New Year, New Habits: A Three-Week Challenge

Written by
8fit Team @ 8fit
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Written by
8fit Team @ 8fit
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This year, we're not going to worry about taking things away from your life. There are already plenty of other fitness brands and personalities that enjoy taking the fun out of your life, holding joy hostage in the name of a "flat tummy" or "getting shredded."

Nonsense, we say!

On the flip side, we want to talk about and advocate for trying new things and forming new, healthy, and sustainable habits.

In the spirit of a new year dedicated to forming new habits, we're launching a three-week challenge to ease you into 2020. Each week will focus on trying something different: Eating plant-based meals, starting your day with some breathing exercises, and trying seven new exercises––including one of our brand new yoga classes with Mel Douglas from the Black Women's Yoga Collective.

Follow us on Instagram at @8fit for challenge prompts and tips to get the job done. Below, you'll find a breakdown of each challenge.

Week 1: Fitness

BUTTERFLY STRETCH0thumbnailLANDSCAPE

Jan. 13: Rise and shine with this energizing 7-minute stretch—feel free to stay in your PJs and slippers!

Kickboxing Sidekick

Jan. 14: Now's your chance to come out swinging! Knock out stress with our 10-minute, low-impact boxing routine.

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Jan. 15: Prepare for shut-eye with this 5-minute bedtime stretch. We recommend incorporating it after a warm shower for maximum relaxation. Zzzzz...

Mel Douglas Yoga Warrior 2

Jan. 16: Go with the flow for today's challenge: yoga with the one and only Mel Douglas, founder of the Black Women's Yoga Collective!

Lina Core Ab Exercise

Jan. 17: 5 minutes is all you need to complete today's task, but don't let the time fool you. This quick ab burner lives up to its name.

Chantelle, Pilates

Jan. 18: Fire up those glutes for today's 8-minute Pilates challenge.

HIIT Pilates Jump

Jan. 19: We saved the toughest challenge—aptly named HIIT extreme—for the last day of the week. The good news? It'll only take 8 minutes.

Week 2: Mindfulness

woman meditating, meditation, madison lavern, unsplash, mindfulness

Jan. 20: 1-minute of breathing: Set a timer for 1 minute and take deep, slow breaths until the timer is up. Pro tip: Pick a calm alarm so you don't get startled!

Jan. 21: Sama Vritti: Inhale for a count of 4 seconds, then exhale for 4. Pause and let a sense of calmness wash over you. Continue by increasing the count to 6 seconds, then go for 8 seconds when you become more comfortable with the technique.

Jan. 22: Cooling breath: This one might attract a few stares in public, but it's great if you feel warm, agitated, angry, or uncomfortable. To do it, seal the lips and breath in through the nose and then curl the tongue and breath out through the mouth.

Jan. 23: 10 breaths: Sit up straight in a chair or on the floor. Count 10 deep breaths, closing your eyes if it feels comfortable. This is a great one for during the workday when you're trying to reduce stress while being non-discrete.

Jan. 24: 4-7-8 breath: Exhale all of your breath out, then inhale through the nose for a count of 4, hold the breath for 7, then exhale slow from the mouth for a count of 8. Make the exhale audible if your space allows.

Jan. 25: Tratak Dharana: This breathing technique is best practiced with a candle or another mesmerizing focal point. Sit in a chair or on a pillow on the floor, hands on knees. Breath slow and steady through the nose as you stare at your candle or focal point. Continue for as long as you like, but aim to start with 3 minutes, then 5, maybe increasing to 8.

Jan. 26: Progressive muscle relaxation: This one is great for the evening before bed—you can even do it in bed if you want. Lay flat with arms by sides, eyes closed. Starting at the feet by flexing all of the muscle in the feet as your breathe in for 1, 2, 3 seconds, then exhale and relax. Breathe for 3-4 more breaths as you think about relaxing the feet. Move up along the body, focusing on different areas as you go... finishing with the face.

Week 3: Nutrition

Jan. 27

Open, sesame! This zesty wrap works well for a quick lunch.

3188 sesame wrap 006

Sesame Wrap

8 min500 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cabbage head
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 100% whole grain tortilla
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2.5 tbsp tahini

Method

  1. Wash, remove seeds, and thinly slice bell pepper. Wash and chop cabbage in small pieces.
  2. Mix the tahini with lemon juice. Spread on the base of the tortilla and add salt, pepper, and sesame seeds.
  3. Add the vegetables. Roll up in a tight wrap and eat now or take to go.

Jan. 28: Our creamy chia pudding is ideal for breakfast (or dessert). Triple the recipe for easy meal prep!

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

400 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 cups creamy non-dairy milk alternative like unsweetened coconut, almond or cashew (add more if you find the mixture too thick)
  • 6 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mixed fruit like blueberries and strawberries, for topping
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or pure honey (optional)

Method

  1. In a mason jar or a bowl, combine the chia seeds, milk, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. If you’re using a jar that has a lid, close it and give the mixture a good shake and let it sit for five minutes.
  2. After five minutes, give the pudding another good shake or a vigorous stir to break up any clumps. Cover the pudding and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 1-2 hours if you’re short on time. If the vanilla chia seed pudding doesn’t come out to your liking, add more chia seeds or milk to balance it out and return to the fridge for another half hour or so.
  3. Cut some fruit up, like berries, banana or mango and add them to your chia seed pudding when it’s ready.

Jan. 29: Chili is the ultimate comfort food, especially for cold days. Try this veggie version for some warm and fuzzy vibes at lunch or dinner.

Black Bean Chili

Black bean chili

30 min500 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tbsp guacamole (ready made)
  • 2.5 tsp fresh cilantro / fresh coriander leaf (chopped)
  • 3/4 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1/2 onion (medium-sized)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 1/12 cups can diced tomatoes (no added salt or sugar)
  • 1/2 sweet potato (yam)
  • 1/2 cup black beans (cooked and drained)
  • 1/4 cup sweet corn (cooked)
  • 1/4 tsp chili pepper (dry)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (dry)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (dry)
  • a pinch of salt

Method

  1. Peel and chop and onion. Wash and chop sweet potato.
  2. In a medium pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium until hot.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the canned tomatoes and vegetable broth. Simmer for about 3 minutes, then add the drained black beans and corn.
  5. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Add all seasonings except for cilantro and mix.
  6. Serve soup in a bowl. Top with guacamole and garnish with some cilantro.

Jan. 30: Sesame and banana may sound like a strange mix, but it's seriously tasty for breakfast or a snack. Let us know what you think!

Chunky sesame banana smoothie

Chunky Sesame Banana Smoothie

5 min400 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 banana
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 3 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 4 Tbsp protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients together and chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Jan. 31: Isn't it about time you gave your morning oats a makeover? Turn them green with our matcha oatmeal recipe for breakfast. (Make two servings for meal prep)

Matcha oatmeal

Matcha Oatmeal

5 min400 kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup steel-cut oats
  • ½ cup steel-cut oats
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • Fruit to top (banana, coconut, mango)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: 1 tsp honey or maple syrup

Method

  1. Bring the almond milk to a simmer in a pot. Add oats with a pinch of salt and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, depending on the quality of your oats.
  2. Once cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and matcha powder. Mix until well combined.
  3. Pour into a bowl and top with sliced banana.

Feb. 1: Get to dipping with this winning snack combo!

bread with homemade kidney beans

Bread with homemade kidney bean dip

15 min400 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 onion (medium-sized)
  • 1 1/3 oz smoked tofu / tofu prepared with nigari (firm)
  • 1 whole grain bread slice, 100% whole grain
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans (canned and drained)
  • 1/4 tsp thyme (dry)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp mixed herbs (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/3 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)

Method

  1. Peel onion and mince. Cut tofu into small pieces. Rinse kidney beans and drain.
  2. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat and add onion. Fry for 3 minutes. Add kidney beans, tofu, thyme, herbs, salt and pepper and fry for another minute.
  3. Add all to a mixer and blend until smooth.
  4. Wash cucumber and cut into slices. Serve bread with kidney dip and top with cucumber slices.

Feb. 2: Did we mention how much we love sesame? Make these tahini chocolate bites in a big batch for a little dessert indulgence.

Tahini chocolate bites

Tahini chocolate bites

10 min600 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 1/2 tsp raw cocoa powder
  • 3 1/4 tbsp tahini
  • 4 dates (dried and pitted)
  • 1 tbsp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • a pinch of salt

Method

  1. Note: Double or triple the quantities for a better prep in the food processor. It also allows you to have a snack for several days.
  2. De-pit the dates. Chop them into very small pieces. Combine well with with tahini, protein powder, cocoa, vanilla and salt (a food processor works well for bigger quantities).
  3. Form energy balls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  4. Enjoy immediately or store in the freezer for 10 minutes until you enjoy them (They last in the freezer for up to 3 months and in the fridge for up to 2 weeks).
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