The John P. Health Challenge 2010 Official Rules!

Boy Jumping on Beach
John P.

Ok folks, you’ve got less than 2 weeks of gluttony left before the Health Challenge starts again. We’re going to be getting in shape together after this holiday situation as a New Year’s Resolution, Ok? So who is with me on this?

And by the way, there are going to be a number of changes to the program this year based on our experience from last time. So, here come the rules – they are quite simple and few.

The Rules

  1. Eliminate as much sugar from your diet as possible. No more candy, cake or cookies. You are allowed Two otherwise illegal candy bars per week IF you follow all of the other rules.
  2. No sugary drinks like Coke (here’s why) or alcoholic drinks (huge calories)! In fact, nothing but water, unsweetened tea or coffee to drink! You are allowed Two otherwise illegal drinks per week IF you follow all of the other rules.
  3. Decrease food portions by 30-50% for all meals. Instead of eating whatever portion you are given, slow down while eating and stop after you feel full.
  4. Snack all you want, but only fruit, veggies or nuts are allowed!
  5. Exercise at least 5 times a week. This doesn’t mean long exercise daily! It means frequent bursts of exercise. Pushups and situps a few times a day for example.
  6. Publicly update the rest of us and encourage others to keep going! (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

The Health Challenge ends on Feb. 28, 2010.

A few things changed from last time based on our experience:

  • This time you get TWO drinks and TWO candy bars per week. That’s double!
  • I dropped the exercise requirement from every day to 5 days per week.
  • The Health Challenge is TWO months long instead of three.

Random Helpful Info

The last time I did the Health Challenge, it was something I was doing purely for myself. I was unhappy that I had gotten out of shape and I wanted to do something about it. I had no idea that so many people would join in! We had about 100 or more people participating. So this time I hope we do even better!

When I started the Health Challenge previously, I was at 188.8 pounds and 22.5% bodyfat. My number one goal was to get my waist size down from 34″to 31″. During the course of the Health Challenge, I documented things for about 6 weeks, but by the time the challenge ended I was down to 162 pounds and I did indeed achieve my goal of dropping down to a 31″ waist size.

In fact, I had to go and buy all new pants because my others were falling off of me. But I digress… The reason all of this is so important is that this was the first time in my life that I ever went on a “diet”. Up until that day, I just ate whatever I felt like, drank nothing but Coke, and sat on my ass. I should have weighed 400 pounds.

The moral to this story is, I achieved my goals by making very minimal sacrifices. I never exercised more than 10 minutes a day (though I did pushups, pullups, situps, curls, and squat-thrusts every day), and I ate the exact same things as I had before – I just ate half as much! The hardest thing was cutting out the 1,500 calories of sugar a day I was consuming.

But I did it, and it made me feel great! This year, my goal is to bring my waist back down to 30″ and have abs and a chest that I can be proud of once again. How about you?


This time, we are going to have weekly prizes! I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this one, and I don’t quite know how we’re going to do it yet, but I did have an idea that I thought I would run by you guys.

I was trying to figure out who would actually award the prizes this time. I thought maybe we should have guest judges? Like some of the celebrity bloggers I know or something. But the problem with that is that they might not be keeping up with things. So then I thought, how about if we ALL choose the weekly winners?

I mean, once a week we can all submit our nominations for that week’s winner based on how well they followed the rules, updated the rest of us, and acted to promote the overall efforts. We can figure out exactly how the nomination process works later, but the bigger question is, what do you think of the concept?

So, I’ll be looking forward to your feedback, and I’ll follow up later with the update on how we’re going to handle the remainder of the details.

How to Join the Health Challenge

Just like last year, if you’d like in on the Challenge, here’s what you do:

  • Follow me on Twitter or FaceBook and drop your link in the comments below so I can follow/friend you back (maybe you can follow each other too) – as long as you promise to stick with it and give us all updates as well! Motivation is key people!
  • You can give updates here in the comments on this blog, or via Twitter, or on your OWN blog, but your progression must be documented in order to be eligible for any sort of prize at the end.
  • The official hashtag for the Health Challenge is #GetHealthy. So use it on all your tweets and updates.
  • We may have one other method of doing updates this year, but stay tuned for more info on that…

(The image above is courtesy of pasotraspaso.)


  1. says

    Today is the last day of the John P Health Challenge. I’ve made some progress in the last two months despite giving my daughter away in marriage and getting sick in the last week.

    I’ve lost 11 pounds, am eating much healthier, and have almost met my exercise goals. It’s a great start to 2010. Thanks John.

  2. says

    Okay folks, it’s the halfway point and I’ve updated my blog to share some results. The bottom line is that the Health Challenge is working!

    I’ve lost 7.2 pounds, am eating less, and the exercising is going pretty well. Thanks John, for getting everyone started.

  3. Dana says

    I just found the challenge and I would love to do it.
    I’m fighting an up hill battle though – I’m on a medication that one of the side effects is weight gain (and I have gain about 15 pounds from it)
    In addition to that – the reason I’m on it is nerve damage in my leg – so exercise is difficult at best.

    But I’m going to give it my all …..

    I love a challenge

  4. says

    Totally bummed I won’t be joining ya’ll on this one! I just can’t give up my waters (they’ve saved my butt and gotten me healthier than I was) or the sweetNlow in my coffee. Just not ready to take that step yet. Maybe on the next go round!

    Thanks so much, John – for posting that article about diet Coke making you fat – the video with that post really helped to explain it all!! I’m doing a challenge in SparkPeople for now – maybe catch you guys on the next one!

  5. says

    Nevermind. I went ahead and made one. ;) I got everybody that posted their twitter accounts here and those that have been using the #gethealthy tag as far back as twitter would let me search. I don’t have a lot of people on it just yet, but if anybody wants to tweet @susandyoung I’ll add you to it. Here’s the list:

  6. says

    Is everybody that’s on the #gethealthy challenge on a twitter list somewhere so I can follow it? If not, I’ll start seeking people out using the hashtag and make one. :) I just don’t want to duplicate what’s already been done.

  7. says

    Alrighty, I’m all in. Just finished an early morning entry for Day #1 (my official start anyway) of the Health Challenge. We’ll see what the next two months brings.

  8. Argenis Ferrer says

    Hello folks, count me in…

    I created a blog just for the health challenge. I will be joining a bit late, but better late than never

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