressure etc…) I’ll send out the results each week so you can see the effects this research/challenge is having on my whole body.
As for my diet, I will be keeping it clean. Lot’s of vegetables, balanced out with protein, and a small amount of carbs. Personally, I am not a big carb fan anyway – pasta is not a favourite of mine. I’ll be cutting out breads and baking goods, and keeping chocolate consumption under control (maybe a little bit at the weekends – chocolate is my weakness!)
Sadly I could only manage 2 out of the 3 mountains within 24 hours, due to injuries sustained to both knees and my ankle. I was extremely gutted at not being able to complete the challenge. I will post highlights on Facebook soon but I just wanted to thank you for your support. It was an experience that I highly recommend, and one I will be attempting for sure next year! (Me at the top of Ben Nevis right there!)