Our six-week challenge gives you the tools you need to crush every health and fitness goal on your list.
Gone are the days of giving up on your resolution. Whether you want to run a race, lose weight, get more sleep, have more energy, or up your cooking game, we're here with the ultimate guide to help you *finally* accomplish those goals. Our secret weapon: Jen Widerstrom, all-star trainer from The Biggest Loser, author of Diet Right for Your Personality Type, and the face of our very own Shape activewear line. She helped create this goal-crushing challenge, so you can tackle every obstacle and create healthy habits that last a lifetime (but that won't feel like a pain in the butt to build).
How does it work? We have 40 days of daily tasks and six weeks of workouts that'll refresh your fitness routine, jump-start your healthy eating habits, and reshape the way you think about your health. Plus, we have a 40-day progress journal workbook that you can use to track your victories and reflect on your mindset throughout the challenge (coming soon!). The best part? There's a whole #ShapeSquad of Goal Crushers along for the ride. Join our exclusive Shape Goal Crushers Facebook Group for extra support and follow along with the #ShapeGoal40 hashtag to share your wins.
Get ready, because once you're in, there's no turning back. Goals, prepare to be crushed.
Jen Widerstrom's 40-Day Crush-Your-Goals Challenge
Day 1View All
Day 1: Let's Get Started
Let's start with your why. "Getting to the bottom of your why will reveal a goal that's immediate and true to you," says Jen. Why are you taking on this challenge? What makes it important to you? What will keep your health important to you going forward? "The answer to these questions will fuel your success as much as any trainer could—even me!"
That's not your only task today. Take a 10-minute fit test so you can learn your current fitness level and see how far you can progress in the next 40 days.
How it works: You have 1 minute to do as many reps as possible (AMRAP) of each exercise. Keep track of how many reps you get for each round. Then for the final round, you have 4 minutes to walk, bike, run, or row for distance. That means go as far as you can and keep track of how far you went. At the end of the challenge, your goal is to beat your scores for every exercise. (Yes, that means write them all down, and don't lose them!)
Crush-Your-Goals Challenge Fit Test
- 1 min squat
- 1 min REST
- 1 min push-up
- 1 min REST
- 1 min sit-up
- 1 min REST
- 4 min cardio for distance
Finally, sign up for the Goal Crushers newsletter to get daily updates and reminders, special ~love~ notes from Jen, and exclusive workout boosters to add to all your gym sessions each week. (Hint: This week's burnout is a kickass abs workout.)
Day 2View All
Photo: Mallmo // Shutterstock
Day 2: Make It Real
1. Write down your goal. Really—with a pen and paper. Talk to your friends and family about it. Even post it on social. This way, you have support everywhere you turn rather than excuses to hide behind, says Jen. (See: How Social Media Can Help You Lose Weight)
2. Buy a reusable water bottle. "Identify how much water you're consuming," says Jen. "As I help increase your water intake, you'll end up going through a lot of bottles! That translates to about 2,000 water bottles per year! Let's be awesome and help the planet as we hydrate, yeah?" Drinking water encourages better digestion and blood flow, improves skin tone and texture, and keeps your body from hoarding fat, says Jen. How? One of water's main responsibilities is to regulate your body temperature. When you're short on water, your body will hold on to extra fat so it can regulate your temperature that way. Remember: Your body is smart and will do whatever it takes to get the very big job of body homeostasis done, she says. (More on that here: 6 Reasons Drinking Water Solves Any Problem)
3. Mood boosters: Every week, you'll get a few mood boosters to try. These little to-dos are proof that you can sneak healthy, feel-good moments into your day no matter what. (Try one or all three!)
- Mini "DO YOUs": Making your favorite tea, organizing your purse, cleaning your makeup brushes, etc.
- Evening gratitude recap: What are you thankful for today?
- Learn something new: Little things count too, like learning a new word (in English, or even a foreign language). It doesn't matter if it's totally useless. If it makes you happy, then do it!
Day 3View All
Day 3: Party Smart
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean having zero fun. But making smart choices when you go out can make it easier to get back on track. (When's the last time you made smart food choices while hungover? Never? Same.) Tonight, enjoy any and all celebrations with Jen's tips so you can't still have a fun-as-hell time without going totally off the rails.
1. Don't go out starving. "Whether it's to dinner and/or drinks, you need a little something in your belly to make sure that your head will be driving the bus, not your stomach," says Jen. "It's just too easy to end up facedown in the bread basket and ordering a heavier entrée (which will make you puffy and sleepy) or cocktailing too fast and ending your night early (because you need to go home to prepare for the massive hangover you're about to have)." Her go-to pre-party snacks: a serving of nuts, an almond milk protein shake with some kale blended in, or a bunch of raw spinach wrapped into a medium tortilla with a little bit of melted cheese and chili flakes.
2. Alternate between drinks and waters. A 1:1 ratio is ideal, says Jen. Not only is this good for hydration and digestion, but for pacing yourself.
3. Don't be afraid of a late-night snack. Yes, seriously. When you get home at night, have a mini meal. Your body will be long overdue for calories, so eating will fire up your metabolism and help you break down all the sugar and carbohydrates from the evening (versus just storing them as fat). A Jen-approved solution: eggs, made any way you like 'em!
Day 4View All
Photo: Maria Savenko/Shutterstock
Day 4: Stock Your Fridge
Desperately want to start your diet fresh now that you're embarking on this challenge? Lucky for you, we also have a 30-Day Clean-ish Eating Challenge that makes your healthy food prep, shopping, and meal planning insanely easy. Don't want to commit to a full plan? Jen shared her go-to grocery list, which serves as a perfect starting point for healthy eating at home. Take this with you to the store today and stock up. "Here's what I need in your house so I know that if ever you get stuck, you have something healthy to reach for," she says.
Jen's Go-to Grocery List
- Cut pineapple or grapes (wash and freeze for a sweet treat)
- 1 dozen eggs (hard-boil 6)
- 1 head of romaine lettuce
- 1 pack of your favorite sliced cheese ("If a little cheese helps you get your protein and veggies down, I'm all for it.")
- 2 bags of vegetables (brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, etc.)
- 4 small- to medium-size sweet potatoes
- Nuts! Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios
- Cooked and sliced chicken breasts
Day 5View All
Day 5: #SleepClub
Welcome to #SleepClub. "You're going to think I'm crazy, but a bigger focus than workouts this week is sleeping," says Jen. "Not only is the amount you're getting important, but (once again) the consistency of it is critical for you reaching your goals." (There's a super-strong connection between exercise and sleep.)
Tonight, embrace these three rules—and try to keep them going throughout the rest of the challenge (and beyond).
Rules of #SleepClub:
Day 6View All
Day 6: Reflect
Happy First-Challenge-Workout Eve!!! Take some time today to reflect and meditate on what brought you here and focus on what you need going foreward.
"Be self-aware and begin to consider yourself and your passion for life as your greatest assets," says Jen. "Then raise your glass and toast a farewell to the headspace that was holding you back!"
Today's challenge task: take five minutes to reflect on your goal and prepare for the week ahead with these "Dear Me" journaling questions.
- What's one health or fitness thing you accomplished this year?
- Do you feel prepared to tackle your goal? If not, what's the one thing you need to feel ready?
- What obstacles do you anticipate? How will you handle them?
This week is all about getting grounded and finding consistency—in the gym and in the kitchen. Remove chaos and prioritize a stabilizing energy for yourself. "I want these weeks to be replicable," says Jen. "Real success is found in consistency—that's what allows your body to trust you, and that's exactly what we're building this week."
Day 7View All
Day 7: Start Out Strong
#MotivationStation: "You're off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way." —Dr. Seuss
Welcome to the first workout of the challenge! We're working on building that base body with a one-dumbbell and bodyweight workout. Watch the video of Jen to get form tips and move instructions, or to do it right alongside her.
How it works: Do each of the following exercises for 45 seconds on and 15 seconds off. One round is 10 minutes—you can repeat the circuit 1 to 3 times, depending on your current fitness level. Do the routine three times this week on alternate days.
- Overhead Reverse Lunge (right)
- Wood Chop (right)
- Close-Grip Floor Bench to Crunch (right)
- Dumbbell Snatch (right)
- Overhead Reverse Lunge (left)
- Hollow Rock
- Wood Chop (left)
- Close-Grip Floor Bench to Crunch (left)
- Dumbbell Snatch (left)
Want an exclusive burnout round to add to the end of your workout? Sign up for our Goal Crushers newsletter.
Day 8View All
Photo: Instagram @lifeisbutadish
Day 8: Bounce Back
#Realtalk: junk food happens. If you feel like your body needs a bit of a digestive reboot, Jen has just the thing: two easy, body-reset tasks and an entire day of healthy recipes to help you get back to 100, stat.
- Do a shot: No, no, a different kind. "I need to get your body jump-started for the day. This simple tonic optimizes your digestive tract and will assist in your recovery." First thing in the morning, shake together 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger with ice. Then pour and shoot!
- Flush with water: Drink at least 75 to 100 oz of water.
- Stack your meals: You need to fill up on protein, fats, and unlimited greens. Since you've likely overloaded with sugar-heavy foods and drinks the last few days, steer clear today. Instead, follow this one-day eating plan to get back on track.
Day 9View All
Photo: Tanupong Wittayanukullak // Shutterstock
Day 9: Healthy Habit Hustle
How's that goal grind? Remember: You are not alone in this! Join the #ShapeSquad Goal Crushers community if you need a little support.
Watermarks: "Identify a daily total that you can consistently hit," says Jen. "Instead of doing 75 oz one day and only 20 oz the next, I'd rather you consume 50 oz on a regular basis." (Seriously. These seven things that might happen if you drink a gallon of water a day will convince you to finally prioritize H2O.)
- Walk of ~reflection~: Walk without music and notice something different. Be mindful. B r e a t h e.
- 30-minute rule: No looking at your phone (no email, no social, nothing!) for 30 minutes after you wake up.
- Movie night: Plan a movie night you can host with friends.
Day 10View All
Photo: Morsa Images // Getty Images
Day 10: Master the Night *In*
It's no secret that most people derail from their healthy intentions as soon as it hits 5 p.m. on Friday—and research supports it. Dieters are most likely to lose weight on Tuesdays and gain weight on Saturdays, according to a study published in Obesity Facts. Other research published in the journal Obesity found that, in a study of 48 healthy adults age 50 to 60 years old, dieters consistently increase their calorie intake over weekends and decrease their physical activity level on Sundays, leading to weekend weight gain. Add nights out during the week, and you may find that your health or fitness goal hits a standstill.
Treating yourself to a treat (on a weekend or otherwise) definitely isn't a sin, but nixing one night of booze can certainly help you stay on track. That's why this tonight is all about staying ~in~. (If you already have plans to go out, no worries—just follow the smart party tips on Day 4.) Here's a checklist to make the most of your chill evening in:
1. Exhale. Slippers on. Uncork the wine bottle. Relax.
2. Go homemade. Your homework is to stop on the way home from work and pick up ingredients for a healthy but hearty dinner. "I don't need Martha Stewart's Thanksgiving dinner, but I do want you to make something, anything… Just. For. You." says Jen. (Good thing we have a whole list of healthy comfort food recipes right here.)
3. Plan. Look at the time you have this weekend; assess where and when you want to do stuff and how you want to invest your time. Workouts? Friends and fam? Netflix and a nap? "Your weekends are a genie in a bottle with unlimited wishes. You decide where your energy goes and therefore where your life goes," says Jen.
Day 11View All
Photo: Zero Creatives // Getty Images
Day 11: Find Your Limelight
Today's self-discovery to-do has nothing to do with fitness or healthy eating—but everything to do with getting outside your comfort zone and, in this case, into the spotlight. Your task: Do something that puts you at the center of attention—even just for a sec.
"I need you on 'stage' speaking publicly or taking a take a leadership role," says Jen. "Heck, I'd even include karaoke or making a toast at a family dinner! Do something that puts you in the spotlight!"
It's all for good reason: You can turn yourself into a stronger, healthier, and all-around better human by doing things that scare you (whether it's a little bit or a lot).
Day 12View All
Photo: Jen Widerstrom
Day 12: Food Prep & "Dear Me"
"Setting yourself up for success is easier than it seems, and you're more equipped that you probably know," says Jen. "You don't go on a road trip with no gas in the car. You don't go to Vegas without any money. You don't head into cold weather without a warm jacket on. You already know how to prep and execute for all the other events in your life, so why aren't you doing it for the main event…YOU?? Having healthy meals on standby to reach for during your week will elevate your commitment, your consistency, and your ability to carry your momentum over from day to day. "
With these five tips from Jen, meal-prepping becomes a no-brainer.
1. Pick your plate. Choose the ingredients you want to cook with that week with a 70/30 plate value in mind (70 percent plant-based and 30 percent from animals, unless you're vegan or vegetarian).
2. Chop. Anything that needs to be sliced and diced? Do it in one session to streamline the prep process.
3. Season. "These are my starting lineup," says Jen, "and the only things you need to make your food more flavorful!"
- Heat (hot sauce or chili flakes)
- Olive oil
4. Pan set-up. All you need is one cookie sheet and some oven-safe glass containers that come with lids. (Peep her example setup in the photo.)
5. Bake. Set your oven at 375°F and put in your setup pans. Pull out each item as it becomes ready, allow it to cool, then throw the lid on it and put it in the fridge.
Don't forget to settle down for some Sunday night journal time. Take five minutes to reflect on the past week and prepare for the week ahead with these "Dear Me" questions:
- How do you feel about your goal so far?
- What's one part of your goal you've already made some progress on?
- Should you do anything to change your goal? Know this: It's totally okay to change it if you either overshot or underestimated your goal initially.
There's nothing quite as satisfying as being strong—body and mind. This week's workout will help build muscular strength but also fine-tune your mental game. We're adding weight, subtracting distractions, and focusing on what'll work for you for the rest of this challenge and beyond.
Day 13View All
Day 13: Time to Body Build
#MotivationStation: "Nothing will work unless you do." —Maya Angelou
Time to break out double the dumbbells! This week's workout is all about building a strong body with some classic, all-over strengthening movements. Watch the video of Jen to get form tips and move instructions, or to do it right alongside her.
How it works: You'll do three rounds of the following moves: the first time, do 20 reps of each exercise; the second time, 15 reps; the third, 10 reps (resting as needed). The whole thing should take just about 10 minutes—repeat one to three times, depending on your current fitness level. Do this routine three times this week on alternate days. (Feel free to add some rounds of the Week 2 routine in your workouts this week too!)
- Squatting Triceps Press
- Squeezing Straight-Leg Deadlift
- Lateral Raise
- Arnold Press
- Reverse Lunge to Curl
Want an exclusive burnout round to add to the end of your workout? Sign up for our Goal Crushers newsletter.
Day 14View All
Photo: Instagram @lifeisbutadish
Day 14: One-Pot Magic
FYI, not all comfort foods need to be unhealthy. That's why today's challenge is a food challenge. Whip up this One-Pot Mexican Quinoa Chowder from Jen's book, Diet Right for Your Personality Type, and watch it become one of your new faves. (Not appealing? Whip up one of these other one-pot dinner recipes.)
"The focus this week is, in part, building strength in our bodies," says Jen. "To maximize your time in the gym, you need to give your body the right combination of foods when you leave it. Healthy starches are a key component to hardening and strengthening your muscle bellies, which is why quinoa is one of my favorite ingredients in this recipe." (These other foods are also great for building muscle.)
Give it a try and share on social and in the Goal Crushers Facebook Page with the hashtag #ShapeGoal40.
Day 15View All
Photo: Mike Harrington/Getty Images
Day 15: Mood Makeover
Turn your ~bleh~ day into PUMPDAY.
Step 1: Try a mood booster below to get psyched for the day.
Step 2: Go conquer this week's dumbbell workout.
Step 3: Hop over to the Shape Goal Crushers Facebook Group to talk through any questions or share your progress.
Pump it up: Put on a good pump-up song (anything that you can't resist dancing to) in the morning, pre-gaming for the gym, on lunch break—it will 100 percent change your mood.
Spa day: Schedule a blow-out or pedicure for this week or weekend.
(Fun)derwear: #Treatyoself a new underwear set.
Day 16View All
Photo: T2 // Getty Images
Day 16: Welcome to #LiftClub
You're officially in the #LIFTCLUB. What that means: No matter what history you have with lifting weights, you're becoming an official fan as of right now. Jen's throwing the spotlight on some moves that may feel too foreign to try on your own. (Need convincing? These benefits of weightlifting will do the trick.)
Here, a little lifting 101 so you can incorporate these lifts into your routine with confidence:
- Key moves:
- Rep scheme: For strength, a solid progression would be sets of 8-6-4-4-4. For shape and toning, you could do sets of 25-20-15-15. In both cases, you're increasing weight as you decrease reps to keep challenging your muscles.
- Nutrition: "You need quality starches paired with enough protein after weight training to optimize the work in the gym by replenishing your muscle tissue properly!!!" says Jen. A safe bet: 35 to 45 grams of protein (turkey, chicken, fish, protein powder, or algae) with 45 to 55 grams of carbohydrates (rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, oatmeal).
Day 17View All
Photo: TORWAISTUDIO // Shutterstock
Day 17: TGIF
Yep, there are two F's there: Thank God It's Friend Day. Today's task: Grab your squad and work OUT, but cook IN.
Set up plans to train after work with a friend or two, or three.... Then host a potluck at your home right after! Share the responsibly of the meal with everyone included and let that family-style dinner buzz commence. "A community you choose and help cultivate will be one of your greatest assets not just for your goal but in your life," says Jen. "It reminds us of our value and that we're not alone."
Bonus: Use this supportive community to open up to about your goals and be honest in sharing what scares you about pursuing them. "You'll be surprised how many people believe in you, and often that's just the push we need to stay in it another day," says Jen.
Day 18View All
Photo: fizkes // Shutterstock
Day 18: Project Discovery
Every day is a great day to try something new. Today, crush a workout you've never done before.
"Pick something outside the box for you," says Jen. "If you always are lifting weights, try a restorative yoga class. If you mostly run, try a cardio kickboxing class or silks class. Changing the way you move is not only great for balancing out your body but it's excellent brain training too." Plus you might find out you really enjoy something that you had previously written off! Talk about a breakthrough. (This woman uncovered a secret talent just by trying a new workout class!)
Not sure where to start? This choose-your-adventure workout flowchart will help point you in the right direction, or this cross-training guide will help you find the perfect pair for your usual workout. (Either way, you're about to reap all the benefits of trying something new.)
Day 19View All
Photo: Martin Novak // Shutterstock
Day 19: Cravings 101
A word on cravings: "At this point in the game, I know many of you are experiencing them," says Jen. "Cravings do not mean there's something wrong with you or that you have self-control issues! It simply means that your body is desiring a simple accessible sugar because it is low on energy/fuel." This feeling is usually due to one of two things.
1. You're dehydrated. If this is the case, your body is "reacting with a fight-or-flight response, reaching for accessible sugars to store," says Jen. "It does this because it can't decipher whether you're hungry or thirsty—so its reaction is to crave a starch because it can break down that energy source the fastest."
Solution: Keep your water intake up by tracking it like you did at the beginning of the challenge. "I can't tell you how often I work with people that say they're drinking tons of water and then when they actually track it, they are well below what they thought they were consuming," says Jen.
2. Your body wants quick energy. Your body's most accessible form of fuel is through sugar (glucose). It's found in really healthy food (e.g., sweet potatoes, oatmeal, fruit) but it's also found in not-so-healthy food like candy, baked sweets, and soda. "Because your body is only aiming to get immediate energy, you feel drawn to those very unhealthy junk foods, and therein lies your craving," says Jen.
Solution: It's all about nutritional timing. Make sure you're not going more than three hours without having a meal or a healthy snack—whether it's protein, healthy fats, starches, fruits, whatever. "Keep your body satiated with good fuel so you're not reaching for bad fuel," says Jen. (Craving something super specific? There could be another reason behind why you're craving that one food.)
Pssst. Remember to think on and journal about these three "Dear Me" questions below:
- What's been the most difficult part of the challenge so far? The easiest?
- What's one thing you did this week that made you feel strong, mentally or physically?
- Has your mindset around health or fitness shifted in the last 20 days?
"I really want you to check in with yourself to make sure you're engaging in your days with purpose," says Jen. The best way to kick out of autopilot and make these changes last? Add some accountability.
Think about what you're actually doing in your workouts versus what you could be doing. "Are you operating at 50 percent? Are you skipping out early? Be responsible for your work ethic in the room," says Jen. This week is focused on finding that accountability squad. "I want you enlisting workout buddies every day this week," says Jen. Connect with someone else doing the challenge (hi, Goal Crushers Facebook Group!) or enlist a family member, friend, or even a coworker to establish support.
Day 20View All
Day 20: Grab a Friend & Get Sweaty
#MotivationStation: “You are the sky. Everything else—it’s just the weather.” —Pema Chödrön
Get ready for a new workout, Goal Crushers! This week's routine uses a medicine ball to work your body in super-dynamic ways. The best part? It can be done with a partner or solo. So grab your BGF (best gym friend) and get sweaty.
How it works: Welcome to the wheel workout. There's one "hub" exercise and nine "spokes" exercises. You start with 5 reps of the hub move, then cycle through the 10 reps of each spoke move, going back to the hub in between each spoke. Continue working through the circuit until 10 minutes is up. Repeat one to three times, depending on your current fitness level. Do this routine three times this week on alternate days. (You can totally keep doing rounds of the workouts from Weeks 2 and 3 in your routine this week, too.)
HUB: Sit-Up Toss (5 reps)
SPOKES: 10 reps each
- Kneeling Toss (right)
- Kneeling Toss (left)
- Triple Extension
- Knee, Knee, Double Knee Toss
- Hammer Spin (right)
- Hammer Spin (left)
- Wall Shot Put (right)
- Wall Shot Put (left)
Want an exclusive burnout round to add to the end of your workout? Sign up for our Goal Crushers newsletter.
Day 21View All
Photo: Instagram @lifeisbutadish
Day 21: Let's Get (Slow) Cookin'
Remember how much you loved last week's One-Pot Mexican Quinoa Chowder? It's time to make room for a new favorite in your routine: this Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili from Jen's book, Diet Right for Your Personality Type. You can make it with meat or veg-friendly, and it takes super-minimal prep. (Literally just chopping and tossing everything in the slow cooker and chowing down later—that's the magic of a slow cooker.)
Have a great slow cooker recipe to share? Loved Jen's? Post on social and in the Goal Crushers Facebook Page with the hashtag #ShapeGoal40.
Day 22View All
Photo: Undrey // Shutterstock
Day 22: Find Your Buddy
First up: Do you have a workout buddy? If not, it's about time we find you one. For one, read up on how to choose the best workout buddy. Next, check in with the Goal Crushers Facebook group; there's a whole crew of like-minded people ready to help keep you accountable for crushing this challenge—and your goals. (Think you're better off alone? Here are eight reasons your workout will benefit from a friend.)
Next, grab a tried-and-true mood booster to help get you through the day.
- Thank-yous: Write three thank-you letters to people who have helped you so far during this challenge. (Yes, handwritten!)
- Pick a non-food treat: Enjoy a cup of tea, a hot bath, reading something non-educational for 30 minutes.
- Plan a happy hour: Sometimes all it takes is an hour with your BFFs and a quality cocktail (or mocktail!) to turn the day around.
Day 23View All
Photo: bbernard // Shutterstock
Day 23: #OneThingClub
What exactly is the #OneThingClub? "I want you to pick one thing that motivates you," says Jen. "Right now, you're motivated to hit your goal. But I want to layer in the big picture. What is going to keep you motivated after this challenge?" (FYI, there's legit science behind motivation and how to increase it. Read up, and your goal will be better off because of it.)
Give it some thought, and post about it in the Goal Crushers Facebook Group or on social with the hashtag #ShapeGoal40.
What is the ONE THING...
...that's going to get you to put on those gym clothes and work out?
...that keeps you focused on your goals?
...that will keep you planning your food?
...that will help you prioritize your goals in the face of everything life throws at you?
Day 24View All
Photo: petrunjela // Shutterstock
Day 24: Take a Load Off
We've been loading you up with kickass workouts and healthy lifestyle to-dos—but don't forget that a sustainable health and fitness routine includes plenty of rest too. Take a rest day every once in a while, and go with your gut if something feels off. (Seriously—your brain needs that rest day, not just your body.)
And why not make it today? #Treatyoself to some friend time with your support squad, either kick back (you know how to do that from Day 11) or head out (Day 4) while keeping your health in mind, but don't be afraid to let loose a little. Remember: We're building a lifestyle.
Your Rest & Recovery Guide
Day 25View All
Photo: g-stockstudio // Shutterstock
Day 25: Project Discovery Kitchen Workout
Today's Project Discovery "workout" has nothing to do with working up a sweat—well, unless you stand too close to the stove.
"The kitchen is often even scarier than the gym!" says Jen. "Today, I'm assigning you a kitchen workout: I want you to attempt a recipe that you've never made but have always wanted to try and just go for it!" Make it for yourself, your roomie, your family, or company—doesn't matter. All that matters is that you challenge yourself the same way you've been challenging yourself in the gym.
"For instance, I've never roasted a chicken before," says Jen. "I'm always terrified it's going to be raw or overcooked and either way taste terrible, so I've never attempted it. That's what I'm going to tackle today and, worst case scenario, it sucks, and I'll have some cheese and crackers on standby."
Don't forget to show off your hard work in the Goal Crushers Facebook group or on social with #ShapeGoal40.
Day 26View All
Photo: Elena Veselova // Shutterstock
Day 26: Foil Food
Whipping up healthy meals when you're tired and out of time? UGH. "I'm always rushing home, then when I get there, I'm overwhelmed thinking about what to cook," says Jen. "I end up snacking on random things and then filling up on small bites of random cabinet items with the fridge wide open, never really eating a real meal, and then crave sweets all night."
The solution: foil meals.
Grab a big piece of aluminum foil and a baking pan and preheat your oven to 400°F. Throw a piece of fish, a chicken breast, or a turkey breast on the foil. Add vegetables, a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and any other seasonings you prefer. Wrap it all up and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. (Want specific recipes? We have a whole list of foil packet dinner ideas right here.)
By the time you settle down from the day the day, dinner will be served! Get creative and share your foil bakes with #ShapeGoal40, then think and journal on these three "Dear Me" questions:
- Progress check: You're about two-thirds of the way through the challenge. Do you feel closer to accomplishing your goal?
- What's one thing you can do to stoke the fire, and fuel progress toward your goal?
- What's one new thing you've learned from this challenge that you hope to take with you when it's over?
"There's SO much going on in this journey that can't be seen or measured," says Jen. "Honoring these victories as much as the tangible ones will be critical for your success." That's why this week is about balancing out the laser-focus on your goal with some attention to some non-scale victories. Think of things like clothes feeling looser, logging a full night's sleep, lifting heavier weights, having better cardio stamina, saying no to dessert, and inspiring someone else to keep going.
Day 27View All
Day 27: Kettlebell Circuit Workout
#MotivationStation: "Beyoncé wasn't built in a day." —The internet
A fun way to play with balance during your workout? Swap dumbbells for kettlebells. The lopsided tool offers a different way to weight your moves—and comes with some serious benefits. Before you start, make sure you're not guilty of these common kettlebell mistakes. Then watch the video with instructions and form tips from Jen, or do the workout right alongside her.
How it works: You start off with a one-minute kettlebell complex, meaning you cycle through those three moves until the minute is up. You do two kettlebell swings, then clean the kettlebell up to perform a front squat, and then press the bell overhead. Then you'll move on to the next two moves for 30 seconds each and rest for 30 seconds. Then you repeat the entire circuit for four rounds total.
One round is just 10 minutes, so you can just do it once or repeat until you're totally toasted. Do this routine three times this week on alternate days. (You can add rounds of the workouts from previous weeks in your routine this week too.)
- 1-minute kettlebell complex:
- 2 Kettlebell Swings
- Front Squat
- Overhead Press
- 30 seconds Alternating Row
- 30 seconds Animal Burpee
- 30 seconds REST
Want an exclusive burnout round to add to the end of your workout? Sign up for our Goal Crushers newsletter. (Hint: This week is *lit* Tabata!)
Day 28View All
Photo: Instagram @lifeisbutadish
Day 28: Better Breakfasts
"Make your first meal a priority," Jen says. Studies show that breakfast eaters are more active (and therefore burn more calories) than people who skip a morning meal. Another study found that high-protein breakfasts specifically are great for weight loss.
If lack of time or energy to cook/plan is your usual excuse for skipping breakfast, we have the perfect solution: these five foolproof healthy breakfast ideas from Jen's book, Diet Right for Your Personality Type. Add them to your rotation to make starting your day *strong* even easier.
(Still figuring out how to fuel your a.m. sweat sesh? Here's your guide on what to eat before and after a morning workout.)
Day 29View All
Photo: Lunda Vandoorne // Shutterstock
Day 29: Check in + Mood Boosters
Today, we're talking #fitspo. No, not the kind that makes you want to look a certain way (because comparing your body to anyone else's body is never a good idea). Rather, we're talking about the motivation and inspiration you get from others who are hustling to crush their goals. Post about your non-scale victories in the Goal Crushers Facebook Group, and let's be each other's fitspo.
Waste a little time: Spend just a little time today (or every day!) doing something you enjoy as opposed to something that provides some sort of productive outcome. Watching a guilty pleasure TV show, falling into an internet hole of cat GIFs—anything. The only requirement: Don't feel guilty about it.
Feel the #bodylove: Do something to give your body a little TLC, such as a body scrub, massage, acupuncture, Epsom salt soak, etc.
Minute meditation: You can do it anytime, but consider a mini-meditation before bed to help slow your brain and prep for restful sleep. (Remember #SleepClub? We need to keep it going!)
Day 30View All
Photo: wavebreakmedia // Shutterstock
Day 30: Read Club
Welcome to #ReadClub, Goal Crushers! Reading might seem like it has nothing to do with health and fitness. Think again! "I'm my happiest when I'm learning new things," says Jen. "Knowledge gives me more to think about, more to say, more to contribute to any circle I'm in."
Not to mention, it comes with some legit health benefits. Studies show that reading can help keep your brain sharper for longer, fight Alzheimer's, and reduce stress. It's even linked to a longer life span. Today, crack open one of these picks straight from Jen's reading list:
Quote: "Where you are is not who you are." —Circumstances (Nayyirah Waheed)
Poem: Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
Post: @thefitnessolive on changing her fitness mindset and loving her body.
Day 31View All
Photo: Joos Mind // Getty Images
Day 31: TGIF + Love Notes
You do you this Friend Day—whether that's parting in or partying on. Either way, set aside a sec with your friends to write some love notes: "I want you to sit down with your homies and write out something you love about yourself, something you are proud of accomplishing, or even a non-scale victory you've achieved since we started our challenge together, " says Jen. "Then, I want you to share with the friend(s) you're with."
Last but not least, share it with Jen and the Goal Crushers group: "Saying often is the beginning of believing," says Jen. "Now you have the #ShapeSquad and your own accountability squad to help you see it through." (That's why positive affirmations actually work.)
Day 32View All
Photo: Natalia Deriabina // Shutterstock
Day 32: Get Out There
You're probably conditioned to go into full hibernation mode when you want to relax. Read: couch, fuzzy blanket, Netflix, snacks. But setting outside—in any season—can make you appreciate your workout even more and leave you with extra happy, buzzy, endorphin feels.
That's why today's self-discovery challenge is to go outside, no matter what the weather. Start here:
- These Benefits of Hiking Will Make You Want to Hit the Trails
- Family-Approved Adventure Sports That Totally Count As Workouts
- How to Get Better at Yoga By Taking Your Practice Outdoors
- Try a New Adventure Sport Even If It Scares the Crap Out of You
Day 33View All
Photo: Lisovskaya Natalia // Shutterstock
Day 33: Sweet Stuff
Real talk: Sugar tastes freaking good. But you don't need über-processed, unhealthy sweet treats to satisfy that your sugar cravings. Jen's sharing two of her fave ready-whenever desserts so you can have a healthy snack on hand when you need a doughnut NOW.
- Buy grapes—red or green.
- Wash, pluck from stems, and allow to dry.
- Place them in a gallon-size freezer bag and put them in the freezer.
- When you get a sweet craving, snack on seven to 10 of them.
Protein Ice Cream
- Fill 1/2 blender with ice, 2 scoops of protein powder (flavor of your choice!), and 1/2 cup milk of choice.
- Optional add-ins: cinnamon, stevia, vanilla extract, coconut, cocoa powder.
- Blend and enjoy!
And, as usual, we have some "Dear Me..." Sunday journal questions for you:
- Did anything interfere with your workouts or meal prep this week? What can you do to prevent those obstacles in the future?
- What's one thing from this week that you'll continue to implement on the regular?
- Do you have any fears going into the final week?
It's the final. freaking. week. and it's time to go out with a bang. This week's workout—a barbell and turf challenge—will push you to your limits and show you what your body can really do. Take that momentum and the rest of the healthy habits we're building this week and use them to keep the progress going long after this challenge is over. Remember: You're in this for the long haul, so you need to figure out how to make it last.
Day 34View All
Day 34: Barbell + Turf Workout
#MotivationStation: "Do or do not, there is no try." —Yoda
It's the sixth and final week of the challenge, and Jen is serving up the perfect finale for all your hard work: a barbell and turf AMRAP (code for "as many reps as possible"). Yeah, it's tough, but it'll show you exactly how far you've come in the last 30+ days. Get ready to crush it.
How it works: There are six sets of moves below. Follow along with Jen in the video, or work through the moves on your own. Do all barbell movements for 12 reps (unless indicated otherwise), and then move on to the turf work (you need about 20 yards of open space). One round is 10 minutes; cycle through the circuit below until time runs out. You can do the 10-minute routine just once, or repeat until you're really done. Do this routine three times this week on alternate days. (You can add some rounds of the workouts from previous weeks to your routine this week too!)
Turf: Side Shuffle (down and back x2)
Turf: Forward Bound to Backward Run (x2)
Kneeling Piston Press
Turf: High Knee + Butt Kick (x2)
Walking Lunge (12 reps per side)
Turf: Karaoke (x2)
Floor Bench (12)
Barbell Turkish Get-up (1 rep per side)
Turf: Forward Bound to Backward Run (x2)
Pull-Over to Crunch
Turf: High Knee + Butt Kick (x2)
Not satisfied with the burn? Get an exclusive three-minute workout booster by signing up for our Goal Crushers newsletter.
Day 35View All
Photo: Instagram @lifeisbutadish
Day 35: Snack Stash
Snacks are a (fit) girl's best friend. Being prepared and having healthy snacks on hand will prevent that "hangry" feeling between meals and keep you from overdoing it once you do get your hands on some food. Try these three healthy snack recipes from Jen Widerstrom for big-batch snacks (including those no-bake energy balls) from her book Diet Right for Your Personality Type. Bonus: check out her favorite energy and protein bars and current superfood obsession below.
"Chlorella is one of the healthiest, most potent foods in existence," says Jen. (Here, all the health benefits of chlorella that you need to know about.) It's a plant-based source of protein and can help stabilize your blood sugar to help ward off cravings, she says. "Spirulina is also a great source of an extremely high energy food and great before a workout," she says. (Don't worry, we have a guide on the health benefits of spirulina too.) Try out some of Jen's favorite chlorella/spirulina tablets ($37; shop.watershed.net) and a bonus beauty favorite, Vital Proteins Beauty Greens ($80; vitalproteins.com).
Jen's Top 3 Energy & Protein Bar Picks
Day 36View All
Photo: Hero Images // Getty Images
Day 36: The Power of Little Things
How often do you keep promises to other people? How often do you keep them to yourself? Today's all about pondering the power of your word. That means honoring the things you tell yourself you'll do. You need to establish trust with yourself the same way you establish trust with someone else. Following through with your ideas, plans, and goals feels good—but when you don't, you likely lose a little faith in yourself.
What's your track record like? Think about it, and read more about why Jen thinks the power of your word is essential for crushing your goals.
- Hug machine: Hug your dog, cat, neighbor, whoever is within reach. And don't be lame about it—"go in for the real deal," says Jen.
- Little-big presents: Buy something (little) that you don't need but you really want.
- Thought pixels: Capture little thoughts/insights even if it's just one minute on a train or while waiting in line for something. You don't *need* to be sitting down for 20 minutes to go deep. (P.S. This is basically mindfulness, a type of meditation that doesn't require oms or silence.)
Day 37View All
Photo: Style-Architects // Getty Images
Day 37: Make a Vision Board
It's arts-and-crafts time, guys! Tonight, your task is to make a vision board. Go analog and pull from magazines and pictures and freehand doodle. Or go digital, and turn a Pinterest board into your masterpiece. In both cases, collect anything that moves you: colors, words, and images that light you up. "Give your brain a rest and let your instincts guide you without limits," says Jen.
Why are we crafting? It's all about visualization—a tool that can help you ace everything from waking up early to tapping into your secret workout motivation. By creating a vision board, you're taking the "visualization" concept super literally, but it's just another way to layer on the positive goal-crushing reinforcement. Read up more on how visualization can help you crush your goals—then get crafting.
Day 38View All
Photo: Golubovy // Shutterstock
Day 38: Create a Rest Nest
Not all important parts of your health and fitness routine happen in the gym or kitchen. Today's focus? Your bedroom.
Sleep is the most important thing for your health (yes, even more than eating healthy and exercising). Sleep is crucial for your body to handle stress and emotions and to repair your muscles post-workout. But you don't get a great night's sleep just by lying down.
Today, read up on what exactly a good night's sleep means, and prime your room so it's the perfect place to make that happen: "I need you to walk into that room and know that the chaos of your day is left at the door," says Jen. Bonus: Grab some of her favorite rest nest picks:
- BIREN & Co. Mr. Wilde candle with notes of vanilla bean, warm oak with a hint of cedar. ($32; birenandco.com)
- VAVA Cool Mist Humidifier ($34; amazon.com)
- Eucalyptus Origins Tencel Lyocell 500-Thread-Count Stripe Sheet Set Sheets (from $90; bedbathandbeyond.com)
- Shape activewear long-sleeve tops and sweatpants (from $34, shapeactivewear.com; from $45, shapeactivewear.com)
Day 39View All
Photo: Uber Images // Shutterstock
Day 39: Go Uncharted
Today's challenge: Go somewhere! Leave your 'hood or your town, your usual workout spot, food spot, or Friday night spot. Go alone or with others. No matter what, make it a point to meet someone new. You can't only be successful in a bubble—it's time to test out those new wings.
"Different people, places, and things are a catalyst for confidence because it breaks up the monotony of what our default behavior is," says Jen. "Change inspires change, in a great way." Whatever comes your way, see if you can hold on to that "I've got this" mentality that you've (hopefully!) built up over the course of the last six weeks. Remember: True success travels with you.
- Take an overnight trip or go visit a friend in a place you've never been.
- Track down a new trail that requires a bit of a drive.
- Run or bike to a new café, landmark, or pretty view.
- Try a new cuisine (and order in their language!).
- Head to a new town and strike up a convo with a local.
Day 40View All
Day 40: The ~*Final*~ Test
You made it. Day 40. The last hurrah. It's time to see how far you've come.
Remember that fit test you did on Day 1? Now, it's time to retake it. Bang out those squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and timed cardio, and give yourself a pat on the back for all the progress you've made—then post your results in the Goal Crushers Facebook group to show off all your hard work.
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.