With the explosion in technologies that keep us in our seats and glued to screens, it has never been more important to teach our kids about fitness and get them up and moving. Our 30-day fitness challenge for teens will motivate, inspire and teach your teenager about personal fitness accountability and the intrinsic rewards of consistent fitness activity.
Try our other 30-Day Challenges for Teens:
30 Day Fitness Challenge for Teens
I’ve published a free printable to go along with this challenge and help keep your teenager on track with his or her fitness journey. You’ll find it at the end of this post. Our Teen Fitness Challenge has 30 challenge activities, divided into five categories with six activities in each category.
How it Works
Your teen will have a guide for each of five different types of fitness categories included in the printable. In addition, there is an activity checklist so that your student can keep track of the challenges completed, with six different specific challenges for each of the five categories. You can give teenagers complete freedom with this challenge. Let them work at their own pace, three, five, or six days per week with one day off per week to rest and recover.
The challenge can be completed in exactly thirty days or spread out over ten weeks, with activities completed on three days per week. Or any combination of those two extremes! If your child is already physically active it may be impractical to try the thirty days approach. If you or your teen have an Instagram account, we hope you’ll tag us in challenge photos!
Equipment for the Fitness Challenge for Teens
We’ll try to keep this fairly simple and inexpensive for the purposes of this challenge, but keep in mind that an investment in fitness now will reap lifetime returns. If you can get your teen at least a few of the items on this list I highly recommend it. Whenever possible we have included equipment-free alternatives for each challenge. Try to get a thirty-day free trial at a local gym to get the most from this challenge. Start the trial at the beginning of week two.
Workout Clothing. It isn’t strictly necessary to have workout clothing but it is absolutely essential you get your daughter a good sports bra before she begins this challenge. The one I linked is excellent but not too expensive.
Extras for a Fitness Challenge for Teens
Excellent Shoes. I recommend getting an excellent pair of running shoes whether you are planning to run, walk, or do aerobic exercise. You can also try cross-trainers. The best way to find the perfect fit is to go to a running store and get on one of their video treadmills to assess your stride. Then try the recommended shoes based on the data they collect.
Full Weight Set with Safety Cage
Treadmill or Elliptical Trainer for the hottest summer months and coldest winter months.
Techniques Used for the Fitness Challenge for Teens
No amount of exercise will make up for poor nutrition. Good eating and regular exercise go hand-in-hand. In fact, good nutrition forms the foundation for exercise. If you aren’t eating right while exercising regularly, you are far more likely to experience excessive fatigue or injury and you will not get the full benefits of your physical activity. Spend a few days learning about or reviewing concepts of proper nutrition.
Aerobic Fitness Activities
Aerobic exercise is any exercise that gets your heart rate up. You’ll need to sustain an elevated heart rate for thirty minutes to fully benefit from aerobic activity. To find out your optimal heart rate during aerobic exercise, use this calculator.
Strength Training Activities
In addition to aerobic fitness, strong muscles will improve your stability and endurance for a lifetime. Ideally, you would alternate aerobic fitness days with strength training at least twice per week. Strength training does not have to be complicated or require excessive equipment. You can find plenty of free strength training videos online that use nothing but your own body weight.
Finding a favorite aerobic fitness activity or strength training routine is great, but getting stuck in that rut is not always good for our bodies. Choosing a cross-training activity or two that you enjoy allows you to mix things up a little, work different muscles and give your body a rest from the normal routine.
Whether sports are old-hat or you are trying something new organized sports can help encourage you and motivate you to stay physically fit. You may find something that you love! Consider team sports or solo sports and pick a few new things to try. If you love the new activity, work it into your fitness routine. The sports challenges may be easier to complete if you have access to a rec center. Look at the schedule of activities and get them on your calendar. However, I know many communities do not have rec centers, so I encourage you to think outside the box! Organize a game of flag football with your friends. Drag your siblings outside for a rousing game of soccer one-on-one.
Fitness Challenge for Teens Activities for Each Category
Food Habits. Track your caloric intake for the next five days using a food tracking app.
Water Habits. Drink the correct amount of water for the next five days using this calculation.
Calories. Calculate how many calories you burn in one day without exercise according to this website. Make sure you pay attention to portion sizes!
Exercise. Approximate how many calories you will burn if you do aerobic exercise for thirty minutes a day, five days a week, or twenty-five days in a month using this page’s calculator and charts.
Metabolism. List five ways you can increase your metabolism and burn more calories.
Healthy Eating. Plan and eat one balanced nutritious meal.
Aerobic Fitness Activities
You should aim to do thirty minutes of aerobic exercise three to four days per week for the rest of your life. The easiest to fit into most lifestyles is a daily walk. However, you might find something else on this list that you absolutely love and prefer. Try each of them, and then keep going with consistent aerobic activity.
Jump Rope. For five minutes, six times throughout the day, jump rope.
Walking. Walk for at least thirty minutes. Keep track of how far you walk.
Running. Run for as long as you can, up to thirty minutes. Keep track of how far you’ve run.
Biking. Bike for thirty minutes.
Stairs. Walk or jog up and downstairs for thirty minutes.
Dancing. Thirty minutes of dancing to your favorite music will get your heart pumping just as much or more than walking! Dancing in your room however you like is perfect. If you prefer more direction you can find a free dance aerobics workout video online.
Strength Training Activities
Body Weight Exercises. This type of strength training uses your own body weight as the resistance to help you build strength without any added equipment. You can find all kinds of bodyweight exercises online.
Bands or cloth. Use resistance bands to complete a variety of different strength training exercises. These are cheap, easy to find, and add a fun dimension to your workout. Again, you can find many different fun activities to do using a search engine. Try this one.
Exercise Ball. Try sitting on an exercise ball to watch television or use your computer. Sitting on these balls helps build core strength and awareness. You can also complete an exercise routine using the ball.
Dumbbell Workout. Grab handheld dumbbells in a comfortable weight, and complete a strength training workout like this one.
Kettlebell Workout. Complete a kettlebell strength training workout. For variety, you can use both dumbells (two hands) and a kettlebell (one hand) for workouts throughout your week. I recommend having both in your personal fitness equipment.
Free Weights or found objects. Grab a partner for spotting and complete a free-weight lifting session. You may need to visit your local gym to complete a barbell workout. If you’ve never used free weights or barbells before, make sure to get instructions on the proper way to do each lift. Start with a very modest weight to begin. Using free weights, or found objects you can use to do the following: bench press, deadlifts, squats, and overhead press. Make sure to do a moderate amount of repetitions for each set.
Bonus idea: Weight Machines. Grab a friend again and head to a local gym unless you have a weight machine in your basement. This kind of machine has weights on a pulley system and a variety of different exercises you can complete to work for all the different muscle groups. Make sure to spot each other and get instructions if you’ve never used this equipment before.
Cross-training activities are those that work your muscles in different ways than your most favorite activity of choice. These activities also tend to combine moderate aerobic exercise with strength training to give you a little bit of both. If in the week of aerobic challenges you discovered you love walking, running or biking try choosing one day a week or every other week to complete one of these cross-training activities instead.
Hiking. Find and enjoy a two-mile hike of at least moderate difficulty.
Pilates. Combine stretching with strength training for a perfect alternative to your normal routine.
Elliptical. Head to the gym to try an elliptical machine. It’s a fun and challenging workout that combines strength training with aerobic fitness in the best way.
Roller Blading. Get outside and enjoy a swing around the neighborhood on your rollerblades. Head out with friends or go solo and remember why you thought these were so much fun when you were younger. If you’ve never been rollerblading before, it can take a little time to find your balance, but you can do it!
Kayaking. A few hours out on the water can do wonders for your mental and emotional health! Take a break from the mundane and try kayaking.
Swimming. Especially in the heat of summer, swimming laps can be a perfect treat once a week or every other week to try something different, work different muscles, and still get a fantastic workout in despite the heat.
Flag Football or Touch Football. A more mild form of football to prevent injury, this is something you can organize with friends, family, or your church youth group for a fun afternoon.
Basketball. Shoot free throws by yourself or find a group of friends for a pick-up game. You could even just enjoy a round of Horse.
Soccer. Small portable soccer goals are not very expensive. You can also head to the closest soccer field mid-afternoon and just practice shooting goals on a full-size field and do soccer drills. I know a few brothers who enjoy grabbing the portal soccer goal and playing a game of two-on-two in the rain.
Bowling. You’ll be surprised how much aerobic exercise and strength training you can get from this vintage combination of personal prowess and team power.
Ice Skating. Many cities have ice skating rinks open year-round. Find one in your area to enjoy. If you cannot find an ice skating rink, try to find a regular skating rink.
Martial Arts. See if you can find a beginners class or free trial class to take in your area. Many places offer a free one-week trial. Take them up on it!
30-Day Fitness Challenge for Teens Printable
Grab the Teen Fitness Challenge printable below, download it, and print one copy for each of your teens taking the challenge. It has the complete challenge checklist and a description of each challenge activity. Spice it up a bit! Invite local teens from your homeschool coop or friends to participate with you, share ideas, and perhaps enjoy the various fitness activities together.