Month 1 of the Ultimate Oxygen Challenge was an experiment. I tried both programs to help me find the right coach for my goals. The exercises were familiar and the new recipe ideas were fun.

Month 2 brought new exercises and increased intensity. I loved learning new moves and challenging my body in new ways. I fell in love with the 1 Minute Mug cake and ate a little extra to try to build muscle. I was finding my strength again.

Month 3 was what separated the women from the girls. There were way too many burpees and mountain climbers in my world. I cut calories and managed my carbs in pursuit of losing those last few pounds. This is where you have to be careful to avoid burnout. This is where you lose motivation. This is where it all starts to seem too hard.

I admit I had a moment where I questioned the sacrifices of month 3. As I was wrapping up week 1 of month 3, I reviewed the contest rules. Of course I read them at the beginning, but I REALLY read them as the finish line was approaching. I was hit with two things:

  1. The official end date was October 12 (today) and not at the end of the 90 days. I would have to take my own After pictures since Brian is currently in Hawaii.
  2. Transformation results would be chosen based on INCHES lost. I knew in that moment that the small chance I imagined I had at being a cover finalist was gone.

It would have been easy in that moment to ease up. Not give up but say what difference does it make if I carb cycle or push to failure? What difference would it make if I had an extra splurge or didn’t do an extra (albeit optional workout)?

It would make all the difference in the world if I didn’t complete the mission. I say fitness has no finish line but goals (and completing them) are still important. I set goals for myself outside of the cover contest.

  • I agreed to trust the process.
  • I pledged to let go of control and rethink my habits.
  • I committed to finally submitting my Future of Fitness pictures.

Failure did not lie in not making the cover; it would come if I didn’t meet the objectives I had set for myself. Trying new things and not getting perfect results is not failure. That’s data gathering and we should do it often. Real failure comes from not giving your all and from quitting. When you feel like abandoning the mission, I want you to think about the same things I did that day.

Reconnect with your goals.

I paused and realized success was still there. I will still take pictures for Future of Fitness when Brian gets back this weekend. I’ve decided if I don’t get accepted this time, then I’ll work for it again next year. Just because you don’t reach a goal the first time doesn’t mean it isn’t a good goal. It doesn’t mean you can’t take what you learned and try again. Remember, not reaching a goal is not failing, it’s data collection.

Review what you’ve already achieved.

I feel amazing. I have found my INNER strength again as well as the fire the inspired me to become a personal trainer. I’ve learned the value of letting go and being present. I’ve lost inches in my waist and gained in by booty, making jeans season a whole lot of fun! My skinniest jeans fit perfectly again. I can still meet my objectives plus I got some bonuses too.

Think about what you’ve learned and what comes next.

It’s okay to be happy when the finish line appears. Training for a race or competition takes a lot of a person. To be fit for life and avoid burnout you need to take occasional breaks. It’s okay to look forward to these breaks and time to recover. I’ve learned my body needs rest. I’ve learned my body doesn’t respond as quickly as it used to. I’m taking a week off before I start Erin’s program. I’ll give myself 6 weeks per phase instead of 4. I won’t be as concerned about losing fat as I am maintaining the changes in body, staying strong and enjoying my sweat therapy.

Sometimes the value of the experience isn’t winning. The cover would have been amazing but that isn’t really what this has all been about for me. It’s the EXPERIENCE. It’s the wisdom and strength I’ve gained. It’s the value of having a goal and completing the missions. It’s about saying I CAN. When you think you CAN’T reflect on the three things I did and know you can still complete the mission.

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