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How to Plan a Family Health/Fitness Challenge?

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Posts: 389
1/16/13 1:38 P

I like the idea of a family SP team on here to track stuff and keep accountable to each other. I would also go with a percentage lost rather than weight lost since you're all at different fitness levels, that way you're all competing to reach a goal, or a halfway mark, instead of "Well, Aunt May only wants to lose 20 pounds and I want to lose 50! No fair!" :)

I'm a huge supporter of not-just-scale victories. Keep track of things like water and exercise streaks.

And you can always have mini-competitions as well. Say two ladies are starting at a size 16, and both want to hit a size 10 - first one there gets a $25 gift card to a clothing retailer of her choice, losers pays. That sort of thing. :)

Best thing to do, imo, would be start with everyone's goals. Have them tell you what they want to accomplish, and then tailor your challenges and potential prizes around that.

Posts: 18
1/16/13 8:39 A

WOW!! Thank you so much to everyone for all these fantastic ideas!! I love so many that now I have to figure out which ones to propose to the family! Since we have two years until we see each other all together again, we may be able to do all of them at different times! Please keep the ideas coming, it looks like more than just my family will benefit from so many great ideas!

SparkPoints: (3,236)
Fitness Minutes: (3,530)
Posts: 331
1/15/13 10:10 A

We came up with getting our 10,000 steps in a day, the ones who got all or more steps, I will put $2 in a jar for each. At the end of the month, each can have it and buy a little something for themselves. Kids are loving this and they are wearing that pedometer!

Posts: 23
1/15/13 10:03 A

My family had a fitness challenge last year. I didn't want it to be a "contest" because I didn't want everyone to compete with each other.

Everyone came up with their own goal (lose so many pounds, exercise 30 minutes per day, etc.). We all chipped in some money and whoever completed their goal got a portion of the money.

It really helped me lose some weight!

Posts: 12,828
1/14/13 10:10 P

First plan a good prize

Posts: 135
1/14/13 10:22 A

For anyone interested in Biggest Loser Family type challenge there is a website to help log progress for participants.

SparkPoints: (8,134)
Fitness Minutes: (25,427)
Posts: 100
1/13/13 11:01 P

We just set up a private family challenge to lose 250lbs as a family. So the focus is on the group target instead of just your own goals.

Posts: 2,380
1/12/13 3:30 P

You could also have each of the families take the "family recipes" and find a way to make them healthier without cutting out the taste or making them even tastier! Then at the next big get together, everyone can vote.

SparkPoints: (17,197)
Fitness Minutes: (16,180)
Posts: 8
1/12/13 7:23 A

What a great idea! I am going to set up a walking challenge with my sister and her family who live in another state

Posts: 5,169
1/11/13 3:26 P

Try a family destination challenge. Like walking from your house to Disney World. Can be walking, biking, etc. Have everyone log their miles and see how long it takes all of your to get to a family destination. You can even go as far as say if we get there by a deadline we will all meet there on a certain date.

You can also do the cut down on TV time challenge. Limiting tv and games so that people are forced to do something else.

Have a family community service challenge. Logging in the hours you family helps out in the community, clean up neighborhoods, helping a shut in with lawn work, etc.

SparkPoints: (4,541)
Fitness Minutes: (302)
Posts: 163
1/10/13 1:20 P

I love the Wii :)

Posts: 2,611
1/10/13 9:20 A

You can join the challenges.

SparkPoints: (16,760)
Fitness Minutes: (1,207)
Posts: 963
1/9/13 12:39 A

Here are some others. If you have Wii, you can play different games like slarting slowly with bowling and work up to more active sports. That way the kids & adults can all participate.

If you have some space - like a garage or rec room, try hula hooping and set time limits. WIth Skpe or a video camera you can tape your efforts and show them then at the family reunion - maybe have a hula contest. That will be fun and funny!

Same thing will work for a dance contest. You could do some 50's style music or dig up old Richard Simmons videos. Into the ballroom dance shows on TV? Learn some new steps and have the older folks teach the younger ones and vice versa.

I have memories of baby showers from years ago where we cut a hole in a small paper bag then ran a ribbon thru it and taped up that length of curling ribbon across an area - say 4 or 5 feet - and had to move the bag all that way by blowing on it. You find out really fast how winded you get and who is and isn't in shape. You also have to move at least a little and it's fun. Get a stopwatch and give prizes for the fastest "blowhard" and it might not be who you'd think!

Any kind of marathon, or race (bikes, skateboards, rollerskates, running, or sack race) or obstacle course - like on a kids playground - could be planned. Don't forget volleyball and frisbee golf an swimming.

Sounds like a really great motivational idea and good time could be had by all. Bet you'll want to do it again. I'm jealous; guess I will have to start bugging my relatives.

Posts: 407
1/8/13 8:21 P

Thanks for the great ideas.

SparkPoints: (90,086)
Fitness Minutes: (66,277)
Posts: 2,232
1/7/13 4:09 P

I love all of these ideas! What a great way to get the whole family to focus on healthy living...I think Skype calling during workouts would be hilarious!

My family is not very competitive, and so maybe adding a non-competitive component (where your whole family operates as a team?) might also be a good idea. There's a website I use to track running; you can use it to set up a team and run/walk/bike across America! Maybe set a goal as a team to make it across the country (virtually, of course) by the next family get-together?

You can also have a family adventure challenge, use photos to track outdoor activities, and get your family to use Pinterest or some other site to keep track of cool places they've hiked/biked/paddled?

I just find it's easier to stay connected on these types of sites than it is to try to email back and forth, but that might not work for your family.

Edited by: FRENCHIFAL at: 1/7/2013 (16:14)

SparkPoints: (6,343)
Fitness Minutes: (3,196)
Posts: 233
1/6/13 7:18 P

Me and my wife started the program together and we continue challenging each other

SparkPoints: (9,642)
Fitness Minutes: (12,749)
Posts: 166
1/6/13 7:04 P

we have a Biggest loser challenge. we all chip in for each week. The 1st place winner gets 2/3 the second place winner gets 1/3. (there are only 3)

we are using the percentage lost, not weight to make it a little more fair.

I sent out an e-mail on weigh in days, very long giving praise to everyone for what the accomplishments are for the week.

SparkPoints: (4,541)
Fitness Minutes: (302)
Posts: 163
1/6/13 8:00 A

We have a weekly weigh-in chart.

SparkPoints: (61,120)
Fitness Minutes: (23,416)
Posts: 2,134
1/6/13 5:21 A

There is an actual board game called The Fitness it! My BFF and I are playing right now!

SparkPoints: (2,726)
Fitness Minutes: (1,839)
Posts: 90
1/6/13 4:51 A

Fantastic ideas here! Food for thought

Posts: 137
1/5/13 3:24 P

We just started a group challenge and are using email and facebook. I started a facebook page for people to check in. It isn't really a weight loss challenge but what we are calling a healthy living challenge. We are each putting $20 in the pot and the 1st place finisher will get 75% of that, 2nd place gets 20% and third place gets 5%.

Points are tracked for drinking 8 glasses of water a day, eating 5 veggies and fruits each day and exercise in 15 and 30 minute intervals. Each person can go for bonus points by selecting a weekly personal challenge too like taking the stairs instead of the elevator at every opportunity or giving up chocolate, etc...

We are doing this as an 8 week challenge. Some of us just finished a 10 week weight loss challenge that was fun too -- the first place finisher (me) won one full day of labor from the other three competitors.

SparkPoints: (10,720)
Fitness Minutes: (9,521)
Posts: 294
1/5/13 3:11 P

My family always meet up over Christmas, and we hold different tournaments (where it's not too bad if you lose but not too good either) in different sports (tennis, darts, billiard...). Being competitive people, not wanting to be the first to drop out is usually enough motivation for everyone to train during the year.

Extenuating circumstances that hinder participation are just being too small (12 and under, hyper competitive mid-twenties people could injure them in some sports), being injured, or being a newcomer to the sport (only counts for one year, you're in the next).

Just the thought of competing is what keeps everyone in my family motivated.

If you just start out, how about a "try something new/that you haven't done in 10+years" challenge? Have everyone try a new sport/activity, or do something they haven't in a long time and meet up on Skype to tell each other what you liked and disliked about it?

For those of you living in warmer states, how about a swimming challenge? Or a surfing one for those living close to the ocean?

Posts: 540
1/5/13 10:46 A

I would love to have everyone in our household participate in a challenge. I belong to a fitness center at work and go there after work. If I go 8 times a month, I get a complete reimbursement. I would love to also have a family membership at a local workout facility. My younger son is game. My husband is recovering from 6 surgeries and is limited on what he can do other than physical therapy. My oldest son isn't really interested at this time unfortunately. We have had challenges in the past and it makes you keep going when you are being held accountable to everyone in your household. Most times they can be your biggest critics without any sugar coating! We wrote on a calendar visible to all on what we accomplished and you could often hear throughout the house if there weren't any notations "did you go workout today?"

Posts: 55,222
1/4/13 9:24 P

My family wouldn't all go.

SparkPoints: (33,588)
Fitness Minutes: (27,705)
Posts: 298
1/4/13 9:04 P

Our family challenge is to bike the Erie Canal Trail.(400 miles) this summer. It requires a lot of training for all of us. And preparation of equipment and clothinng etc. It's the middle of winter and we're already getting psyched about it. After the Xmas tree comes down the trainer for the bike goes up. So I'm sure I'll be blogging about it as we move toward it.

Posts: 1,448
1/4/13 1:23 P

Allowing the children help in the planning process ensures they will also follow a better fitness and diet plan

Posts: 2,707
1/4/13 11:39 A

For nutrition challenges, you could do streaks. Like how many days in a row can you consume less than 50 calories through beverages. How many days in a row can you go without soda, etc. You could also have a recipe "challenge". Each week/month, one person posts their favorite meal and someone else has the challenge to make it healthier (say under 500 calories for the whole thing) or something like that. Or you can do it as a challenge individually, each person picks a dish to make healthier then shares their recipes and results.

Oh, and if you can't get everyone on SP, if they all have Facebook accounts, you could create a private Facebook group. I definitely think having a forum to leave questions, inspiration and share the challenges will be a great motivational tool.

Edited by: JENMC14 at: 1/4/2013 (13:44)

Posts: 18
1/4/13 10:52 A

These are all wonderful ideas, I can't wait to implement them into the plan! :) I have been talking up Spark for some time, this might be a great reason to get everyone onto the site! I like the idea of each of us having our own personal challenge and seeing who has improved the most in whatever we have selected, and I LOVE the idea of doing some kind of steps/mileage challenge - it would be SO cool to do a family half marathon together some day!! The creative recipe idea is great, I would really really appreciate any other ideas related to nutrition. Maybe a 'one bad habit or one good habit to break or create' each month or a quarter?

Luckily, there are IT people in each branch of the family, it would be fun to do a Skype call where we workout together! LOL Please, keep those ideas coming!

Posts: 2,707
1/4/13 10:07 A

First, I'd try to get everyone to create an account here. Then you could set up a (private) spark group where you could all stay in touch and post about your challenges.

You could do things that are challenges against yourself, with everyone posting stats. So, as an example, evryone will see how many push-ups (wall, modified, regular, whatever) they can do, Day 1. The challenge is to try to improve, so see in a month, how many you can do.

Have a distance challenge. Have everyone sign on to get in (walking/running/whatever) at leas X miles/steps in a month.

As you get fitter, you can do things like bench press competitions or something, where you can see who can do the most reps, with good form of a certain percentage of their bodyweight. (My husband's gym sometimes does this, they do actual bodyweight, though, but these are usually serious, insane lifters. I know I can't bench my bodyweight for even 1 rep!)

I would avoid competing against each other too much, it's so much better to focus on the positive, and how each individual is improving. I'd also try to stay away from weight related stuff, although it can be fun to see what percentage of your bodyweight you've lost. I'd definitely stay away from anything scale related as the men may lose faster than the women, and those with more to lose will likely lose faster than those with just a few pounds.

Make food goals to get your 8 glasses of water a day. You could each find a healthy recipe on a certain week that you think looks good that everyone "has" to try and then post reviews and individual results with the recipe. Set a goal to get in X number of veggies a day, or a challenge to try a new food every week or something.

This sounds fun! I hope you all have great success!

SparkPoints: (13,420)
Fitness Minutes: (20,043)
Posts: 865
1/4/13 9:22 A

Have you guys got Skype? I've never tried this, but I bet if both families had the same DVD that they liked, they could hit start on their players at the same time while having a laptop in the room for a Skype call. Then you can shout at each other over Skype while doing the same routine! A bit technical, but probably a hilarious thing to do once a month.

Posts: 5,070
1/4/13 9:12 A

a walking challenge-- try to get in your 10K steps. Find out which families do the best. Being across country could be fun since the weather could be a challenge

an exercise challenge. choose an exercise like push ups or squats or jump rope. At the end of the month, have each person time themselves for an allotted amount of time and see who improved the most.

a recipe challenge-- choose a type of food and see who can come up with a creative recipe that is healthy. Compile all the recipes together and give them to the family at christmas. This one can be done each month. Change it up from breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Try not to use processed foods in the recipes.

a football or soccer or softball game. When you can get several of the families together do an outside sport.

a WII challenge-- for those who may have one. This one depends.

Posts: 18
1/4/13 8:53 A

Hi Everyone! This Christmas, my family came together from 5 different states to celebrate and took some family photos together. We all agreed we want to do it again in 2 years, but want to be fitter, smaller and healthier. As the 'planner' in the family, I have been tasked with coming up with a program/challenge/monthly ideas that we can all participate in 'together', even though we live across the country. PLEASE share any ideas that you have tried or think would be cool to try with a multi-generational/fit/nutritionally challenged group. :)

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