New Year Fitness Challenge

Thank you to Walmart+ for sponsoring today’s post

If you’ve been here for long, you know I love a good fitness challenge every once in awhile to mix things up and help me stay in shape.

Last year, when I was preparing to go on Summer vacation to Florida with Brian and the kids, I used that trip as motivation to lean up.  It’s sometimes easier to dial things in and get focused when you have a specific event or deadline in mind.  Maybe you have a vacation, reunion, wedding, birthday or anniversary you want to look and feel your best at.

My birthday is coming up in February, so I’m using that as my current short term goal.  Whenever I’ve really gotten serious and tracked my eating and worked out consistently, around the five week mark is when I noticed significant changes.  That’s not to say, you won’t feel better within even a week or two, but change takes time.

After that summer trip, I kept up with my fitness pretty well, but towards the end of the year, I really started binging on loads of desserts.  I’m talking most of October, November and December.  I had my fun, ate everything I wanted and for the most part, enjoyed it!

But, with all those extra calories, my weight started creeping up and by late December, I’d gotten past the point where I feel good in my body. My clothes hide it pretty well, but over Christmas break, I got to my heaviest weight in a long time.  Most of my jeans weren’t fitting comfortably and I was feeling low energy.

When I start feeling icky, I know it’s a good time to implement a challenge to get back on track.  As a busy mom in my 40s, being in shape is more about feeling good and strong and also huge stress reliever.  You know how good it feels when you get move your body and fuel it with healthy foods and lots of water.

Today, I’m sharing my new year fitness challenge, plus the easiest way to cook perfectly moist and delicious chicken breast.  Then, I’ll give you some ideas of how you can use it in different healthy recipes!

75 HARD CHALLENGE

Right before Christmas, I stumbled on the 75 Hard Challenge.  Have you heard of it?  It’s a very extreme 75-day mental toughness challenge with the following criteria that you must do every.single.day for 75 days.  If you miss one of these things, you have to start over at Day 1.

  1. Take a picture of yourself
  2. Drink 1 gallon of water
  3. Stick to a diet of your choice (no cheats)
  4. Exercise 2x a day for 45 minutes (1 workout must be outdoors)
  5. Read 10 pages of a non fiction/self-help book

Don’t worry.  I’m not doing the 75 Hard Challenge.

75 MEDIUM CHALLENGE

I honestly feel that it’s too extreme for me and would only set me up for failure.  But, as I looked into it further, I found a modified version, 75 Medium, that looked quite doable.  It’s about half of the 75 Hard Challenge.

  1. Drink 1/2 gallon of water
  2. Stick to a diet of your choice (no cheats)
  3. Exercise once a day for 45 minutes
  4. Read 5 pages of a non fiction/self-help book

MY MODIFIED FITNESS CHALLENGE

I tweaked it to fit my own lifestyle and goals and here’s what I came up with for myself.

  1. Weigh yourself daily
  2. Drink 1/2 gallon of water a day
  3. Stick to a diet of your choice (no desserts for 30 days)
  4. Exercise once a day for 45 minutes
  5. Read 5 pages of a non fiction/self-help book everyday

I started doing this challenge on Christmas day, I was just ready to start and get a jump on the new year.

I’ll continue for 75 days, but I’m only giving up desserts for 30 days straight, then will allow in moderation (probably once a week).

Here’s the breakdown of what I’m doing.

  1. Weigh yourself – I like to weigh myself every morning first thing when I wake up.  I feel like it helps keep me accountable during the day.  I try not to worry too much about the number day to day, but I do like to see the trends after weeks go by.   A daily picture isn’t for me, but I do see the benefit of weekly pictures because photos are visible evidence of your efforts.  It will show progress you maybe don’t see day to day when you look in the mirror.
  2. Drink 1/2 gallon of water – This has been a game changer for me.  Not only does it keep me fuller between meals, it’s keeping me hydrated and more alert.  Also, I have to be intentional about getting that water in, so it takes my mind off of eating as much.
  3. Track macros (& no desserts for 30 days) – My ‘diet’ is just to track my macros and try to hit my macro goals (carbs, protein and fat) that are based on my basal metabolic rate and what I know has worked for me in the past. I’m also doing a dessert break for 30 days.  This just feels right to me and by the time you read this, I’ll have been at it for 18 days.  More than halfway to 30!  I decided not to do a “Dry January” because alcohol isn’t a temptation for me.  I might have a glass of wine on date night and for me, that’s okay.  But, dessert on the other hand, that’s my downfall and I’d been binging to an unhealthy amount, so I’m steering clear for 30 days. #thestruggleisreal
  4. Exercise once a day for 45 minutes – I plan my workouts for the week on Sundays and do a combo of classes, personal training, treadmill and just walks to the park.  I also did a yoga class for the first time in ages and want to continue that.  Walking outside counts too!  I’ve already missed one, but I won’t beat myself up over it.
  5. Read 5 pages of a non fiction/self-help book – This has been one of my favorite parts so far.  I love to read, but often put it to the evening and then get too tired.  Now, I read first thing in the morning and LOVE IT!

The important thing is to figure out your own goals and what is doable for you and customize something to fit your needs!  You can use these as a starting point for you own fitness challenge.

how to cook perfectly moist and delicious chicken breast

Chicken is a staple in lots of households, but no one likes it when it’s dry and tasteless.  Rest assured, there is a way you can get flavorful, moist, juicy chicken breast every single time!

STEP 1:  Trim any excess fat from your chicken with a sharp knife or scissors

STEP 2:  Pound your chicken to about 1/4 inch thickness with a mallet.  This helps ensure that it cooks evenly.  If you have a spunky Texans fan that likes to ‘help’, be sure to supervise.

Perfectly cooked chicken breast

STEP 3:  Let the chicken come to room temperature and pat dry.

STEP 4:  Season liberally.  I use salt, pepper and garlic salt, but you can use whatever seasonings you like.

Perfectly cooked chicken breast

STEP 5:  Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to your pan and heat to medium high.

STEP 6:  Sear the first side of the chicken for about 5 minutes or until it’s deep golden brown, then flip and cook for about another 5-6 minutes.  You can use a thermometer to make sure the internal temp is around 160 degrees.

STEP 7:  Transfer the chicken to a plate and let rest for 5-10 minutes.  This is important because if you cut into your chicken right away, all those moist juices will flow right out of your chicken and it will end up dry.

Perfectly cooked chicken breast

I like this brand of chicken from Walmart.  It’s free range, all natural without antibiotics, fed a vegetarian diet and never any steroids or hormones added.

But first, to make things even easier, I highly recommend using the Walmart+ membership to order your groceries online and have them delivered to your door for free ($35 order min. Restrictions apply).

With a Walmart+ membership, you can: (1) shop online and get Walmart+ FREE shipping, with no order minimum on items from Walmart.com (excludes most Marketplace items, location & freight surcharges); (2) get items delivered from your store to your door for FREE same-day($35 minimum, restrictions apply); (3) shop inside the store with the mobile scan & go benefit in the Walmart app for a contact free checkout; and (4) get member prices on fuel.

You can sign up for Walmart+ HERE.

I’ve been ordering my groceries online and it keeps me from making those impulse purchases that tend to happen when you’re inside the store.  How did those Dots pretzels jump into my online cart though??!!

If you do head to the store, you can take advantage of the mobile scan & go you can access with your Walmart+ membership.  It’s a contact-free checkout process that saves you so much time!

You can shop in the store, open the Walmart app, go to the menu and select your Walmart+ account.  You tap “mobile scan & go” to get started.

Then, as you’re shopping, you scan each item, and when you’re ready to pay, scan the code at self-checkout and pay with your phone.

Zucchini and Squash Dinner Side

Chicken, rice and veggies sounds boring, but it’s really good when you season it and cook it properly!

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Zucchini and Squash Dinner side

Zucchini and Squash Dinner side

Zucchini and squash cook quickly in a saute pan with just a little cooking spray or olive oil.  Just add salt, pepper and garlic!  I don’t cook it very long, probably just about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Perfectly cooked zucchini and squash dinner side

Perfectly cooked dinner rice

I keep jasmine rice on hand because it’s so easy to incorporate into meals.

Boil 2 cups of water with a small bouillon cube for flavor, then add rice and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and cook about 10 minutes.

Healthy dinner including perfectly cooked chicken breast with zucchini, squash and rice

CHICKEN SALAD

Healthy chicken salad

This grilled chicken salad is an easy favorite.   Simply chop all the ingredients and add to a big bowl.

Spinach – about 2 cups

Salad Mix – about 2 cups

Dried Cranberries – about 1 tablespoon

Walnuts – about 1 tablespoon

Goat Cheese – about 1 tablespoon

Poppy Seed Dressing – about 1 tablespoon

You can use this chicken in so many different meals like soups, added to pasta (hot or cold), tacos, wraps, sandwiches, or as a main with a side of rice, potatoes or veggies.  I also use it in my Tex Mex bowls, and with protein pasta and broccoli.

Are you staring a fitness challenge this year? If so, I’d love to hear in the comments!  Have you signed up for the Walmart+ membership yet?  If not, I bet you’ll find it so useful!  If you want to give it a try, you can sign up HERE.

 

Perfectly cooked chicken breast

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

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Have a fantastic day friend!

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Kathleen
    January 11, 2022 / 5:30 am

    I did the 75Hard challenge twice in 2020 during the pandemic 😳. The first day I could indulge in a cheat meal was St. Paddy’s Day and that was when our State shut down. I was so looking forward to going out and celebrating. Then I did it again with my daughter starting in October and our last day was Christmas. It was definitely more challenging during the holidays!! This year I decided to do my own version of it and call it 75 cupcake. I still do all the tasks except for the outside workout. Weather permitting I’ll do it but it’s just been too cold here.

    • Megan
      Author
      January 11, 2022 / 1:50 pm

      I’m so impressed! I watched several you tube videos about it and everyone that did it felt so amazing after!

  2. Ashley
    January 11, 2022 / 8:10 am

    I love when you post about fitness and nutrition! I am on day 9 of Beachbody’s 80 Day Obsession. I have done it in the past and I really enjoy it. I look forward to working out. Nutrition is where I struggle. I am not a cook. I would really love to get into it, but it’s just never been my thing. My husband cooks for the family. I am a lover of fast food, and not always your typical drive thru stuff, but also places like Subway, Panera, Chipotle, gas stations that have made to order foods, Grubhub, UberEats, etc. My goal is to cut back on those places. One, it’s so hard on my wallet. Two, I just consume way too many calories. I don’t want to tell myself to cut it out completely. I tell myself that it’s allowed, but I don’t need it. It should be my very last option. I am on day 9 without it and I am doing well! The key, for me, is to be prepared and bring my breakfast and lunch to work every day. It’s not always easy for me though. I have 4 kids in sports and activities. I am always rushing around, trying to keep my house clean, etc. Making meal prep a priority is something I have to work on.

    • Megan
      Author
      January 11, 2022 / 1:49 pm

      Honestly, meal prep saves so much time (and money) in the long run. My meal prep isn’t fancy or complicated and it really doesn’t take much time. I love having healthy options in my fridge that I can just pull out and reheat in a jiffy! Stick with your Beach Body! You can do it!

  3. Gema nelson
    January 11, 2022 / 11:01 am

    I loved this post!!! Thank you for all the healthy meal ideas !!!
    I have lost 15 pounds in the last 5 months… watching portions and exercising 2/3 times a week …. But need motivation for the last 5 pounds and keep the weight off 😃

    • Megan
      Author
      January 11, 2022 / 1:48 pm

      That is awesome Gema! Good for you, I bet you feel fantastic!

  4. January 11, 2022 / 4:24 pm

    Love the idea of setting a goal for an occasion. My birthday is coming in March and we are going to NYC for our postponed anniversary since we decided too much covid to go last week. I lost a lot of weight about 17 years ago and kept most of it off….until retirement, staying home and baking during the pandemic, and eating too much. SO, thanks for the inspiration!

    • Megan
      Author
      January 13, 2022 / 8:33 am

      Happy belated anniversary! My boyfriend and I went to NYC in September and it was so fun! I hear ya about too much baking and eating – that was me the last three months! I’m already feeling better!

  5. Michelle
    January 16, 2022 / 3:45 pm

    Where did you find the black “dinner bell” hanging on your wall? I love it!

    • Megan
      Author
      January 17, 2022 / 1:38 pm

      Hmm, I had to go way back to look! I got it at Signature Hardware, but I can’t find it online anymore. I’ve had it since 2014!

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