What Can You Actually Get Done in Six Weeks? (A New Six-Week Challenge Starts!)

“30 Days to a Better Body!”

“I just did a 21-day Detox.”

“___ will get you shredded in 90 days!”

There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about what you can get done when it comes to transforming your body, and how long that transformation should take. We’ve already covered “How fast can I get the body I want?” in an article, along with “How fast can I build muscle?” – but today we’re going to talk about what you can expect to get done in 6 weeks:

  • Can you work on something every day for six weeks and build a habit?
  • How much weight can you drop?
  • Can you make any lasting changes?
  • What’s possible?

Why six weeks? Because today on our Nerd Fitness message boards, we’re launching the next Six-Week Challenge!

We’d love for you to join us, set some kickass goals, and make great progress.

What can you do in 6 weeks?

Calendar where will you be

It’s weird – we often overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can get done in a year.

We think in the short term, and so we scramble to where we need to go as quickly as possible (get in shape for a wedding, drop weight for a vacation a month from now). Then we go back to “normal” life afterwards. Back to all our old habits.

Next time, this process repeats itself. The scramble, the return to our old habits.

In my own journey, I realized I had been treading water and making minimal to no progress for years! It took a rededication to fitness, a focus on antifragility, andputting fitness first for me to finally break out of that rut. Although I now think in terms of years for where my personal fitness is heading, I break everything down into 6 week chunks.

So what’s the point of a six-week challenge then? It’s not to lose as much weight as possible as quickly as possible. Instead, the point of a six-week challenge is to focus on creating quality habits and accomplishing small goals. When you can do this consistently and sustainably in those six weeks, you build up something really freaking powerful within you:


Like stringing together a combo in Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, when you can start to string successful, SUSTAINABLE weeks together to complete a six-week challenge, you build momentum. When you string together multiple six-week challenges, you complete ultra-combos and your life shifts from “building new habits” to “this is my new normal.”

It’s kind of like Walking to Mordor. Sure, Frodo knew Mt. Doom was hundreds and hundreds of miles away, but it wasn’t hundreds of miles of nothing. There were specific milestones and markers along the way to tell him he was walking in the right direction. First, from the Shire to Rivendell, and then to the Mines, and then Lothlorien, and so on and so forth.

When you put your faith in the process and do this consistently, you fundamentally change your life. Not just for short periods of time, but permanently.

So yes, you can lose weight in six weeks, but it might not be as much if you took six week to starve yourself and work out at a ridiculous pace. That’s okay! That’s expected!

Yes, you can build muscle and strength, but perhaps not as quickly as if you worked out seven days a week and pumped yourself full of supplements. That’s okay! That’s not what we’re going for.

We’re not interested in “get fit quick”, we’re interested in “get healthy permanently.”

And that’s how you’re going to build your challenge. That’s how you’re going to get the results that have eluded you all of these years. And that’s how you’re going to level up your life.

What our rebels have accomplished in six weeks

NF Dallas Meetup

So, what can you REALISTICALLY get done in six weeks?

We reached out to the Rebellion community and asked for the accomplishments some of our Rebels made during the last six-week challenge. Few of them revolve around how much weight was lost, but rather the mental hurdles overcome or the new habits built, or fears conquered. Win.

Click on each for the full report :)

BlackTezca ate vegetables with every meal, six days a week. Focused on building arm and core strength with her workouts, and paid down the debt completely on one of her credit cards!

QuothTheDragon put a strong focus on taking care of herself, and learned a lot about her physiology and how ADHD affects her daily life. Level up :)

Milo learned barbell strength training, read a fitness-focused book, and maintained a caloric deficit. As a side effect of the training and eating healthy, he lost 12 pounds!

Catspaw realized it was time to: “Just relax and trust the process, kids.” Love that attitude :)

ShadowLion learned about mental victories! Back and Knee rehab! “Small sustainable victories in the face of a lot of change.”

DrFeelGood achieved a 13-pound weight loss, complete with data trend analysis and forecasting. This is Nerd Fitness after all!

Rowan Caldecott focused on momentum building, learned about what her body tells her, and stuck with flexibility and mindfulness practice. Booyah!

If you read through any of the challenges above, you’ll notice a WIDE variety of quests, missions, goals, and targets. However, each of them have one thing in common: they are building momentum! Each six-week challenge is an opportunity to build on the previous challenge – instead of running out of gas at the end of the six weeks, we want to pick goals that build up our top speed and allow us to make progress towards our main goal.

This is like finishing a race in a sprint with a smile on your face instead of crawling across the finish line :) 

How to Participate

Challenge yourself

If you’re brand new to the Nerd Fitness message boards, we’d love to have you on there!

Here’s how you can join the Six-Week Challenge (starts Monday April 13th, but even if you read this late, join us all week and catch up!).

The FULL instructions are here, but I’ll give you the abridged version too:

1) Pick your goals. First start by determining your main quest – where do you want to be by the end of the year? This can be general and non specific. Do you want to get stronger? Faster? Lose 30lbs?

Now, take that quest and pick three specific goals (diet and fitness related) that will help you get there, and think about what you are going to do to complete those goals over the next 6 weeks. These goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely).

Note the realistic and timely aspects – these should be small goals that can be completed in 6 weeks. You do not want to pick goals that require you to completely flip-turn upside down. You want them to be hard enough that you need to focus on them, but they should fit into your life so you can make habits and changes that stick.

We would rather you consistently walk for 10 minutes every day than for you to have an “extreme challenge” and lose 30 lbs, while waiting every second for the challenge to be over so you can go back to your old lifestyle.

Here are some helpful references:

  • How to NOT Suck at Goal Setting
  • What’s your Main Quest

2) Pick a life side quest (optional). The optional side quest is not related to diet and fitness, but would help you level up your life. Examples would be to create and follow a budget, to keep your house clean, or to read one book every week for the duration of the challenge.

3) Pick a guild based on your main quest. Your guild will be your “team” to help hold you accountable! You can switch guilds every challenge if you want – so this is not a permanent decision!

  • If you are a first time challenger, are new to Nerd Fitness and the challenges, are new to fitness and your goals, or don’t want to specialize, you are a Recruit.
  • If you are doing your first challenge and want to be grouped with other first time challengers, post your thread in the Recruit subforum.

For everyone else – click here for more information on the guilds.

4) Post your thread in either the recruit section or in your guild! Include a little bit about yourself, what your goals are, and how you are going to accomplish them. Some people do a full background, some don’t. How much information you choose to put in here is up to you!

5) Update as little or as much as you would like throughout the challenge.Some people find it helpful to update every day, some people find it better to update every week.

If you’re curious, here’s my six-week challenge and what I’ll be working on!Feel free to follow along as I try to build some new habits I’ve long struggled with and cross a big “I’m terrified” challenge off my Epic Quest.