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'Self Challenge' Progress Report

Self magazine challenged The Early Show's co-anchors Rene Syler, Julie Chen and Hannah Storm to participate in its annual "Self Challenge" - a three-month program designed to encourage Self readers of varying fitness levels to get healthy.

The Early Show kicked off this year's challenge a few weeks ago. As the second month approaches, it's time to show whether the participants have been keeping up their end of the bargain.

As Julie Chen and Rene Syler got ready to exercise with fitness expert Alastair Greer, Lucy Danziger, Self's editor-in-chief, tells Hannah Storm the buddy system will help you stay on track and hold you accountable.

She says, "It's a fun program. You get in the best shape of your life. You do it with a friend or a team and it becomes a fun thing for everybody."

Now that the first month is over, she says the co-anchors and all those others who are taking the Self Challenge should be inspired by the changes they are seeing.

Danziger says, "Everybody should start to see changes in maybe the way their clothes are fitting or how energetic they feel, how easy it is to go out and do their cardio workouts."

In the second month, exercises are going to be harder by adding tummy toners, a workout called a pyramid, which is intervals that go longer as you go through the workout: run 2 minutes, rest one minute; then run 3, rest 1; run 4, rest 1, and so on. At the peak ,you come back down.

You can continue to do your regular cardio plan as well. So if you love to do your half hour jog, keep it. But on the weekend, add something fun, whether it's hiking, biking, or whatever is active.

This month's workout also gets a little more specific, because you've built your base and now you're adding elements. For your core plan, it's two 15-minute sessions a week, plus stretching.

Here are the month's goals:

  • Do three 30- to 45-minute cardio sessions, plus one hour-long session, per week.
  • Do two 15-minute core sessions per week
  • Do two 30-minute strength and stretch sessions per week
  • Indulge yourself the healthy way

As for your eating plan, the goal is to try to get rid of your cravings, so you're going to indulge yourself with things like fruit and healthy carbohydrates. The aim is to learn how to splurge for a 200-calorie treat, instead of eating when you're bored, and to drink healthy drinks.

Danziger says, "We hear from a lot of readers they lose weight because they're asked to eat healthy. We help them snack well and curb their cravings this month. You don't necessarily have to diet. You just have to eat smarter. You can lose weight on this plan."

If you haven't signed up to take the challenge, you can go to and start today, and there are all sorts of great incentives online.

Next month, you can look forward to the following:

Cardio gets a little easier in the third month, because you can't sustain everything. The second month is the biggest surge; in the third month, look forward to new ideas. It does not get harder in the third month; that month is about maintenance.

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