Did your New Year’s resolution involve some sort of fitness goal? We’re just two weeks into January; don’t be hard on yourself if you haven’t seen big changes or if you still feel like a fish out of water at the gym (or, you know, can’t possibly keep up in your SoulCycle class). “Remember to focus on consistency over intensity. Your training will likely yield better results this way,” says Jennifer Lau, Nike Master Trainer.

Prior to the holidays, the ELLE Canada team followed a seven-week training program with Lau and Nike at Fit Squad in Toronto, focusing on full-body, low-technique but high-intensity exercises (think HIIT training).  “A six-to-eight week training program for a beginner is a great amount of time to build momentum and begin to gain some progress,” explains Lau. “It’s generally said that you will feel results around week four and [other] people will notice your changes in six to eight weeks.”

Here, eight editors share their fitness goals and the changes they saw over seven weeks of consistent workouts.

Fitness Goal: Increase Endurance 

“My fitness goal for these seven weeks was to be able to run longer distances and increase my endurance, since I was only ever able to do sprints. I usually like to do pilates, barre or circuit classes two to three times a week (ish). Barreworks, Elle Fitness Studio and Misfit are my favourites. Jenn definitely taught me about strength training and gave me motivation to continue to try these types of workouts, especially since I’d never really done them before.  I also discovered which areas of my body I wasn’t spending enough time on very quickly (arms!). Going forward, my fitness goals are to continue to experiment with different types of workouts more regularly, especially ones that don’t feel as comfortable for me.” – Christina Tourloukis, editorial assistant 

Fitness Goal: Consistency 

My goal for these seven weeks was to get back into working out on a regular schedule and be more motivated to make fitness a consistent part of my life. When I had a studio membership, I would make it a point to go to classes a few times a week but without that structure, I became less motivated. I hoped that the Nike classes would remind me how important consistency is when it comes to building strength and endurance. I normally like to take a variety of classes (usually involving some element of dance or strength training) or I do a quick cardio and weights session at the gym. I’d say my fitness level was average with a lot of room for improvement.  Over the seven weeks, I felt stronger after each workout and my body seemed to recover faster. I learned some new exercises that I hadn’t done before and it helped me realize which parts of my body I was ignoring. My fitness goals moving forward is to be more consistent and to round out my routine by doing all exercises, not just the ones that I like or that feel easier. I also want to track my progress so I can set goals and see how much I improve.” – Erica Ngao, fashion editorial assistant 

Fitness Goal: Improve Energy Levels 

“I’m inspired by people who are able to maintain a work-life balance, exercise regularly, eat well and get enough sleep. My goal was to incorporate fitness into my routine to increase my energy levels and generally feel healthier. I go through phases of fitness. Sometimes I’ll workout several times a week, other times I’ll skip two months. I’ll make an effort to go to yoga and pilates when I can, but fall back when work piles up.  I definitely saw changes in my overall strength as well as my motivation to work out. It’s true what they say: exercise is addictive! I found as the weeks went on I was really excited to challenge myself. My goal is to look like Britney Spears at her peak. Just kidding!  But really, what I want is to prove to myself that I’m capable of anything I set my mind to.” – Melissa Perdigao, beauty editorial assistant 

Fitness Goal: Strengthen Legs 

“I’d fallen off my usual workout routine (a mix of HIIT and weight-training classes three to five days a week) in a big way in recent months. I was missing the health benefits of a regular sweat – I generally sleep better and have fewer random aches and pains – but I also couldn’t help but notice that everything was a little softer and my jeans were a bit tighter. Plus, the looming certainty of wearing a bikini (I’m escaping to Mexico for a week this winter) provided extra motivation to kickstart a new fitness routine. I wanted to feel stronger and healthier, and, on the vanity side of things, I wanted leaner, smoother legs.

While challenging and exhausting, the classes were also fun and varied enough that I was too engaged in what I was doing to notice the time (unlike in my old gym workouts, where I’d glance hopefully at the clock every five minutes). They reminded me how much I love that feeling of having worked my muscles, and each week I felt a bit stronger and more motivated. Not wanting to slip back into my recent lazy ways after the classes ended, I got back to doing my regular workouts again. These days I’m far more likely to drift off as soon as I hit the pillow and my mild lower-back ache (thanks, desk job) has all but disappeared. My legs still need some work…but I’ll get there.” Ciara Rickard, copy editor 


Fitness Goal: Feel Empowered 

“My main goal was to make it through the seven weeks of training and finish each workout feeling empowered and accomplished. I know that Jenn can bring it in a way that’s exciting (and kinda terrifying), but her goal is always to push you to challenge yourself. Her mantra, ‘the pain is temporary,’ will ring in my ears forever. I’d rate my fitness level as medium. After years of practicing hot yoga several times a week I feel totally comfortable and competent in that realm, but anything beyond that is a gentle wake-up call to mobilize my body in a different way. I definitely walked away from the sessions feeling toned and stronger – and like maybe I need gym studio visits in my life, on the reg. I also learned that the sled thingy is hella hard! While loads of fun had during, the after-effect of squatting and running was felt in my legs for days. I have a new found respect for athletes that play through injuries. I’d like to use the momentum of this experience to incorporate training into my fitness routine.” – Ingrie Williams, beauty and style writer 

Fitness Goal: Get Strong 

“My goal was to see if I could make it a priority to get to every class – and I did! I also wanted to improve my general strength and stamina. Just going to this one class a week helped motivate me to attend additional classes. It also reminded me how much better I feel when I’m working out regularly. I would say my level of fitness is average. I’m usually more of a cardio gal; I do a lot of spin classes. I loved these Nike classes as we did a lot of strength training – it’s what I needed to work on! I did notice that my stamina and strength improved over the seven weeks. I don’t want to say the classes got easier, because they 100% didn’t, but I felt like I wasn’t as out of breath by the end of it. I learned that I’m capable of making exercise a priority and am able to stick to a schedule when I choose to put it first and not make excuses. It’s hard to get motivated in the winter, but it feels so good to actually get out and do something for my physical and mental health. I want to try and do three classes a week in 2020, keep building my strength and maybe even get a little bit toned!” – Emily MacCulloch, beauty and fashion writer, makeup artist and on-air beauty expert 

Fitness Goal: Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

“I’m motivated by the beneficial developmental aspects for my child. And it’s so easy to neglect your own health when you’re pregnant, especially the third time around. The social aspect – seeing my friends – and commitment to the group helped hold me accountable to working out. Jenn is so motivating and the classes are just hard enough. I would modify the planks (usually bringing my knees down) because your centre of gravity shifts, but you can do a lot when you’re pregnant, even though society tells you otherwise. I felt strong.”  – Katherine Flemming, beauty writer, editor and PR 

Fitness Goal: Show Up! 

“Prior to this class, I had recently re-joined the gym after a six month hiatus. (Seeing Hustlers sent me sprinting back.) I usually only go on the weekends, so when this Nike class came up mid-week, I knew it would be achievable since the whole team was going (one of the hardest things about working out is just SHOWING UP). Plus it’s only 2 minutes from our office. I didn’t have specific goals in mind other than just getting an extra workout in during the week and making it to the end of each one without dying. I also liked that it wasn’t an hour of straight cardio; it involved tons of weights, which is all I do now because it’s the only thing that gives results. I felt nominally stronger as the weeks went on and I did like that I learned new moves that I can incorporate when I’m on my own. Going forward, I’ll keep focusing on strength training and avoiding Le Gourmand when the cookies are fresh out of the oven.” – Lesa Hannah, Beauty Director

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