The 4 x 4 Fitness Challenge

betterPeople frequently tell me that they have difficulty with exercise.  They don’t know where to begin.  They don’ t have gym memberships or, if they do, they don’ t know what to do when they get there.  They don’t have time.  These and many other excuses prompted me to come up with a four week challenge to help people get started on the path to improved fitness.  The challenge will involve four different easy, at-home, no equipment workouts to be done every week for four weeks.  Each of the workouts is timed and the goal of the challenge is to improve your time over the four week period.  This is a challenge where the only person you compete against is yourself.  Many people get discouraged when they cannot compete with the hired fitness models working out in the background of their exercise DVDs.  They may see their friends doing things they couldn’t dream of doing.  This is a huge pitfall that needs to be avoided.  If you focus less on how you compare to others and more on how you improve over time, you will definitely succeed.  The goal should be to get a little better every day – to do a little more each time.  That’s the focus of this challenge.

The way it works is that each individual does each of the 4 workouts each week and records their time.  They then repeat the 4 workout the next week and so on for four weeks total.  At the end of each week the total time is added up from all four workouts to create a score for that week.  This is done on subsequent weeks until week four.  The total time from week four is then divided by the total time for week one to create a percent improvement score.

Before I list the workouts, I have to warn you that, while I am a doctor, I am not your doctor.  If you have any medical conditions that might make intense exercise dangerous you need to see your own doctor.

For those of you who are new to exercise, I would encourage you to substitute fewer reps and rounds for each of the workouts to fit your fitness level.  It’s not as important that you do the workouts as listed.  What is more important is that you do the workout at a level that you are capable of and then improve your times over the four weeks.  If you find you can only do 1 or 2 rounds, that’s fine, just do the same workout the following weeks and improve your time.

The workouts:

Workout 1:

10x3 WO

Workout 2:

20x3 WO

Workout 3:

3x20 WO

Workout 4:

10x2 wo


This is a sample scoring page.


4x4 challenge sample

final score equation


If you don’t feel like doing the math, keep a log of your times anyhow.  Every week try to improve from the time the week before.  You’ll see your improvement even if you don’t completely quantify it.

Please post your scores to the comments section so we can see how you are doing and motivate others.

Good luck!!




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