The camaraderie your workplace provides can be motivating. Working together with a group of individuals toward a common goal is inspiring, empowering, and promotes accountability. If you’re trying to lose weight, setting up a challenge with your co-workers can help keep you motivated.

Working out in a group provides a host of benefits you might miss out on if you work out on your own, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. When you are in a group atmosphere for a weight loss challenge, you can expect to experience these benefits:

  • exposure to a social and fun environment
  • accountability for participating in exercise
  • workouts that require no prior exercise knowledge or experience
  • less boredom with an exercise routine

It’s important to remember that health should be your and your company’s first priority. You should challenge yourself, but not at the expense of your overall physical, emotional, and psychological wellness.

Weight loss should be the result of healthier eating and improved exercise habits. Avoid adopting a deprivation mindset. Eating a variety of healthy foods is much better for you than depriving yourself. Minimizing empty calories and junk food will allow you to see results more quickly and help you stick with the changes over the long term.

It’s important to make sure you’re giving your body time to rest and heal between workouts. Give yourself at least one day a week to relax with no intense exercise. Without any rest, your mind and body will go into preservation mode. You’ll see your results plateau. You can avoid this by getting enough sleep and incorporating a rest day into your week.

Eating enough protein is important for your body’s ability to recover, grow, and maintain lean mass. Look to take in 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day, spread throughout the day (about 20-30 grams at meals and also after strength exercises).

Keeping your macronutrient intake balanced by eating a healthy ratio of carbohydrates, fat, and protein at each meal will also help you achieve your weight loss goals.

With these training and dietary tips in mind, there are several ways to jump right into a challenge with your co-workers. Use these ideas as inspiration to create a challenge that motivates your group.

1. Mileage

One way to create a workplace challenge with your co-workers is to pick a certain mileage. Choose a given amount of time and make it the challenge to conquer the given mileage within this time. For example, each individual can be tasked with walking or running a total of 40 miles per week. You can ramp up the competition by letting the performance of the workers dictate the numbers. In other words, you can alter this scenario by making it competitive. The individual who logs the most miles wins.

2. Body scan

In a body scan challenge, each individual has their body composition documented before and after the competition. A typical body scan includes a body fat percentage test, BMI calculation, height and weight measurement, and measuring the places on your body where you hold the most mass (abdomen, hips, thigh, etc.). At the end of a given period of time, results are compared. A winner is decided based on overall transformation.

3. Workout logs

Keeping workout logs is an easy way to encourage a group of co-workers to become more active. It’s an excellent type of workplace challenge for those that are currently in poor shape, or are relatively inactive. The idea is simply to get up and move every day and to track your progress. This is a less daunting task than trying to conquer 50 miles a week. It’s perfect for beginners.

4. Head-to-head competitions

One way to activate a group’s competitive spirit is to create a tournament. Over several weeks, different workouts are completed where individuals are paired up against each other. The person who completes the workout with a faster time moves on to the next round. The final head-to-head workout determines the winner.

5. Benchmark workouts

Benchmarks are sets for the same workouts done weeks or months apart. They are designed to track progress and help you measure your growth. For example, your group performs a given workout on January 1, then documents how each individual finishes. Then on February 1, your group performs the same workout and compares those results to the January 1 workout. To determine a winner in this scenario, the scores are compared and evaluated to figure out who made the most progress in a month.

When setting up a weight loss challenge, it’s important not to overlook self-esteem. In an environment where tensions can rise, your work group should stay focused on the fact that making progress (even in small steps) is the most important goal.