30 Day Fitness Challenge
Nok Lek/ShutterstockOf all the items you take care of, your smartphone ranks pretty high up on the priority list—because it’s home to your email, your connection to friends and family, your entertainment for long grocery store lines, your countless feeds, and frankly, everything else. While you’re on your phone perhaps checking out the best health and fitness apps, add one more: The straightforwardly named 30 Day Fitness Challenge app is a free way to make sticking to a “work out every single day” goal that much easier. Depending on whether you’d like to tone your full body or focus on glutes, arms or abs, you can select a program that matches your needs. New to working out? No worries! This program features easy, medium, and hard levels, as well as hands-on instruction. Though each workout usually takes under 15 minutes, it’s enough to motivate you to head to the gym and log in a longer sweat sesh.
Staying physically active is essential to health—The Mayo Clinic recommends 150 minutes of fitness a week, but what you consume is equally, if not more, important. After all, if you finish every run with two cheeseburgers, fries, and a shake, chances are slim that you’ll drop a dress size in time for your cousin’s wedding. The issue many dieters face is pinpointing their specific areas of weakness in their eating habits. To the rescue is Whole30, a clean eating program that cuts out the common culprits—dairy, gluten, soy, legumes, alcohol, and sugar—for 30 days. It’s a bit tricky to follow since so many foods have hidden ingredients, but once you’ve completed the 30 days, you gradually add back these foods to see how your body responds. Armed with this information, you can shape your meal plans to steer clear of dairy, if it’s making you bloat, gluten if it’s not sitting well with your tummy, or another food that’s causing you to hold onto weight.
Whole30 says no-no to dairy, so here are some alternatives.
Believe it or not, a little om can actually be a game-changer in weight loss. A study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University found that 25 days of meditation three days in a row can make a dramatic impact on your stress levels. And since stress causes you to hold onto weight thanks to the cortisol hormones that gets overworked when you’re overscheduled, the more in control you are of your habitual mental thoughts, the easier it will be to put your best foot forward with exercise and weight loss. Countless apps—like Headspace and Calm—offer challenges to keep you inspired to incorporate meditation into your routine. Even if you can’t squeeze in 25 minutes a day, consider implementing a meditation practice before bedtime to encourage better sleep, which hey, also contributes to a lower number on the scale!
Here are some ways to sneak some meditation into your life.
Pinterest targeted challenges
If you’re a new parent or a super-busy professional, or if logging sessions at the gym isn’t your style, an at-home fitness challenge might be your best bet. When you search Pinterest, you’ll find plenty of targeted challenges that will help you plank longer, go deeper into your squats, build some killer abs, or improve the lift of your bum in your go-to denim. Many of these challenges are created by trainers and won’t take more than 10 minutes out of your day. Even better, it could inspire you to try other methods of fitness when your calendar clears. This resistance band workout will work your whole body.
Though technically not a challenge per se, Aaptiv is a smart choice for a seasoned exercise enthusiast who already knows how to burpee, mountain climb, high knee and jab, cross, hook, and uppercut. With a variety of workouts and fitness levels, this audio-only instruction is a smart way to stay focused and perfect your form. Consider encouraging a few pals to sign up for a membership so you can work out together from your respective homes, or at the very least, hold one another accountable to at least squeeze in a half hour on the daily.
Can you pass these everyday fitness tests?
Kayla Itsines Challenge
Roman Stetsyk/ShutterstockAs the name of her program suggests, famous Australian fitness Instagrammer Kayla Itsines wants you to get swimsuit ready at any time of year. What started as a social media account has blossomed into a wide variety of workout plans—including the original Beach Body program, with workouts, meal recommendations, and other helpful tips. With very little equipment, you can complete all of Itsines’ workouts and potentially see changes in just a few weeks. It’s ideal for travelers or a newbie to fitness who is ready to get serious. Just watch out for these exercise moves that actually work against you.
If 30 days feels a tad overwhelming, why not adopt a leap-year mentality and go for 28 instead? FitGirls Guide, which was also made popular thanks to Instagram, is a 28-Day Jumpstart Program with all the tools you need to transform your lifestyle. In addition to a full workout plan that requires zero equipment, FitGirls also gives a meal plan that can be tailored to any diet, regardless of whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian. If your pals aren’t along for the adventure, don’t worry: There’s a huge community behind FitGirls, so you’ll always have some online support if you need a push. With your real-life friends, try these fun social activities that double as workouts.
After the countless holiday parties and New Year’s celebrations, your liver is basically begging for a break. In addition to causing some major headaches and dehydration, excessive drinking can pack on the pounds. Since most alcohol is high in sugar and tough for your body to break down, boozing it up on the regular could be adding more to your waistline. One 30-day challenge that’s to-the-point is dry January, in where you forgo any vino, beer, or cocktails until February. While it might be a tad awkward in social settings, challenge yourself to grab a soda water with lime and be the designated driver—and ahem, Instagram photo taker—for the evening. If you’re doing the bartending, try whipping up these delicious mocktails.
Especially if you work from home, wrangle children 24/7, or travel for work, online workouts make squeezing in exercise less stressful. If you get bored searching through countless YouTube videos to find one that’s actually effective, consider a Daily Burn membership. You’ll get specialized workout plans based on your goals, the opportunity to buy fitness equipment, including a heart-rate monitor to ensure that you’re putting in maximum effort and other features, as well as a live workout every morning. Make it your goal to complete a full month of these, kicking your mindset—and your bum!—into healthy gear. Check out the secrets of women who work out every day.