Fall Back into Fitness Pledge


Whether you’ve fallen off the wagon with your regular workouts, you’re plateauing or you’re ready to start exercising this fall, this five-day fitness challenge may be just want you need to start getting results.

Pledge today to get started on Monday. We’ll post a story a day, Monday through Friday, and you’ll be good to go!

How Will It Work?

Follow the suggested five-day schedule below, adjusting it as you see fit. Feel free to start Day 1 with us on Monday, and use Days 6 and 7 for your active rest (more intermediate to advanced exercisers may want to add additional workouts on those days, too). Repeat the schedule for as many weeks as you’d like to help re-establish your exercise habit.

What Do I Need to Do to Join?

This free challenge is completely adaptable based on your needs and preferences. You can use the recommended five-day schedule and daily workouts or create your own. Feel free to hit the gym, take a class, work out at home, follow your own plan or try our workout video options for each daily session. The recommended duration is 20–30 minutes a day, but feel free to do more (or less) depending on how much time and energy you have. Start the program anytime and check in with us as you go, so we can cheer you on along the way!

The Suggested Fall Back into Fitness Schedule:

Day 1: Total-Body Strength Training

Day 2: Steady-State Cardio

Day 3: Interval Cardio + Core

Day 4: Strength Circuits

Day 5: Total Stretch

Days 6 & 7: Active Rest Days — Optional gentle yoga, cycling, walking and/or any add-on workouts of your choice (regular exercisers may want to add strength training, for example)

Let us know if you are all in!

If you are up for the challenge, leave us a comment below and let us know that you’ll be joining us for this series. Also check in with us on your favorite social media platform using the hashtag #MFPFallChallenge. (Be sure to tag @myfitnesspal, too!) We’re here to help support and hold each other accountable, so stay in touch on each post and/or via social media. Don’t be shy, we’re all in this together!

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A Sample Week Of Working Out For Weight Loss


If you’re trying to lose weight, you may know that adding more workouts to your weekly routine is one of the best steps you can take. However, it can be tough to come up with a perfect plan on your own if you have no idea where to start. Whether you’re totally new to fitness or just need some guidance,you’re covered here. Celeb trainer Adam Rosante, author of The 30-Second Body and C9 ambassador, came up with a plan for SELF readers to help guide you to success with any weight-loss goals you may have (when it’s paired with healthy nutrition choices and good sleep, of course).

“This plan is highly effective, but totally accessible to all levels,” says Rosante. Here, he plans out your Monday through Sunday—all you have to do is show up and work hard. This mix covers all of your bases, but if you need to swap something out, that’s NBD—this is just an example week of the types of workouts you can be doing. Consider it a baseline to help get you going.

Here’s how to use this plan:

  • Check out the perfectly planned week of workouts tailored to weight-loss goals below. If you’re not trying to lose weight, that’s completely fine too—no matter what your goals are, this balanced fitness plan can be a great guideline.
  • Schedule your workouts for the upcoming week on your calendar and book your classes in advance.
  • If you need to replace a day with another workout, just be strategic about it. “Follow the spirit of each workout: Strength training, high-intensity cardio, mobility work and stretching, steady-state movement.” Maybe you swap out a sprint day with an interval training group fitness class, or you hit up a restorative yoga class on rest day.

Now go get ’em.


“Strength training is the key to weight loss and unlocking your inner badass,” says Rosante. “You’ll burn fat, shape your body, and increase the number of calories your body burns at rest.”

This is because the more lean muscle your body has, the more energy it takes to maintain. This increases your BMR, or basal metabolic rate, meaning your body burns more calories at rest. This is a calculation of how many calories you’d burn if you just laid in bed all day.

Rosante’s simple strength workout requires some floor space, a workout bench, and a set of dumbbells. The exact weight you use will vary, he says, but he does have some guidelines for choosing the right ones. “You want to be able to complete all of the reps without stopping, while keeping great form,” he says. “But your last few reps should feel very difficult to complete. You should feel like you could maybe do one or two more reps if you had to.” It may take some trial and error, and it’s better to start lighter when you’re just beginning. (Here are some more tips on choosing the right weight.)

Ready to get started? Here’s the total-body strength workout you’ll do three times a week.

Your Total-Body Strength Workout

  1. Bodyweight Squats—15 reps. Quick tip: Get low, keep your chest up, and don’t let your knees go over your toes during this lower-body move.
  2. Dumbbell Bench Press—12 reps. Quick tip: Position yourself so your head, back, and butt are all on the bench, your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Dumbbell Row—12 reps each side. Quick tip: If you don’t have a bench available, try a bent-over row.
  4. Lying Isometric Y—Hold for 30 seconds. Quick tip: You can keep your legs on the ground for this one if that feels more comfortable.
  5. Box Step-Ups—15 reps each leg. Quick tip: Alternate between your left and right leg, and for an extra challenge, step your lifted foot into a lunge as you come down from the box.
  6. Plank—Hold for 30 seconds. Quick tip: Make sure you’re keeping your core tight!

Do the circuit 3x, resting for 1 minute between each round.


Strength training is important for increasing your BMR, but the calorie burn payoff for high-intensity cardio workouts is more immediate. “Sprinting torches calories and gets the work done in a fraction of the time you’d spend jogging,” explains Rosante. This type of high-intensity interval training is especially effective because after skyrocketing your heart rate several times during a workout, your body uses more energy to get your body back to a resting state.

You can do Rosante’s simple (but tough as hell) sprint interval workout on almost any cardio equipment. So no worries if you just can’t with the treadmill sometimes—you can also use an indoor cycling bike, rowing machine, elliptical, you name it.

  • 30 seconds: Full-out sprint
  • 60 seconds: Moderate pace jog
  • Do this 12x


“Your body needs to recover after two days of intensity, but you don’t want to sit around doing nothing,” explains Rosante. “Foam rolling and stretching will improve your mobility and actually help to improve the quality of your workouts, [because] good mobility will allow you to achieve full range of motion in the moves. Executing these moves with a greater range of motion will force your body to exert more energy, and the more energy you exert, the more calories you burn.” A bigger range of motion means you’ll be able to squat deeper and lunge lower while using proper form. When the right muscle fibers are firing, you’ll get more out of every exercise.

Now pair that mobility work with some walking. Walking is a low-impact movement that increases blood flow and will help speed recovery, Rosante explains. “Plus, the simple science of weight loss is this: Expend more energy than you intake. Walking counts!” So break out the activity tracker or down load an app on your phone around and aim to get a solid 12,000 steps in (a little more than the normally cited 10,000 steps). “If the goal is weight loss, an extra 2,000 steps per day helps you kick things up,” says Rosante.


Do the same workout you did on Monday.


“Do a high-intensity fitness class to kick up the calorie burn while keeping things fresh, interesting, and social,” says Rosante. Grab some friends and head to an indoor cycling studio, or sign up for the boot camp class you’ve been nervous to try. Having a strategic program like Rosante’s is important for efficiently moving toward your goals, but this where you have the chance to mix it up so you don’t get bored. No matter what you do, though, make sure you sweat—and have fun.


Do the same workout you did on Monday and Thursday.


Ah, rest day—you’ve earned it. Muscles aren’t built while you’re working them—in fact, when you strength train, you’re breaking down muscle fibers. That’s why it’s important to build in rest and recovery time, so they have a chance to repair themselves a little stronger than before, explains Rosante.

“You’ve worked your ass off this past week,” says Rosante. “Rest up and get ready to crush it again next week.”

Stick with this plan for about four weeks, then mix it up.

Keep it up with this workout plan for three to four weeks, suggests Rosante. “Improve and progress with each workout, each week. Lift a little heavier. Push a little harder.” Even if you just focus on improving your form during every workout, that’s still progress, says Rosante.

After a month or so on this plan, it’ll be time to switch it up. “You don’t want to stay on it forever for a couple of reasons. First, you’d get bored out of your mind. And that’s a fitness killer right there,” says Rosante. “Second, your body is absolutely brilliant at adapting to stress. Eventually, it will find a way to make easy work of these sessions. When that happens, you’ll plateau and stop seeing progress. Change is essential.”

But hopefully, once you’ve been crushing your workouts for several weeks, you’ll feel more comfortable than ever moving forward in your fitness journey. And that alone is a big win, no matter what the scale says.

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5 Dietitian-Approved Meals Ready in 15 Minutes


We’ve all had those busy weeknights when simply winding down can be challenging enough, let alone trying to tackle meal prep and cooking. To help, we’ve asked five busy dietitians to share their favorite fast meals that can be thrown together in a pinch — no advanced cooking skills required. Get some inspiration from their tips below!

1. Patricia Bannan, RD, author of “Eat Right When Time is Tight
My quick and healthy go-to dinner is tuna and veggies. I’ll mix a can of albacore tuna with a bit of mayo and spicy mustard, then chop up some crisp veggies like cucumber, red onion and bell peppers. I usually enjoy this in a whole-wheat wrap or on top of a green salad with chopped tomato, avocado or any other vegetables I have on hand.

This dinner helps me reach the recommended 2–3 servings of seafood per week that is advised for optimal health. Seafood is an important source of protein, good fats and vitamins and minerals. Adding lots of veggies pumps up the fiber and nutrient density of the meal. This super nutritious dinner is ready in 15 minutes or less!

2. Rebecca Vander Sluis, RDN
One of my top meals is a stuffed sweet potato. Simply poke a sweet potato with a knife, and heat in the microwave for five minutes. Once the potato has cooled, slice it in half, scoop out the insides and transfer it to a bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning, sautéed peppers and onions, and black beans. Then, fill in the empty sweet potato skins with this mixture. For cheesy flair, sprinkle with grated cheese, and microwave for one minute till the cheese has melted. Serve with chopped cilantro, salsa and sour cream as optional toppings.

Many people fail at eating healthy because they make it too complicated. This sweet potato dish is simple and follows the ‘rule of three’ formula:

  1. Adequate protein: black beans
  2. Two servings of fruits or vegetables: peppers and onions
  3. A whole grain or starchy vegetable: sweet potato

3. Julieanna Hever, RD, author of “The Vegiterranean Diet
On a busy weeknight, when I am hungry and have a famished family to feed, my go-to dinner is a Mexican fiesta. I whip up a few easy side dishes, then let everyone mix and match to their liking. Here are a few options I’ll lay out on the table:

  • Basic Bean Dish: On the stove, in a medium saucepan, I throw in a can or two of oil-free refried beans, and mix in some frozen roasted corn and salsa over medium-low heat, while stirring, and it is perfect after about 5 minutes. This mixture is filled with an array of health-promoting fibers, plant protein and the perfect synergistic combination of vitamin C in the tomatoes and iron in the beans for optimal mineral absorption. It goes well over a salad, rolled into a tortilla, burrito style, or on tacos.
  • Fresh Guacamole: Simply mash avocado with a bit of salt and lemon juice.
  • Frozen Batch-Cooked Rice: Having frozen brown rice in the freezer makes for a super quick, substantial side dish. I often batch-cook brown, red, black or wild rice or quinoa to keep in the fridge for situations like these.

This whole food, plant-based meal is packed with health-promoting nutrients and satiating complex carbs, proteins and healthy fats — and it can be completed in under 15 minutes.

4. Jessa Nowak, MS, RD
When it’s been a rough day and my refrigerator is looking sad, my go-to meal is an egg bowl. Whip up some eggs scrambled with spinach. Then, add them to a bowl and layer with warmed black beans, cheese, diced tomatoes and black olives. Top with a dollop of sour cream and a heavy sprinkle of hot sauce. Serve with sliced fruit and a glass of milk. This meal is full of flavor, satisfying and super quick and balanced. It is high in protein and fiber and covers all food groups without adding bread or a white starch.

5. Christa Mantey, RD
We just had our first baby five months ago, so there are a lot of nights where I don’t have the time to be as creative with dinner. Being a dietitian, I always try to make it nutritious, and being Italian, I always try to make it delicious. Our go-to quick dinner has been salad in a bag from Costco, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods complete with dressings and fixings. I love that we can get our fresh, raw, organic greens in each night without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. All the enzymes, phytonutrients, fiber and healthy fats help to keep us fueled and nourished. This is so quick — it literally requires me opening the bag and emptying the contents into a salad bowl, mixing and serving. Adding some leftover quinoa, avocado, chicken or salmon that we have in the fridge is nice to for some added protein and healthy fats.

Got your own healthy no-recipe meals? Share yours in the comments below.

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Sunflower Seed Butter Banana Chocolate Oatmeal

Sunflower Seed Butter Banana Chocolate Oatmeal

Stay calm on hectic mornings with Cooking Light’s nutty, chocolatey banana oatmeal. Oats and bananas are both high in soluble fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you fuller for longer. As if this breakfast couldn’t get any better, rich dark chocolate shavings add a decadent finish!

Cooking Light DietFind more low-calorie dinner meals like this from the new Cooking Light Diet, where you can lose weight without giving up the foods you love. Learn more at CookingLightDiet.com. Follow Cooking Light on Facebook for more daily recipe inspiration.

Follow Cooking Light on Facebook for daily recipe inspiration.

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