Where did the first month of 2016 go? It seems like January was here and gone in an instant (and as a Chicagoan, I’m not really complaining). With that in mind, how are your resolutions or commitments for the year going? Sometimes the start of something new can inspire change, but as time goes on, those ambitions fade away.
One of the mantras I’m trying to live by more this year is that every day is a new chance to start fresh. Miss a workout? Get back on track tomorrow. Splurge on too much dessert? Even the next meal is a fresh start. You don’t have to wait for some monumental change to make changes in your own life.
So where is this going? Well, I have a few goals in mind for the coming months, ranging from a half marathon PR to advancing my yoga practice to eating more veggies. In my hours of reading and browsing different methods and techniques to get there, I came across a few programs or plans to follow that are more focused on short term goals, which ultimately can help you form a habit. Then, it’s easier to add on to that base and continue incorporating new exercises or recipes or whatever it may be.
Remember, before you start any exercise regimen, do check with a doctor. These are just recommendations based on what I’ve read and tried out myself!
- 12 Monthly Running Challenges for Your Strongest Year of Running Ever: From one of my favorite blogs, No Meat Athlete, this year-long challenge is broken down into small, manageable monthly tasks that help you get back to fundamentals and work toward a bigger picture goal. Things like a 30-day run streak of at least 10 minutes or one mile minimum and adding strength training three times per week are important for us as runners because they are part of our base and necessary for increasing mileage and speed. We don’t always make time to get back to the basics, so focusing on one challenge per month is a great way to get on track.
- 21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique: You might be thinking, “What the heck is a foam roller physique?” Or maybe you’ve heard the buzz, thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow. Either way, I’m really excited about this one because it just arrived at my door! There are 300 (yes, 300) pages of foam roller exercises, broken down by a daily theme. Themes include things like “Release and Love the Hips,” “Listen to Your Gut,” and “Expansion vs. Compression.” As runners, we always talk about stretching and rolling it out, but are we really doing it with purpose and spending enough time hitting the right muscles? If you want to learn more about this, take a look online and enlarge my photos above. There’s something for everyone, even if you’re not a runner, and the daily breakdown makes it simple to follow.
- Get Stretchy: If you’re interested in this one, get it while you can! This month-long yoga-based stretching program is only available for purchase at select times throughout the year, and one of them is NOW. The basis of the plan is to do short video workouts first thing in the morning and 30 minutes to one hour before bed. The videos take you through various stretches and yoga poses to help you learn to breathe through the discomfort and ultimately help you go deeper, increase energy, lower stress and more.
- 31 Day Yoga for Strength Project: This one is on my to-do list for a few reasons. 1) If you haven’t checked out Yoga by Candace on YouTube, she has some great videos of different lengths for various body parts, moods, goals, etc. 2) One of the areas I struggle with in all of my athletic endeavors but also everyday life is strength training. Where do you start? What muscles should you focus on? How many reps? What I like about this program is that it breaks down a daily plan for short yoga workouts that ultimately help you work toward a desired strength pose of your choosing.
- Cody App: This is one of my favorite discoveries from 2015. You can use via mobile app or desktop, and there are a variety of training plans for all levels in so many areas – strength, yoga, Pilates, barre, weightlifting and more. So far, I’ve tried BodyStrong and Strength Intelligence Level 1, but my list of others to buy down the road is long. These easy-to-follow plans are often one month long and include videos to lead you through your workouts. Being able to pause if needed, complete in my own home, track progress online and access forever makes the price well worth it. Tip: subscribe to their newsletters or follow them on Instagram for lots of great deals and bundle pricing!
So, there you have it! These are just a few great options for short programs that can help you recommit to your goals for the year, while helping you form habits or even discover new activities that you haven’t tried.
If you decide to sign up for one of the above, let me know what you think! And if you have your own recommendations to add to this list, post in the comments so I can add them to my own to-do list.