Congratulations! You've done it. You've decided it's time to get healthy and strong, and you've committed to doing this for YOU. Welcome to the LIVESTRONG.COM 30-Day Get Strong in 2019 Challenge.
Our entire team is here to support you every step of the way. Like a song that's been on a loop in your head, you're stuck with us — but in a good way. Every day we'll give you info and tools to keep you motivated and to help you succeed. So let's start with the basics: setting your goals, and then getting on track to crush them!
Start Strong But Start Small
It's easy to overcommit yourself amidst the hype reaching the "finish line" of getting fit, but in order not to fizzle out before the month is over, it's important to establish balance.
Balance is essential if you want to reach your goals. Tracking your meals and focusing on your workouts are both critical components, but you need to balance your fitness routine and the rest of your life. It's common to make your transformation the primary focus of your attention, but don't take on too much at once.
You're juggling a lot. You're working to replace old habits with new ones that support your healthier lifestyle, but you don't need to change everything at once. It's not all or nothing. Here are some ideas for small changes you can start today, and then build on through the rest of the challenge:
- Brand new to working out? Commit to completing each of our video workouts with Jordan Shalhoub just once a day. That's only 10 minutes! If you want to do more, great, but tell yourself you'll do at least those 10 minutes.
- Add just a little more movement each day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the other end of the parking lot and walk to the store, use your lunch break to take a walk with your coworker.
- If your goal is to eat better, for your first few days, try tracking without changing too much so you can get a baseline for how much you eat.
- Identify one food or drink you know you can pretty easily do without (soda, donuts, dessert, alcohol) and commit to cutting it out of your diet for just one week to see how you feel.
- Figure out which foods you don't mind swapping out for healthier alternatives.
- Tell yourself you're never going to eat directly from the bag. Instead, portion out your meal or snack and stop when you've finished whatever you've allotted.
- Fill up on fruits and veggies so that you're less likely to eat more of the less healthier options at meals.
- Opt to cook more meals at home instead of going out to a restaurant.
Read more: Small Diet Changes That Yield Big Results
Find Balance to Get Healthier
Like the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race. Don't overwhelm yourself by attempting a complete life overhaul. You'll have greater success if you make small, meaningful changes and build from there. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Manage your expectations and set yourself up for long-term success. For example, you're not going to get six-pack abs, run a marathon and cook and eat five healthy, perfectly balanced meals a day — all in your first month. While that's wonderfully ambitious, it's generally not realistic for most people.
Be kind to yourself and use your resources to achieve and maintain balance. You have an arsenal of tools at your disposal, including the LIVESTRONG.COM community to provide support and accountability to help you out. A balanced approach will help tip the scales in your favor — toward success.
Start Tracking Your Progress
How can you see how far you've come if you don't have a reminder of where you started? So if you haven't already, make sure you take stock of your starting point — whether that's your weight, current measurements or how much weight you can lift.
One great way to track your progress regardless of your goal is to take progress photos. You might be embarrassed or uncomfortable taking your before photo. You might even be unhappy with how you look. We get it. But here's why it's so important to capture the beginning of your fitness journey: Often, the scale doesn't move at all when your body composition begins changing.
As you exercise, hydrate and eat healthier, you'll start seeing results. Most importantly, you'll feel better. Your clothes might fit better, you'll have more energy and you'll even sleep better and look more well-rested. But the numbers on the scale may not reflect all of these awesome changes.
In addition to recording your starting weight, you'll want to measure your upper arms, chest, waist, hips and thighs. Then take your "before" photo. You don't even have to smile. Here are some tips for taking your "before" photo.
As much as you might not want to do it right now, you'll be glad you did it later. When you look at that "Before" photo, you'll be proud of your progress. Because once you take that photo, everything that follows is part of the "After" that you're working toward!
Imagine looking at that picture and those numbers and watching them shrink day by day, thanks to your hard work and discipline. You're not just going to feel better, you're going to feel... STRONGER!
Plus, you might be able to enter your transformation story and photos into LIVESTRONG.COM's weight-loss contest and win $250 for sharing them and inspiring others. It's another way to pay it forward.
Read More About Goal Setting
Ready to set some realistic goals you'll actually accomplish this year? Right on! We totally have your back. If you want to learn more about exactly how to select the best fitness, nutrition and weight-loss goals for yourself (or need some healthy ideas to get you started), here are some great resources:
- 10 Essential Fitness Goals and How to Achieve Them
- 9 Tough-Love Tactics That Will Help You Reach Your Goals
- Essential Strength Benchmarks for Men (And for Women, Too!)
- 14 New Year's Resolutions That Are Bad Ideas
How to Join the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge
Are you a part of the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge yet? If not, here are four easy steps to make sure you're on your way to getting stronger this year.
1. Sign Up for Daily Emails
There are two main places this challenge is taking place online — your inbox and our Facebook group (more on that in a second). So first, make sure you've entered your email to sign up for the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge. (Yep, even if you're already signed up for our regular daily newsletter.)
Every day, we'll be sending you your daily workout and a healthy recipe to try, along with fun extras like workout playlists, motivational quotes, self-care tips and other fitness and nutrition information to make 2019 your best (and healthiest) year ever!
2. Print Out Your Calendars
Isn't it so satisfying to check things off of your to-do list? Each day during the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge, you're accountable for two main things: working out and eating healthy.
To help keep you on track for the entire month, we created two calendars — one with each day's workouts listed and another with each week's nutrition goal and healthy recipes. Print them out and check off each workout and day of healthy eating as you complete it.
3. Join Our Challenge Facebook Group
For daily support, motivation and camaraderie with LIVESTRONG.COM team members, join our Facebook Group for the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge. We'll share recipes, tips, motivations, pictures and more! Plus, we'll answer all your questions.
4. Share Your Journey on Social Media
Are you on Instagram or Twitter? So are we! And we'd love to see photos and updates of your progress. When you post to social media, be sure to use the hashtag #GetStrongChallenge. That way, you can also connect with other Get Strong challengers!