As we gear up for C29, the final Challenge of the year, now is the perfect time to step up and set goals, stay accountable, and break away from unhealthy habits. Utilize this final 2020 Challenge as an opportunity to make positive lifestyle changes and create a healthy daily routine that supports your long-term goals.
Phase 1 of the F45 Challenge is all about establishing a strong, holistic foundation for optimal health. This includes staying consistent with quality sleep, a healthy eating routine, and stress management. Yes, training hard is key for physiological adaptation, however, it’s our daily lifestyle habits throughout the Challenge that ultimately allow us to sustain training benefits.
Use this time before the Challenge begins to develop a healthy routine that you know you can stick to over the 45 days. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone through regular training takes perseverance and determination. Optimizing lifestyle habits outside of training is key in order to be able to perform at your peak potential on a regular basis. While you may be physically ready and geared up to start C29, it’s important to ask yourself what you can do (or change) in your daily routine to set yourself up for Challenge success. Below are a few important questions to reflect on:
- Am I getting sufficient quality sleep leading up to the start of Challenge?
- Am I being mindful about my eating pattern and prioritizing quality food over processed options?
- Am I able to effectively manage daily stressors and/or cope with stress in a healthy way?
Feeling stressed and anxious is something that we all experience. However, it’s important to find ways in which we can cope and manage stressful situations, as this will help us feel better and stay productive. Writing in a journal, developing a meditation practice, and getting outside are just a few suggestions to help manage stress.
Spending five minutes in the morning or evening to write in a journal can be an effective way to foster positivity, calm the mind, and provide clarity on how best to address a stressful period or situation. Actively writing out what it is that may be contributing to stressful feelings can help reframe our thoughts in a more positive way. If you’re new to journaling, a good place to start is by reflecting on both the positive aspects and challenges of your day.
Develop a Meditation Practice
Meditation can help us focus more on the present moment and clear the information overload that often contributes to a buildup of stress. It is known to trigger a relaxation response within the body by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. There are various forms of meditation, ranging from movement-focused meditation (i.e. yoga) to the simple practice of deep breathing. If you’re new to a meditation practice, we recommend starting with a guided meditation that provides visualization or imagery.
Aside from getting vitamin D from sunlight exposure, spending time outside is known to improve feelings of stress by lowering cortisol and releasing endorphins, which elevate mood and calmness. Taking just 10 minutes to go outdoors when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious can help refocus and realign your thoughts into a more positive mindset. If you’ve ever experienced a mental block where you just can’t seem to stay productive, a short walk outside can help boost creativity and cognitive function so you can get back on track.
Always seek help from your doctor or a licensed clinical therapist if you can’t seem to de-stress or if your symptoms of stress get worse.