What's Your #MyPersonalBest Goal?
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Making resolutions gets some backlash (for good reason), but there's nothing wrong with having some #goals. In fact, here at Shape, that's what we're all about—striving to be better, stronger, fitter versions of ourselves each and every day. Which is why this year, we're taking it to the next level by truly committing to our goals 365 days a year, as part of our #MyPersonalBest program. The real beauty of it? It's not just about trying to fit into a pair of jeans or looking good on the beach (but, hey, we're not here to goal shame). We want you to strive to be your personal best, whatever that means to you. Want to run a faster race? We'll have the tools you need. Sleep better? We can help with that too. Make more time for friends and family? DO IT. Follow along on Instagram using #MyPersonalBest and check out our My Personal Best page for continuous content that helps you improve both your body and your mind. And if you need some goal-setting inspo, snag ideas from our staffers here. Then follow them on Instagram for added motivation (especially if they line up with your own goals)—they'll be with you every step of the way.
Photo: The Shape Digital Team
Alyssa Sparacino, Web Editor
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"Stick to my own workout plan." @alyssarae87
Just because I write about HIIT workouts and the best-ever abs exercises doesn't mean I spend my working hours, well, working out. While it's true that being a part of the #ShapeSquad means we get to attend openings of new studios and be among the first to try the latest workouts, all those events mean my schedule is never the same week to week. Couple those cool perks with all the hard work and long hours we all put in to make Shape.com the awesomeness that it is (if I do say so myself), and sometimes the workouts I love the most get pushed aside for deadlines or classes I wouldn't normally choose to take.
So for 2017, I'm getting my fitness priorities in line. I'm making a weekly schedule that looks a lot like my days spent in the gym when I had a little more "me" time. There will be lots of variations on cardio (biking, HIIT, stairclimbing), dedicated days to body parts (hi, hammies and booty), and time built in for my absolute favorite classes (spinning FTW and barre, too). You can even join me, if you'd like! #buddysystem—but don't worry, I'm leaving one day every week that's flexible. So if the rest of the Squad is heading to a group workout, I don't have to deal with fitness FOMO.
Photo: Alyssa Sparacino
Kiera Carter, Executive Web Editor
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"Complete an endurance swim." @kieramcarter
I swam a little in high school and worked as a lifeguard throughout college. I never particularly liked swimming, though, until I did my first open water swim (a half Ironman relay) a little over a year ago. The water was super choppy, and everyone I spoke to afterward absolutely hated it; some seasoned triathletes said it was the hardest swim they had done. But—I don't know—I found it really fun, which surprised me as a relatively new swimmer. I loved the combination of chaos (swimmers everywhere, choppy water) and calm (catching a glimpse of the sunrise each time I took a breath from my right side). And I really loved the feeling of successfully accomplishing something both new and challenging.
Then, winter came, I fell off the wagon, and now more than a year has gone by without me making any new swimming strides (funny how that happens). Because even though I liked that 1.2-mile lake swim, I hate the pool, I refuse to do any of the NYC swims in the river (um, gross), and I'm a baby about getting my hair wet. That's why, this year, I'm committing to my first 5K swim (the Flowers Sea Swim in Grand Cayman). It's a pretty ambitious distance for me, so now I'll be forced to get my butt in the pool and train. #ChlorineHairDontCare
Photo: Kiera Carter
Lauren Mazzo, Digital Editorial Assistant
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"Crush some strength PRs." @lauren_mazzo
Confession: Since starting at Shape one year ago, I've actually gotten weaker. I know, it's hard to believe that I've lost strength since starting full-time at a health website, since we're constantly learning about working out, talking about working out, and actually working out. Turns out, trying fun new workouts each week with the #ShapeSquad (which are usually HIIT, cardio, or bodyweight style) means very little time for my own heavy lifting workouts.
When I was lifting regularly in summer 2015, I PR'ed a back squat at 145 lbs and a deadlift at 155 lbs (for a set of 6 to 8 reps)—and I was proud as hell that I could lift that heavy. Since then, I've lost a ton of my raw strength. During 2017, I not only want to get back to those numbers, but load even more on the bar. My official goal: to squat 155 lbs and deadlift 165 lbs. I'm going to tap a local strength coach for help in programming my lifting schedule so I can still enjoy workouts with the #ShapeSquad, head to cheer practice each week, and still crush my strength goals.
Photo: Lauren Mazzo
Sara Angle, Associate Editor
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"Text MORE." @saraangle22
This year, I'm really really really going to try to be better about texting back in a timely manner (you know, like, the same week…). My friends are SO important to me, but I totally drop the ball on texting. I'm planning to ask my friends to hold me accountable and try to leave no notification bubbles by the end of the day (my current count is 52—I'm not even sure how that happens). 2017—the years of thumb strength training.
Photo: Sara Angle
Jasmine Phillips, Social Media Writer
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"Dance again." @jasminenicholle
I started dancing at a very young age, and I loved it so much I decided to minor in dance in college. I didn't want to stop. Once I graduated in 2014, I slowly began to lose my motivation and completely stopped dancing a few months later. But when the #ShapeSquad did a Facebook Live with the Rockettes, I instantly remembered why I started dancing in the first place. I'm in my "happy place" when I dance, and it allows me to express myself through movement. In 2017, I plan on taking weekly dance classes to further my technique. But more importantly, to do what I love.
Photo: Jasmine Phillips
Kylie Gilbert, Assistant Web Editor
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"Run regularly." @kyliegilbert
Although I ran my first half marathon over two years ago and have since added a Brooklyn Half and a Ragnar Relay bib to my collection, I've always been inconsistent at best when it comes to running. But, this year, as I consider that I'm lucky enough to live right on the East River running path and to have a running sneaker collection that rivals a Foot Locker (perks of the job!), I'm done making excuses. That's why in 2017 I'm vowing to get up, bundle up, and log some miles before heading to the office—or try run commuting the two miles to work like our health editor does—on the mornings my schedule permits. In addition to the laundry list of physical and mental benefits of running, I figure trading in my current frantic, snooze button-filled morning routine for a more peaceful start to the day will help me cross "become a morning person" and "be more mindful" off my resolutions list, too.
Photo: Kylie Gilbert
Mara Santilli, Editorial Assistant
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"Up my yoga game." @maracsantilli
I'd love to (a) do yoga more regularly, and (b) improve my practice by holding less tension in my neck and shoulders. I'm also going to try not to focus so much on what the poses look like, but rather on feeling a stretch and a connection to my breath.
Photo: Mara Santilli
Amanda Wolfe, Digital Director
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"Get uncomfortable." @amandawolfe
I'm the kinda girl who loves her routine (read: rut). For the longest time, I did HIIT in my living room. End of story. Which is crazy because living in New York and working for Shape, I have access to the actual best classes and fitness pros. I also had a lot of long-held (nonsense) beliefs. "I'm not athletic." "I'm not a runner." "I'm not a yogi." Which are exactly the kind of lame excuses we tell you, dear readers, to ditch!
It took a few years for me to finally practice what I'm preaching, but last year I fell in love with running—first half marathon down, next one coming up in March! And recently, despite an embarrassing amount of whingeing about how I'm not flexible, I fell in crazy, tattoo-his-name-on-my-ass love with yoga. And not just any yoga, hot power yoga. Because why tiptoe out of your comfort zone when you can plunge off the cliff instead?!
I finally realized my reluctance wasn't about the workouts at all—it was about the fear of making a fool out of myself. (Which is kinda legit. Who ever popped up into crow pose like a boss the first time she tried? Not me, I literally fell on my face.) But pushing myself to let go of those fears and get uncomfortable? That's a worthy goal not just for my fitness routine but for me as a human. So this year I'm challenging myself to try a new workout every week in January, and at least two new workouts a month for the rest of the year. Because self-doubt is so 2016.
Photo: Amanda Wolfe
Mirel Ketchiff, Health Editor
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"Add new things to my workout routine." @mirelbee
I have been in a running rut for years—that's five to six days a week, at least three to four miles per run, with a quickie weightlifting session maybe once or twice a week. BORING. I'm not breaking up with running, but I'm all about branching out this year and trying new workouts. In the last couple of weeks, I've gone hiking, I've done a circuit workout at DavidBartonGym, I've done yoga, I've done SoulCycle, I'll be boxing this Wednesday. And I've really been loving it. I think it's going to benefit my body and my mind. Running is amazing, but it's largely solitary, and I think it's become kind of a crutch for me. I know I'm good at it, I know how to fit it into my schedule, I know it's good for me, and saying "I ran X miles today" makes me feel badass. But I've been thinking that I'm so strict about my routine that it's keeping me from finding new workouts I might also love. I sometimes wonder if I'm holding onto it like "I'm fit, I run a ton!" But I tried to do some push-ups the other day and it was honestly a sad showing. It's time to push myself and get a little uncomfortable.
Photo: Mirel Ketchiff
Megan Soll, Contributor & Syndication Editor
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"Learn to like cardio." @meg_jean_
Give me hand weights, TRX cables, a kettlebell, a stability ball, or a yoga mat and I will make a workout happen. I've convinced myself that jump squat variations and push-ups are plenty to get my heart rate up and keep my endurance halfway decent. I love the gym, I work at Shape, but the truth is I have really never liked cardio. Running is boring and taxing after a mile, spinning seems pointless to a majority of my muscles, and dance cardio... just forget it. Every time I take a HIIT class or resentfully hike up the stairclimber (or the stairs in the subway, let's be honest), I know it's my lack of endurance that's holding me back—I'm out of breath before my muscles are tired. My goal is to find a cardio workout I like and actually incorporate it into my routine.
Of course, there are plenty of other things I'll be working on in the meantime: gaining flexibility, improving my push-ups, learning to cook more often, and staying more organized. Cardio is one facet of my fitness that's always needed work, so my primary goal is to find my "personal best" version of it.
Photo: Megan Soll
Marietta Alessi, Social Media Editor
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"Be more mindful." @mariettaalessi
As the social media editor, I'm always #doingitforthegram, so I could stand to be more mindful. (See photo: That's me taking a video of other people meditating. Sigh.) This year, I want to find some more "me" time to really take care of my body and mind. I'm giving myself the very ambitious goal of doing yoga at least two times a week and meditating at least five minutes every day (napping on the bus doesn't count). Theoretically, I can meditate anywhere and I have a yoga mat, so I really have no excuse. We've had so many stories focus on the benefits of being mindful from sleeping better, to eating better, to being happier—so why wouldn't I try this?!
Personal Best: The tools and inspo you need to crush your goals (whatever they are!) all year long. Join our Personal Best Facebook Group for 24/7 squad support and share your wins—big and small—on social using #mypersonalbest.
Photo: Marietta Alessi