My End of January Advice for January Joiners

This post was sponsored by Target® through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9, all opinions are my own.

Did anyone else see all the Facebook statuses and posts floating around last week about how historically the third week of January is when the highest percentage of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions commitments? What about comments from year round gym goers that things should be “back to normal” next week once all the January Joiners* give up?

*Urban dictionary definition of a January Joiner: “Someone who joins the gym in January as part of a New Year’s resolution but by February is back to being a couch potato.”

That’s not very encouraging, now is it?

My definition of January Joiner is a little different. To me, January Joiners are people who join the gym in January as part of a New Year’s goal to get healthier, with the potential to truly commit, stick around, become regulars, and change their lives.

Better?

Target® C9 outfit

Of course I’ve had moments this year when I’ve felt irritated with things like long class waiting lists and having to wait longer than usual to use the squat machine, but a friendly atmosphere goes a long way.

That said, I’ve observed a few things over the past couple of weeks that got me thinking about the reasons so many people lose motivation around this time of year, and I want to share some tips with the January Joiners today. My hope is that if you are someone who feels discouraged because your resolve has started to waver, because you haven’t lost that ten pounds yet, or because you feel bored, that some of these tips will dissuade you from giving up on your New Year’s goals.

Stop doing too much too soon.
I think one of the biggest reasons people start to waver around the third week of January is because too often people go balls to the wall on their first day back at the gym, or even worse, their first day at gym ever. Trying to start a consistent running routine but finding yourself on the couch more often than running that 5k? Stop aiming for the full 5k out of the gate. Instead, start with some short walk/run intervals. Trying to add some strength training into your life? If you haven’t picked up a weight in over a year, don’t bust out high intensity circuits in your first month. Instead, choose some bodyweight exercises like incline pushups, squats, lunges, or planks to ease into it. Gradually add weight instead of going too heavy too soon. If you start small with something you know that you absolutely are able to do, you’ll have a higher chance of following through and not burning out.

Target® C9 outfit

Start asking for help
I have noticed a lot of scary stuff in the gym this month (bad form, puzzled faces, lack of general fitness knowledge), and I never know whether to offer my help or just stay to myself. If you aren’t sure about how to properly execute an exercise, how to work a certain machine, or something just doesn’t feel right, please find a trainer and ask for their help. That’s what they are there for! I promise you that someone else has asked a weirder question than you. Remember that everyone starts somewhere, and asking for help is a better option than either 1) getting hurt and unable to stick with your goals because of an injury, or 2) just giving up because you feel self-conscious about what to do.

Stop standing in the back of class.
Was your New Year’s goal to try Zumba or spin? To find a group exercise class that you can start taking regularly? Aside from recommending that you introduce yourself to the instructor if you haven’t already, try switching up your spot in class. You definitely don’t have to be in the front row (I know, I know, all the scary regulars are standing in their spots there), but it’s important that you can see yourself in the mirror to check your form. It’s also important for not only the instructor to be able to see you, but for you to be able to see them so you can follow along without getting lost! If you tried a class and couldn’t keep up, try going back and standing somewhere else instead. Trust me as an instructor on this one! Side note: my friend Monique wrote a whole post recently sharing her tips for group ex newbies. This tip is one of them, along with a lot more!

Target® C9 outfit + Spin Class

Brush up on your gym’s rules, guidelines, and policies.
If you’ve felt uncomfortable or unsure of yourself while working out this month, try paying more attention to what some of your gym’s guidelines are. For example, one of my goals this year is to be more consistent with my morning workout times (so far, so good!). One of the classes that keeps me on track is my friend Emily’s Wednesday morning spin class, but the waiting list has been INSANE. It’s a serious battle for the saddle. For the past three weeks, people have either flat-out refused to admit they were on the wait list or they just don’t understand the sign up process. My friend at work also recently told me about someone at her gym who keeps using the Planet Fitness circuit machines for individual exercises when the instructions to use them for circuit purposes only are pretty much right in front of him. Just being more aware of things like wait list policies or machine rules can go a long way and help you feel more confident among the regulars.

Change something.
If you’ve done all the above and still something isn’t clicking for you, take some time to reflect on what it is you can change. Not everything will happen overnight, and any healthy living journey or goal that’s worth reaching will need several tweaks before you get it right. Think about whether what you are doing makes sense for you. Not getting to the gym because you’re trying to go after work? Maybe it’s not working because you always have to work late. Could you try to go just one morning instead and see what happens? Maybe you just need some extra motivation, like a buddy to keep you on track or a new playlist to pump you up. Heck, maybe you just need to go buy yourself an awesome outfit that you feel badass in to give you a reason to wear it! Target® has a ton of cute, colorful, and affordable workout clothes in their C9 by Champion collection to help you with this. That magenta tech fleece pullover definitely helps keep me warm on the cold mornings I’m waking up to this month! You get the idea.

Target® C9 outfit

I know a lot of you January Joiners feel like you’re being judged at the gym at this time of year. I get it. It’s hard. But I want you to ask yourselves something.

Are you giving up or are you just warming up?

Don’t call it quits. It takes about 66 days to form a habit. And if you stick with it, you won’t have to be a January Joiner ever again. <3

Readers, let’s chat! Do you feel like your motivation is waning now that we’re nearing the end of January? Do you think there are any tweaks you could make to help get you back on track? What do you think of my picks from the Target® C9 collection?

To be fully transparent with you guys, along with being compensated to write this post, I also received $50 to shop the Target® C9 collection with. I picked out the women’s premium capri leggings in stately blue (they are SO flattering!) and the women’s performance tee in green berry to go with the fleece I’m sporting in the pictures throughout this post. I’m psyched to add dark blue workout pants to my collection, and the wicking material of the tee is perfect to hide how sweaty I can get.

Oh yeah, and here’s a blog shoutout to my gym friends Jen, Mary, and Jess for snapping these photos at 6am last week! They’re the best.

F&F Friday Favorites ~ 01.23.15

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for your weekly dose of link love!

Friday Favorites

 

Fitness

Foodie

Recipes

Blogging and Social Media

Worksite Wellness

Self Image, Life, and Inspiration

Readers, let’s chat! What was the best part of your week, and what’s up for the weekend?

Best part of my week was our food tasting at our wedding venue last night… so fun! This weekend is a gym friend get together, a blogger class at Flywheel, and probably going out for my friend Matt’s 30th birthday on Saturday night. I’m also looking forward to a completely free Sunday. Catch you later, friends!

The Sit, Sit Up, Stand, Crawl, and Jump Workout

You guys, I tried so hard to come up with a more creative name for this workout, but I just couldn’t! “The Movement Workout” just wasn’t cutting it. But that’s basically what this little gem consists of: exercises that have to do with basic human movements.

The Sit, Sit Up, Stand, Crawl, and Jump Workout

In this workout, you will go through the exercises as prescribed in a circuit format (one right after the other). I like to do this one by assessing how much time I have to workout (20 minutes? 25? 30?) and trying to do as many rounds of the circuit as possible while keeping good form in that amount of time. You could also approach this by aiming to do 3-5 total rounds before calling it a day. Pick whatever feels right for you and what works with your schedule!

Here are some options/details for each move:

  • Wall sits: You can hold a regular bodyweight wall sit. To make it harder, add a dumbbell hold in front of your chest or place a plate on your legs.
  • Sit ups: I recommend doing these either with your arms crossed over your chest or with your hands behind your head. Keep your feet flat on the floor, and come to a full sit up. You can modify by taking it down a notch to a crunch, but you can make it harder by holding a weight in front of you or doing a sit up to overhead press with a dumbbell.
  • Single leg sit to stands: These are one of the most humbling exercises there is, in my opinion! I definitely recommend starting with bodyweight for this one. Once you master the movement without your knees wobbling or needing to put your other foot on the ground, add weight or progress to a heel tap or pistol squat variation.
  • Bear crawls: This is an awesome core stability move! Try doing 4 bear crawl walks forward and 4 bear crawl walks backward, for a total of 5 times. If you have more space to work with, you could just try going forward once for longer and backward once for longer.
  • Jump of choice: For this, choose your favorite jump and get after it for 1 minute. Think jumping jacks, squat jumps, jump rope, skater jumps, box jumps, plie squat jumps, etc. Free choice!

As always, if there are any questions let me know, and post your sweaty pics to social media! I love seeing you guys in action.

Reader’s, let’s chat! What would you have named this workout? Can you think of any other movements you would have added to the circuit?

Have fun!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Pumpkin Dressing

Yesterday during our afternoon off from work, Tim and I got crafty in the kitchen. We received giant sweet potatoes in our CSA last week, and we also had a ton of pomegranate seeds left over from last week’s food prep, so we wanted to make a lunch for the week that used both. Here’s what we came up with!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Pumpkin Dressing

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Pumpkin Dressing

Serves 4-5 as a main meal or 6-8 as a side dish

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
  • Half a small red onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (or a quart container of mini peppers)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing:

  • 6 tbsp pomegranate juice
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seed oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, toss the cut up sweet potatoes in 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to two large baking sheets. Roast in the oven for around 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Make sure to check on them halfway through and flip so the sweet potato cooks evenly.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, make your dressing. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the pomegranate juice, red wine vinegar, pumpkin seed oil, maple syrup, and salt and pepper.
  4. When the sweet potatoes are done, transfer to a large bowl, and add the onion, pepper, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, and cilantro.
  5. Pour the dressing mixture over the salad and mix well. Make sure to pour slowly and taste as you go to avoid over-dressing. I recommend pour and tasting about 2-3 different times.
  6. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, and enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Pumpkin Dressing

You might be thinking that pomegranate and pumpkin aren’t flavors that go well together, but when you take one awesome flavor and combine it with another awesome flavor… yeah. Double awesomeness. Using pumpkin seed oil in the dressing provides a nice contrast against the sweetness of the sweet potatoes, pomegranate seeds, and pomegranate juice. The diced peppers, pomegranate seeds, and pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch, and of course, I like anything with cilantro in it. For those of you who don’t like cilantro, you could sub in parsley, and for those of you who might not have pumpkin seed oil at home, feel free to use olive oil instead (may have to add a little more).

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Pumpkin Dressing

I love how colorful and nutritious this dish is, and I can’t wait to have it for lunches this week! If you make this, snap some pretty pictures and post to social media. Would love to see your versions!

Readers, let’s chat! What’s your favorite flavor? A-sweet potato, B-pomegranate, or C-pumpkin?!

Luckily, this dish doesn’t make you decide. ;)

F&F Friday Favorites ~ 01.16.15

You guys! So many good reads floating around this week. Enjoy!

Friday FavoritesFitness

Foodie

Recipes

Self Image, Inspiration, and Life

Readers, let’s chat! Link up your favorite posts from the week in the comments, and as always, I’m wondering what the best part of your week was and what’s up for the weekend.

  • Best part of my week? Seeing my friend Tim who is back in the United States from Germany! I also deadlifted 150 pounds on Monday (trap bar).
  • This weekend? Fun wedding activities! Fabric shopping for bridesmaids dresses (my friend Shannon is making all 8 of them!) and registering at Crate and Barrel and Macy’s on Sunday. I’m also hopefully getting a new laptop and really looking forward to having Monday off. Fitness friends, I’m teaching at Oak Square on Monday at 10am if you have the day off and want to join!

Enjoy the weekend, and don’t forget to do something for YOU. <3