The Mardi Gras Challenge

The first week of the challenge has flown by and the support of my teammates has been wonderful. But if you’re anything like me you are becoming increasingly concerned with the imminent approach of Mardi Gras. While the season is already underway, the part I am most concerned about is that stretch from Thursday of Muses (my favorite parade) to Fat Tuesday. I’ve put together a list of things I’m going to try doing to avoid losing progress during this chaotic time. Hopefully, they’ll help you too!

Plan Your Parades

Now that I am a mid-city resident I plan on going all out for Endymion. For me that means a day off—not worrying about calorie consumption or working out. I can’t wrap my head around a Mardi Gras without a purple haze in my hand so I’m encouraging a cheat day. If this method doesn’t work for you, opt for a healthier route during the whole week. Just know your body and know your mind. If you know a cheat day will set you off for the whole week—don’t participate. If you think following a strict meal plan during Mardi Gras isn’t realistic, follow a more “everything in moderation” approach.

Limit the King Cake

My rule of thumb this year is one piece at the beginning of the season (Jan 6th) and one piece at the end of the season on Fat Tuesday (Feb 9th). An average slice of king cake has about 343 calories, 13 g fat, 52 g carbs, 25 g sugar. And that is just ONE SLICE!!! Consume no more than one-two slices per season so you can have your cake and eat it too!

Fuel up

Most years during Mardi Gras I find myself moving from pregame to parade to concert with few stops in between. It’s really important to eat breakfast to get your fuel for the day. Try to eat a meal that includes all of the food groups. Eggs with avocado on whole wheat toast is a good option or a bowl of oatmeal. Also, don’t forget to pack a snack! A protein bar or almonds are easy options to carry with you throughout the day.

Drink Water

Mardi Gras falls early this year which means it is going to be COLD. While it may be tempting to reach for the hot cocoa or Irish coffee, remind yourself to drink plenty of water. You’ll be able to tackle the week more readily if you aren’t dehydrated.

Find your High BEFORE you Get Down

Be sure to stop by the studio and sweat it out before you head out for the day! During Mardi Gras we will be open:

2/4 Thursday: Open until 6:15 pm
2/5 Friday: Regular schedule
2/6 Saturday: Open 8:00 am-11:45am
2/7 Sunday: Open 8:30am-10:45am
2/8 Monday: Open 9:00am-11:30am,  5:15pm-6:15pm
2/9 Tuesday: Closed


Can’t Live With It, Can Live Without It...My 30 Day Breakup with Alcohol

This is most likely not the first article you’ve read on the subject, and with the New Year in swing, it most certainly won’t be the last. BUT we live in New Orleans so we have to talk about, drinking. Last month I decided to challenge myself to 30 days without drinking. This came after Halloween, Tulane homecoming, and a series of nights out on Frenchman left me feeling bloated and quite frankly depressed. While my timing during the holiday season wasn’t ideal, I figured if I could make it through a month without drinking at holiday parties I could survive anything. Here’s what happened…

I Got A Better Night’s Sleep

While you may feel you sleep better after that second glass of wine, that is not the case according to studies found in the journal “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research”. Alcohol before bed may help you fall asleep faster but it won’t KEEP you asleep and can cause you to wake up feeling less rested overall. I knew I would miss my glass of red wine on the couch before bed so I created my own nighttime routine. I made my lunch for the following day, laid out my clothes, then read a book in bed. The next day I found myself arriving to work earlier and felt more energized throughout the day.

Going Out Wasn’t Boring

As a 22-year-old living in New Orleans with a passion for live music…going out is practically penciled into my weekly schedule. My friends were extremely supportive of the challenge and I even got my roommate to tag along for most of it! My only concern was how my music lover acquaintances would respond when they saw me out at a show sans beer in my hand. To my surprise, NO ONE CARED. I got a few comments… mostly, “I wish I could do that” responses and that was it. Everyone carried on and enjoyed the show. The best part…my night wasn’t foggy and I remembered each song perfectly.

It Prompted Other Healthy Decisions

I was able to work out in the morning because I wasn’t hungover. I was less likely to find myself eating Canes because I wasn’t hungover. You get the pattern. When you feel good it is easier to continue participating in feel-good activities.

I Have a Better Relationship With Alcohol Now

I don’t discriminate between beverages. Seriously, I love them all. So taking this break was not easy BUT it did make me appreciate alcohol. Instead of having a beer just for the sake of having a beer I began monitoring when I drink and why. I began to see alcohol as a special occasion beverage instead of something to consume after a long day at work.

SO…if you ever find yourself on a break with alcohol; best of luck. It isn’t easy but in my experience the pros outweigh the cons.

Revolutionize Your Resolutions

With the new year already a week underway, the daunting reality of actually completing all those optimistic resolutions we made for ourselves at the end of 2015 is likely to be settling in. Richard Wiseman, a British psychologist surveyed 3,000 people and discovered that 88% of them failed to complete their new year’s resolutions. Not a very comforting statistic, is it? So, how exactly do we complete our resolutions? Perhaps there needs to be a shift in how we are thinking about our goals. Instead of viewing healthier eating or more exercise as finite objectives, would it not be better to perceive them as habits we want to develop? As I am sure most of you already know, habits are hard to break into. But lasting change is absolutely possible as long as you set yourself up for success. Here are few ideas on how to do that:

Start Small

Although 2016 may seem like the perfect time to start meditating daily, attend cycling class five days a week, AND become a marathon runner, you may be in over your head. You will do yourself a favor if you pick one of these goals and make it as specific as possible. Also, it is important to identify your starting point in addition to your finish line. Perhaps you already hop on the saddle once a week—why not plan to go twice a week throughout January? Although a two days/week exercise routine doesn’t sound as glamorous as five days, remember, habits take time to develop. Once your body starts craving that second day of exercise to maintain sanity, you can start experimenting with three days, and then four days, and maybe after a few months you will cycle five days in a row and decide that four is actually an amount better suited for your lifestyle. Just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are your new year’s resolutions.

Get Support from Others

There is nothing more valuable than a friend who loves you enough to give you a good kick in the ass. Saying no to all of your co-workers begging you to grab a cold beer with them after work is over so that you can say yes to cycling in the evening will be incredibly difficult unless you have a friend to keep you accountable. This is why it is important to enlist a few people you trust to stand by your side as you work towards change. This is also why we are asking you to team up with two-three other people for our Higher Power Resolution Challenge! It is always easy to get away with eating your dessert when you know no one is watching but it is 10 times more difficult when your best friend or partner is hiding all of the cookies from you.

Be Patient with Yourself

This can sometimes be the hardest part of the challenge. If it is only week one of the year and you have already skipped going to the gym a few days, do not quit! The game is not over until you pull the plug. Ask yourself, what is preventing me from achieving my goals? Perhaps you created too many goals for yourself or your goal fails to fit into your current routine. Try scaling back a little and re-framing your intentions. If you are finding that the thought of exercise after work is absolutely exhausting, try practicing in the morning before work or hit the gym on the weekend. Just make sure that the goal you set for yourself is realistic for your schedule and your lifestyle.