Lots of people hit the gym with very specific fitness goals in mind. And, oftentimes, those goals go unmet. If that’s the case for you, there may be an alternative to those weight loss or outcome-oriented goals: a 30 day workout challenge for women.
This challenge encourages you to work out for a set amount of time. By setting this concrete and achievable end point, you may find yourself more motivated and better able to stay on track. Learn more about this fitness challenge for women — and how it may benefit you.
Why Do A 30 Day Challenge?
A 30 day workout challenge for women provides one clear goal — exercise for 30 days. This makes it distinct from other fitness plans that might have tough-to-measure or arbitrary goals.1
Setting specific fitness targets, like weight loss, requires you to wait at least a few weeks to see any results. But, with a 30 day fitness challenge for women, you aren’t fixated on specific results. You’re working out to reach the finish line. This type of goal can help you stay motivated and hopefully build your exercise confidence, which may keep you working out well past the 30 days.2
Core Fitness Elements
Tony Horton includes three main fitness elements in his 30 day workout routine. When these are done together as a comprehensive workout plan, they may help maximize results.
Aerobic exercise provides cardiovascular conditioning by elevating your heart rate and breathing to move oxygen to your muscles. Common aerobic exercises include running, swimming, and cycling. These activities can support heart health, healthy blood pressure levels, and assist with weight loss goals.3
The American Heart Association recommends that most people get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week.4
Strength training increases muscle strength by forcing your muscles to push against resistance or weight. You can create this resistance with free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or your own body weight. Doing regular strength training can increase muscle mass and support mobility and healthy bone density.5
The AHA suggests that you include at least two days of strength training per week in addition to your aerobic workouts.6
Note: Start out with an easy and reasonable amount of weight. It’s important not to overdo it with any weight or resistance training to help reduce the chance of injury.
Stretching and good flexibility don’t directly contribute to weight loss or big strength gains. But, for Tony Horton, regular stretching is an important part of any fitness plan because it supports balance and overall fitness.7
A Personalized Fitness Plan For You
Below, you can find a sample schedule designed by Tony Horton to optimize results and safety. One week includes five workout days and two rest days. You can use this plan for all 30 days.
As your confidence and fitness levels increase, you can begin to add variations and increase the intensity of the workouts. Try to do these exercises every week for about 20 minutes per day to complete your 30 day workout challenge for women.
Note: Speak to your physician before doing any new exercises, particularly if you are recovering from an injury or have any underlying health conditions.
Day 1 — Aerobics
Go For A Walk
It may seem simple, but a 30-minute walk is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and the perfect way to kick off your fitness challenge for women. It’s a low-impact and enjoyable way to increase your heart rate and improve mental and physical well being. Plus, you can do it just about anywhere with almost no equipment.8
Day 2 — Flexibility + Strength Training
Yoga routines can provide big support to flexibility and muscle strength. Most yoga challenges include breathing exercises and stretching poses that flex your muscles. The full body workouts from yoga can help support joint comfort, flexibility, and increased muscle tone.9
There are many resources and free fitness videos with practical yoga instructions that you can follow online. Start with some of the beginner workouts and yoga poses, like:
- Mountain Pose
- Crescent Lunge
- Downward-Facing Dog10
You can transition easily into a plank position from your yoga session. Planks are a simple way to build muscles throughout the body in places like the abs, glutes, and hips.
- Start on a yoga mat with your elbows beneath your shoulders and your arms flat on the ground and extended forward.
- Then, pop up on your toes and straighten out your body from head to toe.
- Hold this position, and engage your core. Your weight should be equally distributed across your body.
- Maintain the plank position as long as you can, then release.11
Day 3 — Strength Training
This bodyweight workout is actually one of five foundational movements that support everyday movements, like sitting and standing. In this way, squats support your athletic performance and make everyday tasks easier.
- Stand with your feet hips-width apart.
- To begin the movement, hinge at the hips, then bend at the knees to lower into a squatting position.
- Lower until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel with the floor.
- Press into your feet to lift back up and straighten the legs back to the starting position. Repeat for 8-10 reps.12
You can do lots of basic strength-training workouts, like push ups, planks, or sit-ups, without any equipment. But, there are some muscles, particularly the biceps and back muscles, that grow best with “pulling” movements.
That’s where dumbbells and free weights come in handy. These weights force you to pull in order to move them, which builds foundation strength in the arms, back, and chest. You don’t even need to lift a lot of weight, just enough to create resistance. Begin with lighter weights and basic moves to get started.13
Day 4 — Aerobics + Flexibility
Bike Ride Or Other Recreational Activity
Working out doesn’t need to be all serious business. There are lots of fun activities that count as aerobic exercise. You can go on a bike ride, roller skate, hike, or even go dancing to increase your heart rate for the day.14
Foam Roller Stretches
A foam roller is a handy tool that can deepen your stretches. That’s because foam rollers press against points in the body that release tension in the top layer of your muscles. This muscle release can increase comfort and ease common aches. You can use the foam roller against your quads, hamstrings, back, and calf muscles to stretch out commonly tight muscle groups.15
Day 5 — Strength Training + Aerobics
Add a little more challenge to your core workout with a set of Russian twists. This type of exercise requires you to twist across the transverse plane, which engages your entire core. Increasing strength in often overlooked muscles, like the obliques, can improve posture and allow you to twist and turn your body with more ease.
- Sit on the floor with feet flat on the ground and your knees bent.
- Lean your upper body back to a 45-degree angle with your hands linked on your chest.
- Lift your legs off the ground, and hold them slightly elevated.
- In this position, rotate your arms to one side, then to the other side. Do 5-8 repetitions of this movement.16
Note: If this is too challenging, you can also do simple abdominal exercises, like crunches.
Run Or Fast Walk
It’s time to pick up the tempo on your aerobic exercise. Running is one of the most effective forms of cardiovascular fitness. It promotes healthy heart functions to decrease the chance of chronic illness and even increase potential life expectancy. Even a small amount of running can provide big gains for heart health.17
So, if you are physically capable, try to fit in a short run or even increase the speed of your walk a bit as you feel able for some solid aerobic exercise.
You should take two days of rest from exercise every week that you work out. These breaks from exercise allow your body to recover and build muscles. Ideally, this will allow you to return to your workouts refreshed.18
Plans For The Additional Weeks
You can repeat the schedule above for all four weeks of the 30 day workout challenge for women. Each week, you can make adjustments for optimal gains:
- Week 1 — Focus on form to help build confidence.
- Week 2 — Begin increasing the rep count for some of the weighted exercises.
- Week 3 — Elevate the tempo of your cardio to create more challenging workouts.
- Week 4 — Introduce some heavier weights to the strength training exercises.
Does The 30 Day Challenge Work?
After 30 days of working out and following a healthy lifestyle, many people may begin to notice some weight loss and strength gains. Most importantly, after about three weeks, the body begins to adapt to fitness, which makes it easier to continue on a regular exercise schedule.19
For Tony Horton, this continued fitness is the true metric for success. The 30 day workout challenge for women creates a daily routine and feasible goals. This can encourage people to maintain good exercise habits beyond the 30 day finish line. Use the example schedule from above to get started, and always remember to speak to a doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.
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