Survival of the Unfittest: participating in the EHI Fitness Challenge

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By Katy Edwards and Courtney Johnson

Are you unfit? Are you bored in life and need a way to fill time? Do you enjoy the satisfaction of pain?

We have been participating in the Oklahoma Christian Fitness Challenge for a little over two weeks now and, ironically, none of these criteria described us — or so we thought — until we actually went to the first training session. Beginning this challenge seemed like the next step to push us farther in our established workout routine we began last semester.

Courtney needed something to keep her motivated, as she has been on a fitness/weight loss journey of her own for more than a year and a half. Katy knew this challenge would push her limits and competitive spirit while also providing the tools and encouragement needed to reach her fitness goals.

In order to start the challenge, we had to provide our beginning measurements and weights, in addition to completing a general health assessment. Every week we fill out a log with our total amount of steps, our amount of exercise and our challenge results. The weekly challenges are selected from a list of 19 exercise and nutrition objectives.

For example, last week we decided to do the “drink only water” challenge. After long days in student teaching, the last thing Courtney wanted to have water, so this was definitely a challenge for her. We also did the “drink half your body weight in ounces of water” challenge and experienced positive results, as well as frequent trips to the restroom. The goal of these challenges is to incorporate positive, healthy habits into our daily routine.

Now back to the question, “Are you unfit?” We thought we had a good grasp on our physical condition, but we were dead wrong. After day one, we discovered pain in muscles we never knew we had, and the “Payne” Athletic Center lived up to its name. At that point we both wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. Neither of us had ever felt that much muscular pain in our lives.

We stuck it out, and by the second week, we had already seen an improvement in our endurance and strength. Jokes aside, the trainers and other participants have all been encouraging and motivational throughout the entire process.

Another major factor in the Fitness Challenge is acquiring 56,000 steps each week, Monday to Sunday. For Katy, this is not an exceedingly taxing exercise because of her decision to walk everywhere and participation in Spring Sing. However, not always being able to control the day’s activities — long classes, homework time, and inactive periods during work — makes consistency in step count difficult.

For Courtney, however, acquiring the steps is a bit of a task.

The challenge’s first week fell on the week Courtney sat in one classroom from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, which made activity difficult. Student teaching requires a higher level of activity but it is still difficult to acquire all of the steps needed when enclosed in a classroom. Even though step count can be burdensome at times, we have both been able to achieve our weekly goals. It is not impossible.

We are still at the beginning of this process, so we aren’t experts on the overall effects or difficulties of the challenge. We both find ourselves struggling every week to make sure we stay accountable to each other and ourselves. It is definitely not easy when you have papers, assignments, tests and life getting in the way of a healthier lifestyle. It takes planning, dedication and a true desire to change. It is not impossible, but only you can make it happen, and you decide how much you will gain from the experience.

Our goal is to make fitness and better nutrition part of our daily routines, while also pushing ourselves to new strengths. Hopefully we will finish stronger than we started and display more confidence in our physical abilities. If you are looking for a way to get fit and you need motivation, we would recommend this program. However, you need to be committed to the process and realize it does not happen overnight.

Katy Edwards and Courtney Johnson are seniors at Oklahoma Christian University. 

The opinions of guest columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Talon or Oklahoma Christian University. Guest opinions are presented to foster public debate on important topics and comments should be respectful and signed.

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