A SUMMER CHALLENGE FOR YOU…
Summer is upon us, kids are out of school, and the weather is beautiful. Summer is one of my most favorite times of year. Mainly because I do not have to get up almost every morning at the crack of dawn to put Charm on the school bus as the sun is rising, but also because summer enables my beach bum desires to pretend I was a mermaid in my other life! But, if this is a truly judgement free zone, I honestly love summer time because Charm goes gallivanting around the globe visiting family…without me! Yes, the Mother half of this mother-daughter duo loves Mommy time too! I say that, but I was just a little sad when I dropped her off to my Dad this weekend…a little…but I’m over it!
I promise that is not as selfish as it sounds! If you’re a parent, I am sure you understand! Hell, you probably only need to know a kid to understand! Charm is still at the age that she loves going to spend time with her grandparents. Plus, it gives her bonding time with her cousins. For Charm, summer gives her the opportunity to see more of my family, which is spread all over the country. I have lived in Louisiana for fourteen years, but my Dad, Aunt, and Grandmother live in South Carolina and the rest of his family lives in Connecticut; my sisters, nieces, and Mom’s side of the family are all in Missouri. This summer, Charm will venture to South Carolina and Missouri before heading home towards the end of the summer, and she already has her bags packed ready to get her travel on. She most definitely has the soul of a wanderer. She heads out and barely calls home to check on me.
So like a kid in a candy store, I am excited about the opportunity to fill my free time with some things I have been wanting to get into that I can’t do with Charm. In my posts, Beyond the Limits and Team NDSS (if you haven’t yet, take a second to check them out), I talked about some goals I have. In those posts I shared a few lessons that have resonated with me. You have to:
- Choose to be great
- Push past your comfort zone
- Find your tribe
- And, shoot for the goals that you tend to tell yourself you can’t do
Because of these lessons, I have set two goals: run on behalf of the National Down Syndrome Society during the January 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, and begin my journey to run a marathon in all 50 states (with only Louisiana accomplished so far, I have a way to go)!
Choose to be Great. I want to encourage other people to set and share summer goals!
In comes the challenge I have for you all: Set at least one new fitness/active goal, of your own, for the summer, and share it with someone who can join you and/or hold you accountable!
Push Past Your Comfort Zone. I dare you to pick a goal that is outside of your comfort zone. A goal or some activity that you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to try but maybe haven’t got around to yet. Or perhaps even a goal that you’ve started in the past but struggled to see through. I’m not here to tell you what to do, and I don’t have a generic fitness challenge for you. I want you to find something that aligns with your interests and/or something you need to do for your health or lifestyle! (Keep reading for suggestions)
Find your tribe and get it done together! There’s strength in numbers, but also, it is motivating and encouraging to have a workout/adventure buddy that will help you stay motivated towards your goal.
Ideas. Are your little ones not going away for the summer? No problem! Set some family goals or tweak your goals to make them kid friendly. For years, I short-changed myself by consistently being the voice in my head telling myself I couldn’t do things because of Charm. Most of the activities Charm and I currently enjoy together, like camping, hiking, traveling, running, yoga, and working out, we really just started enjoying as a team in the last few years. Previously, I would tell myself, “She’s too young” “She won’t enjoy that” and even “She will slow me down”. This was a fail on my part. I wish we would have started doing these activities together much sooner! For example, for a long time I wanted to go to a rock wall gym, but kept putting it off waiting to have someone who wanted to try it with me. Then, once I finally got there, I realized most of them have areas for kids to come enjoy it as well! Now, we have it on our bucket list of fun things to get out and do together!
Here are some activities that I have learned are pretty kid friendly:
- At home workouts. Charm loves working out with me in the living room! We challenge each other to planks, squats, burpees, sit-ups, and mountain climbers. I have some 5 and 10 lb weights and she loves mimicking all of my workouts with them.
- At home yoga. As soon as I pull out my yoga mat, Charm lines up right next to me and wiggles into all of the poses. I have even brought her along to some kid-friendly yoga classes.
- Workout YouTube videos.
- Run/Walk together. The first time Charm asked to join me on a run, I immediately doubted her ability to be up for the challenge. She told me “I was born ready”! Now she runs in 5k and 10k races with me throughout the year. One of our favorites is the NOTC Spillway 5k “Mud Run” during the summer. (I don’t think she will be home for it this year). If you have a really small kiddo, consider pushing them in a stroller while you run/walk.
- Ride bikes together.
- Go on a hike together! A few years ago, I was really wanting to go on a hike. I found myself looking at my schedule for a “kid-free weekend”. And then it hit me, Charm is very capable of roughing through some nature hikes with me! I googled great hikes near New Orleans, (Whereyat.com has a great list) and from there we had a list of hikes we had to hit, and called them our adventure hikes.
- Swim! Don’t know how to swim? Perhaps you could take some family swim lessons.
- Have a dog? Walk it together.
- Go camping! Get a relatively cheap tent (I found an awesome 5-person tent for under $75), pack up some outdoor supplies, and hit one of your state parks up. While you’re out there you could probably find some nice nature trails or peaks to hike.
- Play at the park. New Orleans has some pretty awesome parks (NORDC) all over the city. NORDC has a number of Recreation Centers, Parks, and Playgrounds. Some facilities have pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, and more; and most facilities are absolutely free or have extremely low fees (for instance, the tennis centers have court fees). Recreation Centers offer many fitness classes absolutely free. Not in New Orleans? Well google to see if you have facilities like this in your area!!!
Really want to set a summer goal but don’t know what to try? Many of my friends tell me they just need to know what to do. Walking in a gym without any instructions can be intimidating, as can attempting to self-train for anything else! Here’s a few challenges I’ve tried:
- Race training plans. Google some 5k races in your area, that are at least 6-8wks out, and find a training plan to prepare for it. There are a ton of awesome training plans on websites like runnersworld.com or the Nike Run Club App. When I wanted to prepare for my first 5k & 10k, I used the Coach feature of the Nike app on my phone to help me prepare. It was awesome, and the daily alerts helped hold me accountable to myself.
- Step up to the next race. Start to train for whatever your next race milestone is.
- 30 days of yoga. There are a few awesome Yoga studios in New Orleans, such as Bikram Yoga, that offer a 30-day trial for new students. Also, many fitness studios can be a bit pricey even to drop in for one visit. Check out the studios you’re interested in to see if they have community rate (discounted) classes or donation based classes.
- Massy Arias does an awesome Massy Methods 8 week challenge. I have done a 30-day Massy challenge. It was awesome, but it does cost $$. I feel it was well worth it. It came with grocery shopping lists, detailed weekly meal prep instructions, workouts for each day, video tutorials for each workout, and she used Snapchat to update throughout the challenge.
- Eat Clean. Try a new diet. March 6th I gave up meat and decided to give the vegetarian lifestyle a try. I wanted to see how it would enhance my workouts and runs. I also gave up most dairy products. I’m still holding strong, and my digestive system has appreciated me for it. Plus, I feel more energized, my thoughts are clearer, and my hair and skin has loved me for it! Since I am not much of a cooker, this lifestyle change has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and into the kitchen to prep some healthy meals.
- Instagram Challenges! There are some awesome fitness trainers on IG that are just trying to get their names out there. They post some great fitness challenges for their followers. Talk a couple of your friends into completing the challenge with you. A couple of years back, with the company of my bestie, I completed a 21-day challenge from @fitfreshfly (who just happens to be Kevin Hart’s trainer now). My friend and I had a blast simply being together almost every day pushing each other along.
This summer I am calling my goals #backToTheBasics. I love trying new things. Today it’s eating clean, later this year it’s marathon running; but I don’t do a good job combining it all to find a good balance. I want to wipe my slate clean and work on developing a stronger foundation and better habits that will come together to make me a stronger runner and overall healthier. I plan to run fewer miles, get back to strength training and yoga, and maintain my vegetarian diet. Over the last year, I have neglected the gym and yoga classes. My body has noticed the difference of running without those things. I do not feel strong right now. I also realize that just because I run doesn’t mean that I am in good shape overall. My plans starting June 1st:
- Get in more strength training. I love the gym, but it’s not easy to get there when I have my daughter. Therefore, I have been having to get creative at home or end up not working out at all.
- Spend time talking with a trainer. I want professional advice on how to improve some of my mechanics and see where I have been making errors.
- Bikram Yoga and Restorative Yoga
- Foam Roll DAILY
- Light runs
We want to hear about your goals! I truly hope you feel confident enough to share your goals here, and encourage others to join along with you to chase their own goals. One of the goals of Living In The Breeze is to develop a tribe of like-minded people. Too often, I see memes and quotes about not telling people your goals and dreams, and not letting people know what moves you’re making because not everyone is for you and supportive of you. As true as that may be, I wish to cultivate a safe space all about sharing goals and dreams, and a space of accountability and encouragement. Comment to share your goals, or visit or FB Page and tell us all about them there!
Ultimately, your goals are your goals. You can chase whatever goals your heart desires! My only wish is to encourage you to try something new or something you don’t think you’re capable of! Choose to be happy, healthier, and more active. Leave the city limits and enjoy the world around you. Get stronger, lose weight, gain weight, pick up a new hobby, adventure with your friends and family, make new friends, make lifestyle changes, ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!!!
So, here’s to #GoalChasingSummer, stepping outside of our comfort zones, being more active, and motivating and supporting one another along the way!
Subscribe & Share
More Helpful Links: