Holiday Fitness Challenge: Crazy or Genius?

By now, almost everyone in the online fitness space has heard of Tom Venuto’s Burn the Fat Holiday Challenge. But in case you haven’t, the holiday challenge is a body transformation contest that starts in November and ends in January.  49 days of “burning the fat” (and building muscle, if you choose).

The gut reaction most people have when they hear about this for the first time is, “Isn’t this the WORST time to start a fitness program?  Thanksgiving is just days away and most people gain fat over the holidays don’t they?”  True. Most people do gain fat over the holidays.  But not everybody..

And not the people who accept this Holiday fitness challenge. In fact, the opposite happens: YOU see some of the most amazing body transformations you have ever seen for such a short time – 49 days – and especially considering all the holiday temptations.  You absolutely have to see the before and afters for yourself – click play on the video below to watch…

Pretty impressive huh? This is the 5th season of Tom’s Burn the Fat challenge and the 3rd year it has been run over the holidays, and the results are like this every time (In fact, I think they keep getting better every year – kind of like the three minute mile effect, where new people see last year’s results and say, “I can do that and even better!).

I’ve had a front row seat for this challenge for all 5 seasons because I’m not only a member at Tom Venuto’s Inner Circle, I’ve been a contributor there since 2006.

I’ve watched all the body transformations happen in real time every season, I’ve even had the opportunity to interview the top finalists. and I’ve seen patterns in the success stories.

The winners and people who place in the top 10 all customize their diet and training programs, but they all do certain things the same as well and their mental approaches are also similar.

So whether you officially enter a Burn the Fat challenge, or you do an informal “Burn the Fat Holiday challenge” with your colleagues at work or your buddies at the gym, or if you just don’t want to GAIN fat over the holidays, or if you just want faster results – similar to what these transformation champs did in only 49 days – here are some of my top tips, based on what I’ve seen the champs have in common:

Top Tips to Improve Your Chances of Winning:

1.  Focus Your Effort:  Focus everything. Focus on one contest. Focus on this one time frame – a 49 day goal. And very importantly, focus on one program. Most people are bandwagon hoppers, jumping from one program to the next. Get on one good program and stick with it.  I highly recommend the Burn the fat program, but whatever program you choose, you’ll have the best chances of making a great transformation if you stick with it and focus on it with 100% commitment

2. Compete Against Yourself:  Of course, the best way to approach a transformation is to compete against yourself.  If there’s a motto for this contest, it should be “become better than you used to be, not better than someone else.”  Although this is a competition, the Burn the Fat challenge is based on personal improvement between your before and after, not who has the best physique in the after photo. That’s one of the reasons its so popular every year – almost anyone can win, as long as they can improve (if your body is already perfect – just the way you want it – then no reason to enter this type of event)

3.  Compare Yourself to Others like Yourself:   If you’re going to make comparisons (after all it is a competition), compare yourself appropriately. Men and women of course ,are completely different with how their bodies respond to nutrition and training.  When a woman tries to eat like a guy, that’s a recipe for failure, plus (don’t hate us), guys can simply lose fat faster. Sorry but it’s true, even if only by virtue of our larger body size. So a transformation challenge needs to recognize men and women separately. Just enter the division for your gender. Same thing with age. Although there are some pretty amazing results from 40-50 year old guys like Scott, the most recent winner (seen in the video), this year they have special awards for the over-50 set.

4. Use the Prizes as Motivational Leverage:   As the contest founder, Tom Venuto said, “it’s psychology 101 that some people need a carrot to get motivated. Who wouldn’t want to win a trip for two to Maui?”  That’s a nice carrot! I wouldn’t mind winning that myself (but since I work as an Inner Circle contributor, I’m not allowed to get in the running.. damn!)  Anyway, Tom has sent 16 people to Maui and there is a huge list of other prizes – those new Kindles, ipads, ipods, books, memberships… If you’re motivated by the carrot, try sticking a picture of the beaches of Maui where you will see it every day for the next 7 weeks and picture your new body on that beach.  That’s motivation!

5. Finish:  Lots of people would love to win that Maui trip.  But if you wake up in January in your home town, and look in the mirror in the morning, happy with the changes you’ve made in your body because you accepted the challenge and finished it, then you are a winner. Here’s the trouble: only about 20% or so of the contestants who start a challenge finish it. Some don’t pace themselves so they flame out early.  Some have all or nothing mindeset: one cheat and they think they blew 7 weeks.  Some people had their eyes only on winning only then just lost their motivation when they saw the competition.  What if you just set a goal to finish?  I think if more people included “just finish” in their goals, that the completion rate would probably double. 49 days is all. Just one day at a time, strung together 49 times. You can do that can’t you?

This is an awesome challenge. It’s motivating. It’s focusing. It’s social. It’s fun. I’ve been a part of it every season and I highly recommend checking it out. Hurry though, the  Deadline for Entry is November 23rd; 11:59pm EST.

Drop Your Excuses and Accept the Challenge

Train Smarter, Not Harder,

Marc David – CPT
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of NoBull Bodybuilding

PS - Learn the best way to avoid holiday weight gain

PPS - A handy Holiday Survival Guide that will teach you how to stay in shape over the holiday season

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3 Responses to "Holiday Fitness Challenge: Crazy or Genius?"

  1. Stefanie O'Donnell:
    December 19, 2011 01:05 pm

    Hi Marc,
    As the Runner Up in the Summer 2011 BFFM Challenge, I couldn’t agree with you more! Tom Venuto provided the motivation to get started and keep going (the Hawaii trip prize) and the Inner Circle provided the much needed support and friendships. The Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle ebook is so thorough, that anyone can easily follow the plan and transform themselves anytime. The great prizes are an added bonus though :)

    Leave a reply  
  2. Christy Ewing:
    November 29, 2011 09:56 pm

    HI there

    Can you please tell me who sings the song you put in the video for BFFM Holiday Challenge. “Don’t sweat it, if you want somethin in life you gotta go get it” Seriously, I seached the internet, youtube and I cannot find it. Please Help :-)

    Leave a reply  
    1. Marc:
      November 30, 2011 03:18 pm

      The song is called “Go Get It” by K Banger

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