2017 is here! We may be a couple weeks into January and some of you well on your way with new resolutions or goals for the year, but there may be some of you who are still trying to wade through the craziness of the holidays. I think we all tend to do a bit of evaluating when the new year comes and I’m no different. I’m not a big “resolutions” girl, as I do a fairly decent job of keeping up with myself all throughout the year, but I definitely take time in January to do some evaluation in all areas of life…health included.
My fit life is not much different than yours. I’m sure you think that because I’m an instructor and all-around health lover, that I have it all-together, but that’s not true. I go through different phases of life and my exercise and eating routine kind of roll with that too. Last year was a different year for me in a lot of ways and my health disciplines were impacted by that, so I’m looking at some new focuses for 2017. Here are my short-term (3-6 month) health goals! (Interested in seeing more New Year Fitness Tips? Check out the Skechers blog where I am featured along with some other health bloggers!)
- BUILD STRENGTH.
Last year (2016), I lost some of my strength as I had a ganglion cyst which was hindering much of my upper body workouts. I focused a bit more on running and more bodyweight training since that was easier on my wrist, but now that I’ve had surgery to remove it, I am ready to build that strength back up. I have always loved weight training and the feeling of strength and power, so I’m using the first 3 months of this year to focus on this. What does this look like? I’m going back to some more traditional lifts (squats, shoulder press, incline bench, bench press etc) with a focus on increasing weight and using super-sets.
(Wearing Skechers Flex Appeal High Energy 2.0)
2. FOCUSED RUNNING
I ran a half-marathon last year for the first time in 4 years. I wouldn’t consider myself a hard-core runner, in the sense that I do it every day or it’s the only thing I like, however, I will always have some sort of running in my weekly routine! There is something about that endorphin rush at the end and the clearing of my mind that I am addicted to, not to mention the chance to get outside! However, I never really had a plan I followed–I kind of just did what I wanted varying between long, slow runs, and speedwork/tempo runs. I may do another half this year and would like to see if I can improve my time, so I want to be a bit more intentional in my running plan. Since the first 3 months, I’m focusing on more strength, my running will be limited to about 2 days of focus, so for right now, that looks like 1 day a week of a tempo run or speedwork and another day of a longer, slow paced run.
3. INTENTIONAL FUEL
So part of working out is eating right. One of my biggest tips is to match your eating to your activity. If you aren’t as active, then your body isn’t needing as many calories, but if you are training every day, then you better be eating to fuel that. Your body will hold onto fat if you skimp in this area, so it’s an area I have to address many times with my coaching clients. The problem with many active people is not that they aren’t hungry, it’s that they can justify eating anything which includes lots of “empty” calories. Listen, your life is your life. I’m not here to tell you that your 6 miles run does or doesn’t justify an oreo sundae, but we have to be mindful of what we are placing in our body. My body will need a nice mix of protein, fats, and carbs, focusing on foods that provide quality nutrients to support my system. Water consumption is not usually an issue for me although the winter may be a little harder for me to get it in, but I will also continue that along with the BCAAs I take about 1x day.
So how does all this work practically in a 7 day week? Here is my base plan, which of course, is always up for adjustment. Remember this— the plan you start out with RARELY works just as it is. There is some tweaking that usually needs done so if you are finding that need with your New Year’s resolution, then you have freedom to do so! There is no “right way”—only the way that works well for you. There are also weeks when I need more time during the day so I can’t fit my workout in, so I’ll switch it out for a weekend workout, or maybe my longer mid-week run, will move to a Saturday or Sunday because the Ohio weather is better to run outside etc. I also try to do at least 1 full day (if not 2) with zero workout.
Monday: Shoulders & Arms + Speedwork or Tempo Run
Tuesday: Plyos & Legs (+ teach Pilates)
Wednesday: Cardio & Core (Longer Slow-Pace Run)
Thursday: Back + HIIT ( + teach Pilates)
Saturday: Chest & Shoulders +Sprints
(Shoes: Skechers Flex Appeal 2.0
Joggers: Revelation Wellness)
Finally, I don’t want to underestimate the importance of down time and rest. Exercise is a stressor to the body–one that, in general, works well for people, but taken to an extreme, can actually backfire. We each will have a certain mix of what it looks like for us to be active and being at rest. Our society places action, intensity and goal-achieving as utmost importance, but what we get with that is burnout. It’s important to take some time daily and write, think, and pray. This is an important part to my overall wellness and if it’s lacking, then so is the peace and stillness that comes with that. I’m finding that the older I get, the more downtime I need. I’m not sure if I’ve always been a hidden introvert, or my stage of life has turned me into one, but in order for me to pour out as much as I do physically and emotionally to my friends, family and ministry, I need a lot of time to myself to rest–both physically and emotionally.
(Boots: Skechers Descender: Denali
Top: Blooms & Linen)
So I would love to hear from you now! Did you make any health and fitness resolutions or goals? Is there one small thing you can do to inch you towards a goal you have in mind? Please share below!
This post has been sponsored by Skechers. All opinions are my own. ( While you have no reason to trust that my opinion is not jaded by the fact that I received compensation for this, the 2 shoes in this post are SO COMFORTABLE and comfort is my middle name anymore, so right up my alley! ) Thanks Hannah & Mary for being my photographers!
Clare, I’m wondering where you got the water bottle?
It’s called a SWELL bottle! You can find it on their website or anywhere!
Thanks. : )
Jogging has always been my “go to” for exercise but I really want to work on my strength this year. I am not planning on joining a gym. Is there a weight set you might recommend for home use? Also, I am a little overwhelmed thinking of exactly what to do and how much in a day to do to get the best results. Should I just find a strength training routine on youtube or dvd to follow along with?
When you say weight set, do you mean brand? Or range of weights?
“best results” is all relative. Start somewhere..pick a program. Buy one online or check out bodybuilding.com, then stick with it! You won’t know if it’s “best” for you or not until you get into it.
Youtube is great along with DVDs. If you have access to a gym, then I recommend group exercise classes that incorporate weights.
I was thinking more range of weights but knowing the better brands would be helpful. Thank you so much.
I think any brand would be fine! As far as range, that’s hard to say! I use 8lb-25lb in a regular routine depending on the body part but to get all those may be expensive at first. I would probably do something like a 5 or 8 lb, then maybe a 10 or 12 lb depending on how strong you are.
That is helpful! Thank you so much!!
Would you be willing to do a blog post on how you incorporate protein shakes and BCAAs into your fitness routine? Do you only have a PWO shake after weight lifting? Do you have your BCAAs everyday whether you workout or not? I feel like everyone in the fitness industry was promoting the importance of having a PWO shake after workouts and now in the last year it seems like they’re not so popular anymore. Now everyone is talking about the importance of BCAAs. I have been weight lifting/Metabolic Effect workouts about 3 days a week and doing some cardio/sprints one day a week and some yoga/pilates in between. If I’m doing a metabolic conditioning workout for 20 minutes, do I need a protein shake or just some BCAAs. I’ve tried to do research but haven’t found a clear answer, and I feel like you approach things from a “real life” perspective, so I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
I might blog about that, but in short, I use a protein shake about once a day…sometimes PWO, but sometimes just as my breakfast or a snack. In general, I just try and get some protein and carb after a workout but am not too scheduled or specific about it.
Look at it less tied to your workout and more to your overall protein count for the day. I need protein and sometimes it’s hard to get it in via chewable foods 😉 so a shake helps. A protein shake isn’t going to hinder you, nor will it greatly help you. Some people who are very fit don’t use any at all.
Final note–you will do research until the cows come home and never find a clear answer because there are lots of answers. It comes down to what works for your body, your finances, your schedule and overall wellness. Walk away from the google search engine and go with your gut and flow. Your health life is unique to you! Keep a big perspective
Thanks! I think that’s how I was feeling, but it’s nice to have that affirmed!
Hi Clare , Can you explain what BCAA’s are. I have never heard of them before.
Thank you also for this post. I have started the New Year out really focusing on how food makes me feel when I eat it. I am already Gluten and Dairy intolerant and over the holidays it became VERY apparent that my body can no longer handle any grains of any kind. So it is a Paleo lifestyle for me which for the last 3 weeks has been great because I feel so much better. I am also following a Beachboy Coach who is A Christian and she created a group of women who are are like minded in this Journey towards health and wholeness and it has been such a great support for me.
I started a blog last June which I need to get back to also.
Thank you so much for all you do . I really enjoy following your blog, It is an encouragement for me.
Hi! This is probably the best explanation of them! http://projectmomsanity.com/the-whats-and-whys-of-bcaas/
Glad to hear you are reconnecting with your health and finding what works for you in this season. Thank you so much for your encouragement and yes–get back to your blog!
I am late to this party (in more ways than one). But in case you are still receiving questions from this post, I thought I would ask one. Do you have a post that tells a beginner where to jump in on this fitness/nutrition train? I am old (55) and have basically walked for exercise for decades. No consistent weight training of any kind. Well, that’s not looking real pretty now. I’m thin but flabby.😞 5’4″ and about 112 pounds. All this protein powders and knowing how your body works is about 20 steps ahead of me.
I don’t have a post like that, Sheila. Maybe it’s something I should consider since I can’t even think of a good, succinct spot to lead you too. There are probably some great resources online or even at the library but you might have to sit and thumb through some books (Which might not be a bad idea) The good thing for you is that you probably just need to add 2-3 days of overall strength training and you would be doing good!
Thank you for the encouragement. My main desire is saggy arms. I didn’t even know if it is even possible to get tight triceps at my age. I figured it might be possible to get some biceps but I didn’t see how the saggy under part could tighten to the point of looking good ever again. If any resources pop in your head some time, I am willing to try. Thank you for your great blog.
Fantastic goals you have build for 2017. I hope you are doing all things regularly. I always start with enthusiasm but at end of year I stopped doing it.