Would you like to feel HAPPIER this Halloween? October 31st is right around the corner. For some of us, that means we have HUGE candy bowls in our house and have been eating candy all month to celebrate. Others may be looking forward to sneaking lots of candy from their kids' trick-or-treat bags (that used to be me; every year!!) "I'm checking them for poison. I heard the Snickers were tainted this year," used to be my "line." ;)

Have you ever considered doing the opposite this time of year? And no, that does not mean sucking all of the fun out of Halloween! How about getting fit and focused, so you can feel your best for the upcoming holiday season? Halloween can be a tough time of year with sugary treats tempting us all around the office, in the home, at the bank, etc. NEWSFLASH, candy is available year-round and does not have to be consumed in bulk just because it is Halloween;) Instead, consider shifting your focus. This time of year is an opportunity to FLEX your "will power" muscle, and get some control over the sugar cravings. Are you ready to say, "goodbye" to jeans gouging into your waistline, and say, "farewell" those awful moments in your closet when you can’t find anything to wear?

I own a fitness studio in beautiful downtown Rosemount, and we have taken the idea of getting fit and focused for the holidays, and staying accountable, to heart. We have a group of 16 women who joined our 6-week 5K run club, and they have been training to run their first 5K at the end of this month. As we were strolling back to the Warehouse after our 2.9 run/walk last Sunday, one of our participants asked me what was next when this run group ended. She said she wanted to keep going, and loved being accountable to this group. Lisa Hayes is another runner in the 5K club. She is a mom and busy professional. Lisa says, "'Running with motivated people makes the time go by fast. Faster than if alone. I wouldn't have it any other way-each one of the women in our group inspires me each and every Sunday. Even when I am not feeling it!" ~Lisa Hayes

For October, we designed a program called, "Lean and Mean by Halloween with Jeanine." Jeanine, one of the NC Fitness Warehouse Trainers, has been leading a team of 30 women to help them stay accountable. Our "Lean and Mean" program has been meeting two nights per week since October 1st for workouts. They are also staying accountable to their fitness and nutrition with a daily checklist, our clean eating meal plan, and a nutrition shake. The participants of "Lean and Mean" are all wearing beaded bracelets to represent their goals, and remind them of THEIR reasons why they want to stay fit and/or get fit. Michelle Rodine is a mom of two who had a C-section almost a year ago, and wants to rebuild her core strength. "I have NEVER stuck with a workout routine this long! With all the support that you get from everyone at The Warehouse, it is unbelievable!! From all the trainers to the people, even though we are all at different fitness levels; and that is OK!! There is no judgment and it makes me want to come back and keep trying!! I've never felt more motivated to get in shape. I LOVE IT!!" ~Michelle Rodine

Here are a couple of action steps that you can take today, to get started on a plan right away:

• enter a local 5K with a friend, and set up a training schedule (I like this resource: CLICK HERE)
• do an organized nutrition challenge with a group
• get involved in a group fitness (Zumba, Boot Camp, etc.) class or run club
• get a health coach
• sign up to meet with a personal trainer or nutritionist

* Are you ready for some accountability? The NC Fitness Warehouse has coaches that work with people in person and online to help people stay accountable to their health and fitness goals. If you would like to connect with me, or one of our coaches, send me a message: nickiecarriganfitness@gmail.com. I will match you up with a coach that can help you get started! @gmail.com>

* Interested in running? I would like to invite all readers to attend the "Border Battle Bolt" 5K (and 1Mile) Race here in beautiful Rosemount. The NC Fitness Warehouse will be hosting a "tailgating" booth at the Expo! This is a family friendly event! It is only $15 to run, and you get a T-shirt! Dress up to run in your Viking gear or your Packer gear! Get a group from work together and come on out! CLICK HERE >>

Nickie Carrigan is a fitness business owner in the Twin Cities. As a passionate fitness professional, she strives to help others across the country build and/or maintain active and healthy lifestyles. To contact Nickie visit www.nickiecarriganfitness.com.