The wellness icon talks about her simple #3for31 challenge.
The thought of waiting until January 1 to start a new fitness challenge or routine makes wellness icon Robin Arzón "viscerally" react, she explains over the phone. "I don't believe that we should wait," says the head instructor and vice president of fitness programming at Peloton.
"I think that we have to have an urgency about our lives," she continues, throwing out one of her signature nuggets of inspirational wisdom. "This is not a dress rehearsal." And that's why she's doing the #3for31 challenge again this year after first dreaming it up back in 2012.
The concept is simple enough: Move for 30 minutes a day for all 31 days of December. Any month with 31 days in it will do, adds Arzón. But there's something about prioritizing yourself during the often stressful and busy holiday season when the weather outside is chilly that makes December a prime time to set and accomplish such a goal.
"I told myself when I was writing my book Shut Up and Run that if I could get off my butt in December, in one of the coldest months of the year for a lot of folks, then I could do it anytime," explains Arzón. At the time, her goal was to run three miles every day, but the challenge has evolved since then.
Now, she suggests people move in any way that feels good to them for a total of 30 minutes each day. That could be a 15-minute walk in the morning and another 15-minute walk in the evening. Or it could be 30 minutes straight on the treadmill, in a yoga class, on a bike, or in the gym for strength training.
It's not lost on Arzón that promoting a fitness challenge in the middle of the holiday season, which is often associated with rest, may seem counterintuitive to some. But she thinks it's all about listening "to that internal conversation of what [your] spirit really needs," she says. "I think that when [you] establish a framework in a fun challenge like this, it's no pressure...It's actually meant for [you] to enter a headspace where [you're] prioritizing how [you] feel, [your] mental health, [your] physical and mental connection."
To Arzón, "movement is medicine," she says. "It's fertilizer for the brain. It gives [you] more energy; it gives [you] more capacity for patience." Those are two things that certainly go a long way during the holiday season.
As someone who's made a career out of fitness, Arzón's idea of rest may look different than others. Instead of taking time off, she varies the intensity of her workouts and the types of training she does. "I'm doing heavy strength training upper body one day," she explains. "The next, it might be a longer run or a bike ride."
However, she understands that "slowing down is a strength." It's something she got a crash course in after having her daughter, Athena, in 2021. "I was repairing physically from the inside out and mentally in a lot of ways," she shares. "It actually takes confidence to do something that's slower."
So, when it comes to her #3for31 challenge, Arzón does what works for her and encourages others to do the same. "It's unique for me because I am running every day, but again, I'm trained up to the ability to do that, right?" she says. "That's not necessarily right for everybody, but 30 minutes of movement a day, varying the intensity of [your] workouts is achievable."
It's this mentality that Arzón recommends people harness when considering the idea of creating New Year's resolutions, which are historically difficult to maintain. Instead of a resolution, "I like to think of them as nibbles of hustle," she says. "It's important to start small. I think sweeping change, for anyone, is really daunting. So, start with one achievable thing, and then do it again, and then do it again."
The key is to be consistent and create habits, she explains. "I don't care about what someone's willing to do once or even 10 times," says Arzón. "I care much more about what you're willing to do consistently rather than flame out over intensity."
If you're looking for a way to start building a consistent movement routine now, Arzón's #3for31 challenge might be a good place to start. Participants can track their progress using a calendar graphic and tag @Robinnyc on Instagram or @swaggersociety on Twitter, along with the hashtags #3for31 and #SwaggerSociety each day of the month. Anyone who completes the challenge can earn a spot on the pre-registration list for the trainer's new Web3 lifestyle membership club, Swagger Society. The club has a move-to-earn model and offers users exclusive access to Arzón.