FROM THE DESK OF: Nina
Welcome to the first Hump Day of 2016! Congratulations on making it this far. You did it!
… Okay, enough with the positive affirmations. Let’s get down to business.
I don’t know about you, but right about now is the time I usually start making the standard list of New Year’s resolutions that I sometimes follow… but very often end up forgetting about by the time March rolls around.
This year… well, I have a feeling it’s gonna be different. Actually, scratch that; I’m going to make sure it’s gonna be different.
For my first series of posts, I’ll be addressing all of that “new year, new you” beeswax that comes with this time of year by offering tips on how to tackle some of the most common New Year’s resolutions. And we are going to accomplish the most basic of basic New Year’s Resolutions together.
So, without further ado, I present to thee the first installment of the New Year, New You (No, Really, I’m Serious) Series. 2016, come at me, bro.
Basic New Year’s Resolution #1 – Stay fit and healthy.
Anyone who knows me is well aware of my mad propensity to turn any conversation into one about food. Maybe it was my upbringing by three fully-grown men (shout out to the uncles!) who consistently kept me on a perfectly balanced diet of Jack in the Box tacos, Mickie D’s hamburgers, and Burger King Whoppers; or the fact that my Lola used to tell me the devil would put a ring of fire around my neck for each bite I didn’t take to finish my food; but I am, to say the very least, a big fan of eating.
Unfortunately, my ‘90s kid diet with scare-tactic undertones didn’t quite work out so well when the Quarter Life hit and my metabolism decided to peace out. And for a girl whose idea of exercise was enjoying long, romantic walks to the fridge, getting healthy seemed like a long road ahead. But after some trial and error, I think I’ve somehow managed to get a grasp on this “healthy” lifestyle without managing to want to relapse into a Chicken-McNugget-eating frenzy.
Here’s a plan of attack that has helped me go from attempting workouts by way of osmosis (i.e. watching the Olympics before bed in the hope that all of the physical activity on TV would magically transfer over to my body) to actually working out every weekday morning before work like it ain’t no thang.
STEP 1: THE JEDI MIND TRICKS. It’s so easy to make excuses and create exercise to be this big, scary thing that’s painful and time-consuming and not fun. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Introducing exercise into your regular routine is, like, 85% mental; sometimes it takes a good number of Jedi mind tricks to condition your mind into being comfortable with the idea, but once you master that initial challenge, every other step towards implementing it into your lifestyle follows suit.
I’ve created a trusty little pocketbook full of positive vibes and tips that’ll help you conquer the big, bad Excuses Beast that often puts up a fight when you entertain the idea of working out. Just print it, fold it (first hot-dog style across, then accordion style), and keep it in your pocket so you can take it out whenever you need a little boost of motivation and encouragement.
You can download the foldable “Positive Vibes Pocketbook” PDF here: The Positive Vibes Pocketbook
STEP 2: THE FRESH GEAR. Acquiring the right exercise gear can be a pretty big source of motivation in the journey towards getting fit. Start with the following:
– Properly-fitting trainers. Splurge on actually getting fitted for a good pair of cross-training shoes at your local specialty running store. I never knew the magic of getting evaluated for shoes that properly fit your foot shape, walking/running style, etc. until my roommate showed me the light; and once I took the plunge and did it, it completely transformed my performance and comfort level during workouts. This is one splurge that is completely worth the extra $$.
– Workout clothes. Admittedly, I can be somewhat of a cheapskate when it comes to purchasing workout apparel, but there are ways to get creative in this department. Take a pair of scissors to your old cotton souvenir tees you got on that one vacation a long time ago and cut off the sleeves for instant muscle tees. Check out your local Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Target, or Kmart to score a few pairs of name-brand pants and shorts for less. Finally, mix it up a bit and treat yourself to at least one really nice activewear item (a good windbreaker, a cute sports bra, a special pair of moisture-wicking pants) – you’ll want to keep finding excuses to wear it, and it just might give you that extra boost to squeeze that quick jog around the neighborhood into your schedule.
– Helpful health phone apps. There are tons of great apps you can download on your phone to help keep you on track for getting healthy. Sleep Cycle ($0.99) is great for getting your butt out of bed at your lightest sleep state. Spotify Running (included with $9.99/month Spotify Premium subscription) gives you an instant running playlist based on the tempo of your run. MyFitnessPal (free) keeps eating habits in check, and MapMyRun (free) is great for recording your favorite trails for jogging, biking, and hiking.
Getting geared up properly does take a little bit of time and a few extra coins, but trust me – it will make things so much easier and so much more pleasant when you make this lifestyle change.
STEP 3: THE BOMB BREAKFAST. Breakfast really is a magical thing. In my experience, I’ve found that when I make it a priority to ensure I have a quality breakfast, I get to the office feeling like a million bucks. And not to sound sketchy, but breakfast is kind of a “gateway” meal: when you start your day off with eating a healthy, balanced meal for breakfast, you may also want to know what it’s like to eat a healthy, balanced meal for second breakfast, brunch, lunch, lunner, dinner, etc. And then pretty soon, you won’t be able to get enough of that healthy goodness all the time. It’s a (kind of) vicious cycle. But in a good way…? (Sorry, that took a weird turn.)
Anyway, the point is, you should get into the habit of making your breakfast super bomb each morning because it’ll make you feel grrreat. And when you feel grrreat, you can do grrreat things, like crush it at work or go full beast mode at the gym.
Here’s a Bomb Breakfast Kit that’ll help get you there.
STEP 4: THE NEW WORKOUT PLAN. I don’t know about you… but I get bored of working out pretty easily. I can’t stand doing the same workout every day for months on end, and once I’m over it, I tend to stop exercising altogether. To curb this tendency, I infuse my workout routine with extra doses of variety, accountability, and good playlists – all of which I get through my membership with ClassPass. If you can swing it in your budget, ClassPass is a great alternative to the conventional gym membership and really keeps me accountable and open to trying different ways to keep moving. But if you’re not quite ready to bite the bullet and shell out the cash for a membership, no worries – there’s still a way to mix things up in your routine. Why not make it a game and roll this downloadable New Workout Plan Die to figure out what workout you’ll do today?
Each face features a different type of workout – cardio, strength, stretch, and mystery – and I’ve included some mini playlists you can try to go along with each exercise. Once you’ve printed out the template, cut out the cross-shaped template, fold all edges downward, and meet/tape the edges together to form a cube.
You can download the cut-out for the die here: New Workout Plan Die
COMING UP NEXT: Getting organized and channeling your inner-OCD neat freak. Get excited.