Karina Smirnoff has always been up to the challenge, but are you?
The former Dancing with the Stars pro, who is featured on the cover of the July/August issue of Oxygen, is teaming up with Biggest Loser star Jen Widerstrom for the Oxygen Challenge series — a fitness and nutrition plan that aims to help you achieve your goals and get into the best mental and physical shape of your life.
The duo, who have each created their own unique 90-day program, will take challengers step by step through each daily workout, offer fitness tips, provide specific nutrition plans and meal prep advice, and most of all, be your biggest motivators.
“Living a healthy lifestyle mentally and physically gives us the best opportunity to have a happy healthy life,” Smirnoff, 40, exclusively tells PEOPLE. “I love challenging myself, pushing myself, and I believe it’s important to celebrate your victories. I remember one of my coaches saying to not only concentrate on what your ultimate goal is, but also remember to celebrate small victories as they will give you more motivation to move forward! Being complacent is the worst thing one can do for themselves.”
Though Smirnoff and Widerstrom both share the same end goal, their workout plans are unique and designed around their unique fitness routines.
“I believe in a muscle confusion workout,” says Smirnoff. “I don’t like doing the same workout routine over and over again. So I used the same approach with my 90-day Oxygen challenge. I’ve created three different workout routines (Krav Dance, Yoga Dance and Cardio Dance) where every two weeks we add and develop it more and more so you never stop learning and challenging yourself. All one needs is 30 minutes a day, and I walk them through each step and exercise. Through the period of 90 days, we will strengthen, lengthen and shape our muscles, burn calories, lose weight and develop agility, stamina and flexibility.”
With any fitness journey, there are going to be good days and bad days — but it’s how you embrace them that matters, Smirnoff points out.
“Everyone has bad days,” she says. “I used to fight them and try to change it around, but I learned that sometimes it’s easier to just embrace it and not force it, but instead shift your energy to something positive. I often would do a yoga class or try something new to shift my focus. Then you don’t forget to celebrate a small victory.”
She adds, “Remind yourself why you want to work out! What’s your final goal? And then start by putting on your workout clothes. You’ll feel silly to take it off without doing some sort of an exercise. Once you start your workout, compete with yourself and others — you’ll fall in love with the post-workout feeling! I love the energy I get after a great workout. I feel euphoric and content, and so will you.”