Ending the Whole Life Challenge: An Oxymoron
  • November 24, 2016
  • A week ago, Team aSweatLife “finished” the Whole Life Challenge – an eight-week team challenge that began at the same time for everyone who participates from over the world. Teams signed up together to encourage each other in building and improving upon seven life habits (Nutrition, Exercise, Mobility, Sleep, Hydration, Lifestyle Practices and Reflection).

    It also just so happens that Thanksgiving is upon us. When it came time to take a step back and summarize my overall takeaways from the Whole Life Challenge experience, I simply have an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

    This amazing group of aSweatLife team members raised their hands so eagerly to try out this challenge with me which made it completely worth it, no matter what ups and downs came from the two months. Everything is, after all, better with friends.

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    I asked all the writers what they liked and didn’t like about the challenge. Across the board, we all loved the idea of working together on common goals, being able to check in with each other by reading daily reflections and how the challenge made us notice small things that could be beneficial to add or remove from our daily habits to feel better.

    When it came down to the nitty gritty aspects of the challenge – recording definitive scores for nutrition (i.e. having to decipher what the difference between a “3” and a “2” meant) is what gave people any frustration.

    But the gratitude I feel that came from my reflection on the Challenge actually has nothing to do with any of its elements – good or bad. This group of individuals that are incredibly busy with their own careers are passionate enough about contributing to aSweatLife that they came on board with me to try this out. It was no small or short-lived task but everyone stayed completely open to learning something new about themselves, even when it wasn’t convenient.

    Christiana said it best. “[Our] honesty in the feed helped to humanize the program.” That’s what we brought to the table. We knew it wouldn’t be easy and we didn’t pretend it was. It was so comforting for me to read other writers’ comments about not caring one bit about the nutrition component; they were focusing solely on mobility or hydration and were proud of it.

    The elements of the challenge that we liked best, the lifestyle practices, changed from week to week but brought up some of the most interesting conversations and high points overall. Trying out meditation for a week was beneficial to some while others found the week of decluttering to be totally liberating. What I learned from the structure of new weekly challenges is that you don’t have to make a commitment for life if you just want to try out a new way to spend your time. Telling yourself you’ll try something for just one day or one week can be completely worth your while (something I have to continue to tell myself daily).

    More importantly, these lifestyle challenges that were structured inside the rigor of a graded system can still exist among our community members. Because at its core, this is what aSweatLife is about. We focus on the choices that our Readers make daily to be happy, healthy, successful and connected – and I am so grateful that we practice what we preach.

    Thank you, Team aSweatLife, for keeping the essence of what we do so authentic and real. From my point of view, even though we’ve ended the Whole Life Challenge, we’ve really only just begun. And I can’t wait to take on the next challenge with all of you.

    About Maggie Umberger

    Maggie moved to Chicago from North Carolina in 2014 with a degree in Journalism and Spanish, a 200-hour yoga certification, a group fitness cert and a passion to teach and to sweat. It wasn't until she found aSweatLife that she really started to feel at home. Here, she's incorporated her passion for health and wellness into her career as she helps to build the network of Ambassadors, trainers and fitness enthusiasts that exist within the aSweatLife ecosystem. You can also find her coaching at CrossTown Fitness and teaching yoga classes at Bare Feet Power Yoga, Yoga Six and exhale.