If you grew up during the 80s or 90s, you probably read at least one “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Not familiar? In each book in this series, you fill in as the protagonist and guide the plot by making decisions. For example, coming upon a creepy-looking door on page 9, you might be told to turn to page 12 if you decide to open the creepy-looking door or turn to page 50 if you decide to run away. Choose incorrectly and the literary version of yourself could face terrible consequences or even death. (Unless you’re like me, in which case you’d quickly change your mind and turn to a different page.)

Similarly, this month’s DIY Health is all about choices. Unless you’re a very picky (and melodramatic) eater, it’s unlikely you’ll have to select a scare, but you are going to be choosing your own fitness and nutrition adventure.

This month’s fitness plan focuses on circuit training, with three variations to help customize your workout. Our nutrition plan offers a sampling of recipes from cultures of the world that get progressively more daring as the week continues.

Ready for your adventure to begin? Your fitness plan and nutrition plan await — and you can start by deciding which to read first.

Move for Health

Tips from Highmark fitness expert Pam Gurtis

This month, we’re focusing on circuit training, which combines cardio and strength workouts to improve your overall fitness level. The pace is quick and the circuits are easily customizable, so you won’t get bored.

Once you master this month’s circuit workouts, create some of your own. You can do an all-strength circuit, an all-cardio circuit, or a combination of both. Choose the exercises you like best and do one to three sets of your circuit. Aim to perform each exercise for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. When you’re ready to increase your workout’s intensity, cut down on your rest time between each exercise.

Workout 1:


Straight leg lateral side step (with band)

Lateral pillar bridge


Glute bridge

Curl to overhead press

Workout 2:


Jumping jacks


Skip rope


Mountain climber

Eat for Health

Tips from Highmark nutrition expert Deepthi Harkar

Making bulk quantities of your favorite meals is a great way to save time, but after eating the same thing for what feels like the hundredth day in a row, your once-favorite foods have overstayed their welcome with your taste buds.

When you can no longer stand the sight, smell or taste of your lunch, turn to this month’s recipes from cultures around the world to help you break out of your food rut.

Though you may not have tried (or even heard of) some of this month’s recipes, many of them pair simple ingredients like potatoes, tomatoes and chicken with lesser-known spices to produce flavorful meals and side dishes.

If you’re not sure you’ll like one of this month’s dishes, try making a smaller appetizer version so you can taste test. You may discover a new favorite.

Recipe Box:

Cilantro and Tomato Salsa

Greek-Style White Bean Soup (Fasolada)

North Indian Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes

Savory Pancit

Zesty Okra