Introducing: the resolution diaries

For one month, health and exercise enthusiasts journal about New Year’s goals.

Athletes know accountability matters. Committing to a specific plan and regularly assessing progress is crucial to success. But too often, goals rogue in January, falling under the category of lofty (often unrealistic) New Year’s resolutions that go unmet.

This month, we introduce you to an antidote: The Resolution Diaries. Furthermore follows three Equinox trainers on their personal journeys through the first 30 days of resolution season. Each week, they pen both progress (and pitfalls) in working toward change in a meaningful way.

This week, we introduce you to the participants. Come back every Monday for updates.

The fit pro: Cynthia Martinez, a Tier 3 trainer at Equinox Bryant Park in New York City

The resolution: She willprepare her body for pregnancy with the goal of becoming pregnant within the year.

The ‘why’: "I’m 35 years old and aware that as I get older I’m more susceptible to a high-risk pregnancy. While I’m not in a rush, I want my body to be prepared for a future healthy pregnancy. I’m also a certified pre- and post-natal trainer. I have been with many of my clients before they were pregnant, trained them through pregnancy, and have helped them get back to pre-pregnancy weight. I have also witnessed the challenges of getting pregnant and watched women battle with miscarriages. Prepping the body for the miracle of birth can be just like training for a race—it takes months of preparation. Eating the right foods and supplements are critical. Getting proper sleep and reducing the amount of mental and physical stress is vital."

As a competitive endurance athlete, I have trained intensely over the past few years. In 2017, I set personal records in both my half-marathon (1:29) and full marathon (3:11). I put my body under some incredibly intense training cycles. I also have a very low body fat percentage. I know in order for my body to get pregnant I need to actually relax a bit more and gain a little bit of weight."

The ‘how’: "I plan to scale back my running intensity and focus more on building my strength. I will not be doing any races for time this year. I will not be doing as many speed workouts on the track—and I might cut them out completely. Most importantly, I’ll scale back the amount of mileage I do each week. Typically I run 40 to 50 miles a week. I plan to cut that down to 20 to 30. I’ll use my ‘Believe Training Journal’ to document my weekly workouts. I’ll use my Garmin watch to track mileage and speed. I may be so bold as to leave it at home for some runs, running by feel instead.

I'll take Pilates classes with a private instructor two times a week to strengthen my pelvic floor, core, and hips. I plan to continue my weight lifting routine, doing the same workouts I do with my own pregnant clients, focusing on squats, deadlifts, upper body, and lots of core.

Finally, I plan to track my cycle more carefully by using a fertility app."

The fit pro: Bethany Snodgrass, operations manager at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute in New York City and a holistic health coach

The resolution:She will take cooking classes and actually make the recipes each week.

The ‘why’: "I want to practice what I preach and walk the walk as a health coach.

I’ve taken my fair share of cooking classes. I’ve learned about wonderful recipes, and upon leaving the class, have had high hopes of adding delicious meals to my menus because of my newfound expertise.

The problem: I’ve never actually made any of these meals again. (I even went to a soup cooking class once because I figured they’d be so easy to make that there was no way I wouldn’t make the dishes at home. Even those found their way to the back of my recipe book.)

It’s time to change my status quo, to add variety to my menus, to accomplish taking a skill I learn and putting it into practice at home—something I suggest clients do day in and day out.

After all, it’s easy to get stuck in the rhythm of picking up the same to-go food week after week. I’m guilty of it. I hope cooking classes will introduce me to more protein varieties, vegetable-based sides, and new ways to cook healthy carbs. I’m looking forward to learning the art of presentation: I always find that my food looks more appealing with vibrant colors and delicious smells."

The ‘how’: "I plan to take classes on Thursday or Friday evenings, add ingredients from class to my grocery list, and prepare a recipe on Sunday. I’ll track my progress (the class I took, the recipe I’m making, and which days I ate the food) on an old school paper calendar. Maybe I’ll also add my own twist to a recipe to customize it even further."

The fit pro: Matt Berenc, C.S.C.S., director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute

The resolution: He will commit to cardio training three times a week.

The ‘why’: "Even though I haven’t been running much and struggle to be consistent as of late, I truly enjoy running, especially for distance. I have never been very fast but I always did well with endurance. I was able to persist, I enjoy the solitary experience and, when I could keep up, I would run with my brothers. It is one of my favorite activities and was one of the first ways I started training. It was once a very meditative experience for me. I could go out, run, and get lost in the challenge, my thoughts, or the environment. It’s a fundamental human movement that can be done anywhere and one that everyone should be able to do at a certain level for health and performance.

But since I haven’t been regular with my runs, this makes it an inefficient movement—and more taxing, both physically and mentally, than it should be. My left ankle mobility also isn’t the best and that can translate to discomfort in my left knee during longer runs.

Another problem has been finding the time to fit in runs and be consistent with my training. A busy work schedule (early mornings and late nights) leaves me tired at the end of the day; so does having a four-month-old son whom I want to spend time with and who doesn’t fully sleep through the night yet.

Recently, lifting has become my default form of exercise. It’s easy for me to pop into one of the clubs to grab a lift or swing a kettlebell in my garage. I thrive on consistent workouts and having a fallback of a quick home lift has been great—but I need to translate that into a quick run, even if just for 20 minutes."

The ‘how’: "I am committing to running three times per week. This is goal number one and the primary success metric that I am going to track; either I hit my three runs or I don’t. On top of that, I am going to try for a minimum of three miles with the goal of building to five miles each run and I’d like to reduce my mile time as well. I’ll track my time via my Suunto running watch. I’ll set a baseline speed and a goal mile time by the end of the month. I also plan on tracking my average heart rate at three miles as I’m curious to see this reduce over the course of the month. Because of my ankle issue, I’ll also need to be consistent with prep and recovery work."

More From Berenc: I Resolve to Do Cardio (1/4), I Resolve to Do Cardio (2/4),I Resolve to Do Cardio (3/4), I Resolve to Do Cardio (4/4)* Check back on 1/29.

More From Martinez: I Resolve to Train Less (1/4), I Resolve to Train Less (2/4), I Resolve to Train Less (3/4), I Resolve to Train Less (4/4)* Check back on 1/29.

More From Snodgrass: I Resolve to Cook More (1/4),I Resolve to Cook More (2/4),I Resolve to Cook More (3/4),I Resolve to Cook More (4/4)* Check back on 1/29.

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