Ale, Cara, Emilia & Sharon Reflect On Their Sweat Challenge Journeys
Over the last six weeks, we’ve watched on with pride as the Sweat Community reset their goals, unlocked their potential and saw their confidence skyrocket. The Sweat Challenge might be over, but we’re more excited than ever about what’s to come.
There are four Sweat members we’ve been keeping an extra close eye on throughout this challenge: Ale, Cara, Emilia and Sharon. Together, these incredible women have now completed almost 25 challenges.
So how are they feeling now that the six weeks are up? What does the next chapter of their fitness journeys look like? And what advice do they have for future Sweat Challenge participants?
One thing is for sure: they’ll definitely be back for the next Sweat Challenge in January!
Ale followed Brit’s Strength & Barre challenge
This may have been Ale’s eighth Sweat Challenge, but the last six weeks were far from what she expected. After coming down with pneumonia a week before the challenge kicked off, Ale had to reset her goals and started the challenge in week three after giving her body time to recover.
“I achieved a different but better goal from what I expected,” she shared with us. “My original goal was to increase weights, reps and time. Due to my illness I switched to different goals such as learning to rest, listening to my body and being more grateful for what my body does for me every day.”
Ale’s story highlights the importance of learning to listen to your body and taking the time to rest and recover. For Ale, this has meant taking a less is more approach to the Sweat Challenge.
“After letting my body recover correctly, I feel so much stronger.”
While she may have started her challenge later than expected, she learned some powerful lessons along the way.
“I learned the importance of persistence and the fact that even if you fail to show up sometimes, you can still get back on track and achieve awesome results.”
For Ale, results have come in the form of increased energy levels and seeing her fitness routine through a more mindful lens.
Now that Brit’s Strength & Barre challenge program is staying in the app for good (with an additional six weeks!), Ale is excited to give all 12 weeks a go.
“I love barre, I love strength training and getting the chance to extend that experience is more than I can ask for. And Ignite Strength Block 3 looks amazing, too! It seems I have plans for the rest of the year already.”
“Britany, THANK YOU,” she says. “You are such an awesome trainer. You always suggest modifications to your workouts which make them inclusive for different levels and situations.”
“I love the fact I can enjoy your programs, challenge myself during my best periods and enjoy them when recovering or feeling down, too.”
While Ale’s Sweat Challenge might not have gone to plan, it gave her exactly what she needed and she’ll definitely be signing up for the next one.
“These weeks are the best weeks of the year,” she says. “Knowing so many women are training together and our trainers are with us all the way is amazing.”
Cara followed the OG Kayla challenge
Like so many members, the return of OG Kayla made this a Sweat Challenge Cara couldn’t miss. So, how is she feeling after six weeks of OG training?
“It was not easy and totally kicked my butt, but I did it! In the Full Body workouts in the last week of the challenge I was able to do two and a half rounds in a circuit TWICE, so I definitely saw an improvement in my speed and stamina.”
One thing Cara would have done differently if she had her time again would be to prioritise sleep and rest.
“The beginning of the challenge came around during a very busy and hectic time at work and I didn’t priortise my rest very well, which I know affected my overall fitness,” she explained. “It’s possible I would have performed better had I kept quality sleep a main focus in my routine when it started. I’ve since been working on that part, but it made for a bumpy first half.”
While she may not have gotten her full eight hours in those first few weeks, OG Kayla did help alleviate stress for Cara and she enjoyed the change in routine.
Work stress is something that can affect how often she makes it to the gym, but Cara says the challenge motivated her to keep up the habit of going at least three times a week. “Plus, I had been so focused on strength training before that it was nice to be pulled from my routine and tossed into a more cardio driven program.”
One of the main takeaways Cara is taking from the challenge is the power of mixing up her training styles.
“I hated cardio and I really hated bodyweight sessions, but I think this program sent my progress into a higher gear and this switch-up is exactly what I needed to get through the plateau I hit before the challenge.”
Now that OG Kayla will be staying in the app with an extra six weeks of programming, Cara’s excited to see this program through.
“This program is tough, but I want to see it through to the end and I think it’s been a fantastic change of pace for my gym routine,” she told us. “After that, I have three weeks left of Kayla’s High Intensity Strength and then after that is still to be decided.”
Beyond the improvements to her strength and stamina, Cara’s seen other areas of her life change for the better since the challenge started.
“It did wonders for my energy, focus, memory and even my motivation and creativity with my hobbies!”
“I’ve experienced less brain fog at work and I get that 2 pm slump feeling less often. I started up some hobbies again that I had put aside because I just didn’t have the energy which has been nice to get back into.”
Emilia followed Katie’s Strength & Pilates challenge
If you follow Emilia on social media, you would know that authenticity is the name of the game. During this challenge she decided to share her progress, setbacks and wins along the way.
"I do hope that my authenticity encourages others to try to challenge themselves," she said.
From taking time to prioritise recovery (hello, ice baths and saunas!) to holding a Copenhagen plank, Emilia’s experienced plenty of wins along the way. One thing she’s particularly proud of? Discovering she’s stronger than she ever has been.
"I think I’m fitter now than when I was in my late teens and early twenties," she told us. Another bonus? An increase in self-confidence.
"I’ve gotten to the point of going to the gym and just not worrying about anyone else around me," she said. "We’re all here to exercise and improve ourselves. Nobody is judging you. They’re concentrating on their own goals."
Emilia also shared that she felt like she was in a rut before the challenge began and the consistency of Katie’s Strength & Pilates challenge has given her clarity in other areas of her life.
"This challenge has helped me slow down and concentrate on six weeks of fitness. I cleared my head and made the decision to change careers," she shared. "I’m going to study to be a dental assistant and start my paid training next week."
As for what’s next? Between the new career path and preparing for an upcoming surgery, Emilia has a different kind of challenge ready to go - she’ll be raising money for The Lost Dogs Home.
"I’m an animal lover and want to see all the lost and abandoned animals be well looked after."
When it comes to Sweat, Emilia’s also excited to see what else Katie Martin has up her sleeve, given this was her very first Sweat Challenge program.
"Katie, you are an amazing trainer," she said. "I would love to see more of what you can contribute to Sweat."
"I’m looking forward to any new programs or extensions. That being said… I hope I don’t see a single RDL into Bulgarian Lunge exercise anytime in the future. My legs were crying!"
Sharon followed Kelsey’s PWR Express challenge
This Sweat Challenge was particularly special to Sharon. Her first since becoming a mum, Sharon got back into fitness a few weeks before the challenge began. So how is she feeling now that it’s over?
“I am SO proud of myself,” she told us, explaining that while she had felt unwell during week 5, she was still able to finish. “Week 6 I finished strong and completed all four workouts which I was extra proud of!”
“It was worth it to prioritise my own health and wellbeing,” she said. “At about 15 months postpartum I reached a point where I got tired of hearing myself complain about not being able to work out or eat healthy or feel good. Completing the Sweat Challenge was doing something about it finally - and the result is that I feel SO good now!”
For Sharon, this challenge was all about making fitness part of her life and feeling more like herself again. Following Kelsey’s PWR Express challenge allowed her to discover short workouts that could fit into her routine.
“Most people think 20 minutes is not enough to achieve anything but that is simply not true with PWR Express,” she explained.
“I started just hoping I could finish,” she said, looking back on her first week. “Now that I’ve finished, I know I will keep going. My confidence has skyrocketed!”
The six-week challenge allowed Sharon to become more disciplined in her workouts and other areas of her life, such as her bedtime routine and meal prep. An awesome bonus? Hearing that she feels more positive in her own skin again.
“It really feels good to be happy accepting and loving myself again.”
Sharon will be keeping her momentum up now that the challenge is over, diving into the next six weeks of PWR Express.
“I was super excited to see Sweat announce that each of the challenges will become permanent programs with six additional weeks, so I plan on continuing PWR Expresss for the next six weeks with three workouts a week and potentially adding a fourth from a different program just to mix things up.”
If there’s one thing these four incredible women can agree on, it’s that you’ll never regret a Sweat Challenge.
Try these programs
Since the Sweat Challenge began we were inundated with requests to make the OG Kayla, PWR Express, Strength & Barre and Strength & Pilates programs permanent. In a Sweat Challenge first, the four programs Ale, Cara, Emilia and Sharon followed are now available in the app - for good.
* 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.