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A Friendly Fitness Challenge for Fall

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Can you believe that fall is just around the corner? I know we say it all the time, but really—where does the time go? It seems like yesterday we were ringing in 2012, full of optimism, hope and goals that we planned to reach throughout the next 12 months. Well…most of the year has already gone and if you're still here and working toward those goals, give yourself a pat on the back. Many people gave up on their big dreams for the year months ago.
Fall is kind of an awkward time for weight loss. As the New Year starts, we're all motivated to work out and eat right. Then we get another boost in the spring when we know bathing suit season is coming. Often summer's arm and leg baring fashions keep us on track, but as the weather turns cooler, we have fewer consistent reminders stick with it.
Let's make this fall different! Let's head into the upcoming holiday season (eek!) lighter and fitter and healthier! Let's take the next four weeks to focus on reaching new goals and trying new things to shake up our weight loss and bust those plateaus.
I have just the challenge for you.
The workout plan I developed for SELF magazine's September issue is the perfect thing to focus on for the next four weeks. The exercises are new and different, and all you need is a set of dumbbells—and the drive to stick with it. Plus it's FUN, and it's designed to allow you to utilize and receive social support to help you stay on track. Here's how it works.
Pick up your September issue of SELF magazine to get the full workout plan. I also encourage you to sign up online, which provides calorie trackers, email reminders (of the next day's workout), and even a video of all the exercises.
The workout itself is divided into two segments.
  1. Burn and Firm Workout Cards. These tear-out cards feature 16 unique moves that work multiple muscle groups at once so that you torch calories and get more from your efforts in less time. My plan calls for randomly sorting the cards, drawing 6 of them (they're double-sided), and then performing each move for a minute each. You then rest for 90 seconds, flip over the cards (for 6 new moves) and do those for a minute each. That's only 12 actual minutes of exercise—but if you are really wanting those results, repeat that series one more time. Do that 24-minute full-body cardio and strength workout 3 times a week. Each time, you'll randomly shuffle and draw 6 new cards so that the workout and the order is always different, which is great for your muscles!
  2. Fat-Burning Cardio. The second part of the plan is pretty simple: Burn 750 calories a week through cardio exercise. I've provided a bunch of ideas to help you get there (you'll find them in the magazine and/or when you sign up online). This part of the plan is totally flexible. You can do cardio once a week (one killer workout), twice a week or three times a week—as long as you're reaching that key number by week's end.
The social component is what you make of it. You can tweet your workout, goals, etc. using the #SELFdietclub hashtag and we'll be cheering you on whenever we see it! The workout cards are most fun when done with friends—this is actually what we've been doing at SparkPeople headquarters the past week: getting together to do the Burn & Firm workout cards as a group. Setting that appointment and knowing that others are expecting you to be there provides a lot of accountability. And the cardio plan I designed is made to be done in a way that you benefit from a whole group: fitness classes, runs with your buddies, and more. The more ways you can share your goals, post your progress, offer and ask for support, the more likely you'll be to succeed. You can even create a virtual workout group with your Facebook friends far and wide by using SELF's Diet Club app for Facebook. That way, you can give you sister in Idaho and your mom in Ohio virtual high 5s while you work out each day.
I challenge YOU to a little friendly workout competition starting September 1. I'm going to follow this workout plan with my friends—and I want you to commit to it for the next 4 weeks as well. In just four weeks, I KNOW you'll see major improvements in your strength and your body. Why not give it a try? Let's make this fall the most fun—and fit—one yet! I will be rooting for you!
Are you up to the challenge? Share your September fitness goal in the comments below so we can cheer you on!

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KHALIA2 3/17/2019
Thanks! Report
Is there a Spark Team? I'm not joining any new sites right now. I am already bogged down with too much computer stuff. Report
Actually Fall is the best time to develop even better habits, well ahead of the holidays. This is what I look forward to the most - the challenge to break the sweets habit, up the protein, exercise better portion control, and focus on more exciting crock pot meals and soups loaded with veggies, by Thanksgiving. The freezer will be loaded with healthy, yummy, homemade meals to enjoy throughout the Fall and Winter. And in the cooler weather, I will get outdoors even more and enjoy longer walks enjoying nature. This is my fav time of year, and I can't wait to up all the good things in life! Report
I spend hours on my computer and do not need anything more than my Spark community. If you devised it for self are these workouts on Spark too. Report
I have signed up. Woo hoo! Report
Awesome. Report
I really liked your article. I am already on a workout plan. I will get the magazine. After I look at the exercises I'll decide if I want to join the challenge. There are some exercises I can't do because I hurt my knees when I fell this summer and they have not healed. Can I still join the challenge if I can't do all of the exercises? This sounds like it's really going to fun and challenging. Report
Count me in and this is a first for me...putting it on "paper". Thanks for having me. Report
I am 1) taking a class at work, 2) running (and walking) 1.5 miles or 3) doing the 30 Day Shred 6 days a week. I am hoping this will help me lose those last 11 pounds by Halloween! Report
I'm in! Report
I love the idea of this challenge. I do not have access to the magazine here, as we are out of the country. However, I cannot resist a challenge, so here's my plan. Parts of my current exercise plan are fairly new. Two or three times a week I do 7 X 10 modified push-ups, 6 minutes of hulahoop (getting better at it), 2 X 10 of 7 upper body dumb bell exercises with 10 (each hand) or 15 pound dumb bells and a 47 minutes Ballet Conditioning DVD (upper and lower body and abs [have to skip the 4 minutes of jumping, because of my knees]) I am also doing exercises prescribed by the physiotherapist I am seeing to improve my knees. On in between days I walk. I am nervous about starting any new ones untill the knee thing is sorted out.
I will accept the challenge as best I can i.e: I will make sure that it's three times every week and work even harder to get through all the ab exercises on the DVD without taking a break. Sorry I can't join properly, maybe next time.
Valerie Report
Just signed up online myself and will pick up my magazine at the store today. Will be lots of fun along with my biggest looser fall challenge starting. Report
I'm doing it.
Love that Picture above. That girl in the black bra top looks like my DD who is turning 22. She gained 30# while pregnant but had it all off within six weeks after giving birth in April and is once again back at 145# and she's 5'9". She does the P90X work out. Report
I'm in, though my friends wont even consider it, so you've got to stay on me! Don't give me any chance to forget. Report
Should be fun. Report
How do I print the cards? I have sign up on Self on line. Report
I do not subscribe to Self.but would love to be apart of the
workout could you lead me in the right direction
to sign up online please thank you Cindy Report
I may have to give this a try! I'll go pick up the September Issue of Self Magazine today! Report
I don't subscribe to SELF, but if I can get the same info by signing up online, I'd love to try it! My only problem is my knees. They have gotten progressively worse over the summer. Are there modifications for any of these exercises for people with limited mobility? Report
wow Report
I would like to but I am going out of town starting Sept 1 for labor day and the hotel doesn't have a gym. As I am typing I am seeing ways to break that excuse-we can go for a walk in the mornings for my cardio and I will just bring a set of weights to use in the hotel. Ok-I'm in! Report
Just subscribed to Self so I'll check it out. My TurboFire dvd's arrived yesterday, so they are my planned workout along with running for the next 30 days. Report
Wow! I was looking for something to motivate my friends at work . I will give it a try! Thanks! Report
I'm continuing with the 28-Day Bootcamp Workout Challenge for the next 22 days. Report