On April 1 our #HOPx10 high intensity interval challenge came to a close. We began the challenge on January 1 and over the course of three months, participants completed 10 high intensity interval workouts. The challenge wasn’t designed willy-nilly. We employed true science in designing both the workouts and the duration of the challenge. We took in to account both the length of time it takes to form a new habit AND the length of time it takes to feel real results from the workouts.

With any new undertaking learning happens along the way. I’d venture to say that as a community, our insights through the process are just – if not more – important than any other part of this challenge.

Here are some of the highlights:

Accountability matters. Both in showing up and not skimping ourselves within the workout. Putting our name on a public list brings accountability to completion. In this case, it helped us to fit in the workout for the week even when it would have been easier to attend to demands outside our fitness routine. It was also easier to stick with the WHOLE workout instead of skipping certain parts because of time or preference.

High intensity interval training works. There’s an art to designing the HOP workouts to be sure. But science supports WHY high intensity intervals work. And so do the testimonials of the #HOPx10 participants. Lee will be the first to tell you that she and the kids were hit particularly hard with the preschool cold season. Many weeks the #HOPx10 workout was the only strength or cardio type workout she was able to fit in. BUT, fitting in this one workout allowed her to retain a decent level of fitness instead of sliding completely during February.

Structure is important. The day of the week. The time of day. Having a regular routine makes it easier to fit in our workout. Also having a prescribed workout to do where there is nothing to decide except when to start makes a big difference. With the hour of power (or any of our white board workouts), all YOU have to do is walk through the door.

It’s fun to challenge ourselves. New growth, learning opportunities and challenges keep us ALIVE. It’s fun to take on something new and complete it. It is empowering to accomplish something we never thought “we” would be able to do. It builds our self esteem and make us better in the rest of our lives.