The friendly atmosphere your workplace provides can be motivating, whether you work in an office or virtually from home. Working together with a group of individuals toward a common goal is inspiring and empowering, and it promotes accountability.

So if you’re trying to lose weight, setting up a challenge with your co-workers may help keep you motivated. Working out in a group can provide benefits you might miss out on if you work out on your own, according to 2016 research.

When you are in a group atmosphere for a weight loss challenge, you’ll likely experience these benefits:

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

It’s important to remember that the goal of a workout challenge is to feel healthier.

You should challenge yourself, but not at the expense of your overall physical, emotional, and psychological wellness. If you are new to working out, check with a healthcare professional before starting a new program.

Weight loss should result from healthier eating and improved exercise habits. Avoid adopting a deprivation mindset, where you do not allow yourself to eat certain foods even if you want them.

Eating a variety of healthy foods is much better for your body than limiting yourself. Choose nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables when you can and limit highly processed foods.

It’s essential that you give your body time to rest and heal between workouts. Take at least 1 day per week to relax, with no intense exercise.

Without any rest, you risk injury and you may not be able to work out as effectively because your muscles may be fatigued. This could cause your results to stall, or plateau.

You can reduce the chances of this occurring by incorporating rest days into your routine and getting quality sleep so that your body can restore itself.

It is also essential that you are getting enough protein. It can your body to recover, grow, and maintain lean mass.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kg body weight per day for athletes depending on training.

In contrast, the Dietary Reference Intake Report recommends that sedentary adults consume 0.8 grams of protein per kg body weight or 0.36 grams per pound.

While those guidelines are helpful, it is vital to also focus on eating protein throughout the day.

You should also keep your macronutrient intake balanced by consuming a healthy ratio of carbohydrates, fat, and protein at each meal. This can also help to manage your weight.

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 for walking or running.

Choose a realistic amount of time and challenge yourself to conquer a certain amount of miles during that period. For example, each individual can be tasked with walking or running a certain amount of miles per week.

Keep in mind your fitness level and that of your co-workers. The person who remains consistent or improves their fitness level 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
  • body mass index (BMI) calculation
  • height and weight measurement
  • measurement of the places on your body where you hold the most mass (abdomen, hips, thigh, etc.)

At the end of a given period of time, check the results to see if you have achieved your goal. Then celebrate as a group with something fun, like taking a virtual cooking class together.

3. Workout logs

Keeping a workout log is an easy way to encourage a group of co-workers to become more active.

It’s an excellent way to keep track of which body parts you have worked during the week so certain areas aren’t overworked. It also a good way to remind yourself to build rest days into your regimen.

Additionally, it can help you to track your progress as you get stronger. It can be really helpful tool, especially for beginners.

4. Head-to-head competitions

One way to activate a group’s competitive spirit is to create a tournament. One idea is to complete different workouts over several weeks, where individuals are paired up against each other.

In instances of walking and running exercises it could be 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. Each person continues to practice throughout the rest of the month. 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 essential not to overlook self-esteem. In an environment where tensions can rise, your group should stay focused on making progress (even in small steps), not necessarily on winning.

The important thing to remember is that you want to keep your workouts fun and create a habit. Ultimately, you want to feel your best without being tied to the number on a scale.