Will you accept the 40 Days of Fitness Challenge?

February 16 2015

Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday was the day where families would use up all of the sweet ingredients in their house to create pancakes, before the 40 days of fasting for lent began. Nowadays, let’s face it, most of us use this day as an excuse to eat pancakes for dinner.

Whatever your reasons may be, lent is the perfect time to take on a new fitness challenge. This year, we are asking you to push your fitness to the next level by participating in the 40 Days of Fitness Challenge. Instead of giving up something for 40 days, take on a new fitness activity every day from the 18th February, right up to the 5th April. While that is a staggering 40 days of exercising, Sundays are designated rest days and a time to reflect on your achievements from the previous week.

40 Days of Fitness Challenge

The 40 Days of Fitness Challenge encourages you to get involved by pushing yourself to do something every day of the week, bar Sundays. This could be running for 20 minutes, doing 3 sets of squats, or planking for longer periods of time every week. To make fitness even more accessible, we are providing free access to DW gyms throughout February if you sign up for a 12-month membership. There really is no excuse.

As part of the 40 Days of Fitness Challenge, we are also proposing that people should swap their normal ingredients used in their meals in favour of healthier ones, to see the difference it can make. Sundays are usually reserved for roast dinners, but during the fitness challenge we want you to swap them for healthier alternatives such as Thai green curry or Chinese style chow mein, which you can find the recipes for here.

We've put together this fitness and nutritional programme in collaboration with health coach and founder of Fit Girls Eat Burgers, Courtney Berlin, and PT Lee Pickering, so anybody taking part in the challenge should know that this advice is legitimate.

Perfect pancakes

Pancake Day is the perfect way to prove just how delicious a healthy substitute can be. Although pancakes aren’t traditionally part of a healthy lifestyle, with a few simple ingredient swaps you can transform the humble pancake into a really nutritious feast.

Similar to an omelette, pancakes contain lots of protein from the milk and eggs the batter is made from. However, you could make them even more nutritious by swapping cow’s milk for unsweetened almond milk, which contains around 35 calories per cup, or low-fat buttermilk. Additionally, if cooked using a low-calorie spray, rather than normal vegetable or sunflower oil, your pancakes will contain significantly fewer calories. You can also swap the traditional flour in favour of oat flour (made from blending oats into a flour) or whole wheat flour for an added fibre boost. Alternatively, add a scoop of flavoured whey protein powder into the mixture to create some seriously protein-packed cakes.

If you are guilty of drenching your pancakes with squeezy lemon and covering them in sugar, then listen up! Those days are long gone, as we have rustled up a new generation of pancake toppings. Blueberries are packed full of antioxidants and make the perfect accompaniment to pancakes, pop them in the batter for maximum flavour and sprinkle with cinnamon to finish. Peanut butter contains lots of protein and healthy fats per spoonful, spread a thin layer on your pancake, top with a few banana slices and roll into one deliciously filling snack. Opt for natural yoghurt instead of whipped cream and use a dash of honey to sweeten instead of sugar or golden syrup.

Once Shrove Tuesday has passed, it's time to really ramp up your training. Are you up for the 40 Days of Fitness Challenge? You can follow the specially-designed programme here.

Let us know how you get on!