When Brooke Johnson decided to take on a dry January challenge, she was determined not to just give up the booze for a month, but to make significant lifestyle changes that would allow her to become healthier and more consistent in the gym. But how would she do it?
In December of 2021 Brooke was physically and mentally in a rut. She felt like her life in 2021 was like Groundhog Day. Go out, get drunk, go to F45 and do tons of cardio, rinse and repeat. It didn't help that the holiday's added extra eating and drinking and extra pounds and body fat. There were many times during the year that Brooke thought about making changes, but she said that she wasn't going all in.
"Instead of completely quitting drinking, I was making deals with myself and setting circumstances that were hard to stick to. I tried staying away from liquor, just drinking beer, or only drinking on certain days." Johnson said that setting those conditions were difficult and hard to follow through with which ultimately led to her breaking the rules and finding herself back to square one. She knew that moderating herself wasn't the way. That's where January 2022 and the thought of a dry January challenge came in.
"My excuse for never doing a dry January challenge in the past was silly. My birthday is in January and I thought that there was no way I was going to not drink on my birthday. I knew this was going to be really hard for me but I knew I needed to do this, " said Johnson. In addition to taking on this dry January challenge, Brooke made a change in fitness routines as well. Rather than running every day and doing nothing but HIIT classes, Johnson joined All Fit Orlando and fully embraced focusing more on consistency, weight training, and getting stronger.
"After I got through dry January I was really like how I felt. I liked who I was. I trusted myself again to know that I was the person who could say they were going to do something and actually follow through. So I decided to do another month, then another, and another until May came and I said why not just do the whole year?"
In addition to her new found sobriety, Johnson was also noticing that she was eating better, sleeping better, and being really consistent with her workouts. She started noticing lean muscle growth, reduction in body fat, and increased strength. She realized that fighting hungover urges like fast greasy food, and being too tired to be consistently in the gym combined with high intensity cardio rather than incorporation of strength training was actually hindering her getting the results she truly wanted. She jokingly now gives credit to her newly visible abs to no more alcohol and pumping iron consistently (said in the best Arnold Schwartzenager voice.)
When asked what advice she would give someone thinking about completely kicking alcohol and changing their lifestyle, Johnson recommends a book; "This Naked Mind" by Annie Grace. She stated the book really helped with mindset. In addition to the book, start small. Try to go a week. Then do another. When you hit a month, try another. Setting small goals with tasks when done consistently is the key for success. Then find a great fitness program that puts as much emphasis on strength training as it does intensity and a supportive community like All Fit Orlando and you have a winning recipe.