My End of January Advice for January Joiners

This post was sponsored by Target® through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9, all opinions are my own.

Did anyone else see all the Facebook statuses and posts floating around last week about how historically the third week of January is when the highest percentage of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions commitments? What about comments from year round gym goers that things should be “back to normal” next week once all the January Joiners* give up?

*Urban dictionary definition of a January Joiner: “Someone who joins the gym in January as part of a New Year’s resolution but by February is back to being a couch potato.”

That’s not very encouraging, now is it?

My definition of January Joiner is a little different. To me, January Joiners are people who join the gym in January as part of a New Year’s goal to get healthier, with the potential to truly commit, stick around, become regulars, and change their lives.


Target® C9 outfit

Of course I’ve had moments this year when I’ve felt irritated with things like long class waiting lists and having to wait longer than usual to use the squat machine, but a friendly atmosphere goes a long way.

That said, I’ve observed a few things over the past couple of weeks that got me thinking about the reasons so many people lose motivation around this time of year, and I want to share some tips with the January Joiners today. My hope is that if you are someone who feels discouraged because your resolve has started to waver, because you haven’t lost that ten pounds yet, or because you feel bored, that some of these tips will dissuade you from giving up on your New Year’s goals.

Stop doing too much too soon.
I think one of the biggest reasons people start to waver around the third week of January is because too often people go balls to the wall on their first day back at the gym, or even worse, their first day at gym ever. Trying to start a consistent running routine but finding yourself on the couch more often than running that 5k? Stop aiming for the full 5k out of the gate. Instead, start with some short walk/run intervals. Trying to add some strength training into your life? If you haven’t picked up a weight in over a year, don’t bust out high intensity circuits in your first month. Instead, choose some bodyweight exercises like incline pushups, squats, lunges, or planks to ease into it. Gradually add weight instead of going too heavy too soon. If you start small with something you know that you absolutely are able to do, you’ll have a higher chance of following through and not burning out.

Target® C9 outfit

Start asking for help
I have noticed a lot of scary stuff in the gym this month (bad form, puzzled faces, lack of general fitness knowledge), and I never know whether to offer my help or just stay to myself. If you aren’t sure about how to properly execute an exercise, how to work a certain machine, or something just doesn’t feel right, please find a trainer and ask for their help. That’s what they are there for! I promise you that someone else has asked a weirder question than you. Remember that everyone starts somewhere, and asking for help is a better option than either 1) getting hurt and unable to stick with your goals because of an injury, or 2) just giving up because you feel self-conscious about what to do.

Stop standing in the back of class.
Was your New Year’s goal to try Zumba or spin? To find a group exercise class that you can start taking regularly? Aside from recommending that you introduce yourself to the instructor if you haven’t already, try switching up your spot in class. You definitely don’t have to be in the front row (I know, I know, all the scary regulars are standing in their spots there), but it’s important that you can see yourself in the mirror to check your form. It’s also important for not only the instructor to be able to see you, but for you to be able to see them so you can follow along without getting lost! If you tried a class and couldn’t keep up, try going back and standing somewhere else instead. Trust me as an instructor on this one! Side note: my friend Monique wrote a whole post recently sharing her tips for group ex newbies. This tip is one of them, along with a lot more!

Target® C9 outfit + Spin Class

Brush up on your gym’s rules, guidelines, and policies.
If you’ve felt uncomfortable or unsure of yourself while working out this month, try paying more attention to what some of your gym’s guidelines are. For example, one of my goals this year is to be more consistent with my morning workout times (so far, so good!). One of the classes that keeps me on track is my friend Emily’s Wednesday morning spin class, but the waiting list has been INSANE. It’s a serious battle for the saddle. For the past three weeks, people have either flat-out refused to admit they were on the wait list or they just don’t understand the sign up process. My friend at work also recently told me about someone at her gym who keeps using the Planet Fitness circuit machines for individual exercises when the instructions to use them for circuit purposes only are pretty much right in front of him. Just being more aware of things like wait list policies or machine rules can go a long way and help you feel more confident among the regulars.

Change something.
If you’ve done all the above and still something isn’t clicking for you, take some time to reflect on what it is you can change. Not everything will happen overnight, and any healthy living journey or goal that’s worth reaching will need several tweaks before you get it right. Think about whether what you are doing makes sense for you. Not getting to the gym because you’re trying to go after work? Maybe it’s not working because you always have to work late. Could you try to go just one morning instead and see what happens? Maybe you just need some extra motivation, like a buddy to keep you on track or a new playlist to pump you up. Heck, maybe you just need to go buy yourself an awesome outfit that you feel badass in to give you a reason to wear it! Target® has a ton of cute, colorful, and affordable workout clothes in their C9 by Champion collection to help you with this. That magenta tech fleece pullover definitely helps keep me warm on the cold mornings I’m waking up to this month! You get the idea.

Target® C9 outfit

I know a lot of you January Joiners feel like you’re being judged at the gym at this time of year. I get it. It’s hard. But I want you to ask yourselves something.

Are you giving up or are you just warming up?

Don’t call it quits. It takes about 66 days to form a habit. And if you stick with it, you won’t have to be a January Joiner ever again. ❤

Readers, let’s chat! Do you feel like your motivation is waning now that we’re nearing the end of January? Do you think there are any tweaks you could make to help get you back on track? What do you think of my picks from the Target® C9 collection?

To be fully transparent with you guys, along with being compensated to write this post, I also received $50 to shop the Target® C9 collection with. I picked out the women’s premium capri leggings in stately blue (they are SO flattering!) and the women’s performance tee in green berry to go with the fleece I’m sporting in the pictures throughout this post. I’m psyched to add dark blue workout pants to my collection, and the wicking material of the tee is perfect to hide how sweaty I can get.

Oh yeah, and here’s a blog shoutout to my gym friends Jen, Mary, and Jess for snapping these photos at 6am last week! They’re the best.

Tips for Navigating the Company Picnic

This weekend is my company’s annual picnic.  I’ve mentioned before that this day is like a holiday for my coworkers and I.  It’s pretty much a huge carnival with tents, rides, games, a pirate ship, a beer tent, and food galore.  Including free lobsters!  I’ve gone every year since I started working for my company in 2007, and it’s such a good time. 


However, with so many food options right at our disposal, it’s not always easy to make your way around the choices!  It’s definitely a day to splurge a little, but just like I blogged about earlier this week in regards to vacations, you don’t want one day (or one trip in that case) to completely set you back with your healthy living goals.  That being said, here are my tips for navigating the company picnic!  This post is definitely geared toward those F&F readers that work at my company, but I’m confident any reader could apply this advice to their own corporate events. 

Tips for Navigating the Company Picnic

Eat breakfast
Despite how much food will be available to me come picnic day, I always make sure to eat a filling breakfast before I leave.  If you arrive ravenous to the event, you will be more likely to eat whatever is in front of you without being mindful of the choices you are making.  You will also be more apt to scarf down your meal and head for seconds without taking a minute to realize whether you are full or not.  I recommend a small, heart healthy breakfast such as a whole grain English muffin with some almond butter, a plain yogurt with sliced banana, or some baked oatmeal casserole topped with blueberries.

Baked Oatmeal Casserole with Oikos Yogurt and Blueberries

Spread out your portions
Remember that when you arrive at the picnic, it will likely still be early in the day (I usually aim to get there around 11am).  You probably won’t need to load up your plate the second you arrive, especially if you ate breakfast.  If you ARE hungry when you get there, choose one or two small things to eat and keep your portions in check.  Remember, you can go back up for seconds… thirds… fourths… as many times as you want, so there’s no rush. 

Choose lighter options first
I recommend choosing lighter fare such as seafood, salad, or chicken before moving onto some of the splurges and treats.  I always try to stick to lobsters, oysters, steamers (with limited butter) first because to me those are treats, but they are also healthier than a lot of the fried options there.  The salad bar is a great place to go first too.  If you spend your calories on these healthier options first, you will feel more full and be less likely to spend your calories on those not so good for you options.


Go better with booze
When it comes to enjoying a couple of adult beverages, you could opt for the lighter options such as Bud Light over Budweiser.  Or maybe go for a glass of red wine instead of white (although I personally prefer white in the summer).  One tip that my friend Monique recommends is to alternate so that you have an alcoholic beverage, but then have water.

Make small adjustments
There are ways to “cut corners” with your favorite BBQ and grill options without feeling like you are depriving yourself.  My favorite way is to enjoy a burger, but enjoy it without the bun or open-faced.  You could do the same with a hot dog. 

Grilled Chicken Pesto Burgers

Be strategic with your treats
Of course the picnic wouldn’t be as fun if you didn’t treat yourself to SOMETHING not so great.  Everyone does deserve a splurge once in a while, and we’re all human after all!  However, when it comes to your treats, pick your favorites.  You don’t need to try every single treat there.  Maybe pick one or two, and save them for the end of the picnic, so they are more enjoyable.  Also, don’t waste your splurge on something that doesn’t thrill you!  For example, if you feel meh about ice cream, skip the sundae bar.  If you do want ice cream, limit to one scoop and maybe skip the candy toppings.  One other way to be strategic with your splurges is to share with a friend.  The fried dough at the picnic is HUGE!  I like to have one bite of fried dough every year, but that bite does it for me.  Sometimes just a taste of something is all you need.

Try not to stay seated in one place for the entirety of the picnic.  Get up, move around, talk to people!  The more you are talking, the less you will be eating.  And the more you are moving around outside of the food tent means the less likely you will be going back up for food.  Plus if you are walking around, playing games, etc. you are burning more calories than you would be if you were sitting the entire time.

Stock up for later
One thing that Tim and I and our friends love to do is stock up on lobster to bring home for later.  Once they announce that you can use your extra lobster tickets, we’re all in!  Stocking up on lobsters (yes we bring a cooler so they don’t go bad on the way home) is not only fun, but then you can make some yummy food with it later.  Like this recipe we made last year for a healthier lobster salad for lobster rolls. 


Lobster Rolls

Finally, I have one more tip for you guys…

Hit the Swings.
How could I forget?!  It’s sure to make you laugh, and laughing burns loads of calories.



What are your tips for eating healthy at a company picnic, outing, or event?

Happy almost picnic weekend, work friends!

8 Tips for Getting Back on Track After a Vacation

I think we can all agree that vacations are definitely a much-needed break from the daily grind.  However, when it comes to maintaining healthy living during a vacation week, I think that’s an area up for debate.  Should you try to stick to healthy meals and a workout schedule?  Or should you just relax, have fun, and “indulge” because you are on vacation and that’s what vacations are for?  I’ve had getaways where I’ve tried to stick to my normal lifestyle, but I also have had plenty of “I’m going to eat whatever the heck I want” kind of trips as well.

Lobsters after lobstering I think finding a nice balance is ideal, because if you are someone who has worked extremely hard to lose weight and get to where you are, you don’t want to throw it all away with one week of indulgence.  During this past week in Maine, I managed to get a couple of workouts in and walk a LOT, but it certainly wasn’t up to my usual standard.  And as far as food goes, I’ll post about all the delicious meals we ate in my Weekly Eats post this week, but I definitely did not get my usual amount of greens.  And I most certainly had my fair share of splurges.  Don’t get me wrong, splurging for me still doesn’t entail fried food (usually), tons of desserts every night, or even huge breakfasts and lunches; however I did indulge in some very cheesy/bready meals, ice cream, one late night quesadilla fest, and I had at least a few alcoholic bevvies every single day.


Needless to say, after six days of not cooking my own meals, being up later than usual, waking up later than usual, not getting my usual amount of workouts in, eating more sweets than usual, and drinking every day (phew!), my body is just OFF.  My sleep cycle is off so I feel like I have no energy.  I don’t feel as confident in my own skin as I normally do because I just feel bleh.  When we got home, I had zero desire to cook or do any type of Sunday food prep for the week.  However, I know if I don’t get back into the swing of things as soon as possible, I’ll just end up making excuses for myself and causing more damage.  I also don’t want my lack of motivation to turn into some unhealthy habits.

Cucumber Martini

That being said, I wanted to share with you guys 8 of my tips for getting back on track after an indulgent vacation!

Drink LOTS of water.  We got home on Saturday night, and I swear I spent all of Sunday and Monday chugging water.  I do not and will never try any other type of “detox” or “cleanse,” so water it is for me.  Being hydrated helps me feel as though my vacation toxins are exiting my system, and this is usually the first thing that helps me feel better.

Hitting the gym is probably the last thing you feel like doing, but again, you don’t want to build unhealthy habits by staying on the couch once you get home.  Instead of dwelling on how many workouts you didn’t do, visualize how AWESOME your workouts will be now that you’ve given your body some rest for a week.  Make a plan, and then do it.  Whether sweating for you means taking a group exercise class, going for a walk, lifting heavy… it doesn’t matter.  Just do it.  A good sweat (or a few) is sometimes all it takes for me to feel better.


Get to the Store
Like I said before, food prep was the last thing I wanted to do after getting home from Maine.  But I knew that if we didn’t plan our meals this week and get to the store on Sunday, then it would be more meals out (and more money spent!).  Once you are at the store, fill your cart with rainbow colors — lots of greens, reds, yellows, etc.  Incorporating lots of fruits and veggies into your first week back will just help you feel better!

Grocery Shopping

Get to Bed Early
This is so important for getting your sleep cycle back on track!  Even if it’s getting to bed 15 minutes earlier each night you are home until you are back to your normal bedtime, that will help.  Don’t forget making healthy choices and decisions is much easier when you are well rested and have the energy to think.

Eat at Home
Think about how easy it was to splurge when out to eat, and then decide not to do it (at least for a little while).  This week I told myself I’m not
going out to eat or to any bars until the weekend.  This weekend is also my company picnic, which is notorious for its crazy amount of food, so I’m going to try to be mindful of my intake there as well.  Until then, though?  Home cooked it is!

Get Inspired
Use your social media networks for motivation!  Doing a little blog reading and Instagram/Facebook/Twitter stalking helped inspire me to try a few new healthy recipes this week.  I’m always bound to find some type of new workout or motivational quote to get my butt back in gear!

Achieve Your Goals

Don’t Obsess
Don’t weigh yourself.  If you can feel that you’ve gained a few pounds, what is seeing the number on the scale going to do for you?   Maybe you are someone who needs to see that higher number to get motivated, but I certainly am not.  Don’t beat yourself up about making some bad choices.  I could sit here and regret every bite that I ate, but wasn’t the food part of my experience?  Focus on the future and move on.

Plan Your Next Trip
Finally, if you are feeling down about being home, start thinking about your next trip!  Give yourself a new goal to work toward.  Maybe it’s keeping up a bathing suit body for a winter getaway somewhere warm.  Sometimes just having that next vacation in the back of your mind can help as well. 

What do you guys think?  Do you try to keep up healthy living on the road or do you splurge during vacation?  What are your tips for getting back on track with a healthy lifestyle after you get home?

P.S.  Happy birthday to my bestie today!