How 12 weeks can change your life How 12 weeks can change your life

The 12 Week Challenge is about to kick off again – want to know why you should take part? Read on.

12 weeks is long enough to change bad behaviours – for good.

A health psychology researcher at University College in London tracked participants over 12 weeks to investigate how long habit formation takes, and found 66 days was the average, making the 12 Week Challenge the perfect vehicle for changing your habits, and being able to maintain your new lifestyle after the challenge is over.

Every day of the challenge has been designed with careful and expert input regarding your nutrition, exercise and mindset. You quite literally have a whole team of experts working with you to help you achieve your goals.

In addition to the challenge program, the personalised approach from your food coach enables you to take the guess work out of nutrition and meal planning, and a personal trainer will challenge and push you far more than you’d push yourself – it’s a bit harder to cheat on your sit-up count when someone else is doing the counting for you!

You’ll see results

Within days of commencing a new exercise and nutrition regimen you will notice improved sleep and mood – say thanks to those endorphins! – and you’ll be more alert and less stressed. Feelings of self-worth and self-esteem receive an immediate boost, and while it can take six weeks or more to see changes in muscle size, strength gains happen much more quickly – usually in the first weeks of strength training. Win! Plus, the personal satisfaction gained by committing to making a change is huge.

Factors that govern your rate of fat loss (apart from exercise and nutrition) include metabolic rate, existing lean muscle mass, and genetics – some people can safely lose up to two kilograms a week, while others tend to lose weight at a slower rate. Regardless, increased exercise and improved nutrition will get you off to the best possible start.

The real winner of the 12 Week Challenge is your fitness – this is the area where you can really improve in leaps and bounds. Fitness generally improves about 50 per cent per week, in a sequential fashion. So, if you can manage a five-kilometre jog, and want to stretch that to 10 kilometres, you’ll find yourself about 50 per cent adapted to the 10 kilometre load after a week of training. In week two, you’ll be 75 per cent adapted, week three, 87.5 per cent, and by the end of week four you’ll be 94 per cent adapted – and ready to up the distance again!

 You’ll achieve your goals

A study from Dominican University in California found that you’re 42 per cent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down, and that’s exactly what you’ll do in your 12 Week Challenge journal. Whether your goals are about weight lost or strength gained, your journal is a powerful motivational tool, helping you to measure your progress and successes.

You’ll improve your performance

A 2012 study by the Society of Behavioural Medicine looked at the effects of working out with partner compared to working out alone. They discovered that a partner boosts not only your motivation for the workout, but also your performance, with participants working out for longer when buddied up. The 12 Week Challenge places an emphasis on group achievement, as well as individual achievement – you’ll have a group of like-minded ladies, spurring you on … and maybe getting those competitive juices flowing.

You’ll lose weight

You’ll also lose more weight. Researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown University in the US found that teammates in a team-based weight loss competition lost similar amounts of weight, suggesting that being around others losing weight will help you lose weight yourself. The participants who lost the most amount of weight were the ones who reported that their teammates played a large role in their weight loss, and the results were the same whether the team met face-to-face or existed online. Many components of the 12 Week Challenge focus on team-based competitions.

The online components of the 12 Week Challenge – plus the social media channels – are there for even more support and motivation when you’re not in the gym, (or if you’re an online challenger), allowing you to share successes and struggles with likeminded ladies.