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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

12 Days of Fitness Challenge!

by Lori Heck

HO! HO! HO!  Do I have a holiday fitness challenge for you! Not only do I want to help you start your 2011 New Year’s Resolution early, I also want to help you stay healthy, feel better, and have less stress during the holiday season! Between holiday shopping, parties, school events, etc… health and fitness are placed on the ‘back burner’. They shouldn’t be! Regular activity and proper nutrition will keep you energized and more productive, allowing you to accomplish important everyday and holiday tasks. In turn, this will keep stress levels down allowing you to enjoy the holiday season! What I’m about to challenge you to do only takes a few minutes out of your day (unless you want to give it more time), can be done with your entire family (FUN!) and, like I said, will help you to stay healthy and sane! So are you ready for your 12 DAYS OF FITNESS CHALLENGE?

Instructions For 12 consecutive days you will be assigned a different task each day. For example, Day 1 states that you will take a 15-20 minute walk.  When you accomplish the assigned task you will journal about it. Journal how you felt, what your thoughts were, what your goals are-whatever! On the 13th day I want you to summarize in your journal about the entire 12-Day challenge.

The Challenge Be sure to check with your physician before starting any exercise program. If you are currently working with a rehab specialist, you may want to ask him/her about performing any of the exercises described below.

Day 1: For those who are not currently participating in any cardio program, I want you to walk 15-20 minutes (on a treadmill, at the mall, outside, at an outdoor/indoor track, etc…). You could also use an elliptical, bike, or even do laps in a pool. For those of you who already participate in a cardio program, add 5 minutes to your duration and/or try a different mode of cardio that you have not tried before. I want you to do at least 15-20 minutes at least 4-5 days/week.


Day 2: Eat Breakfast! If you don’t now, then please start with something such as a piece of 100% whole wheat toast and 1 Tbsp of peanut butter (measure this out) and a piece of fruit. For those who do, YES! Keep it up. Be sure you have a good protein source (1 egg with 2 egg whites, 4 egg whitesl, or 2 strips of lean turkey bacon), a good carbohydrate source (oatmeal, oat bran, low sugar cereal, or 100% whole wheat toast), and a good fat source (natural peanut butter, almonds, or walnuts). Enjoy!

Day 3: 2 sets of 12 push-ups.  You can do these on your knees or toes and you can break it up if you need to. The important thing is to get all 24 push-ups in. Then, finish off with 20 jumping jacks.

Day 4: Complete 15 Y Squats then take a 30 second break and repeat 1 to 2 more times. Keep chest up, eyes focussed straight ahead, arms next to ears and sit back into a chair. When you push up to standing position, push through your heels. Be sure your knees don’t go over your toes. Breathe out on the way up.


Day 5: Start to reduce the amount of simple carbohydrates in your diet. Examples would be table sugar (however, I’d rather you use natural sugar versus artificial sweeteners), candy, pastries, sodas, high sugary cereals (more than 10g of sugar), and many of the processed foods (packaged cookies and crackers). Check the ingredient list on the foods in your cupboards, if you see high fructose corn syrup and/or trans fats (partially hydrogenated) you are better off just tossing that product.

Day 6: Drink water! Drink ¾ to 1 gallon of water per day and limit your caffeine intake.

Day 7: After your cardio workout- STRETCH!! After your body is warmed up, hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds.

Day 8: Complete 15 Y Squats, 12 push-ups, 10 lunges on each leg, plank hold for 15-20 seconds, and 20 jumping jacks. Do not take more than a 10 second rest between each exercise. When you complete the jumping jacks take 1 minute rest and then repeat 1 to 2 more times. Then do the stretches shown above.


Day 9: Find a set of stairs (at least 5 steps) and I want you to walk up and down them as fast as you can (be careful). Up and down equals one round. I want you to complete 5 rounds with no more than a 10 second rest between each round. When done, rest 1-2 minutes and repeat one more time. This is great to do during a commercial break! If you are someone who exercises more regularly, I would like you to run/sprint up the stairs for 5 rounds. When done, rest 1-2 minutes and then repeat 1-2 more times.

Day 10: Balance time!! I simply want you to stand on 1 foot with your non-supported leg bent at the knee and the knees touching each other. Hold this stance for 10 seconds and then switch legs. Repeat the switch at least 2 times. If you want to challenge your balance a little more, roll up a towel and stand on the center of the towel. This will create an unstable surface and will create more of a challenging balance exercise. Good luck!

Day 11: Recruit a workout partner and share the past 10 days with him/her and have him/her select a task to complete with you on this day!!


Day 12: Eat breakfast, walk 15-20minutes, complete 15 Y-squats, 12 push-ups, 10 lunges on each side, 15-20 second plank hold, and 20 jumping jacks. Complete the exercises, take a 1-minute rest, then repeat 1 -2 more times. You can incorporate this into your walk. After your walk/workout, complete your stretches. Sometime before bed, complete your balance exercises exactly as described in Day 10.  Finally, give yourself a pat on the back! You just completed your 12 days of fitness!!

Day 13: Now, in your journal entry, summarize your 12 Days of Fitness challenge. What did you like? What was most difficult for you? What was the easiest task? Do you have new goals?

Whatever you learned from this challenge, I would love to hear!  Best of luck and enjoy your journey! Happy Holidays!

If you are comfortable and willing, e-mail the journal to or mail to Gold’s Gym 3225 Lorch Ave. Eau Claire, WI 54701 Attn: Lori Heck. I will be reading all journal entries and will select three people to come join me, Lori Heck, owner of ASPIRE Personal Training (based out of Gold’s Gym) and train in my FIT BODY or EXPRESS FIT BODY small group training sessions for 12 days!  Those who submit their journals but were not chosen will receive 2 free sessions!  My holiday gift to you!  What better way to start off 2011.  I will make the selections on January 1, 2011. If you are not currently a member at Gold’s Gym you will receive free membership for those 12 days!
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