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

Published: January 23, 2016

How can a trainer responsibly train so many people at the same time? PHOTO: PUBLICITY

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

Wardha Saleem

The author is a prominent fashion designer.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.