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HOW to do the Challenge (and Succeed!)

Hey Team,

Welcome to another Sunday.  School holidays are done, winter sport season is done…and we all have about 2-months (well, nearly) before the Christmas madness kicks off.  So it’s 100% time for the Summer Slam.

This year I have put together TWO different challenges:

Healthy Habits:  30-days of exercise accountability and food recommendations with a couple of ‘home’ extras added in!
Highway-to-Hell: 45-days of training – exercise accountability, food rules…and then some more training on top of that.

When I was trying to figure out what to blog about this week, I thought – “I’ve done every challenge we’ve ever had…I’ll write a blog about HOW to do the challenge”…so here goes.

Oh – and if you’re not doing the Summer Slam but want to do it, it’s never too late – just click the link here and sign up:

Step 1:  READ your Pack.


The packs actually take a lot of work.  They include a LOT of info.  I understand the whole “I don’t have time to do that” type of approach but reading the info you are being provided with and making sure you understand what you need to do is pretty fundamental.  I have had questions in the past – 3 or 4-weeks in – where people had been doing WAY more than expected and completely overdoing it.  Likewise, others have been half-way through before they realised that continuing to eat coco-pops for breakfast every day was actually against the rules.  So – READ your pack, and reach out and ask questions.  Our email address is ‘’ and we WILL answer you!

Step 2: “Now and THEN”

The next step is to complete your “Now and Then” table.  This is in two parts – Training and Food – and it is important to WRITE THIS DOWN.  Start at the bottom of each table:  “If there is ONE THING I could change” and fill that in first.  Most of us probably have a few things we WANT to change, but we know there is ONE that is top of the list.  Whether it’s “eat breakfast every day” or “make sure I hit my daily protein target” on the food side or “track my steps and get 10000” on the training side it really doesn’t matter…at the end of the challenge THOSE are the boxes you want to be able to tick.

When you have done that (the ‘ONE THING’) boxes, go back and complete the table above which outlines how ‘things’ are going to change for you over the next 4-6 weeks.  This really helps get your head around EXACTLY what is going to be required which is the KEY INPUT into the next step (daily planning).

Step 3:  Daily Planner

Your Monthly Planner is right at the very front of your pack.  You need to take these out and stick them somewhere you can see them regularly – on the fridge at home, on your desk at work – it doesn’t really matter as long as you can see them.  Now – I’m not good at ‘long-term’ DAILY planning – so writing in on October 9th that I need to do a challenge extra on Wednesday November 15th…for me, that isn’t helpful.  If it is for YOU then do that.

What is VERY helpful for me is going through and writing in all of the days when I KNOW my training and diet will be compromised.  For example, it is my anniversary next weekend and we are going away for a couple of days…so I need to get my classes and extras done EARLY in this first week (week 1).  What birthday’s and events do you have?  Which ones will be ‘cheat’ days and which ones will be days where you are sipping soda water?  Try and identify them NOW so it’s EASY when the event comes around…”yeah – we’re going to Paul’s birthday – we’ll see you there.  I’m not drinking that night so I can pick you guys up on the way if you like…”.  Making little commitments like that really does make the challenge SO much less challenging!

Step 4:  Remove STRESS

You have simply GOT to have a food plan that removes STRESS from the food elements of the challenge.  The ‘No Added Sweeteners’ part is the trickiest – no bread, no pasta, no alcohol – are simple and easy to understand.  ‘No Added Sweeteners’ though really does limit you in terms of pre-prepared foods and condiments…it almost rules them out.  

Now – the recipes in the pack 100% help in terms of ideas – but that does NOT help when it is 6pm, you have just gotten home from work and need to prepare meals for the family.  The recipes do NOT help when it is 7am and you are trying to dash out the door to work and realise you haven’t packed lunch for the day.

Have a CLEAR PLAN.  Some form of protein + either veggies or salad works great for dinner.  Breakfast is either oats based (pre-make) or eggs based (again, pre-made is 100% easiest)…and for lunch you simply MUST have a plan.

I have spent a LOT of time putting together the lunch part of the challenge packs this year – a LOT.  There is a meal prep guide which is just GOLD – and each of the recipes have been designed to be MADE on Sunday and put into lunch-boxes for the week.  I KNOW lunch is the hardest part (I’ve done this once or twice before) and without an easily accessible option, you will fine yourself at the bain marie of the cafe wondering if that last cheese sausage is a better or worse option than the chicken schnitzel on turkish bread with some very dubious looking greenery!

You remove food stress by BEING ORGANISED…making something like the bacon-wrapped meatloaf and freezing it for ‘later’ – well, it really is worth it’s weight.

Step 5:  The Extras ARE the Challenge

Every year I get the “I’m not going to do the extras – I’m just going to do an extra class instead” message.  That actually isn’t OK.  The “Why Not” part is a little trickier.

Like you guys, I train at Round 1 by DOING CLASSES.  It is pretty simple – I arrive, I put my wraps on (or grab my weight belt and knee sleeves) – wander out onto the gym floor and the coach leads me through the class.  Independent training is really not my thing and – generally speaking, if I am not doing a class then I am not training.

The challenge EXTRAS take me completely out of my comfort zone and make me do something ‘by myself’.  They make me push MYSELF.  I am solely accountable for making the time to do them and getting them done.  No-one will be there to push me and guide me through it…I need to do it ALL myself.  It’s hard.  And it helps set me up to be a little bit independent so next time I am running 15-minutes late to the gym rather than saying “I’ll just go home”, I will know that I have a couple of workouts I can do by myself and that I am GOING to be OK! 

Step 6:  A problem HALVED…

Finding a buddy to do your extras with, share food stories, talk about how to set up your morning routine (Healthy Habits), to meet at the pool or park to swim or run with (Highway to Hell), well, that stuff is LIKE GOLD.  Even if you are doing 2x completely different challenges, having a buddy alongside you working through their own pit of hell…well, it HELPS.

Where might you find such a person?  In the gym, training alongside you maybe?  Or maybe in the challenge specific facebook group (2023 Summer Slam).

You can join the GROUP here:

Step 7:  You are NOT saving lives here…

So – and this is my last point – the ‘Summer Slam’ (and any other fitness challenge) is not about saving the world.  Ultimately it is about YOU and creating some really positive habits for the long-time whilst making some positive body composition changes in the short-term.  If you are half way through week 2 and have failed to get your classes done, haven’t stuck to the food rules and haven’t done your extras…well…so what?  You have two options really – #1 is to quit and give up.  #2 is to forget about the past, refocus and get back on deck for the next couple of weeks.  One thing is certain – you can’t change what has already happened and YOU are in charge of what happens next.  So don’t be discouraged and don’t talk yourself out of stuff…just buckle down, recommit and get to the end.

That’s it.  The challenges are so awesome and I have to admit that the Feb challenge and the October challenge are the two ‘planks’ that I build my training ‘year’ around.  The habits – particularly the food habits – I put in place during each challenge really do last long beyond the end of the challenge…and whilst I certainly can’t say that I’ve been able to maintain them for 12-months of the year, being ‘pretty good’ most of the time certainly beats being ‘poor’ all the time (and I fear that is my default these days!).

Once again, it’s not too late to sign up:

See you in the gym – we can DO this!


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