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How Fitness Challenge Groups Help You Lose Weight

By JESS BARRON

Is your New Year's resolution to lose weight and get fit? How's that resolution going for you so far?

I'll be honest with you, my fitness resolution hasn't gone so well over the first few days of 2013. In all my busy-ness with family, friends, and getting back to work here at LIVESTRONG.COM, I haven't done a single workout. And, it's probably no surprise that I haven't lost a single one of the 6 pounds I gained over November and December.

Why haven't I gotten started? Where is my motivation?

Despite all my best intentions, I realized one crucial component that helped me lose significant amounts of weight two times over the past two years:

Being a part of a fitness challenge group has been integral to my weight loss success.

This year, I'm thankful that my LIVESTRONG.COM colleagues and I have committed together to 8 weeks of The Gunnar Challenge. We are officially starting this daily fitness challenge on Monday, January 21, 2013, and we invite our LIVESTRONG readers to join us. We’ll be blogging and tweeting about our experiences day-by-day, and we’d love to have our audience in this adventure with us. (Signing up is quick and easy.)

The LIVESTRONG Team is Taking The Gunnar Challenge

The LIVESTRONG team is taking The Gunnar Challenge.

I can't wait! If my past experience tells me anything, it's that being a part of this fitness challenge will help me keep my commitment to get fit and get success.

4 Ways Fitness Challenge Groups Help You Stay Committed and Lose Weight:

1. Daily words of motivation from top trainers. During The Gunnar Challenge, we'll be getting daily video motivation from Gunnar Peterson, who has trained Kim Kardashian, Sylvester Stallone, Sofia Vergara, and Jennifer Lopez.

What does a daily motivational video from a pro like Gunnar look like?  Here’s an example of the type of daily motivation a.k.a. “Verbal Vitamins” we will be receiving from Gunnar:

2. Daily exercise routines prescribed by a professional trainer. The fitness challenge groups that helped me lose weight consisted of different daily workouts programmed for the group by professional trainers that involved interval training, weight training, and core work. The workouts don’t need to be long, they simply need to challenge you and provide variety that keeps you coming back for more.

Want to see an example of a daily workout video from The Gunnar Challenge? Check out the 5×5 WildCard Workout:

3. A simple calorie-restricted daily meal plan created by professional dieticians. Planning my own meals and creating my own shopping lists can be daunting, and my food choices aren't generally conducive to weight loss.

Getting a flexible easy-to-prepare daily meal plan is yet another reason why I'm looking forward to starting The Gunnar Challenge. Gunnar’s website has daily meal plans, complete with recipes and grocery shopping lists to help me keep my eating on track.

Gunnar also offers encouragement and tips on eating. Here's an example:

4. Encouragement, support, and friendly competition. Friendly competition can be a great motivator. Trying to lose the most weight or get the best "Before" and "After" photo transformation of the group can help some people to strive to greater success for themselves.

The Gunnar Challenge offers a vibrant online community complete with forums and interaction with Gunnar and other participants on Twitter and Facebook.

Let’s do this! Sign yourself up for a fitness challenge group. If you’re interested in losing 8-25 pounds in 8 weeks, go ahead and sign up for The Gunnar Challenge with me and my LIVESTRONG.COM teammates. (Signing up is quick and easy.) We’ll be there online to support you along the way! We start together on Monday, January 21, 2013.

Also, add me on Twitter, and feel free to send me a tweet to let me know what your resolutions are this year. I'd love to hear about them.

–Jess

Jess Barron is Editor-in-Chief of LIVESTRONG.COM. Read some of her other health and fitness articles here. A longtime foodie and fan of Farmer's Market food, Jess particularly loves heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs with burrata cheese, and anything with pumpkin or peanut butter in it! Her love for food fuels her desire to exercise daily. In the summer of 2012 Jess lost 20 pounds in a test group for a new fitness program. Some of her favorite workout routines include walking, running, yoga, P90X, INSANITY, and mixed martial arts. Jess's writing can also be found at Poprocks.com. She has appeared on MSNBC's "The Most," ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio and her writing has appeared on Wired.com and Yahoo!

Follow Jess on Twitter @jessdandy. Also, you can add her on Google+ and follow her on Pinterest.

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