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Results of March Fitness and Wellness Challenge


If you've been following me for the last 30 days, then you know I challenged myself to make some simple changes to my lifestyle. The overall goal was to feel better and more empowered about my heath and fitness.

This challenge is over. But before I begin another, let's review how things went down in March. The basic regimen was recommitting to these areas: nutrition, fitness and yoga.

Nutrition

Goal: Eat and drink more mindfully everyday.

  • Preparing and eating at least one meatless dinner per week. This wasn't hard as regularly eat vegan and vegetarian meals. Some of my favorite recipes are on the blog.

  • Eating more whole foods, including upping my intake of green leafy vegetables and fruit. I was back in the kitchen cooking my own healthy meals again and staying away from takeaway and processed foods. I increased my protein intake as my body naturally needed it after the uptick in the fitness area. I grabbed fresh fruit whenever possible for snacking throughout the day.

  • Drinking more water. (45-50 oz/day) I was really happy with how I did with this one. I kept a daily diary of my intake. I would fill a large tumbler with water a couple of times a day and just drink.

  • Watching my sugar and salt intake. (Skip sugar in coffee and tea.) I was really proud to keep up my "no sugar" in coffee and tea through the month. I didn't drink chai until the last week and went back to adding honey to it instead of sugar crystals. I was careful about the salt I added when cooking meals as well.

  • Skipping fast meals. Backsliding happened in Week 2, but I made healthy choices. I think I did pretty well here compared to how often takeaway was happening before the challenge.

Fitness

Goal: Get fired up again about being physically active everyday.

  • Performing some form of cardio x 30 minutes at least 4 times per week. I jumped into this task with gusto and stuck to it and exceeded it. I'm very happy to be back in the fitness saddle again.

  • Developing at least 2 new Barre Above routines. (I am Barre Above certified.) I missed Barre and got back into it with some videos and my Bender ball prop. I enjoyed creating my own sequences in the Barre Above method. I'll continue to do a Barre routine at least once a week.

  • Taking at least 1 group Barre class at a local venue. I took a good challenging total body class at a local Barre Code studio. I like their teaching method. I'm thinking of taking a group Barre class at least once a month.

  • Including strength training in at least 2 routines per week. This is easy for me because I love to use hand weights and do bodyweight exercises. I'm finding that I like compound exercises that target more than one area at time. If a video, for example, doesn't seem like it's challenging me, I'll change the exercise or add weight or difficulty to make it work for me. This is a new way of working for me.

  • Tracking my daily progress in my Fitness Journal. I had stopped being as meticulous about this and skipping days. I went back to keeping a detailed description of my activity. It keeps me motivated and allows me to look back on the week and feel good that I put in work on my body.

Yoga

Goal: Recommit to my personal yoga practice.

  • Practicing yoga (asana, breath & meditation) every day no matter the length of time. This was a real joy to get back into this routine. My first love is my home yoga practice, and I missed it. I don't worry about how much time just that I do something on the mat once a day. I followed a basics challenge from my yoga subscription site, which helped me expand both my personal practice and improve my teaching.

  • Taking a unique group yoga class once a week with different teachers and at different venues. This was fun to do and research as well. I missed taking group classes just for me. There are many unique new classes available now to choose from. You can find classes with DJs and live music now, sound healing, barnyard pets, dogs, cats, bunnies, piglets, and so on. There is something for everyone.

  • Sitting for meditation in Half Lotus at least 10 minutes in the morning. I'm proudest of meeting this task everyday. I didn't always meditate in the morning but I made sure to do this every day. Sitting in Half Lotus is a challenge for me, but feels much better after doing it daily for a month. I discovered that before sitting to meditate I need to open my hips and hamstrings with asana. I also need more support for my feet, such as a rolled up hand towel under the foot in Half Lotus. I also sit on a block to tilt my pelvis forward and get my knees closer to the ground.

Overall Impressions

This challenge was meant to be doable. It was designed for success.

I was most happy about getting back to my home yoga practice regimen. Meditating daily brought me much joy and peace and clarity. I need to do it daily now, so in terms of creating a new healthy habit to improve my overall wellness: daily meditation wins.

My diet and hydration always concern me, and I needed the challenge to become more conscious of my eating and drinking again. I like to have a positive, healthy relationship with eating, so I don't obsess over food diaries and calories. As I wrote at the beginning of the challenge, I look at how my clothes fit and how I look naked. If I'm happy with it, then it's all good.

In terms of getting excited about cardio and fitness again, I think I was successful at this. I am looking forward to it each week. I like how my body looks. My emphasis is more on toning and sculpting. I'm adding more Barre and pilates to my regimen, which use small challenging movements. I'm seeing results in areas like my inner thighs, abs and triceps.

This was a good challenge to get me back on track for the rest of the year. I'm looking forward to warm weather and shedding layers with this jumpstart in my fitness regimen. My home yoga practice feels like an easy daily ritual again. I'm good.

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