F3 Challenge: Creating a Fitness Plan

vballWhen Shannon from Ready for Zero asked me to partner up with them in the F3 (Food, Fitness, & Finance) Challenge, I knew immediately I’d want to tackle more of the fitness angle, even though this is a personal finance blog.

Aside from my love of all things personal finance blogging, is my passion for health and fitness. In fact I have another blog dedicated to that called Healthy, Fit, and Frugal.

Why? Because when it comes to life, there are three things that I consider to be the most important: Friends, Family, and Health. You can have all the money in the world, but if you don’t have any one of those three things, you are not what I’d consider “wealthy.” Of course having a lot of money can definitely make taking care of yourself easier, with access to better quality food, gyms, recreation, good medical care, etc.

As someone who has been a longtime regular exerciser, I can say the ONE piece of advice I would give non-exericisers wanting to change is this: DO SOMETHING EVERY SINGLE DAY!

I don’t care if that’s going for a five minute walk, cleaning your house, gardening, or going hardcore at the gym. The important thing is when you do something every day, you create a habit. And habit is what makes you eventually become a regular exerciser.

If you are new to exercising, or it’s been a long time since you’ve had a regular exercise plan, it may seem daunting to do something every day. It’s really not. A common mistake people make each year when they set resolutions, is setting unrealistic goals for themselves that look something like this:

  • Monday: 60 minutes of strength training.
  • Tuesday: Zumba.
  • Wednesday: 60 minutes of strength training.
  • Thursday: Spin Class.
  • Friday: Yoga.
  • Saturday: Run 10 miles.
  • Sunday: Climb Mt. Everest.

Geesh!! No wonder people fail! And that’s  just the exercise part. I didn’t even get to the part where people make unrealistic food goals for themselves. “I will only eat 800 calories per day.” Um, yeah right!

First of all that exercise plan is barely doable for those who exercise regularly…maybe with the exception of someone training to become Mr. Universe.

The point of exercise is to build a program that is sustainable…for life! Not for this week or next. And unless you have a personal trainer riding your ass every minute of the day, the best way to do that is to start very small, and begin building exercise into your life, until you find yourself one day feeling terrible if you miss a workout. You just can’t live without it.

So start small. In the beginning everything counts. So if you clean the kitchen, count that as a workout. If you walk to the post office instead of drive, then count that too. Eventually you will begin to expand on that.

Here are some other quick tips to begin building a fitness plan:

  • Get rid of junk and processed food!
  • Track your activity and calories in free websites like Myfitnesspal.com. You might be surprised at how many calories you’re really eating.
  • Unless it’s for extreme medical reasons, never strive for losing more than a pound per week.
  • Follow my 10% rule. Slowly add 10% more of the good stuff to your life, and take away 10% of the bad stuff.
  • Get the whole family on board with living a new, healthy way of life. Lead by example if you have kids.
  • Incorporate flexibility training into your schedule. I do this while watching TV at night.
  • Never deprive yourself. What you resist, persists.
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Don’t skip meals.

So head on over to Ready For Zero’s Food, Fitness, and Finance Challenge and take the pledge to get healthy in all three areas. You’ll receive 14 days of advice, inspiration, and resources to reach your food, fitness, and finance goals.


Tonya is a video editor/producer and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball, playing ukulele, and running. To get the latest updates, be sure to subscribe. To support her fundraising efforts to produce more video for this site, please visit her crowdfunding page!

Latest posts by Tonya (see all)

  • http://thebrokeandbeautifullife.com/ Stefanie @ brokeandbeau

    Even when I’m not going out for a run, just living in NYC forces me to walk tons of stairs and at least a mile or two each day.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      I think NY promotes walking. LA however, doesn’t. :)

  • Travis Pizel

    Your sample workout week is completely unrealistic for me….I have no rhythm, therefore I would likely break something trying to do Zumba. The rest of it looks pretty good. ;)

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Sweet! When are we headed to Everest? Think it’s in either of our budgets? lol! No way man! I read Into Thin Air.

  • http://Www.Plantingourpennies.Com/ Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies

    I like to tell people if nothing else, go for a 10 minute walk in the morning, and another in the evening. It does so much for your sanity to move and get a little vitamin D in your life!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya


  • Fit is the New Poor

    My brother-in-law got in to INSANE shape by just walking an extra 2 miles a day. Seriously. He dropped 30lbs in 5 months just by being consistent. He didn’t do anything else, and he enjoys the walks.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      And walking is really one of the healthiest low-impact exercises you can do long term. I have a friend in great shape and that’s all she does too. Every day.

  • http://theheavypurse.com/ Shannon Ryan

    How did you get a copy of my workout plan? LOL! So true. We get excited about something and build incredibly unrealistic plans so we fail almost immediately and quit. I see it all the time with people trying to save or get out of debt. :) Being healthy is important to me as well and I don’t feel like myself if I don’t get my normal workout in. Like you said, ease into it and do activities you enjoy.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      ha ha! It’s amazing you have time to fly to Tibet and hike Everest AND still do you blog each week! :)

  • Challenge Mantra

    I often see people at work making time for a little lunch time or afternoon walk around the building, which is always a good reminder to me that there are ways to sneak in exercise even when I feel too busy to do so (which feels like all the time). So true on the benefits of fitting in a little bit of something every day.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      It’s all about creating the habit!

  • Kali @ Common Sense Millennial

    GREAT point about needing to eat enough (healthy) food! That drives me nuts, when I see people who think they can lose weight and be healthy by restricting their calorie intake so dramatically. Not how it works, friends! And I agree about the rate of weight loss, too – that takes time and 1 pound per week is fantastic progress for anyone. I like that stuff like The Biggest Loser is trying to make people aware that obesity is a problem, but what they show on TV (hours and hours at the gym, 5-10 pounds of weight loss week after week) is not a realistic model for weight loss.

  • alwayshungry4

    “Sunday – Climb Mt. Everest.” LOL I completely agree about making incremental changes to create a habit, as well as eating consistently (and definitely not skipping breakfast so one eats too much at dinner). Great tips, Tonya!

  • Done by Forty

    So cool, Tonya! I’m similarly trying to establish a daily habit of working out, at least a little. I’m starting with just 2.5 miles running or 20 minutes of cardio/bodyweight workouts. Nothing crazy (though it feels tough, starting out). Sustainability really is the key.

    Cheers and best of luck with the new blog and the F3 challenge!

  • Micros Missions

    What! You mean I can’t climb Mt. Everest by the end of the week. Well, my whole year is just ruined then. I agree that you have to start with something small and it also helps to start with something you enjoy. If that’s playing something like softball, basketball, ultimate, whatever, start there. You will be more likely to stick with something you enjoy. You also might find yourself working out on non game days so you can be more competitive.

  • http://reachfinancialindependence.com/ Pauline @RFIndependence

    Happy New Year! going slowly is the best way to build strength and stamina.Maybe all the way to the Everest!

  • Charles@Gettingarichlife

    Fitness s definitely on my 2014 as I need to strengthen my core to get rid of my sciatic back pain. Finances mean nothing if you aren’t healthy.

  • http://ecocatlady.blogspot.com/ Cat

    I find it really helpful to have a partner – at least for certain activities. CatMan and I rode 32 miles today, which used to feel like a long ride, but now feels short. Sorta amazing because I never, EVER would have gotten there by myself. But having to keep up with him helps incredibly. But it also works the other way too. We rode out to one of Denver’s flood protection reservoirs… which means that the path goes up a very steep hill to get to the top of the dam. He was ready to turn around as we entered the park, but I was like Hell NO! We’ve come this far, we’ve got to ride to the top!

  • http://everythingfinanceblog.com Tushar Mathur

    I was reading about this challenge this past week. I think it’s a great idea and will definitely improve the challenger’s lives. I do exercise almost every day anyway, but I still think it’s good to be part of something.

  • jefferson @seedebtrun

    Reading your blogs, Tonya.. It always keeps me motivated on the fitness side. You have some serious dedication and a great plan to meet your goals!