Why Most Weight Loss Challenges Do More Harm Than Good (and how to tell if yours is one of them)

In Uncategorized by Matt KlinglerLeave a Comment

I hate fad diets and quick fix weight loss plans. They make claims like…
“Lose 21 pounds in 21 days!”
“Incinerate Fat and build muscle in two weeks!”
“Detox and cleanse in just 9 days!”

First, turn and run from anything with the word “cleanse” or diets that tells you to drink shakes more than you eat actual food. We have an intricate system for removing toxins from our bodies (hello liver). The only reason you felt better when you went on a cleanse was because you stopped eating fast food 3 times a day.

I am always careful to avoid letting Village Fitness mislead people with the promise of quick results. Before we rolled out our first Village Fitness Challenge, I wanted to make sure we weren’t simply adding to the nonsense we are inundated with by the fitness world. I’m intentional about preaching long-term change during the challenge. I want our clients to understand the way to make major headway in their health and fitness is with long-term changes.

Every time I hear, “I can’t wait until the challenge is over and I can have a giant hamburger,” I cringe. I don’t want our Village Fitness Challenge to be something people go “on” and then “off”. I want people to make lifestyle changes. The challenge is meant to educate, provide a plan, and get people on track towards healthy eating. It is not a total-solution but rather a “head start” in the right direction.

Our mission is to help our clients get in the best shape of their lives and stay their long-term.

Yes, I want our clients to lose weight. But more than weight loss, I want our clients to b equipped with the skills to continue losing weight after the 3 weeks is over and keep it off long-term.

What most “challenges” offer is weight loss

We had a lady in our last Village Fitness Challenge who was doing really well (I thought so). She weighed in mid-way through the challenge and had lost four pounds.

“Only 4 pounds!” she said. She was so disappointed in herself for not losing more weight in 2 weeks.

“It’s only been 2 weeks,” I said. “You can’t expect to undo years of not exercising and eating poorly with two weeks of eating well and exercising.”

She wasn’t satisfied with my answer. Sadly, most people don’t want to hear it. People want results, and they want them fast.

The fitness industry preys on our impatience.

The slogan, “It’s going to take a really long time and lots of hard work to get lean and healthy” isn’t attractive. But, that’s the truth.

The process of losing your high school body took decades

Let’s say you decide to do a 9 day cleanse. Yup, you’ll drop a few pounds (sadly it will be mostly water). But after the detox is over, you’ll creep back into normal life and gain the weight back, maybe even a bit more.

If you don’t change the underlying reasons why you need to go on a “cleanse” you’re better off not doing it. 

What kills me about short-term diets is that most people go back to doing exactly what they were doing before they started.  The statistics are daunting. Only 1 in 20 dieters succeed in keeping their lost weight off long-term.

Worse yet, research has shown that drastically restricting food intake can actually increase food consumption once the challenge is over. When you do hammer down on that “thank goodness my cleanse is over” meal, your metabolism will be more efficient at storing the extra calories. Yay, dieting!

In short, temporary diets set you up for failure psychologically as well as physically. They are the start of the yoyo cycle that doesn’t help you achieve long-term weight loss, and has been shown to correlate with eating disorders.4

The wrong lesson

There are important lessons and habits we want you to build with the Village Fitness Challenge. It’s certainly not “can you hold off for 3 weeks before getting a double double, fries and a shake at In and Out.” We’re not striving towards a huge cheat meal or caloric reward.

The Village Fitness Challenge is designed to help you you to learn new recipes, get equipped with the skills to lose weight and keep in off long-term and develop a joy of movement and exercise.

Think back to the history class you took in high school. You spent two-thirds of the semester writing notes to your boyfriend. No texting back then, you see. When it came time for the finals, you were way behind. So, you pulled an all nighter and stuffed your brain full of useless facts and numbers. Phew, you passed. But did you remember any of it? Not a lick. Thankfully we have something called the internet to look up historical facts. But, I digress.

Temporary diet changes are the same. You’ve been eating poorly and not exercising for the past few years (or decades). Then, you decide to make a drastic change. Be it a wedding, a fitness test, or your friend selling shakes and powders presenting you with an opportunity that’s just too good to pass up. But what people don’t understand is that when the diet or cleanse is over, they go back to eating the way they were before and gain the weight back. With interest.

The killer cure

Temporary diet challenges can be ineffective and counterproductive.Each time you try one and fail—every time you lose 15 lbs and gain back 20—it’s another shot to your psyche and a hit to your metabolism. Failure becomes our natural pattern.

Eventually, you’ll find yourself thinking “it’s impossible to improve my health and lose weight.”

Your self-efficacy and belief you can do what you set out to do rapidly erode.

Disordered eating

Any change worth making in your health is a change that should last for life, not 30 days.

You would laugh if a cigarette smoker decided to stop for 30 days. They may feel better for those 30 days, but the impact would be short-lived.

It’s the same with dieting. If you make drastic changes temporarily and then go back to what you were doing before, you’ll be worse off.

Even if you do manage stick to the rules of the challenge once it’s over, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be closer to your goals. Individual variances in body chemistry, activity level, sleep quality, genetics, and environmental factors mean that the same weight loss tools work differently—or sometimes not at all—for different people.

Our Village Fitness Challenge is not a drastic diet or exercise plan by any means. You eat enough, good quality, healthy food, and exercise consistently (about 4 hours per week) and you see results.

Do the results happen overnight? No. Some people lose 10-15 pounds in the first month. But the real change happens over the course of 6 months to a year as our clients build habits that will stick with them for life.

The story of Jeanine

Jeanine was one of our first 10 Village Fitness clients.

It took a while for her to warm up to the idea of strength training and building habits. But, over the course of a few months, she started to see results. She was losing weight and wasn’t on a crash diet or exercising like a crazy woman.

It’s been amazing to see her transformation not only physically, but mentally as well.

Why do you have a challenge if you hate them so? 

We run the challenge because of clients like Jeanine.

We run the challenge for clients like Justin who has lost over 20 pounds and become an avid morning exerciser.

We run the challenge for clients like Anne who has lost 17 pounds and continues to lift weights and prep her meals each week.

Looking back, I’m so glad we started the challenge.

We’ve seen amazing transformations from clients who’ve done our challenge. BUT, most of the changes which were long-lasting happened after the challenge was over. The challenge was the catalyst for change, but the habits became ingrained in the following months.

We all want a quick fix for our problems. I do too. This is often how we handle our finances, relationships, and sadly our health. No matter how great the marketing is for the 9 day cleanse or 14 day fat furnace, they won’t help long-term.

I would never tell someone the Village Fitness Challenge is a quick-fix to their weight loss woes.

If you truly want to lose weight or improve your health and fitness in any area, settle in for the long haul. Make the decision in your mind, acknowledge where you are, and how long it may take for you to get to where you want to be. Be honest with yourself about the current state of your habits. Make changes that you can maintain for life, not just for a few weeks. Ask for help from your family, friends, and professionals who want to be there for you over the course of months to years, not weeks. Be willing to invest your time, money, and energy into making a massive change in your health.

Change is possible. You can get in the best shape of your life and learn how to stay there forever. It will take time, but it will be so worth it.

Need help?

Our next Village Fitness Challenge kicks off January 7th. 

The Village Fitness Challenge is a way to get a jump start on your fitness. We want to help you lose weight, build muscle and get in the best shape of your life. Even more than physical change, we help our clients build habits to make changes life-long.

We have an online and an in-person option for the challenge. In-person, you’ll be doing three workouts per week at our studio in downtown Glendora and workouts on your own the days you are not at Village. Online, we will provide workouts for you to do on your own at the gym or at home.


The Challenge starts on January 7th and goes until the 28th.

What will we be doing?

3 days per week you will be doing our highly effective small group personal training workouts at Village Fitness Glendora.

These workouts last 50 minutes and consist of the following

  • Warm up
  • Resistance training
  • Fat-burning finisher
  • Cool-down

We will have classes at the following times:


5am (Full), 6am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm


5am, 6am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm


5am, 6am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm


5am, 6am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm


5am (Full), 6am, 8:30am, 9:30am


7am, 9:00am

Sessions will fill up fast. Our current clients and those who sign up first will have priority. Our 5am sessions on Monday and Friday are already full.

The other 4 days you are not working out at Village Fitness Glendora, we will be giving you workouts to do at home or outside. These workouts are short (10 to 20 minutes).

How much does it cost?

The challenge will be $199 (in-person) and $69 (online) if you’re a new client here at Village Fitness. Use the discount code “new” at signup.

Snag your spot here:

How many spots will you have?

We will continue taking new clients for the challenge until all session times are full. However, the sooner you sign up, the more likely you will be to get the session times you want.

Where can I sign up?

Right here:

I hope this helps.

Email me at if you have questions.

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