I made a lot of New Years Resolutions this year and, like most people, one of them was to eat heathier and exercise more. Last year on average I would make it to the gym anywhere from 1-3 times a week, but I really wasn’t too strict about it. This year, I was ready to make some changes. I started the month by going vegan – read more about that here – giving up alcohol, and going to the gym five times a week. I kept that up for three weeks straight, and only cheated when my good friend told me she was moving to Boston at the end of the month, so I took a few days off to celebrate her move with pizza, sweets, and drinks. But hey, things are always going to come up unexpectedly, so a few cheat days are bound to happen here and there!
So rather than focusing on these last few days, let’s focus on those first three weeks. By going vegan and giving up alcohol, it made it much easier to make it to the gym more. I wasn’t eating all the heavy foods that tend to make me sluggish (i.e. pizza, cookies, etc.) and by not drinking alcohol on weekend nights, I woke up early feeling refreshed and would do my workout first thing in the morning so that I’d have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy myself. Not to mention all the calories I was saving by cutting out alcohol and dairy – I swear I’ve never felt less bloated in my life! But with all that being said, I’m not here to say that it was always easy or enjoyable. During those first few weekends I had to say no to plans with friends involving drinking, which was really hard for me to be so anti-social! And on Friday nights when I wanted to relax after a long week with a glass of wine, I had to settle for tea instead. It was definitely challenging, but I started feeling so good that I could tell it was worth it.
Now let’s get into what my actual workouts looked like. I’ve never considered myself a naturally athletic person, I’ve always been terrible at sports and used to not be able to run a mile. It wasn’t until I downloaded the Couch-to-5K app in college and committed to the program that I finally felt like I could become someone who works out regularly. I know it sounds dramatic, but that app literally changed my life lol. Once I realized I was able to run for 30-40 minutes straight, I felt brave enough to try out some workout classes. Because I was a little late to the whole fit-lifestyle thing, I still don’t feel comfortable going to the gym alone and using the machines, so workouts for me are either running or taking a class. I’m a member at New York Sports Club, so most of the classes I take are there.
When it comes to classes, I want to make sure I’m maintaining a nice balance of cardio, strength, and stretching. I also added in some ab classes this month in an effort to feel extra confident in a bathing suit as I’m taking a trip to Mexico in a couple weeks (yay!). Here’s what my schedule looked like for the past two weeks:
As you can see, each week I had 2 free days, 1 day of strength conditioning, 1 day of stretching (yoga) and 3 days of cardio (run or dance class). I spaced out the free days to give my body time to rest, so that I never felt burnt out or like I was working myself too hard. After three weeks of this, I truly started to feel amazing. I had tons of energy, my skin starting looking clearer than ever, and I just generally felt happier and more optimistic than usual. It’s kind of crazy when you actually do good things for your body, it thanks you!
So I definitely started January with a bit of an intense cleanse, and I know it’s not really realistic to do that full-time. I mean, I just can’t fathom not being able to have wine and cheese night with my girls! But I think what I learned from it is that if I can push myself to do good things for my body, even when it’s the last thing I want to do, it really does pay off. Maybe I don’t give up alcohol entirely, but I think twice next time I’m staying in with a movie and opt for tea instead of wine. Maybe I don’t go vegan full time, but I go for a piece of fruit after lunch rather than a cookie. And the next time I have a gym class after work and I think to myself “I’m too tired to go,” I try to focus on that feeling of accomplishment and happiness that I get after a good workout.
So if any of you out there are trying to start this new year on the right foot, I hope it was helpful to hear about my journey this past month! It’s definitely not always easy and we’re all going to have days where we fall off the path a little bit, but you have to focus on your successes and not failures to get yourself back on track.