September Sweat Sessions: The Challenge

if you have a body

I posted a call to action on Monday, but I didn’t do a very good job of explaining my intent or promoting my purpose before diving right in to my September Sweat Sessions. Typical.

Plus, then I posted the most perfect Peach Upside Down Cake on Wednesday. The consumption of which is totally counter to my September fitness goals. I wanted to slip that delicious recipe in there for you before all of summer’s perfect peaches were gone!!! So if you, my wonderful readers were a bit thrown off, I understand!

Or if you are just tuning in to accept the challenge to Sweat with me this entire September, WELCOME to my second challenge post!

Allow me to elaborate with part of my story. (*Or skip directly to the challenge.) I am looking to lose some summer weight. Unlike some, I actually find that I gain the pounds more during the summer than I do during the winter. Call it reverse hibernation, call it falling off the proverbial wagon, call it lack of self-control, and love for all of summer’s juicy foods. It is all of those, I’m sure, and this has been my cycle for many years.

In fact, maybe last summer was the first time that I maintained my exercise goals through summer break. I’ll credit that to an incredible personal trainer, and the fact that I was prepping to for bikinis all day, every day in Costa Rica.

I feel that my summer weight increase goes all the way back to my college days in Alaska working in the seasonal tourism industry there. I always kept up a rigorous workout schedule while I was in college. I ran nearly every day and had periods where I was weight lifting three or more times a week. This kept me in great shape.

But when summer hit and I headed north (for seven glorious summer seasons, mind you!), the weight came on. I let all of my working out and healthy eating habits slide. I can cite all of the reasons for the slide– I was constantly traveling, it was an every summer reunion with some of my best friends, I was making up for all of the stricture and schedule I placed myself under during school, work was long but the days were longer. I was hungry.

I find a similar cycle in my life now. When summer comes I’m ready to cut loose! I’m ready to break the rules. I’m ready to eat all the shaved ice. I’m ready to NOT pass on the french fries. I’m ready for a milkshake-a-day, and I can assure you that it is NOT the same as an apple, kids. I also tend to eat more meat as we grill and entertain during summer months, and look the other way when it comes to making sure I am eating my veggies.

My meal planning game gets weak. Because another thing that has kept us eating healthily over the years is definitely The Scramble. Roll your eyes, I know that I talk about it all the time, but the meals in this plan are healthy and filling. This is the Goldilocks of meal-planning sites if you ask me. The meals aren’t too big and they aren’t too small. They are JUST RIGHT.

But sometimes in the summer even those meals go out the window! And that doesn’t even cover VACATION and TRAVEL! OY-VEY!

Then comes September. NOW. I’m ready to shape up and lean out. I’m ready to eat clean and leave the junk behind. What is the point of all of this fitness/exercise/eating talk? The point is it is ALWAYS good to reset. Health and well-being of our bodies require it. Again, and again, and again.

What about you?

What are your fitness cycles? Do you see a pattern in your exercise and eating habits? What are your get moving and eat clean weaknesses? What are your motivations? What keeps you working out? What help you to make healthy food choices? Are you prepared? I hope you are prepared to:

Be prepared to Sweat

Be prepared to Work Hard

Be prepared to Hurt

Be prepared to be Out of Breath

Be prepared to Want to Quit

Be prepared to Keep Going

Be prepared to Drink more Water

Be prepared to Eat Healthily

*Here is my plan. I am going to work out every WORK day in September. That’s five days a week. At least. I am going to split my time between indoor cycling and weight lifting with a smattering of yoga because those are my go-tos. I will be posting an indoor cycling workout here on the blog once a week. This week’s workout is posted, here. You can repeat this workout 2, 3, even 4 times a week if you’d like to.

Then I am going to keep my weekends active, and by active I mean FUN! I am going to go out there and revel in Autumn. Whether that means going on a hike with my boys, taking a walk around my neighborhood (I don’t do that nearly enough), hit the paddle board for a sunrise moment, or pedal down to town for some more peaches.

I am going to reign in my sweet eating. For me, I’ve found it’s best not to cut treats out altogether. So I have a sweet or two each week. Fine. But it will not do for me or you to be eating something sweet EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. It is counter to all of the hard work you will be putting into your workouts.

I am challenging you to do the same.

The reality is that you can do this. My advice is that you shouldn’t be afraid to sweat, don’t be afraid to grit your teeth and dig in to your workouts, and don’t be afraid to smile while doing it. My advice is to take it easy on the food. Don’t go slashing carbs and burning all of your refined sugars. Moderation. (I say this as a person who could pound a pint of ice cream in one sitting, so please understand that Moderation is a constant practice for me.)

I really want that extra pick-up in metabolism. I want to feel a little lighter, and I want to have that strong edge. I’ve also noticed that as my boys have gotten older, I have actually had to work HARDER at my weight training goals simply because I’m not lifting them and hauling them around anymore!

You can cardio until you’re blue in the face, but if you really want to CHANGE your body for the better, if you really want to be in the best SHAPE (and it will be YOUR SHAPE, friends. You will also have to love the package that your body is altogether, because it is a beautiful thing), you will need to incorporate strength training into your workouts.

I’ve often said that I didn’t have biceps until I had babies. For me, having children made me stronger– both mentally and physically. Chanel whatever makes you feel strong and use that as your impetus to get moving!

Plus, I hope you’ll think of THIS SONG every time you head to the gym– the treadmill downstairs, the stairclimber, the weight lifting class, the kick boxing circuit, the elliptical machine, the yoga flow, the core blast, your insanity tapes, or Pilates video.

If you do those things consistently, you will see a DIFFERENCE in your body. Coupled with healthy eating you will begin, gradually, to feel better. You will have more energy. You will have more endorphins. Your pants may fit just a little bit better. You will certainly see an increase in endurance for the stairs at work, and the local walk-a-thin, and chasing after your kids, and that hike with your buddy into the hinterland. You will most likely even breathe easier.

SO, in the words of Snoop Dog, “I want to make you sweat.” Will you join me?

Let’s do this!!!

XX, Megan

P.S. Another cycling workout will post Monday, and we’ll check in again on Friday, shall we?

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