Around the country at least, if not around the world, the end of the year always seems to bring an opportunity to reflect, while the start of a new year often feels like an opportunity for new beginnings. Here at AR we’re really no different. I (Sarah) love the insights that come from introspection, and with the number of times I’ve started a new year as an adult beginning to add up, I’ve realized that some years create more opportunity for growth than others.

As such, we’ll be repeating our Healthy Habits challenge in 2019. Thanks to Dani, the awesome posters are back, so we’ll be able to size up the competition head-to-head for each challenge (described below). The stickers are ready for sticking (and for the occasional unsticking for those who end up doing the “walk of shame” - prematurely giving yourself a sticker for the same day, then sheepishly removing that same sticker the next day after dinner got the best of you).


As always, your “score” will be your self-reported sticker on the scorecards on the gym walls. When you enter a challenge, you determine your criteria (i.e. what you would consider success at the end of the month: whether you're completely avoiding caffeine/booze/sugar, or whether you'll allow x servings per week, or whether you'll get a sticker any time you slept more than x hours). It's not for us to draw that line.  Pick something that you think would be a healthier (and realistic/sustainable) level for you, and give yourself a sticker every time you reach that goal.

We’ve learned in past years that it’s a very sad poster that has no stickers by the end of the month, so please be thoughtful about which challenge(s) you join, if any. We’re hoping this will be a jumping off point for a healthier you - a version of yourself that actually does the things you believe you should be doing. If you have no interest in drinking less caffeine, don’t kid yourself. But if you really would benefit from eating less sugar, this is an opportunity to harness the power of our community, and of little shiny stickers, to make a change that will benefit you this month, and maybe even for years to come.

We’re considering introducing prizes this year. The criteria and awards are TBD, but if you’re motivated by things like free t-shirts or perfect bars, this could be your year!

For those new to AR, the categories are listed below. For those who’ve been here in prior years, please read them with fresh eyes. Think about whether there are any categories in which you’d benefit from “leveling up”. To enter, grab a Sharpie, write your name (neatly) on the correct poster(s) and get ready for a month not that different from an elegant couplet. Looks pretty simple on the board, but the aggregate effect can actually change your life.

More Sleep: this category is intended especially for those of you who find it difficult to get more than six hours of sleep per night, and potentially for those who sleep less than eight hours.  Time and again, research shows the detrimental effects of insufficient zzzz's in terms of its effect on stress levels, metabolism, and general performance.

Less/No Booze: this category is intended especially for those of you who are interested in competing in the Open and/or those of you who have body composition goals.  Alcohol (especially in excess) is detrimental to sport performance, recovery and body composition, so really has no place in an athlete's routine.

Less/No Sugar: Increasingly, the addictive and harmful nature of added sugar is hitting headlines.  We're not talking about naturally occurring sugar in fruit and other foods, here we mean sweeteners (including calorie-free sweeteners). For those of you seeking to improve body composition, and to get control of your cravings, cutting sugar out entirely for the month of January will be a challenge, but worth it.

Less Caffeine: For some responders, caffeine at any dose is detrimental to health, and if you're in that category you're probably not inclined to consume much caffeine anyway.  For the rest of us, caffeine in reasonable doses as an enhancement to an already healthy lifestyle is probably not an issue, but if we start to exceed roughly two (reasonably sized) cups per day, or start drinking it late in the evening, it can begin to have detrimental effects. If you've gotten in the habit of replacing sleep or water with coffee, this may be the challenge for you.

More Water: While the recommendation to drink 8 cups per day may not be as scientifically backed as I once thought, the guidance to drink enough to keep your pee relatively clear is pretty widely acknowledged.  Being chronically dehydrated is a known performance inhibitor - even being mildly dehydrated can have a material effect on performance.  That said, there is no advantage to excessive water consumption, and drinking too much water can also be harmful.  With this in mind, if your pee tends towards strong yellow, perhaps getting to mellow yellow would be a good objective.

Nutrition Overhaul: If you've been wanting to try a Paleo, Whole 30, macro counting, or other nutrition challenge, this could be the month to do it alongside other Arena Ready friends.  I am very opposed to crash diets, intended to dramatically alter body composition through unsustainable means.  As an alternative, I'm very strongly in favor of learning how your body responds to various foods as fuel and sources of micronutrients (or toxins), and trying to gradually change your habits (and body composition) through pursuit of healthier habits.

If you’re interested in my 12 Week "How to Paleo your Macros" program for AR members, or if you're interested in this challenge, but don't already have another idea in mind, please feel free to contact me, and I'll get you set up!

WOD For 01-02-19:

With a Partner On a Running Clock…

A) From 0:00 - 17:00

For Time (With a 17 Minute Cap):


Hang Squat Clean @ 135/95 lbs

Box Jumps @ 24/20 in

*One athlete working at a time

*Athlete A completes one FULL round then TAGS Athlete B who then completes one FULL round

*For Example:

Athlete A completes 10 and 10 > TAG

Athlete B completes 10 and 10 > TAG

Athlete A completes 9 and 9 > TAG

Athlete B completes 9 and 9 > TAG


B) From 20:00 - 30:00

Strict Press:


*If possible, add to your top set from 12-18-18

*Does the met-con beforehand help you add to your previous loading or hinder that pursuit?