Sunday 1 September is the first day of a 30 day challenge to exercise every day, using my favourite at home exercise app, Sworkit. I absolutely love the Sworkit app! I’ve been using it since May 2019 and average four Sworkit (which stands for simply work it) workouts a week. I’m on an 11 week streak and now I’m ready to do the 30 days of workouts challenge.
What is Sworkit?
This video explains it all.
I use Sworkit on my laptop, but it’s an app for your phone as well. For $14.99 per month it offers:
- Variety: More than 300 unique workouts and over 400 exercises including strength training, stretching, cardio, yoga and sport specific workouts. I don’t sail or rock climb but I’ve done workouts aimed at improving performance in these sports. I did it because it’s fun to think that if I should one day find myself on a sailboat I would possibly have enough upper body and core strength to get out of the way of a swinging mast. Same for rock climbing – did a workout aimed at rock climbers, would like to think I can rock climb.
- Personalized: You choose how long you want to work out for. From 1 minute to 90 minutes. I average 20 minutes on week days and on weekends I do two workouts back to back plus stretching which takes me up to 45 minutes.
- Easy: Recommended workout plans based on your goals. When I signed up in June I did the 3 week Leaner programme. It was a great introduction to Sworkit and got me into the habit of exercising regularly. Now I pick and choose my workouts so that there’s a mix of yoga/stretching, lower body, upper body and full body strength training with or without dumb bells and resistance loop.
- Customizable: Create and save your own custom workouts. This is a nice feature. I modified the sailing workout to include dumb bells, and I’ve also created a pilates workout that is very similar to one I did at a pilates studio. You can also change the length of the exercises in the routine, the length of the transition between exercises, choose to include or exclude warm-ups, whether you take rest breaks and if so, how long the rest breaks should be.
- One of the best features for me is that I can play my own Spotify playlist in the background whilst the instructor’s voice comes on over my music. I used to get so frustrated with exercise DVDs or Youtube videos that had a great routine, but the background music made me want to tear out my hair in annoyance – and you can’t mute the DVD or Youtube video because you won’t hear the instructor. Even worse is when the instructor talks non-stop in an annoyingly chirpy hey-guys-do-you-love-my-new-leggings?! shrill voice, or does super long intros and then drones on and on leaving me feeling anything but energised. The Sworkit instructor voice is very easy to listen to, and when I add my own music in the background to get, and keep, me motivated it’s a great workout. Sworkit also have their own Spotify playlists that you can listen to.
- Support: Certified trainers to answer your fitness and nutrition questions. I used this feature once to ask if any of the core exercises would specifically target your waist. I got a response very quickly and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear: to get a thinner waist you need to watch your calories. Uh-huh. (So it wasn’t my imagination that my stomach muscle were hidden behind a layer of fat no matter how many crunches I did !) No magic exercise will shrink my waist – for that I need to step away from sugary snacks between meals. Thanks Sworkit personal trainer. Point taken.
What is the Sworkit monthly challenge?
Every month Sworkit puts together a month’s worth of exercise routines – a routine a day.
The challenge is to see if you can do their chosen exercise on that day and if you can stick with it for a whole month. It’s a great idea because it forces you to exercise regularly and also exposes you to routines you would not normally choose. In my case, the ones I won’t choose are cardio workouts. Me no likey cardio. Yoga and strength training, especially dumb bells, any day. But burpees and star jumps. Nope.
And that’s exactly why I decided to do the challenge. I want to force myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to do the things I find most difficult. Sworkit baby!
My plan for the September challenge
The exercises in the monthly challenge never utilize equipment (dumb bells, resistance loop, kettle bells etc.) because of course the challenge needs to be accessible to everyone. I will however incorporate dumb bells and resistance loops into the challenge workouts wherever possible. I know I’ll be making the workouts harder, but I really love using dumb bells and the resistance loop.
In September I am booked to attend three* one hour yoga classes which of course is not part of the Sworkit monthly challenge. On those three days I’ll still do the challenge workout, but I’ll just do 5 or 10 minutes. (Let’s face it, it will most probably be 5 minutes workouts. I like to challenge myself, but I’m not kidding myself.)
To make things really interesting I’m going to take my weight, hip and waist measurements on 1 September and then again on 1 October to see if doing daily exercises which includes more cardio than I’m used to, makes a difference.
So, all that’s left to do is to start the challenge. Bring it!
*One of these three yoga classes took place yesterday, the first day of the September challenge. You can read about it here. And yes, I only did 5 minutes of the “Simple Daily Stretch” – after doing a hour of yoga I didn’t really see the point of more than 5 minutes of stretching . For the record, I did 15 minutes of today’s “Beginner’s Full Body” workout as recommended for advanced users. It’s day two of the challenge and I’m still sticking to it. Way to go Natasja!