Going to the 42 Day Challenge was the worst mistake I ever made

The 42 Day Challenge is a rat race. It will help you lose weight temporarily, but can cause serious damage later.

Wardha Saleem January 23, 2016
The 42 Day Challenge – “Often imitated, never replicated”.

This is their slogan. Does it work? The testimonials on their Facebook page sure say so. But, is it a responsible program that ensures health with weight loss of their clients?

Not in my opinion.

So I have been working out since I was 14-years-old. The 42 Day Challenge was not the first hard core workout program for me. I have also been working out with personal trainers, with regular bouts of yoga. Like most people, my journey of fitness has not been very constant. I would adopt a fitness routine and then abandon it for months. I have a busy and hectic life, and like any urban dweller, I tend to forgo my workout.

Having a personal trainer who would pester me about my workout seemed the most practical option. So I found myself a permanent personal trainer.

Unfortunately, a friend told me about the very popular 42 Day Challenge. The pros were that it was close to my house. Not having to commute is a godsend at the end of a busy day. I was delighted about the fact that the program promised fast weight loss.

Without considering the cons, I enrolled myself in the programme.

Once I was enrolled, I received a diet plan via email. Hundreds other people received it as well. It was the same for everybody.

It was official. I was doing the 42 Day Challenge.

I have never regretted a decision more.

Photo: The Forty Two Day Challenge Facebook page

I walked in to see hundreds of people lined up. That’s when I should have bolted. How can a trainer responsibly train so many people at the same time?

There was a huge crowd of people of all ages and sizes. Numerous “hello’s” and “good to see you’s” later, the workout began.

Photo: The Forty Two Day Challenge Facebook page

I was completely shocked to see that the workout started without any stretches. It comprised of circuits with mountain climbers, jumping jacks, squats and what not.

The workout space resembled a fish market. Amongst the crowd of jumping jacks, I bet the trainer didn’t even see me, let alone know my name. I had a friend who came with a group for a trial class and continued till the end without even getting herself enrolled.

Photo: The Forty Two Day Challenge Facebook page

You can imagine the level of negligence of the management. They didn’t know who was there, and who was doing what.

Everybody was lifting weights, and doing lunges and squats, without being taught the right postures. The trainers stayed oblivious throughout the sessions. During that programme I continued with my personal trainer. Every morning I stretched to get my body ready so I could break it again with that insanely stupid workout session.

Photo: The Forty Two Day Challenge Facebook page

A class that used to start without any stretches and ended without any stretches. God, how could I do that to myself? Finally, I gave up on the 34th day.

Due to that horrible experience, my knees were affected very badly for a year. I couldn’t wear heels or walk up the stairs. The damage made my life very difficult.

One of my friends decided to continue with the next session as well because she lost some weight. This was her first time working out. She endured the same knee injury. Thankfully she gave it up before more damage was inflicted.

I recovered from that knee problem after I joined an ancillary care provider company, where the trainer is more concerned about my health, my posture and my weight loss. Moreover, she designs her workout plan as per the strengths of the people in her class.

Notwithstanding, my personal experience I am sure people get results from this 42 Day Challenge. But what will happen afterwards, when the rigorous workout ends and diets are no longer curtailed?

To me, the 42 Day Challenge is a rat race; it will help you lose weight temporarily, but can cause serious damage to your health in the long run.

We need to recognise that our bodies are different from each other. We cannot have generalised meal plans and uniform workout sessions. In an attempt to lose weight, we should consult a nutritionist and adopt a diet that suits our health system.

Whoever is looking to lose a few pounds quickly, I would urge them to stay away from the 42 Day Challenge. Trust me, it will do more harm than good.
Wardha Saleem The author is a prominent fashion designer.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Bilal's vlogs | 5 years ago | Reply Ever tried to drink some milk and some cac 1000?
educate yourself | 8 years ago | Reply Disclaimer: I am not a certified fitness trainer and neither are the other monkeys out there. Trust only yourself and research backed resources (mentioned at the end). And even certified trainers can be bad ones just like in any other profession. For those getting injured you need to study and understand why injuries really happen, the root cause is the daily activities we perform and mostly we sit (in the car, watching Tv, during our jobs, on that exercise machine, etc) we were not designed to sit for extended periods of time. Sitting will lead to muscular imbalances (there are other related topics like Tight Fascia, Kinetic Chain/Postural Alignment, Planes of motion, integrated/isolated function of each muscle group, etc) like a forward, pelvic tilt (anterior or posterior), externally rotated feet mixed with feet-pronation (over/under) to name a few. These muscular imbalances will lead to improper muscles' force couples (synergy) and length/tension relationships (reciprocal inhibition) as well as your joint motion (Arthrokinematics) being dys-functional. Hence, the improper forces that will be produced on different parts of your body will lead to injury, this is just the basic idea. Now we get into the muscle groups behind some imbalances For example if your feet are not in line with your knees when walking (toes should be straight not angling outwards), it means that the problems lie in the gluteus medius (over-active), lengthened adductors, if your pelvis has an anterior tilt, this will lead to an imbalance in the gastrocemius (the inner head becomes over-active) and all of this at times lead to an anterior pelvic tilt, then that in turn causes shearing forces in the knees. There are other reasons for knees to get busted. Now continuing with the Anterior pelvic tilt (Lordosis): the Hip Flexors are overactive, iliopaosas is lengthened, erector spinae are contracted and this leads to your famous L4 and L5 disc problems For the Posterior Tilt the Hip Extensors are overactive pulling the pelvis back, the erector spinae become lengthened. Another issue that needs to be addressed is Fascia being tight which is the group of fibers that directs the muscles into the imbalances (according to some - read anatomy trains), however, fascia becomes tight due to our daily activities. So the muscle imbalances can be corrected by releasing the fascia via (foam rollers, theracanes, medicine balls, tennis balls, dry cupping, etc) and performing corrective exercises (different for each type of imbalances and ability of the individual) along with performing exercises that promote stabilization (movement) and balance (stationary) primarily using swiss balls and bosu balls. Without addressing these issues it almost impossible to avoid injury at some point. And just because you are not injured yet or have never been uptill now, does not mean that you do not have imbalances. You can go into the muscle fibre types Type I - for stabilization/slow movement/endurance and Type II for fast movement Type II A (fast movement) and Type II B (explosive movement). These are just the basics there is a lot more study books on exercsie physiology/kinesiology and nutrition/dietetics, apply the concepts, for a shortcut read NASM and NSCA material. Hope this helps
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