How I’m Leveling Up My Fitness Routine This Year

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READING TIME: 4 min.

I love the start of a new year. It’s the ultimate Monday for this lover of Mondays—a time for me to reassess my personal and professional goals, re-ground myself, and create a fresh start. It’s also a great time to reflect on what worked over the past year and what didn’t.

home workout with no equipment, woman's running shoesThe new year also tends to be a time where many people jump onto the healthy train.  Understandably, many of us slipped off during the holidays (I know I did) or want to jumpstart our habits. Wherever you might be on the healthy train, today, we are talking about fitness. Specifically, the exercise equipment you need to make an impact on your health and wellness. Spoiler alert: All you need is your body and an open mind.

**It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.**

Give Running a Real Try

Growing up, I was never a runner. As a kid, I ran after a basketball. In my twenties, I ran after a soccer ball, but I never just ran, that is, until I had kids. I started running in 2014 and I haven’t stopped. When I first started, I had to psych myself up because I knew it was going to be hard. I definitely walked more than I ran. But the more I practiced, the better I got and the more I loved the simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other. It’s also an incredibly humbling form of exercise…you end up crushing some runs while other times the run crushes you. But being able to persevere over the hard runs is where the magic happens.

Make Yoga a Priority

Like running, I didn’t start practicing yoga until after I had my girls. Yoga was always too slow, and I walked away feeling like I didn’t work out. Then I went to my first in-studio yoga class and realized I was doing it wrong. It’s not about getting my heart rate up, it’s about listening to my body, focusing on my breath, and calming my mind. Now, I practice yoga 2–3 times a week. My favorite thing about yoga is that it is a practice: some days your practice will be amazing and some days your practice won’t happen, and that’s ok. Yoga is a lifelong journey whose destination evolves. An amazing and free resource you can access anywhere is Yoga with Adriene.

Emphasize Bodyweight Exercises

I am a huge proponent of dumbbells and weights, but some of my best workouts have been bodyweight workouts. Instead of using any equipment, you use just your body. Some examples of bodyweight exercises are squats, lunges, push-ups, and burpees. The best part? All you need is good form. Here are some resources to get you started: Leg HIIT & Plank Core Bodyweight Workout from Peanut Butter Runner and a whole bunch of different Bodyweight Workouts from SELF.

“Borrow” the Peloton App

And just like that…Peloton has gotten some “bad” press recently, but I am a diehard fan. If you want to start running, practicing yoga, and/or dabbling in strength work, the Peloton app is an amazing resource. There are tons of classes in barre, outdoor runs and walks, strength (with and without weights), yoga, meditation, stretching, everything. The Peloton instructors are knowledgeable and educate you on how to move your body, while also being funny and amazing motivators. There are even programs you can follow as you work towards specific goals, like running your first 5k. And there are so many classes you never have to take the same one twice, unless you want to. I have too many favorites, but if you need a recommendation, you can’t go wrong with Rebecca Kennedy (strength, running, walking, etc.) or yoga with Anna Greenberg.

If you know someone who has a Peloton bike or has an account on the app, they can gift you a free trial membership. If you don’t happen to know anyone, let me know and I can hook you up (I get nothing in return, just the joy of knowing you are trying something new).

Regardless of whether you are an avid gym rat or are just starting out on your fitness journey, you don’t need fancy equipment to get a good workout. Grab a friend and your water bottle and give one of these home workouts a try! You might just fall in love with moving your body.

{Read More: A Guide to Virtual Workouts}

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Kirsten was born and raised in Chicago, IL and is married her high school sweetheart, Ryan. Her family relocated to Dallas, TX when their first daughter Kaelyn (October 2012) was 18 months. After their second daughter Alanna was born (October 2014), Kirsten became a Certified Group Fitness Instructor and taught bootcamp-style classes to local moms with strolled-aged kiddos. Their third daughter Nora (April 2017) was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 18 months. While struggling to manage her daughter’s T1D, Kirsten went down the rabbit-hole of nutrition and became a Certified Health Coach. She opened her private coaching practice in April of 2020 where she currently provides health and nutrition support to local mompreneurs. You can find her playing with her girls outside, trying a new workout, or on Instagram @nourishbykirsten.

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