30 Day Challenges – 11 Fitness Ideas To Motivate You To Push Your Limits!

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Almost everyone has phases where the motivation to exercise is sorely lacking. Even if you are generally a very enthusiastic and dedicated runner, you might have periods where either the allure of running isn’t what it normally is and it’s hard to get yourself out the door, or you may struggle to get yourself to do strength training exercises like push-ups, squats, or planks. 

There are various things you can do to try and make working out more appealing or to increase your motivation to exercise, such as joining a fitness class, recruiting a friend, or blasting music that makes you want to move your body. 

While we encourage you to use these or any other methods that lower the mental barriers to working out, another great way to increase your motivation to exercise is to join one of our 30-day challenges.

Fitness challenges aren’t necessarily a new thing, but the confluence of the shareability and visibility of what we are all doing in our daily lives due to social media layered with the boom in the desire for at-home fitness routines has made the popularity of 30-day challenges all the more viral these days.

We think 30-day challenges can be the perfect way to either explore a new area of fitness to round out your workout routine or get back into exercising regularly by establishing a habit. We’ve put together a bunch of approachable 30-day challenge ideas to help you along your wellness journey.

In this guide, we will cover: 

  • What Are 30-Day Challenges?
  • What Are the Benefits Of 30-Day Challenges?
  • What Are the Drawbacks Of 30-Day Challenges?
  • 11 Different 30-Day Challenges to Try

Let’s get started!

A group of 5 people in a gym, getting ready to take on one of our 30-day challenges.

What Are 30-Day Fitness Challenges?

30-day fitness challenges are daily workout programs lasting 30 days that often follow a particular theme or focus, such as achieving a certain goal with a particular exercise (for example, completing 100 squats in a row) or focusing on a certain body part, such as abs or arms.

The 30-day challenge will have a calendar that tells you exactly what exercises to do each day of the week.

What Are the Benefits Of 30-Day Challenges?

Joining a 30-day fitness challenge can provide numerous benefits. Not only will you improve whatever area of strength or fitness the challenge addresses, but you also get to take the thinking and routine-building out of the equation. Simply follow the program as it is laid out.

Additionally, most behavioral experts say that it takes at least 18 days to establish a new habit, depending on the activity. Committing to a 30-day fitness routine helps you develop the consistency you need to engrain your new exercise habit into your life. 

30 days is an approachable duration with a defined start date and end date, so if you’re currently sedentary, joining a 30-day challenge can feel less daunting than just saying you’re going to start exercising regularly indefinitely.

The good news is that by the end of the 30-day fitness challenge, you will have become accustomed to your new workout routine and many people find it motivating to keep it up or start-up another challenge back to back.

Finally, fitness challenges are fun and can bring out the competitive and goal-oriented side of you, increasing your motivation to exercise.

A woman with her hands on her knees smiling at the camera, getting ready to exercise.

What Are the Drawbacks Of 30-Day Challenges?

Some 30-day challenges are not designed to be sustainable or safe for all participants. It’s important, to be honest with your current level of fitness and physical limitations before diving into an advanced fitness challenge.

Even 30-day fitness challenges for beginners can be pretty tough, with an aggressive progression. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t do them, but it’s crucial to listen to your body rather than the workout calendar. 

In other words, if you need a rest day, take it, even if your challenge tells you to hit it hard. You can always extend the duration of the challenge.

The other downside of 30-day challenges is that they’re only 30 days. In most cases, you’ll want to continue similar workouts once the challenge is over, perhaps in a less intensive manner. If you’re new to working out, it can be hard to know what workouts to do once the challenge ends.

In most cases, this potential drawback can be overcome by taking on a new fitness challenge, following some other longer-term training program, or repeating or modifying some of the workouts you’ve been doing in the 30-day fitness challenge.

A close-up of two people slapping hands.

30-Day Fitness Challenges to Try

Eager to test yourself and achieve new milestones in your physical performance? Check out these 30-day challenges and see if you can find one you’d like to join:

Specific Muscles Or Body Area Challenges 

#1: 30-Day Arms Challenge For Beginners

The 30-Day Arm Challenge for Beginners is designed to be a motivating, approachable, and effective arm-strengthening daily workout program. 

Exercises should take roughly 5 minutes or less per day and will target your shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, and upper back. You will need a few dumbbells or weighted objects like water bottles.

#2: 30-Day Ab Challenge For A Strong Core

The 30-Day Ab Challenge has core-focused bodyweight exercises. You don’t need any equipment and daily workouts take no more than 5 minutes, making this a great 30-day ab challenge for anyone who finds a lack of time to be a major hurdle to getting in your core-strengthening workouts.

Two people doing elbow planks.

#3: 30-Day Butt Challenge For A Strong Booty

The 30-Day Butt Challenge encourages runners, other athletes, and currently, inactive people alike to spend just a few minutes every day on strengthening the lower body, with specific emphasis on the glutes.

The exercises target one or more of the three primary glute muscles—the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus—which work together to extend the leg, stabilize your pelvis and hips, and abduct and rotate your leg.

Although you can use weights or dumbbells to increase the difficulty of the exercises, the entire butt challenge can be done without equipment. Daily workouts take 5 minutes or less.

Specific Exercise Challenges

#4: 30-Day Plank Challenge For Beginners

Planks are revered for their ability to effectively strengthen the core, and the 30-day plank challenge is a daily workout routine to progress you from a 30-second plank to a 3-minute plank.  

All you need is your body weight and a few minutes a day. Oh, and the grit to push through discomfort—but it’s worth it!

A woman doing a push up smiling.

#5: 30-Day Push-Up Challenge For Beginners

This popular fitness challenge progresses beginners through a program designed to get you prepared to complete 25 full push-ups at the end of the 30 days. You don’t need any equipment—just the commitment to get your push-ups in!

#6: 30-Day Squat Challenge For Beginners

The 30-Day Squat Challenge For Beginners encourages runners, other athletes, and currently, inactive people alike to embrace the squat and build your strength and stamina with squats such that you can complete 200 bodyweight squats in a row by the end of the 30-day challenge. 

#7: 30-Day Burpee Challenge To Build Full-Body Strength

Our 30-day burpee challenge is one of the most difficult challenges, with an aggressive progression that will get you in shape and ready to complete 100 burpees in 30 days. 

It’s intended for more advanced athletes, though anyone is welcome to try! Just listen to your body and break your burpees up into sets if you are a beginner.

A group of people doing burpees.

#8: 30-Day Sit-Up Challenge For Beginners

The 30-Day Sit-Up Challenge focuses on sit-ups and other bodyweight ab exercises with the goal of getting you to be able to complete 100 sit-ups in a row by the end of 30 days.

#9: 30-Day Jump Rope Challenge To Build Strength, Speed, Agility, and Cardiovascular Fitness

The 30-Day Jump Rope Challenge is a workout plan to get you to a place where you can complete 1,000 jumps non-stop by day 30. You’ll build strength and speed as you get fit.

This is a popular challenge, particularly amongst runners, because jump rope workouts can increase your running cadence.

Running Challenges

Five people joining the point of their running shoes together to make a circle.

#10: 30-Day Mile-a-Day Challenge For Beginners

The 30-Day Mile-a-Day Challenge is a 30-day workout program with daily workouts progressing you from walking one mile on day one to running one mile nonstop on day 30.

Each day, you’ll cover just one mile, but you’ll gradually run more of the mile as your fitness improves. This is a great challenge for sedentary people or those coming back to running after an injury, pregnancy, illness, or a long hiatus. 

If you’re looking for an approachable fitness challenge that’s all about establishing a sustainable, healthy habit of exercising regularly, the mile-a-day challenge is an awesome place to start.

#11: 30-Day Running Challenge For Beginners

The 30-Day Running Challenge for Beginners is designed to help sedentary or minimally-active people get into running and start incorporating exercise into their daily routine in an approachable, gradual, and sensible way. Daily workouts take no more than 30 minutes and progress in a safe and approachable manner.

From our long list of 30-day challenge ideas, which one will you take on first?

And our list doesn’t end there. If you are looking for an all-around life-changing challenge, you can check out the 75 Hard challenge here!

A woman smiling flexing her biceps.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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