January 2023 Workout Challenge!
Fitness is a lifelong practice, a journey of mind-body integration that needs to be approached holistically, with compassion and care. But, working out is also a social “exercise” that improves if you do it alongside other people, that's why we're doing this challenge!
Katie and I gained weight and felt pretty unhappy during the first couple months of the 2019 pandemic, but we also got motivated to make permanent changes in how we treat our bodies. We started working out at home and found wonderful YouTube instructors who helped us change our lives!
If you have ever felt like your body doesn't feel good, know that it's possible to build a lifestyle that changes how you feel about yourself. The key is extreme patience. Building new routines takes a long time, so go easy on yourself.
This January workout challenge will educate you, inspire you, and challenge you to improve yourself. The instructors we draw upon here are diverse, and come at fitness from different angles.
How to experience this challenge
The challenge actually begins on December 31st, with a great video from Natasha Océane. Then, there are daily workouts placed to allow for rest as well as the building of strength and flexibility. If you want to increase the overall challenge, you can follow Odin's personalized routine, which includes all of these workouts plus 30 minutes non-stop walking every day.
Give yourself an hour to do these workouts! Even for days where the workouts are shorter. Make this your self-care time.
Know your goals
This challenge is designed to do four things:
Build and maintain the habit of working out every day. No skipping, no repeats.
There's nothing better for your life than learning to build consistent habits for health.
Increase overall endurance.
Endurance helps you with getting around and keeps your heart and brain healthier.
Flexibility, likewise, helps you avoid injuries and makes daily life more enjoyable.
Building muscle is the best way to lose weight, it's also the best way to help your body avoid future injuries. Some people, especially women, are worried about gaining muscle. Don't be! It's really good for you and is the only true pathway to the sort of fitness you desire.
Weight loss? If losing weight is your goal, muscle building is key. But, remember, muscle is denser than body fat! One month of weight workouts might actually lead to little movement on the scale, or even a small increase—but, if you follow this challenge, you will build muscle, and that will help you lose weight. For weight loss, it's best to plan in three month increments and set reasonable goals of around 10 pounds of weight loss per 90 days. Talk to your doctor before starting new workout routines to get advice on what will work best for you.
Make it social!
Have fun and be social! If you want to succeed, tell the world! Tell your trusted friends and family, and tell your social media network. Be honest, self-compassionate, and patient. Let us at the Unenlightened Generalists know how you're doing, so we can cheer you along.
Eating right during this challenge
When you start a new weight training routine, your body is going to feel hungrier! It's important that you focus on eating a large amount of lean protein every day. Protein helps you feel fuller for longer, and helps you build muscle. You'll see the best results with a high-protein, high-vegetable diet that cuts out all sugar. Want a great overview of the science? Here's our favorite fitness personality to explain: Natasha Océane!
You should always consult your physician before changing your diet and fitness plans, so they can help you monitor your needs. Be proactive with your health!
Modifications to this challenge
First and foremost: it's not about how hard of a workout you do, it's about doing a little something every day. Changes take time to build, and small changes become big ones only if you maintain consistency!
This workout challenge collects beginner-level workouts from some of my and Katie's favorite instructors, creating a comprehensive monthlong routine! It's vital that you do the stretching videos every day to maintain a safe technique.
It's also vital that you listen to your body. Never exercise into a place of pain. Use lighter weights if you need to (or even just the weight of your arms!). Be patient and kind to yourself, and stick with the daily routine.
Working out has to be personalized, and it has to be consistent. In order for it to be consistent, it has to be personalized! It's more important that you maintain the daily practice than it is to do exactly what an instructor tells you to do.
If you know that a certain move hurts you, or is one you physically can't achieve, try a different move. For example: Maybe you can't do lunges because of knee pain. That's okay! Instead, do a lying-down knee-to-chest stretch.