While driving on Main Street in Madison one day a few months ago, I was drawn to a new storefront. It advertised The MAX Challenge, a 10 week fitness and nutrition program that promised fast and lasting changes to your appearance and overall well-being. This is achieved through nutrition counseling, fitness classes, and motivation. It would be, the literature said, like having a personal trainer, nutritional counselor, and success coach all in one program. WELL, I thought. That is a lot to take in, and how could this possibly not be too good to be true? So I did the only thing that seemed logical. I signed right up. Those were some lofty promises they were making, and what did I have to lose?
Well I’ll tell you what I had to lose. I had to lose the couch potato lifestyle. I had to get in better shape, and I needed motivation for that. Perhaps this MAX Challenge would be right for me. Little did I know what I would be getting myself into when I walked in the studio door three weeks ago.
I have never sweated more in my life. Seriously, the workouts are no joke. The five-day-a-week workouts alternate cardio and strength training, and culminate with a blazing fast kickboxing class on Fridays. The kickboxing is my favorite, and most challenging class, with one of the fabulous and encouraging trainers instructing us to punch, kick, and throw elbows to our hearts’ content. It’s a really cathartic class, and if you can’t get rid of your stress there, you can’t get rid of it anywhere. Mondays and Wednesdays are cardio, Tuesdays focuses on arm strength, and Thursday leg strength. Members are encouraged to attend a class per day, which are nicely spread out in the morning (first class is at 5 AM!) and in the evening, so even the most hectic schedule can be accommodated.
I can hear you now. “But Danielle, I’m not in shape! I will surely perish doing all of that!” to which I say: Nope. No you won’t. I’ll be totally honest with you, I was super intimidated by the class, all members of which had been on this wild ride for months before I joined, and the classes seemed virtually impossible for a couch potato like me. But I was wrong. This is the real deal. The family-like atmosphere of the classes kept me going when I felt like quitting, and the trainers are more than helpful in tweaking the exercises for beginners like me. The fast pace of the class makes the 45 minutes go super fast, and the constant cheering on and high fives from your fellow classmates will keep your spirits high. I usually dread exercising, and now I look forward to getting up early for the 6 AM class. I know, it’s wild. But man, does it work.
The other factor in the program is carefully planned out meal plans, with a healthy combination of protein, carbs and fats, which is super easy to follow. I don’t cook, and I’ve not wavered from the meal plan even once, so if you actually cook, it should be an absolute breeze. I’ve learned a lot about my eating habits, too. I was a sugar junkie before, a habit I have totally kicked, and the food you will eat is so satisfying and filling that I promise you will never go hungry. The group atmosphere is also great when it comes to the meal plan, with recipe sharing and tips n’ tricks to getting all your veggies in and good food substitutes for your old habits.
I am, as I said, three weeks and counting into the 10 week challenge, and I can’t believe how fast the time is going. My sleep is so much better, I have so much more energy, and my moods are ten times better than they were when I was eating candy and napping in the afternoons. But to be completely honest, the best part isn’t the physical change, (although that IS pretty sweet!) it’s the friendships and the attitude of the classes on the whole. A group of strangers brought together for a common goal, cheering for each other and celebrating with each other? It’s a form of group therapy, and it is truly what brings The MAX Challenge to the forefront of what makes Madison so great.
So join us, won’t you? I promise you won’t regret it. If The MAX can get this couch potato up and moving, just think of what it can do for you!