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Sydney's Change Challenge for October

emember your New Year's resolution? Yes? No? Fear not: Senior Instructor SYDNEY MILLER is sharing simple, healthy and habit-forming challenges every month of 2017. In collaboration with JACKIE LONDON, registered dietitian and nutrition director at Good Housekeeping, each one is designed to help you reach long-term goals through mini-routines. Here’s what she’s got on tap for October.

Just in case you needed a reminder: "change” and “comfort zone” are mutually exclusive! While sticking with a routine that works for you is key to crushing your health goals, it’s just as important to find some small moments whenever (and wherever!) you can to shake things up. Why? Because there’s a difference between a routine and a rut — and getting stuck in the latter can stop you from getting to the next level, no matter what level you’re at or where you are in your own health journey. That’s why our October challenge is getting you up and out of the saddle (both literally and figuratively!) to maximize your in-class experience and make the most out of your workout.

In class this month, the challenge is pretty simple: Out of the Saddle October. Does this mean you won’t sit down? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What it does mean is staying committed and not looking for that break or out, where you would usually pop down and take a seat. This month, we want you to take your water out of the saddle, catch your breath by standing up taller and breathing for a moment, and do your best to stay present and engaged for all 45 minutes. You can expect longer runs, more jogs, shorter resets, and MORE CHANGE!

Looking to create more change and more out-of-comfort-zone moments beyond the bike? Here are our top tips for taking you out of your comfort zone, out of your rut, and into a new groove:

TRY ONE NEW FITNESS CLASS A WEEK. Cross-training is KEY to change, so let’s spice up our fitness this month and try something new once a week. Need some inspiration? Look no further than SoulAnnex — a brand-new studio where we are offering tons of interesting new workouts taught by your favorite SOUL instructors. Love pilates, interval training, and house music? Pop over to my new class at SoulAnnex, HOUSEWORK, this month! HOUSEWORK is the perfect complement to your SoulCycle classes because we target the abs and butt while lengthening the legs and arms, and keeping our heart rates up in prime calorie-burning zone.

ADD A NEW INGREDIENT TO YOUR REPERTOIRE. Whether you’re Julia Child or have takeout on speed-dial, everyone can try one new meal, snack, or ingredient each week this month! That may mean adding a fun fall veggie (we love squash, pumpkin, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, cauliflower, carrots, beets… we can keep going!) to your usual weeknight dinners at home, or aiming to cook just one dinner per week. Setting a goal of trying something different in your kitchen is the first step in helping you adopt a new habit that works for you. If you’re already a culinary pro, try perusing the farmers market or grocery store for a veggie or fruit you’ve never tried (or have been afraid to use!); try a meatless Monday if you’re otherwise a carnivore, or try swapping your usual wheat pasta for a chickpea or lentil-based version (they’re higher in fiber and protein, which can help you fill up faster!). Adding a health-boosting new ingredient into the mix can help you experiment without overhauling your whole schedule — and it can also introduce you to some new ideas you can bring into your regular mix for the long term.

For kitchenphobes or cooking novices: Try buying pre-made spiralized veggies or veggie rice (like broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, squash, beet, and zucchini noodles), canned pumpkin, or pre-sliced seasonal fruit (like clementines or apple slices) and veggies that you can stuff in your bag when you’re running out the door. Since prep work can often be the limiting factor in getting you to eat more good-for-you foods, buying strategically can take out some of the hassle and help you try something new.

GET OUTSIDE. If you’re confused about what a lunch hour even is — well, we don’t blame you. But, getting outside in the middle of the day — even if it’s just for a few minutes of sunlight! — can help in so many ways. If you can take a full hour (or more!): Try a lunchtime workout (eat before or after), meet a friend or colleague for a proper lunch, or go for a long walk to grab food. Getting outside during the day can mean an opportunity for you to try out new, healthy foods, adapt a new workout schedule, or squeeze one in when you thought you’d have to miss it otherwise (walking counts too — remember our June challenge?!).

SCHEDULE YOUR CHILL. Is it just us, or is your comfort zone pretty hectic, crazy, and downright uncomfortable? That’s why taking some me time — be it five minutes or a five hours — to get out of your head can be difficult, but it's worth it. So worth it, in fact, that it sometimes requires adding it to your schedule in order to get it done. So, we’re encouraging you to schedule it to make sure it gets done! Try a meditation app, sign up for a new stretch, yoga, or pilates class, invest in a foam roller, or treat yourself to a massage. All of these things help you to both plan ahead for a little bit of downtime, but also provide you with tools (like a schedule, an activity, or a physical item) to help you try something new. Keep in mind, chill time can take just about any form — all we ask is that you schedule it so you’re not skipping it!

CHANGE YOUR SCENERY. Regularly at Rooster classes? Schedule a class later in the day. Always catching class at BRYANT PARK? Try walking (see what we did there?) down to NOHO to for a change of pace. The same idea goes for where you eat meals — especially if you’re one for sitting in front of a screen while you dine, or eating breakfast mid-commute. Changing the location on your meals can help you stay mindful while you eat, which can bring better attention to cravings and help you stay in tune with hunger cues. It’s these little out-of-comfort-zone moments that can help to supercharge your everyday routines. Injecting just a teeny bit of extra life and energy into small activities can lead to healthier, happier habits for the long haul.

Catch classes with SYDNEY at SoulAnnex, 19th Street, Bryant Park and Union Square. Ready to ride? Click HERE to grab a series.

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