Members Ale, Cara, Emilia & Sharon On Why There’s No Challenge Like A Sweat Challenge
As we get ready to recommit to our health and fitness goals and start the second half of 2023 feeling strong and empowered, we sat down with four Sweat Community members to discover why they’re raring to take on the Sweat Challenge.
Together, Ale, Cara, Emilia and Sharon have completed 20 Sweat Challenges (that’s 120 weeks' worth of workouts!) and clocked up over 5,000 workouts in the app. From Sharon and Cara’s first challenge in 2019 (remember Sweat Nation?!) to the January 2023 Sweat Challenge, these women know a thing or two about motivation, progress and celebrating the big and small wins along the way.
“The Sweat Challenge always motivates me,” says Ale, who finds the experience of training alongside thousands of women around the world and alongside our trainers incredibly inspiring.
“A big part of the motivation is based on the amazing Sweat Community, always supportive and committed to smashing new goals.”
For Cara, the chance to experience OG Kayla again was a unique source of motivation and an opportunity to return to her training roots as she prepares to embark on her eighth Sweat Challenge.
For Emilia, Katie Martin’s Strength & Pilates program (Katie’s first challenge program since she joined Sweat in 2022) was the perfect challenge.
“I always enjoy taking on a challenge and it’s one of the more exciting times to be on the app. I chose Strength & Pilates because I wanted to give Pilates a go but felt like every time I did, I’d be itching to go back to strength training at the gym.”
Sharon, who has trained with Sweat since 2017, is preparing for her first challenge since 2021. It will also be her first since becoming a mum 15 months ago. Like so many women in the Sweat Community, Sharon found navigating the changes to her personal schedule and training habits pre and post-pregnancy challenging.
“Before having a kid and before pregnancy, working out was just part of my life,” she told us, explaining how being advised against exercise at multiple points during her pregnancy, combined with postpartum challenges and navigating a return to work meant she lost her once regular routine. But just under a month ago, Sharon and a girlfriend who was also struggling with fitness decided to work together.
“We agreed we’d help each other at least that coming week to do ONE workout. I told her about Sweat and chose a workout for myself for the coming Monday, she decided to do the same one. That Monday morning we followed through on our commitment to each other and to ourselves, and something about that kickstarted my recommitment to myself,” she said, explaining how she worked out three times that week - a first since becoming a mum 15 months ago.
“It just so happened that Sweat announced its upcoming 6-week challenge around that same time. I had forfeited participation in these challenges ever since becoming pregnant, so I was excited to feel like I could finally actually have a shot at doing it again.”
Kelsey’s PWR Express Challenge was the perfect opportunity for Sharon to recommit to herself.
“PWR Express offered three 20-minute sessions, which felt really attainable for me,” she said. “Plus, I really missed the days I used to spend 1.5 hours at the gym after work doing PWR - days I felt were now forever gone to me. Maybe this program could get that back for me a bit.”
When it comes to setting goals, Sharon’s focus is as SMART as they come as she likes to set realistic and attainable targets. Her goal is to complete the challenge as she hopes to show up for herself and feel more like the old her again.
“I know I’d be extremely proud of myself if I reach this goal because that will mean six additional weeks of consistently, and I believe the more consistently I keep up my workouts, the more it will become part of my life again.”
As another woman who knows all about the juggle between parenting, work and fitness, Ale says her number one goal is and always will be to show up for herself.
“I think this is the real challenge,” she says. “I am a mum of four kids with a full-time job, so investing time in myself and committing to that is a huge goal.”
Ale, who will be following Brit’s Strength & Barre program, is also looking to increase her weights in strength training and barre.
“Progress for me means one more push-up, one extra pulse or a slightly heavier dumbbell. It doesn’t have to be something huge, but consistent. I expect to feel the difference after six weeks!”
Emilia’s goal is to increase her strength and be persistent in her approach to training, telling us that feeling fitter and healthier is what she’s looking to achieve in the Sweat Challenge.
"I’m excited to try Katie’s challenge as it would appear to be a style I’ve never trained in," she says. "I never thought to do strength training and Pilates during the same workout."
Cara, who has always had a soft spot for the original PDFs, is looking forward to the challenge of training OG style again and is focusing on endurance. She’s hoping to complete more than two rounds during the allotted time (if you know, you know).
"I know I’m making progress when I complete a session and instead of tired, I feel totally awake and ready for the day."
When it comes to the hardest part of the 6-week challenge, these four members highlight that it’s a mix of physical and mental barriers.
Like many OG members preparing to work out with Kayla again, Cara knows that the program itself is tough, and is making an effort not to be discouraged if she runs into an exercise she has trouble with or doesn’t enjoy (here’s looking at you, mountain climbers!).
"I worry about any potential injuries or illnesses that might halt my progress," shares Emilia. "I also find when it’s coming towards that time of the month, I get more fatigued and crave more unhealthy foods so I’d be less likely to achieve my goals."
"The hardest part is to challenge your limits, your comfort zone and go the extra mile," says Ale, adding that she expects the barre pulses to also be tough.
"I think the Sweat Challenge is the best time of the year to move to the next level and see what your body and mind are capable of."
For Sharon, an early alarm presents its own unique challenge. While she’s not a morning person, she’s found it’s the only time she has to train since becoming a mum.
"Waking up early requires me to go to sleep early, too," she says. "Discipline is so hard - I think it will be the hardest part of the challenge for me."
From training at home to heading to the gym, Ale, Cara, Emilia and Sharon have each found their ideal space to work out.
"A couple of years ago, we decided to transform our old garage into a home-based gym," says Ale. "The whole family love that space and as it is separated from the house, it’s very private and calm."
"My plan is to train there and concentrate on the Sweat Challenge every morning. Hopefully without interruptions!"
Emilia will be heading to the gym to complete Katie’s program.
"There is a free weights area on the ground floor and a machine area on the top floor," she says of her training space. "There’s also a carpeted room that they had classes in, and I found that is a good space for yoga, barre or Pilates."
Meanwhile, both Cara and Sharon will be embracing a mix of at-home and gym-based sessions for the Sweat Challenge.
"I go to the gym mostly, it’s only a few minutes away and has lots of equipment as well as a group workout room that will be perfect for OG," Cara shares. "Sometimes I’ll work out at home if I can’t fit a gym run in for some reason, but I’m limited on space and equipment, so the gym is my preferred workout space."
"I live in a co-op building in NYC that has a basement gym which has decent equipment and space," says Sharon. "When I’m not using the gym, I use my living room (it’s quite small!) - right between my couch, coffee table and TV. I have a shoe rack that I use as my weight rack and yoga mat holder, and a basket that holds medicine balls and an exercise ball. And I have a door hanger that I use to hold all my resistance bands!"
As they get ready to press play on their first Sweat Challenge workout, we asked all four women how they plan to celebrate the little wins and mark their progress along the way. From self-care practices to new purchases, there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate you.
"Whenever I complete a challenging session, I invest extra time in stretching and relaxation which I really enjoy and makes me feel good," Ale says, admitting she doesn’t celebrate her wins enough and it’s something she’s looking to do a better job of.
"I will probably keep it simple and treat myself to some ice cream since it will still be Summer," says Cara, who also has a pampering day on the cards.
Sharon has her sights set on a new leather jacket, something she originally thought she would buy after giving birth.
"I never imagined that over a year after having a child, I’d still not feel like myself," she shares. "I kind of forgot about that goal of getting that jacket for myself - maybe I’ll make it my reward after this 6-week challenge!"
And while she’s not a big user of social media, Emilia shares that she thinks an Instagram post will be a nice way to mark her achievements during the Sweat Challenge.
Follow their stories
From increased strength to rediscovering a love of fitness and prioritising themselves, we’re so excited to see what Ale, Cara, Emilia and Sharon achieve over the next six weeks. Keep an eye on the Sweat blog to stay up to date with their progress as the Sweat Challenge continues!
Ready, set, Sweat
The Sweat Challenge is for any woman who wants to recommit to her goals, try something new or level up her training, regardless of her fitness level and no matter where and how you choose to train. With four brand-new programs and six of the most popular programs from previous challenges, there’s something for everyone.
Kicking off on Monday 17 July and running until Sunday 17 August, you only have until 31 July to sign up. Ready? Set. Sweat.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.