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National Body Challenge Review

Looking for a jump start on your new year resolutions to lose weight and get fit? Are you interested in trying out Bally fitness centers, available in many cities? Do you enjoy the convenience and security of ready-made menus that ensure you will eat nutritious and satisfying meals as you lose weight? If so, the National Body Challenge, presented by Discovery Health Channel, may be right for you!

I participated in the National Body Challenge last year and have already registered for this yearís Challenge. It is an eight-week program offering comprehensive resources and support that will help anyone who is looking to lose weight and get fit. For example, with registration you receive a free eight-week membership at any participating Bally Total Fitness Center. If you live near one of the locations for this popular fitness chain, eight weeks free is a great value!

Even if you canít take advantage of this benefit, however, the Challenge still has much to offer. By selecting one of two levels, you can get a progressive fitness plan that incorporates stretching, calisthenics, and aerobics. The website allows you to track your daily exercise. If the recommended activities are not appropriate, you can edit your activity plan to include other types of exercise including baseball, house cleaning, playing with kids, and tennis.

Daily meal plans, with recipes, are available when you answer a few questions about your calorie needs and eating preferences. Meal plans can be modified just like fitness activities, to tailor the program just for you. The nutrition tracker gives you the total calories, carbohydrates, fats, protein, and fiber for each dayís meals. If you modify the plans, your totals will change accordingly. This will help you determine whether you are meeting your diet goals.

Like most health websites, the National Body Challenge incorporates an active support community of message boards. Educational articles addressing mind, body, and spirit issues are also available. But besides the free Bally fitness pass, what makes the Body Challenge unique is its television component. The first week of the Challenge features television specials highlighting individuals who are losing weight and becoming fit. During the rest of the Challenge, Discovery Health Channel provides resources and keeps you up to date on the progress of the featured participants. Free audio personal training is also available on your mp3 player!

The disadvantages to this program, as compared to other online weight loss/fitness programs, include short duration (only eight weeks), limited flexibility (diet and exercise plans can be personalized somewhat but not completely), and difficult website navigation. At one point I became very frustrated trying to get back to the page that listed my menus and exercises for that day.

Nevertheless, I recommend the National Body Challenge to anyone who wants to increase their fitness, particularly those who want to try a fitness center or who enjoy watching television and would like to become more motivated as they watch.

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