The Oma Challenge

**Next group challenge date to be announced, 2016**


Registration to the Fall group challenge starting November 2nd 2014 is now closed. Feel free to attempt the challenge on your own at any time!

About the Oma Challenge:

The Oma Challenge was designed in May of 2012, using research on various fitness and health topics.
This challenge is designed to get us to think about making healthy choices: from what we consume, to how we care for ourselves, to how active we are from day to day. From my experience, it is definitely challenging, but it forces us to plan ahead and make our health and fitness a focus of ours.
The Rules

For four weeks, make the following healthy choices. A journal should be kept of every meal and exercise.

Beginners: Commit to 4 or more of these healthy choices

Intermediate: Commit to 6 or more of these healthy choices

Advance: Commit to all of these healthy choices

  • 8 cups of water per day (more than 8 is definitely okay!)
  • 7 servings of fruit and veggies per day. Of course you can, and absolutely ought to, eat other food in addition to this!
  • 6 hours or more of uninterrupted sleep per night.
  • 5 days working out per week.
  • 4 non-food “treat days” (during the course of the challenge, comes out to one treat day per week) – do something rewarding (i.e. buy a new outfit, get a massage, get a mani/pedi, etc.). If you want more treat days, awesome! Just whatever makes you feel good!
  • 3 days of heavy weight lifting OR body weight lifting (calisthenics) per week. This is included as part of the 5 workouts for the week.
  • 2 15 minute walks per day (can be walking at work, walking a dog, walking in place, whatever!) If you need to split these walks into smaller walks, or one longer walk due to your schedule, that’s fine! Try walking for a total of 30 minutes per day.
  • 1 splurge limit: “white” grains or starches: includes white bread, white flour, white pasta, white sugar (or corn syrup).
    •   ONE serving per day of a splurge (must fit true serving size – measuring cups/food scale to measure is   recommended).
      • Highly recommended that it is eaten following a workout or early in the morning
      •   All other servings should be whole grains, unrefined sugars.
      • Some great grain and starch options include whole grain pasta, whole grain bread (without sugar added), oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and sweet potatoes. Some great unrefined sweeteners include honey, whole fruits such as bananas, blueberries or dates, coconut sugar, and maple syrup (to name a few).

Additional Support

Support Groups – Please email for a link to a support group through Groupme. Each support group will be range from 10-20 people (not including me).

Before, During, and After Pictures

If you choose to take pictures or videos during the challenge and are on Instagram or Twitter, feel free to tag them to #TheOmaChallenge (no nudity please ).
This challenge is not just about losing weight/inches, it is also about being stronger and healthier, so please don’t hesitate to share that. As you make choices according to the challenge, and if you find yourself getting stronger, more energy, or have better health please share that as well! What you will find is that just by visiting #TheOmaChallenge tag, there will be others in this with you, and you can draw strength and inspiration from the decisions and success of others. (*Please see picture sharing policy below).

*Picture Sharing Policy

There is a chance that I will want to share inspirational pictures from program participants either on my Instagram/Twitter account (@the_oma_life), or on my website.
  • If you have a public Instagram and/or Twitter account, by using the tag #TheOmaChallenge you are expressing the right for others to view this picture. I may reshare this picture without explicit consent.
  • If you have a private Instagram and/or Twitter account, and you use the #TheOmaChallenge tag, I will explicitly ask for consent before sharing a picture.
  • Before I share any pictures to the website, I will explicitly ask for your consent in writing, regardless of whether your account is private or public.

If I have shared a picture of yours and you no longer want that picture displayed on Instagram, Twitter, or this website, feel free to let me know and I will remove it as soon as possible.


104 thoughts on “The Oma Challenge

  1. Thanks for responding so quickly. How much weight should one expect to lose doing this challenge. My reason for asking is that I don’t want to lose too much. My aim is to get lean and toned. I noticed in one of your pics you did a before and after and you were about the same weight in both but to the eye, you appeared smaller when really you just got lean and toned. It was amazing! My figure is similar to yours but and I am curious if this challenge is what helped you to gain the abs, butt and toned legs.If not, what would you suggest. I have easy access to free weights, elliptical, kettle ball, sit down bike and treadmill in the mini gym in my building. Using these resources, what would you suggest. I can show you my current size in workout clothes via email if that helps.

    Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Cola, the weight loss really depends on the person’s goals. Since there is no specific calorie limit, you could lose, stay the same, or gain if you choose. The challenge is set up so that even if you eat a small deficit of calories (like I do) you will lose fat, which results in being leaner even though you may not lose much weight. Some people who are overweight that have joined the challenge have lost 2-3 lbs per week, but that is because they burn so many calories and their deficit is large. When people such as myself, or other healthy weight individuals join the challenge, we tend to lose less, but lose inches noticeably. People report anywhere from 0.5-1 inches lost from the weight each week, even though their weight might stay the same or only slightly decrease.

      To answer your question about toning up, I started weight lifting before I created the challenge, but yes the challenge reflects what my schedule was like to get more toned abs and lower body. In this challenge I put a focus on weight lifting (3x per week out of the 5 days working out – more focus on this than cardio). The weight lifting is what helps you retain muscle as well as burn fat. On the days you do cardio, if you want to focus on fat loss and muscle retention, I highly recommend interval cardio (where you speed up for a short time, then slow down for some time, then speed up, so on and so on) instead of steady state cardio (same speed the whole time). I also recommend circuit training, where you don’t really need a treadmill, but can use different body weight exercises or light weight equipment to do fast paced exercises with slower paced rests in between – this would be another type of cardio that encourages fat loss with muscle retention.

      The other part of the challenge that is key, specifically to a toned stomach is the nutrition part. This is why the challenge has us eating whole foods vs. processed foods, because besides being healthier, this is the quickest way for us to see those results from working out. So with this challenge (or not even just the challenge, but using the principles from this challenge), I can just about guarantee that you will see a more lean physique.

      If you want to share pictures, feel free!

  2. Hi Monica 🙂
    My name is Aryanna ! I currently follow u on Instagram ! I started following you on instagram went through ur profile and saw ur dedication to getting healthy and staying fit. I also noticed how u were a inspiration to many females and there weight loss journeys ! It took me a while because I wanted to make sure I was 100% ready to commit and make a change. I’m asking for your help because I want to not only lose weight but be healthy an change my life style and I have no idea where to start ! Lol I’ve been following the oma! I live on my own and I don’t really have a huge budget to make gourmet weight loss meals, so I can stick to the Special K plan .. But my only issue is working out … I would run but it’s to cold which is going to force me to join a gym but I wouldn’t kno where to start I smoke ciggeretes which will stop once I start my transition … 🙁 I’ve followed ur weight loss journey through ur pictures and ur dedication when no 1 is pushing u is proof to me that I can do it once again. I jus wanna thank u for being such a motivation and a kind heart to others u don’t find that to often. And I hope to start the Oma challenge not only for my body but for my spirit !!!! 🙂 ….

    • Hey Aryanna! Thank you for reaching out to me! The Oma Challenge promotes whole food, which can be cheap and doesn’t have to be gourmet. I know it might seem like diets are expensive. The great thing is that this isn’t a diet, it’s just general guidelines that make fitness and health easier to reach. If you ask me, the Special K plan is only made to get you to eat less calories, which should result in weight loss. But the whole plan is just centered around getting you to buy those products! You can eat less calories with any food and get the same results. Plus, eating real food is something that you would have to learn to do if you want to maintain the weight loss you get, so I really recommend you skip the diet plans altogether and eat real food. The Special K products in general are full of sugar which doesn’t really keep you full for long. Real food would have healthy fat, protein, and carbs that come with fiber – keeping you full and allowing you to enjoy your food. I’d love to email you further on some really cheap food that is very healthy and nourishing. Also, if it’s okay with you, I’ll email you a workout that I did from home which helped me lose almost 30 pounds. You don’t need a gym to get started!

  3. I’m super excited to be starting this challenge, as well as other challenges I’ll be doing. Also starting my Turbo Fire program today and continuing my Journey 2 Thickness challenges as well. These 3 challenges combined with healthy eating I expect to see fabulous results!! only thing is I don’t want to put my before pictures up on Instagram just yet, I wanted to wait till 30th day to show a before and after!

  4. Hi Monica,
    Thanks for being so responsive to my questions in regards to the challenge. Your pic on ig are motivating. I want to start on the first Sunday of February. I’m just like the other ladies who commented on this post, my biggest challenge in life is knowing how to cook and eat “clean”. Please assist.

    • Hey Davia! The “clean eating” piece is built into the challenge for the most part. Avoiding processed grains like white bread, but going for whole grains like whole grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice is one part of it. Avoiding processed sugars (white sugar) and using natural sugars like the sugars in fruit, honey, maple syrup (the real kind), etc. this is all considered “clean” as well. Basically choosing foods that naturally grow (produce or animals) or come from those natural produce/animals (like natural sugars, dairy, eggs). Another part of clean eating is using natural oils instead of processed oils – so avoiding hydrogenated oils. Food that doesn’t have artificial coloring or flavors, or artificial sweeteners are also considered “clean”. I didn’t include all of that in the challenge, because that is a huge step to take all at once, but if you can get your meals down to 75-80% “clean” then you can expect really great results in your health, and notice that it’s easier to get fit. Thanks for your questions and let me know if you have any more!

  5. Yes !!! Thank you for getting back to me ! I’m so excited about starting the Oma challenge on the 4th I can’t contain myself !! I was thinking special K because I can eat the ceral in the morning do a protein shake for lunch and then I was gonna try eating the same meal for dinner every night jus switch by week. That would also help with my current budget too ! I kinda put that plan together.
    And also I wanna be able to run/jog again … Thank u soooooo freaking much for helping me on my journey !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please email me @

  6. Hi Monica.
    I’m looking forward to starting #TheOmaChallenge in March. I have some questions. The 30 minutes of walking is that in addition to working out 5 days?
    Also, I am doing this challenge in an effort to lose weight, are there any additional steps I should take?

    • Hi Charlene! The 30 minutes is in addition to working out. It can be as small as 10 minute walks in place, or walking around the grocery store. Just moving around. If you want to lose weight, I’d recommend counting calories and cutting your calories according to how much you want to lose. 500 calories less than you burn per day should give you 1lb lost per week. If you burn 1800 calories per day without exercise, and then exercise to burn an additional 400 calories (2200 total), then cutting calories to 1700 is enough to lose 1lb per week. The only sure way to lose fat is to eat less than you burn, whether it’s 500 calories less, 200 calories less, it will come off. Just don’t cut too low (cutting more than 1,000 calories is generally not a good idea) or you’ll lose energy and you will see muscle loss.

      To find out how much you burn with exercise, a good calculator can be found here:

      Also, any calorie counting website should estimate how much you burn every day.

      If you don’t want to count calories, then you’ll likely still lose weight on the challenge, just this is one sure way of knowing exactly how much you can expect to lose.

  7. Hi Monica! My name is Angie and I seriously need help losing and maintaining my weight! I am self-motivated to lose the weight, however, I struggle with staying consistent with my workouts and “clean” meals and that’s what’s killing me. Another disadvantage for me is that I’m addicted to breads and sweets. I really would like your assistance with ideas for meals and exercises that can help me reach my goal of losing 30 lbs, as well as tips to staying motivated. Feel free to email me any info you have. Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Angie!

      Stay tuned for some recipes to be posted to the site! I am also a sweets and bread lover and I’ve found that some quick substitutes help my cravings while being healthy. I’ve switched to Ezekiel 4:9 bread for example, which is tasty bread with no added sugar and has lower carbs naturally, higher fiber, and higher protein than most bread. I have found delicious energy bar recipes made with real chocolate that cure my chocolate cravings, and are sweetened with dates instead of sugar. Also, I discovered that a mashed frozen banana makes for a really tasty ice cream substitute. I’ve also had to decide that I can have one not so clean cheat every week, which really helps long as you don’t overdo it. I will email you an exercise routine I do as well that helped a lot in fat loss. Thanks for visiting the site, and please stay tuned for more workout routines and recipes! 🙂

      • Thank you for your prompt reply Monica! I look forward to receiving all of the info you have to share with me and hopefully it will kickstart my weight loss! You’re truly an inspiration so I’ll definitely stay tuned to your channel/blog! Thank you for sharing :-)!

  8. Could you also email me affordable food options? I am also on a budget and would love to eat clean on an everyday basis. I am starting to work out again, and don’t want to lose too much weight. I will follow the advice that you gave a lady that had similar health goals as me.

    • Off the top of my head, the most affordable clean foods are beans, eggs, fruits and vegetables that are in season (the more expensive produce is the stuff that’s not in season), chicken, canned fish, oatmeal, and nuts are least expensive when bought in bulk. I want to make a post about affordable healthy foods, in more details because I know this is an issue that comes up a lot. But really as long as you aren’t buying pre-packaged foods you should be able to get good food for cheap. It’s really cheaper to make things from scratch. Let me know if this helps, until I write the post

  9. I would love to join the May challenge it sounds challenging and will help me stay on track!!! I’m excited!!

  10. I definitely would like to join the April 7th Oma challenge. I need a team and some form of accountability (the journal and pics) and motivational team.
    Sharon Leach

  11. Hi Monica,
    I’m so excited about the April challenge!! I think my biggest struggle is going to be eliminating the white sugar!!! I am not a carb or bread person, but nothing can replace my Jelly Belly jellybeans

    • Good thing you’re trying to make a change! The good news is that you can maybe have your jellybeans once a week, in a small portion 🙂

  12. I’m excited about the challenge!! question regarding the workouts. I see a 30 minute jog/run each day and at least 3 days of heavy weight lifting. How do you suggest incorporating HIIT into the plan? should that substitute the weight lifting or should I do HIIT on the other 3 days that I’m just running? Thanks!

    • Hi Leann,

      I think I answered your question above about what’s best in terms of HIIT in your schedule – just to make sure I’m clear, the challenge doesn’t call for cardio every day, so on the weight lifting days you don’t have to do any cardio if you don’t want. HIIT could be a substitute for lifting if it has some body weight lifting in it (see my “Crazy Cardio” post on this website for an example of HIIT with body weight lifting).

  13. I’m all in!!! But can I start April 8th? I’ll follow all the rules on April 7th but I might not be able to take pics.

  14. I’m excited about this challenge!! In regards to the workout aspect of the challenge, how do you recommend integrating HIIT into the schedule? Should I use HIIT with my heavy lifting OR do you think it’s best to heavy lift three days and HIIT the other three days? Thanks!

    • Hi Leann!

      It’s really up to you. Sometimes I do HIIT after a weight lifting session. I might do one 15 minute HIIT session on the treadmill following 1 hour lifting. Most often I am doing 3x lifting, and HIIT on the other two days, plus some type of circuit training on the other two days. My preference is the 3x lifting + cardio 2x (with HIIT on those cardio days), but if you find that you’re too sore after lifting days, then might want your cardio less intense, and could do lifting + HIIT on the same day. I guess you could try one way the first week, then another way the second to see which you prefer

  15. I’m going to join the challenge, mostly because I read the rules and realized that I do some of those things, but was feeling resistant to doing all of them. That’s probably a good sign that I should give it a shot! I had a baby 9 months ago, and I am starting to feel mostly normal again, so I’d like to try to do somethign for myself, since that’s what usually gets lost in the day-to-day shuffle.

    • Great! A lady just completed the challenge who has a baby and she is doing it again, so I’ll try to get you two connected.

      • I didn’t get an email, and I just realized it’s because two of the letters in my email address were switched around. I just corrected it, so hopefully that will work. Thanks!

  16. Hey! I’m here for the Oma Life Fitness Challenge. I’m really excited about it because there’ll be a support group. I love extra motivation 🙂 I’ll make sure to post some before pics on my Instagram @moneymadi. Thank you! Pretty excited about this all.

  17. Excited to join! I lost 60+ pounds a few years ago {on my own} and gained 40 of it back in the last yr 1/2 due to the stress of life {school, personal and family problems}. Now I’m trying to get a jump start on trying to get back on track to healthy living and I’m sure this program will be exactly what I need. Would love to join the support group.

  18. Hi,

    I would like to join the challenge! I would like to lose weight and tone my legs and butt. Could you also send me workout info as well?


  19. Hello! My Soror Yolanda made a post about this on Myfitnesspal and I also have been following you on IG (mosj84) so I decided to check this out. I am very excited about the challenge because I really needed something to keep me motivated especially with my work outs. I can feel myself slacking off so this will be awesome! I already know that my challenges would be getting the proper rest and drinking enough water. So excited! 🙂

    • Aww that’s great, she said she would bring some friends in, so it’s good she brought someone here! I believe proper rest and water is almost everyone’s biggest challenge 🙂

  20. Excited to join! I started following you last month on IG and attempted to try the challenge but kinda fell off at the end. I will go harder this time! 🙂

  21. Hey Oma! I follow you on IG (rasha_tee)and I would like to join the challenge. I don’t belong to a gym but I workout at hm via fitnessblender. I really want to focus on to Inge and building muscle- any at hm workout suggestions?

  22. this seems impossible, but God is good and with him im going to try to do the impossible…Please tell me im not too late…

  23. Hi. Hello,
    Thanks for this challenge, motivation, and encouragement which all will help me to be accountable and believing I can do it. I follow your IG page and I am: SheIsKkay.

    Thanks again,

    • It’s fine, let me get an email out to you, would really appreciate if you can answer this questionnaire by 5pm EST

  24. Hi! I follow you on instagram. You are such awesome spirit! Question … I am overweight but I’m currently trying to change that. I want to try heavy lifting but is it ok to start now or should I wait till I lose so more weight. Thanks!

    • Hi Kedia! Thanks for the kind words! Yes it’s perfectly fine to start heavy lifting now. What you’ll see is that if you are cutting calories (which you’ll have to do to lose weight) then including heavy lifting will help prevent muscle loss. Lifting might not burn as much in an hour as say cardio, but the end result will be a much tighter looking body since you maintain more muscle when you include lifting. You can try it where you have a combination of both lifting and cardio.

  25. Hey Monica! I came across your challenge about a week ago. I’ve been silently stalking #TheOmaChallenge online to see what I’ve missed before deciding whether I could survive a round. I’m not sure I will, but I’m up for the challenge! Now that I’ve confessed, where do I sign up??

    • Hey Cerra! On the top of this page, click support group link. That will take you to the group where we check in and discuss different things. You can start at any time!

  26. Hello Monica. First, I would like to say thanks for directing me to your website. I am so excited about the OmaChallenge, cant wait to put my mind, body and soul to the test. I will give it my best because I believe the plan that is set up is so realistic. So wish me luck and also could you recommend any great weight lifting options and workouts that’s good. Thanks Again

    • Great! Best wishes! Check out the book New Rules of Lifting for Women (by Lou Schuler). There’s a whole 6 month workout plan in the book. You can try that. If you do try it, you can also join the support group for that book If you decide not to use that, then check out for some good weight lifting workouts

  27. This sounds GREAT!!!! I’m in!!!!!!!!!! :)))))) ( btw I’m a follower of yours on Instagram an that is how I heard of this challenge!!!! I can’t wait

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