Michelle and I recently signed up for the E2M fitness challenge. E2M (Eager to Motivate) is an 8-week online diet and fitness program that pushes you to make sustainable changes to your eating and exercising habits. Michelle and I weren’t unhealthy. We were both working out regularly and eating a mostly pescatarian diet. But the pandemic left us feeling in a bit of a rut and this looked like a great opportunity to get out of our comfort zones. With Addison’s, long term, even low dose, steroid use can lead to weak bones. I wanted to do E2M to get stronger. I can stick with cardio training but have never stuck with strength training for any serious amount of time.
A lot of the program is somewhat secretive and information is a little scarce prior to signing up. I’m not sure why. There is nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering about E2M and that is part of the reason it is likely so successfully with so many. I won’t be giving away the meal plans or workouts here. You need to sign up for that, but after two weeks, here are my initial thoughts on E2M.
I like the cost
The total cost is $320 for the 8-week program. This is paid $40 weekly via PayPal. Spouses or families in the same household are included. There is a week or two between the challenges and you only pay one time. Once you pay, you’re an OG and subsequent challenges are free. Not a bad deal. If you fall off the wagon, no problem, it’s a lifetime membership. You can join up and try again at no cost.
I like the very supportive community
After you sign-up, just about the entire program (for better and worse) is run through a closed Facebook group and that group is very, very supportive. From what I can tell, E2M started small and locally in South Carolina but has since grown widely. You won’t be alone if you chose to join up and interact with the group. I don’t post, but I do enjoy reading many of the transformational stories for inspiration.
I like the nightly live sessions
The founder/head trainer, Jeff Spoon, does a nightly video that is part Q/A, part motivational pep talk, and part old-time tent revival. I initially found them a little too rah-rah and corny for my taste but have now come to look forward to his talks. They are a nice piece of positivity to end the day on.
I like the authenticity
There are many live video sessions each day both for workouts, motivation, and mental pick me ups. It’s hard to hide your true self on live video day-after-day and all the trainers come across as really wanting you to succeed even when they are yelling at you to hold that plank for another 10 seconds.
I like the simplicity
I’ve always been an active person and never tried any other diets or big lifestyle changes (other than cutting out chicken and red meat) in the past, mostly because while I saw other people get results, very few struck me as sustainable for the long-term. I’m not sure a strict E2M lifestyle will be either but it would be far more sustainable and healthy than anything else I’ve come across even if you only adopt 75% of it.
The core principles are intermittent fasting, carb cycling, no dairy, and 6 workouts a week (half cardio/half strength circuits).
The focus is on simple meals that can be prepared without a complex recipe and without tempting you to stay in the kitchen too long.
There is no food tracking or calorie counting. You can weigh things if you want but it’s not necessary. Two handfuls of this, a palmful of that works just fine.
In short, join this program if you want to be told what to do and when to do it. It’s sort of like joining the army. It’s not for the skeptical, curious, or questioning. Join up for the expertise and trust the process.
It’s flexible enough to accommodate pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans. There is a separate Facebook group for vegan/vegetarian participants.
I like the initial results
The first week, going no carbs cold turkey, was hard. I was a little naive. I thought I was in decent shape, especially for cardio. Pulling carbs took me down a notch. Or three. But I also have lost 10 pounds and can see some increased muscle definition in my upper body where I’ve always struggled to sustain any results.
I will say the coaches stress NOT to get on the scale throughout the challenge (I just like data) and focus on non-scale victories and lifestyle changes and small incremental improvements.
I like the cheat meal
This goes hand-in-hand with the sustainable part. Similar to Tim Ferris’s popular 4 Hour Body, E2M includes one meal a week you can eat and drink whatever you want. Pizza? Sure. Box of donuts? Sure. Ice cream sundae? Yup. Couple beers. No problem. Enjoy it. You earned it through a week of hard work. No guilt, just a mental break.
If you’re looking for a simple (but not easy), sustainable way to get out of a fitness rut or jumpstart a change to your body, I’d strongly recommend checking out the E2M program. If you do decide to sign-up, trust the process, follow the plan, and enjoy that celebration meal. I know I will.