To disprove the myth that weight gain is inevitable during the holiday season, hundreds of Americans are signing up for a fitness challenge that tests their ability to become lean and fit between the end of November and the beginning of January.
For the Holiday Challenge, a fitness contest that begins on Thanksgiving Day (November 26), participants can sign up at the Burn The Fat website (www.BurnTheFat.com/InnerCircle) where they can also track their exercise and nutrition regimens for 50 days. Those who slim down the most could win a
The Holiday Challenge is the brainchild of fat loss expert Tom Venuto, author of the best-selling e-book Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, and The Body Fat Solution (Avery/Penguin) slated for its paperback release in January 2010.
“Too many people buy into the news stories that say Americans will gain pounds of body fat in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Venuto says. In reality, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average amount gained over the holidays is much more modest, just over one pound.
“So the idea that everyone is going to pack on several pounds is clearly a myth,” Venuto says. “But people believe that myth and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
To turn the conventional wisdom on its head, Venuto is challenging the thousands who follow his Burn The Fat blog to not just maintain their weight but to actually lose body fat during the holiday season.
“No one consciously sets a ‘goal’ to get in worse shape over the holidays,” Venuto says, “They do it by default. Mentally, people accept the idea that it’s impossible to stay in shape because of all the parties, the family get-togethers and the tempting food, so they say ‘Why bother?’”
Once people resign themselves to thinking that gaining fat is unavoidable they are actually setting a “negative goal,” Venuto says. And, he contends, the only way to counteract that unconscious negative decision is to create a conscious goal to do the opposite: to get in better shape over the holidays.
As an incentive to those who take part in the Holiday Challenge (at www.BurnTheFat.com/InnerCircle ), Venuto will award two grand prizes of a five-day vacation in Negril, Jamaica to the overall winners in the men’s division and the women’s.
Because the Holiday Challenge is a body transformation contest – and not simply a weight-loss competition – participants will be judged on how much they improve their body composition (the amount of lean body mass and body fat percentage). Contestants will also be judged on the visual improvement in their bodies (as illustrated by their “before” and “after” pictures), and the inspirational essay they must submit during the contest. In addition to the overall winners, additional prizes, (including IPods and Kindles) will be awarded to winners in other categories such as “Most Ripped,” “Most Muscular” and “Most Inspirational.”
During the Holiday Challenge, contestants must enter their body fat measurements, workout details and food intake (even on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) using a daily journal at the Burn The Fat website (www.BurnTheFat.com/InnerCircle).
But participants will need to do more than simply follow contest rules. They will also have to challenge the excuses and rationalizations that cause many people to fall off the fitness wagon during December.
“One of the most common excuses is ‘I’m too busy to work out over the holidays,’” Venuto says. “But no one is too busy for their highest priorities. Your health and your body have to become your highest priority – because without your health, you can’t enjoy anything else in life, including your family or the holidays.”
And those who want to be successful in the Holiday Challenge must also break out of the “either/or” thinking that keeps many people from reaching their fitness goals. “People believe they can either get in shape or they can enjoy themselves – but not both,” Venuto says. “But the truth is you really can enjoy the holidays and get in better shape at the same time.”
“Life is not an “either/or” proposition,” he adds. “It’s a matter of balance. And challenging yourself to achieve that balance is a great way to start the New Year!”