Monday, January 9, 2017

Crowded Gym? How to Stick to Your Fitness Goals

New year, new resolutions! For many of us this means eating right and upping our exercise game, which often means crowded gyms and possibly frustration if you can’t work out how and when you want to. Whomp whomp. January is most definitely a busy time of year for health clubs, but instead of getting upset about the crowded gym, here are 11 ways to make your workouts happen!

crowded gym problems

Sign up for a few personal trainer sessions or small group classes

Ok, you might have to pay a little extra money, but this is a great way to invest in your health! You get one-on-one attention, new ideas for workouts, plenty of motivation, and your choice of equipment in a busy gym. Boom.

Pre-register for a class

Many gyms offer pre-registration for group exercise classes to prevent overcrowding or running out of equipment. If you want to secure your spot and avoid the crowds, be sure to take advantage of this service and register ahead of time. Plus, once you commit, you HAVE TO go! 🙂

Get to class early and do your own workout 

If the studio for your group exercise class is empty before it starts, take advantage of the space (and possibility equipment) to squeeze in a quickie workout away from the crowds.

If you’re not a class person…

Time your workouts around busy classes 

Some group classes are totally packed, but if you’re a fan of the treadmill and free-weights instead, plan your workout during class time when a number of gym members will be occupied.

Avoid peak hours

Ok, this is probably a duh tip, but can you switch around your schedule this month to accommodate exercising at a different time of day? For instance, if you always exercise after work, what about doing an early-morning or lunchtime workout when the gym isn’t as crowded? Even moving one or two workouts might make a difference with sticking to your routine!

Use high-intensity intervals

A lot of gyms have time limits on cardio equipment during peak hours, which usually isn’t a huge deal unless it’s January and it’s packed. Even if you’re limited to 20-30 minutes, you still can maximize your workout with some high-intensity intervals, which push you out of your comfort zone and torch some serious calories in a short amount of time. Need some ideas? Check out some of my Pinterest boards: CrossFit-Inspired Workouts, No-Equipment Required Workouts, Treadmill and Elliptical Workouts.

Try a new machine 

That SkiErg in the corner of the gym? Hey, give it a try! Instead of just waiting around, try something new! You’ll burn some calories and you might even find a new machine/exercise to incorporate into your exercise routine!

Pick full-body exercises 

With the gym being so crowded, you might not have the luxury of using multiple pieces of equipment at once, so pick full-body exercises that work several muscles at once. Some favorites: Burpees, kettlebell swings, and push-ups. The more muscles you can work at once, the more calories you’ll burn, too!

Work out on the weekends

Saturday and Sunday mornings are the perfect time to fit in a workout while the gym is quiet. A lot of people like to sleep in on the weekend, but you can jump-start your day (and get your favorite treadmill) before the gym gets too busy.

Always have a backup plan 

Before you head to the gym, make a Plan B for yourself. If you can’t run on the treadmill, what will you do instead? You can even Google/Pinterest a few workouts to have on-hand just in case you can’t do the one you had planned.

And when all else fails…

Work out at home

If there’s a will, there’s a way! Here are some of my favorite at-home workouts: Naptime Workouts and No-Equipment Required Workouts.

Happy sweating!

Question of the Day

How do you deal with crowded gyms? 

from Carrots 'N' Cake

Contest: Make a Primal Blueprint Recipe Video

The 2017 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge Begins Now


If you want to lose weight, gain muscle, reduce stress, increase energy or just generally look and feel healthier you’ve come to the right place. Oh, and you can win lots of cool Primal gear, too. That’s right, it’s the annual Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge!

Before we get to all the details, let’s kick things off with a simple contest. Click on over to this page and register for the free Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge in the Vimify app. That’s it! I’ll explain more about the app below, but rest assured that you’ll be entered to win a $100 gift certificate to if you register for free.

This contest ends at 8 pm PST tonight, January 9. A winner will be selected at random and everyone around the world is eligible, including people that registered before today.

Now, on to the challenge details…

What Is the 21-Day Challenge?

What’s the challenge? To get Primal, of course! Click here to view the full version of a nifty graphic that summarizes the 21-Day Challenge. (I encourage any bloggers out there to share this infographic using the html I’ve included below it.) Additionally, you can dig deeper into each section of the infographic by visiting this more detailed Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge page.


In brief, this is the Challenge. Do it for just 21 days and the results will speak for themselves.

  1. Eat real food.
  2. Avoid sugar, grains, and unhealthy fats.
  3. Align your carb intake with your weight goals and activity levels.
  4. Move frequently at a slow pace: Get between 2-5 hours per week of moderate aerobic exercise.
  5. Lift heavy things: Conduct 1-3 brief, intense sessions of full-body functional movements.
  6. Sprint: Go “all out” once a week.
  7. Get 8 hours of sleep every night.
  8. Get 15 minutes of direct sun exposure each day.
  9. Play! Find time to let go, disconnect, unwind and have fun each day.

No sign-up required. Anyone can participate. Just commit to the challenge, and check back every day for motivation and guidance. Articles over the next two weeks will be about taking steps to align your lifestyle with the Primal Blueprint. The third and final week of the challenge will be mostly comprised of reader-created content. That’s right, MDA readers (you!) will be running the show.

Above and beyond the challenge as outlined above, I encourage you to make your own personal challenges. Whether it’s eliminating or adding a certain food to your diet, losing weight, going barefoot more often, getting better sleep, or anything else, customize your goals to fit your needs and commit to 21 days starting now.

Who Is the 21-Day Challenge For?

I hold this 21-Day Challenge every year to encourage Primal beginners to give this way of eating, moving and living a try because I know it works, I know how empowering it is, and I know it changes lives.

I also do it to motivate those that have been dabbling with the Primal lifestyle for a while, but haven’t fully committed or still have some room for improvement (myself included!), to go all in and resolve to finally take control of their health.

There’s something here for Primal veterans, too. It’s a good idea to revisit the basics from time to time. And hey, the chance to win free stuff isn’t half bad either.

Why 21 Days?

After many years of training clients and interacting with hundreds of thousands of Mark’s Daily Apple readers, my team and I have found that 21 days is the sweet spot for eliminating old habits and replacing them with new ones. It’s long enough to make legitimate progress toward reversing years of adverse lifestyle habits, long enough for most people to get past the low carb flu (if you experience it at all), and long enough to give the Primal Blueprint a fair shake, but not so long as to be seen as a daunting undertaking. In other words, anyone, including you, can give this a go for three measly weeks, and in that time you are bound to see results. If you have weight to lose, it’s reasonable to expect a reduction of three to seven pounds of excess body fat during this period, and to continue at that rate safely until you reach your ideal body composition.

I’m confident that you can transform your life in just 21 days with the Primal Blueprint. But I also know that people want to maximize their chances of success. To help you on that path, I’m offering two helpful tools:

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge App

21day-appI told you all about the app last week. Once again, we’ve partnered with Vimify to bring you a free Primal Blueprint 21-Day Transformation App Challenge for your desktop computer or Apple iOS device. As you move through the Challenge, the app will be updated to reflect the day’s contests, your progress, and the progress of your friends. With the app, you’ll join a community of like-minded individuals working toward common goals. Compare, contrast, compete, encourage, and gently rib each other as you work through the contests and smash your stated goals.

If you haven’t downloaded it, you’ve missed the preparatory tasks. But no worries. They’re really straightforward, and you can do them now so you’re ready for the Challenge:

  • Purge your pantry of all non-Primal foods and restock it with Primal fare. Take an hour out of your day to toss (or re-home) all the junk, grains, sugar, and vegetable oils in your pantry and hit the local grocery store or farmer’s market to stock up on meat, plants, nuts, and good fats.
  • Do a Primal Essential Movement assessment. Determining your level of physical fitness won’t take longer than twenty, thirty minutes, and it will give you a good idea of where you stand physically. (Check out Primal Blueprint Fitness for the detailed assessment.)
  • Invite friends to join you in the Challenge. Time’s a wasting for this one. Get your friends involved. Send them the link to this blog post. Suggest that they download the free app. The strength of this app lies in the community you build, the accountability it promotes, and the healthy competition it provides. You need people to get those benefits.
    Today is the last day you can download the app for free and participate in this round of the app challenge. Although it isn’t necessary to join the Challenge, it does enhance the experience. You have until 11:59 this evening (PST) to download it, so get on it.

There’s another tool, too:

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Transformation Program

21-Day-DigiPackageOr rather, three tools. The three 21-Day Transformation Program packages are made to simplify and streamline Primal living. They eliminate guesswork and give you everything you need to hit the ground running down the path toward success in the Challenge. And once the Challenge is over, the Transformation packages increase your ability to stay the course and make this a permanent lifestyle change. You’ve got:

The Digital Package. Receive immediate access to digital versions of the 21-Day Total Body Transformation (the official book of the Challenge that perfectly distills the essential aspects of the Primal Blueprint and shows you how to integrate them), plus an audiobook version (if you prefer to listen). You’ll also get digital versions of Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals, the Primal Blueprint Poster (a graphic guide to the lifestyle), the Primal Blueprint Shopping List (a complete list of all Primal-approved foods), and an in-depth 90-minute video of me covering all the major elements of the Primal Blueprint lifestyle. You’ll also receive daily email encouragement for the duration of the Challenge, plus instant access to the app.

The Fuel Package. Receive all of the above, plus physical versions of the book, the cookbook, the poster, and the shopping list shipped directly to your door. You’ll also get a bag of Primal Fuel, a Primal Fuel recipe book, and a Primal Fuel blender bottle. This is the best value of the three packages.

The Essentials Package has everything from the Fuel Package PLUS bottles of Vital Omegas (my high-quality omega-3 fish oil), Primal Calm (my herbal stress-fighting blend), and Vitamin D (because sun is scarce this time of year). If you have been wondering how the supplements fit into the lifestyle, this is the perfect opportunity to give them a try and see how they work for you.

Of course, these aren’t necessary to succeed or even partake in the Challenge, but they do make things easier and your success more certain. Choose your Transformation Package today to enhance this year’s challenge, and for added guidance and direction.

The 21-Day Challenge Contests

The main challenge itself isn’t competitive, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some friendly contests along they way!

Over the course of the next three weeks Mark’s Daily Apple and sponsors will be giving away thousands of dollars in prizes.

Here are some rules and answers to FAQ:

  • There will be new contests on Mark’s Daily Apple most days for the first two weeks of the 21-Day Challenge, so check back daily!
  • All contest prizes relate in some way to the Primal lifestyle. You won’t find any miracle weight loss pills, tummy crunching sling-a-ma-doo-dads, or whole wheat health blast jazzer snackers.
  • Some contests will require a bit of leg work while others will require something as simple as commenting on a blog post.
  • There is no limit to how many contests you can participate in.
  • The duration of any one contest depends on the nature of the contest.
  • Some will last a couple weeks (to give you time to complete the contest task) while others will be as short as one day. All deadlines are Pacific Standard Time.
  • Contest prizes will be awarded either by a random drawing, by reader voting/polling or by an executive decision (who I think should win!).
  • Some prizes will only be available to United States residents. If you live outside the U.S. and win a prize that can’t be shipped internationally an alternate prize of equal value will be awarded.
  • I’m not being paid by any company for being featured in a 21-Day Challenge contest.

To track all the contests visit the 2016 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge Contest Page for daily updates.

New to the Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple?

If you are new to the Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple and don’t know where to begin, here are some resources to get you started:

1. Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge page – On this page you’ll be introduced to the basics of the Primal Blueprint and can follow numerous links to learn more.

2. The Forum – I highly encourage you to use the forum during the challenge. In it you can start a “Primal Challenge Journal” to publicly state your goals and track your progress. Create a journal to receive positive feedback, advice and help along the way from the Mark’s Daily Apple community.

3. The Books

4. What to eat? – Primal Blueprint Recipes on MDA, The Primal Blueprint Meal Plan

5. The Newsletter – Sign up on this page to get several free ebooks, a 7-day course on the fundamentals of lifelong health, and more.

6. Have a question? – Contact Me

Tell your friends and family about the challenge so they can get Primal too!

Best wishes and good luck on your first day of the Challenge. Check back tomorrow for a new contest and an article on going into the Challenge with the right frame of mind. Grok on!


The post The 2017 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge Begins Now appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple


I didn’t do much of anything all weekend, and it was so nice! January is kind of like one big squiggly line effect coming down from fall + the holidays, so I enjoy spending the weekend at home this time of year (which I couldn’t dream of doing in, say, June!)

And much to our surprise we got a few inches of snow on Friday night! I knew we were getting a dusting, but I had no idea the East Coast storm would hit us like it did. We only got a few inches, and they all but shut down the town for a lot of the weekend.

First taste of snow for the year!

Friday night I made Mexican bean bowls with rice, black beans, peppers, guac, Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, Cholula and Red, Hot, Blues. Mocktail on the side made with seltzer, OJ and bitters!

Now that’s a good avocado! I put it in the fridge like you guys recommended on Instagram and I think that helped it last a few days ripe.

I picked up some more of those great cinnamon raisin bagels from Bodos and had one for breakfast along with eggs and cara cara orange (the best oranges!)

On Saturday I worked on some house projects, and Mazen and I played around for a bit.

Look at this bundle of joy!

I made some kale chips for lunch, and turned the rest into massaged kale salad.

Plus a kickin’ grilled ham and cheese.

I made this soup for dinner, and it was quite good!

Plus buttery herb toasted pita and a glass of wine.

Mazen brought me breakfast in bed on Sunday morning – a popsicle!

We did a bunch of snuggling and then I made bacon for breakfast. (He recently proclaimed bacon as his favorite food!) Served with another bagel half with cream cheese and more winter citrus.

We went to a birthday party at Jump mid-morning, and this picture was taken a second before he hurt his foot getting double bounced. I seriously thought his foot might be broken because he sat out almost the whole party and didn’t want to walk, but when the pizza and cake came out he started acting normal again and was fine the rest of the day if a little slow to walk, so I think he’s ok. It was quite scary!

We had one of the coldest weekends we’ve had in ages, so I hope you guys are toasty under blankets out there in blog world!!

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from Kath Eats Real Food