2016 Healthy Lifestyle Challenges

by Sarah on December 28th, 2015

(Photo courtesy of oh happy dawn photography)
With 2015 drawing to a close, we can't help reflecting on the year past, and planning for the year ahead.  This week is traditionally a period of reflection, and for us, has also been a bit rough in years past, between healing a broken elbow, cleaning up repeated floods, and catching seasonal illness.  We hope the week between Christmas and Rob's birthday has been a more festive time of year for you, but even if it hasn't, we hope it still sets you up for success in the year ahead.

The holidays are known for emotion, nostalgia, celebration, family, and EATING.  Did we mention eating?  With endless opportunities for celebration, and EATING, it's easy to let things get a bit out of hand, and it can be hard to settle back into good habits once the season draws to a close.  We're all for celebration, including those that involve copious amounts of the most festive, sugary, enjoyable foods, but we also know first hand how hard it is to get back on track without letting this year's festivities become next year's bad habits.

With this in mind, in prior years we've spent the month of January focusing on restoring or initiating healthy habits.  These challenges are not intended to be fast fixes or temporary obsessions.  Instead, they're intended to create opportunities to focus on improving our health, body composition, and performance in the gym by making small incremental changes to our nutritional habits.

As usual, the challenges will be posted on the wall at the gym, with grown up opportunities to earn stickers for each day in which you meet your self-defined goal.  It would be easy to go on autopilot, since this will feel much like last year, and enter the same old challenges, with the same old, uninspired mindset, but we encourage you to think carefully about the changes you'd like to make in your current habits, and only enter challenges which actually motivate you to improve your life.

The challenge options will be: More Water, More Sleep, Less Booze, No Sugar, and Nutrition Overhaul.  Water, Sleep, Booze, and Sugar will be self-defined - you set the threshold for success and get a sticker for each day you stick with it.  Pretty simple.  We're hoping Nutrition Overhaul creates an opportunity for meaningful advancement this year.

Nutrition Overhaul could be a Whole 30 Challenge, a Paleo Challenge, a Zone or other Macro counting/precision challenge, an eat more vegetables/protein/carbs/etc. challenge, or anything else that would be a substantial change to your current habits.  If you've been inclined to try one of these more major nutrition options, we'd encourage you to use the month of January to pursue it.  This category shouldn't be entered casually, and especially if you're concerned you may have an underlying health condition or food intolerance we'd advise you approach this option in partnership with your healthcare professional.  We've personally learned a lot about our bodies, our performance and our health (and improved our body composition) through experimenting with Paleo, Zone and Whole 30 Challenges throughout the years.  If you haven't tried one, we'd suggest exploring one this year.

To do these challenges right, do some real research in preparation and be thoughtful about how this will impact your life (and the lives of those you live with) to determine what changes you need to make up front to enable your success.  It's much easier to eat Paleo in a Paleo kitchen, and much easier to eat in compliance with Macros or the Whole 30 free from delicious, habit-forming temptations.  That said, your roommates may not appreciate you pitching their favorite snacks, so preparing the "rules" ahead of time will likely improve your odds of success.

If you're interested in joining a challenge, but not sure how to approach it, please don't hesitate to talk with a coach or email us with questions.  We want 2016 to be your best year yet!

WOD for 12-29-15:

Back Squat:
12 minutes to work up to a moderately heavy triple

This is NOT a 3-rep max attempt.  The simple goal is to overload the back squat by taking a couple of sets of three at a heavier load than to be used below. 

-then-

Five 2-Minute Cycles for Max Reps of Box Jumps:
200m Run
10-9-8-7-6 Back Squats @ Bodyweight
Max Reps Box Jumps @ 24/20 in
(REST 2 Minutes)

There is 2 minutes of work followed by 2 minutes of rest, repeated for 5 cycles.  Back squat reps start at 10 in the first cycle, and then decrease by 1 rep for each cycle thereafter (with the 5th and final cycle utilizing 6 back squats).  Score is total number of box jumps across all 5 cycles.


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