Welcome to SELF's New Year's Challenge for 2019! Below you'll find the official workout calendar—think of this as your complete schedule of events for every single workout you'll be doing this month. Every strength workout in this challenge was designed exclusively for SELF by Alyssa Exposito, a top trainer based in New York City.
If you've done a challenge with SELF before, you might notice this one is a little different. Your strength workouts are all here, but your cardio workouts are up to you! Read all about how to schedule your cardio days, and get several suggested workout ideas right here. Each week you'll have three strength workouts, two cardio workouts, and two rest or active rest days. You've also got several warm-up and cool-down options from which to choose. We'll remind you of this every single day, but warm-ups and cool-downs are super important and help you lower your risk of hurting yourself. So don't skip 'em!
Something else you'll need: Make sure to download our workout PDF. You can use this handy calendar to pencil in your cardio workouts, check off each day of the challenge, and track your sleep each night. Why sleep? Because workouts are only a small part of the health equation. Other factors, like getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and managing your mental health can all contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Another important thing: We are obviously big fans of fitness challenges around here (understatement of the century). But we want to be clear that our fitness challenges are not intended to lead to weight loss. There's a lot of reasons for that: For starters, lots of evidence points to the fact that simply working out alone isn't likely to help you lose weight. So… it won't be effective in the first place. But more importantly, there are just so many wonderful reasons to work out that have absolutely nothing to do with your weight. Regular exercise can do amazing things for your cardiovascular health. For your strength. For your mental health and overall mood. For your sleep! And ultimately that's what this challenge is all about: Helping you develop a fitness habit, and hopefully helping you build up some strength along the way. Just want to make sure we're all on the same page about that before we get going. Cool? Cool.
And finally, we'll leave you with this: It's a good idea to check in with your healthcare practitioner before you get started with any changes in your fitness or exercise habits. And that's especially true if you're dealing with any underlying health conditions, which include a history of disordered eating. If you have any questions or concerns at all, definitely reach out to your doctor.
Now… let's get to it! Happy working out!
Top image: Photographer: Catherine Servel at Brydges Mackinney. Hair: Tetsuya Yamakata at ArtList. Makeup: Seong Hee at Julian Watson Agency. Manicure: Julie Kandalec at Bryan Bantry. Stylist: Sara Van Pée at Quadriga. Model Mia Kang is wearing Carbon38 tank top, similar styles at carbon38.com; Athleta sports bra, similar styles at athleta.com.