Competitive Streaks & Fitness Freaks

Competitive Streaks & Fitness Freaks

2020 has been the prime environment for running out of steam and losing any kind of motivation. We’re missing the gym, our favourite restaurants, our loved ones — and the political climate isn’t exactly ideal, either. Things feel out of control, and we may just have too much on our plates trying to find balance in the chaos. With everything going on, feeling completely drained is easier than ever — and this directly impacts our motivation to work out. And getting out of our exercise routine keeps us in this rut.

Sometimes life happens and we can get a little off track. Family commitments pop up, sickness kicks in, or you get stuck with overtime at work. Then all of a sudden your exercise routine goes from regular to non-existent. We know what it’s like to have a really good routine and then something unexpected happens. So the question is—how do you get back into again? It’s time to harness your inner competitive streak and find that motivation again as we make our way to the end of the year.

Harness Your Inner Competitive Streak

Workout motivation looks different for everyone, but a little friendly competition seems to be the winning ticket. Whether you fly solo on your exercise journey or have an accountability buddy, studies suggest that a little competition goes a long way.

Tap Into Your Social Networks

In an ever-connected society, there are good sides to this digital world we live in now. We can take certain “features of online social networks” and use them to our advantage. Start a pool: get your friends together for a live workout program, and maybe add some incentive to the mix – the person who does the most classes in a week gets a free their coffee paid for at the end of the week. Simple incentive, with a high competitive drive.

Don’t Do It Alone

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t have to do any of this alone, and in fact, you’ll be better off if you bring some buddies into the mix. Social connection, even in digital form (especially in 2020), is crucial to our success both in and out of the gym. The power of social media is undeniable! And when done right, social media can increase people’s fitness motivation drastically. So use the tools you have on hand to your advantage — your body and brain will thank you.

Slide in to our DMs

Everybody needs somebody to hold them accountable during their fitness journey. Starting out isn’t always easy and not all days will be good days – which is why we’re challenging you to get in touch with us. While lockdown has brought about new ways to workout, we know that it can sometimes be lonely! Feel free to slide in to our DMs and we’ll be sure to keep you motivated!


Lipstick, laptops & leadership: Women on the rise

Lipstick, laptops & leadership: Women on the rise

At Sudor, we’re all about celebrating diversity and inspiring inclusion. We pride ourselves on our community of strong, curious and ambitious women redefining success on their own terms. We are unapologetic in our beliefs and values of supporting women who are chasing dreams of both big and small. Sudor is more than just a fitness app. With trainers from all walks of life, and our very own co-founder being a woman in leadership, we’re here to help support women chase their dreams – fitness-related or not. 

With a suite of world-renowned trainers, we believe that being a successful woman in business means having the courage to own who you are, why you are doing what you do and how you can apply your vision to positively impact the world. A woman in leadership is confidently feminine and eager to learn and grow. She has achieved balance and perspective in all aspects of her life – which is why we took the time to chat to Sudor powerhouses Wanita Nicol, deputy editor at Women’s Health magazine and Sudor trainer, as well as Emma Heap, Sudor’s very own CEO, co-founder and all round fitness fanatic.

Wanita Nicol | Women’s Health SA Deputy Editor

“I’m fortunate in that I’ve had many strong, successful women role models in my life, starting with my mother. So I’ve never felt intimidated in a male-dominated environment. However, from my experience, I think many women still feel intimidated in business. This manifests in different ways – imposter syndrome, being extra tough so you don’t appear weak, losing touch with yourself, being overly cautious because you believe that making a mistake might open you up to ridicule. But luckily, I’ve always felt that I belonged in the business world as much as anyone else. That’s why it’s so important for us to be those strong role models for other women and girls.

Being in a position of leadership, I have made a lot of mistakes along the way (and I’m sure I still have many more ahead of me!) but if I could go back and change them, I wouldn’t. I’ve learnt a lot from my mistakes and I try to use those lessons to help not just myself, but other women, too.

I think the best thing we can do, as women, is to support each other. We need to support our sisters in business by buying their products and services. When your friend has a cool business, don’t freeload off of them. If you really want them to succeed, buy their stuff. And then tell everyone how great it is. Your endorsement means more when you actually spent money on the thing.”

Emma Heap | Sudor CEO & Co-Founder

“Sudor is committed to hiring the best people for every role, regardless of gender. This is something companies must proactively address – as there can be subconscious biases at play that we need to proactively counteract. On a personal note, I’m committed to being the best colleague, mentor and friend for the people around me. As a female founder, this is my way of paying forward the opportunities I’ve had to hopefully inspire the next generation of women.

Be a mentor to new women in your industry, and ensure your company puts proactive equality measures in place. If you have time, volunteer at an organisation that’s driving change. In Cape Town, I was part of an organisation called Great Girls, which was committed to upskilling girls with leadership potential in underprivileged areas. I can’t recommend doing something like this enough. 

In a perfect world, there would be equal opportunities for men and women, but sadly that’s still not the case. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible for women to be as successful as men – it just means you have to fight a little bit harder for it. Don’t be scared of that. As Sheryl Sandberg says, lean in and take your seat at the table.”

There will be no resolutions in 2021

There will be no resolutions in 2021

New Year’s resolutions – we’ve all had them and we know what they are, and more often than not they set us up for failure. We set these grand goals that we expect ourselves to achieve within the first month of the year, and we don’t acknowledge the work it takes to reach that goal. We fall in love with the idea of the end goal, rather than the process it takes to get there. At Sudor, we believe that it’s not about where you’re going, but rather how you get there – which is why we believe that 2021 is not the year for resolutions. 2021 is the year for habits.   

We’re not saying you shouldn’t take a break after the whirlwind of a year we have had. Obviously things will be a little more relaxed than usual but it’s important to maintain a healthy attitude during the festive season. Punishing yourself with critical and guilty self-talk is also not helpful. Let’s talk about the importance of creating a habit, and why you should start doing it before the 1st of January.

Why Healthy Habits?

It takes a bit of time and self-motivation for something to become a habit. Many individuals have stated that it takes twenty-one times of repeatedly doing something before it feels natural and unforced – but sometimes finding the motivation to stay consistent can be a challenge in itself. When we develop habits and routines, it’s a good way to conserve time and energy, but we know how they can become limiting and uninspiring over time! By creating and maintaining a routine, you’re making your day-to-day life easier for your future self – but the secret to maintaining momentum comes with adding positive changes and challenges to your day-to-day schedule.

Healthy Habits to get you started

Go to Sleep Early
As humans, our natural sleep pattern and physiological processes dictate the need for 7-9 hours of sleep – and science says that the quality of sleep that we get by sleeping from 10 pm to 6 am is far more superior than sleeping from 2 am to 10 am, despite both resulting to 8 hours of sleep. An early night does amazing benefits to your daily productivity as you have more energy to spend in the day to move around, work, and exercise with proper sleep. Not to mention the fact that it is a vital factor in muscle recovery, weight loss, and muscle gain.

Move a lot!
Unfortunately, having a desk job burns very few to zero calories despite the mental stress that we experience in work or school. Given that we spend 8 hours of the day sitting on a desk already, it’s always a good idea to keep moving to make up for those hours spent sitting. Walk to your destination if it’s less than 15 minutes away, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park a little farther, and even small stretches at your desk make the world of difference. Putting in those few thousand steps will do wonders to your cardiovascular system and general health.

Drink 2l of water a day
Before you opt for that iced tea or soda as your lunch or dinner time drink, ask yourself if you’ve drunk enough water for the day. Drinking enough water is vital to our bodily functions and it has so much benefit in helping us become more fit and healthy! It keeps our muscle energized, it’s good for our skin, it helps our kidneys, and generally improves our physical performance!
Schedule your workouts </h3

It’s easier to be consistent when you plan things ahead. Take time every week to decide which days of the week you’re going to work out and at what time of the day.

The few weeks of working out can be hard because setting aside a few hours each day might seem to be unnatural and time-consuming. But through scheduling ahead of time, you’ll soon find yourself effortlessly prepping yourself for a workout! When it comes to building habits, there’s nothing more powerful than being consistent day by day. You don’t have to establish all of these habits at the same time. You can choose to commit to one habit only and do it consistently for a month or so before incorporating another habit. This way you’re sure to not be overwhelmed and are more likely to keep at it for the long haul.

Let’s talk about Active Recovery

Let’s talk about Active Recovery

Let’s talk active recovery – something that some of us don’t actually know about and something that many of forget about. A common misconception is that higher intensity workouts are often thought to give us better and faster results, but in fact our bodies need active recovery, and it could actually transform your fitness results.

Don’t get us wrong, pushing your edge is great for you and your health. But if you exercise too much, it can have the opposite effect. Would you believe that some people exercise too much? It’s true. And that’s not good for your body or your mind. In fact, for some, it can be the start of something that warrants intervention.

Never skip a warm up or a cool-down! Here’s why.  

Think about it – how good is a pre or post-workout stretch? Simply put, active recovery is choosing low-intensity exercises after pushing your limit with high intensity sessions. It could be something as simple as a brisk walk cool down after a run, or a quick yoga practice to stretch out sore muscles. Essentially, active recovery is making sure you’re stretching out your muscles either before or after your workout, especially on those HIIT days!  

If you’re feeling a little lost on how to stretch what, we’ve got you covered. We have a VARIETY of stretch-seshes on Sudor. But, before we get to the juicy bits, here’s a breakdown on how to stretch before and after your workouts. 

How to Stretch Before Exercise 

Warming your body up before your workout may be your very own secret weapon when it comes to taking your workout to the next level. With warmer muscles comes increased flexibility which can lead to more effective workouts. Here are some stretches you can try before exercise to help warm your body up:

  • Use a foam roller to increase blood flow to muscles.
  • Stretch those hammies out using a stretch band.
  • Get your heart rate up by jogging in place or doing some jumping jacks.

Sudor’s Top Tip: For static stretches like stretching your hamstrings, aim for 30-seconds per stretch to prevent overworking your muscles before exercise.

The Best Kinds of Active Recovery 

So you’ve just smashed that PB out of the park and your body is screaming for a shower –  but wait, there’s more… it’s time to stretch. While it may feel like the last thing you want to do, it’s super important to get a quick stretch in to support muscle and joint recovery in under five minutes. These stretches also help promote muscle growth.

Here are some ways to actively stretch after a workout:

  • Yoga: Research has proven the amazing benefits yoga has for both mind and body. It’s the perfect way to wind down after your workout or max out on your designated active recovery day. Not only is it a significant tool for feelings of anxiety and general stress, but there are clinical benefits for the body as well.

  • Pilates: Pilates can be a little more intense than yoga, depending on how hard you’re wanting to push yourself. However, much like yoga, a gentle Pilates workout is a great way to strengthen, tone, and improve flexibility without being hard on your muscles and joints. Sudor’s collection of pilates is unmatched, so check it out and find what moves you. 
  • Stretching:  So simple, but SO GOOD! A good stretch after a workout makes for the perfect active recovery exercise. We all should be stretching after exercise, and don’t underestimate how great stretching is for your fitness results. The more you stretch, the more flexible you’ll be. Lean in to what feels good for your body – stretching comes naturally so don’t overthink it.
  • Walking: If you’re a runner, or just finished up with a sweat-dripping Sudor workout, try going for a brisk walk outside, or hop on the treadmill. Walking is an ideal form of active recovery as you’re improving your cardiovascular endurance, but it’s low-impact enough that you aren’t going to completely stress out your already tired muscles.

Do your body a favour by doing the warmup, and sticking around for the cool down. Even three to five minutes of stretching can make a huge difference in how your body recovers from exercise, and how good you feel during your workouts. The takeaway here is that active recovery should be viewed as more of an add-on to what you are already doing as opposed to a one day a week kind of a thing.   

Thanks for Telling Me I’m Obese- a Not So Fun Return to the Gym

Thanks for Telling Me I’m Obese- a Not So Fun Return to the Gym

by Emma Heap, Sudor CEO & Co-Founder

There are many reasons behind why we started Sudor — as an entrepreneur you have to really believe in what you’re doing or you’ll give up(!) — and I was reminded very clearly of one yesterday, in my first visit back to a gym.

One of the things I’ve missed most in lockdown has been the gym floor— so to say I was excited was an understatement. My friend and I were considering signing up, so we booked a trial and showed up for the mandatory sales pitch.
Once we were done haggling we were shown on a tour of the gym. The sales guy “Spencer” took us past the body fat measurement machine, taking good care to point it out and explain how to use it. He also said we can give it a go there and then… which of course we did!
Now, my friend and I have very different goals. He wants to bulk up after only doing cardio the past few months, and I want to lose the tummy weight I put on after a bad ankle injury. He didn’t really need a machine to tell him his body fat was low, and I didn’t really need one to say mine was a bit high. In fact, I was fully prepared for that.

However, what I wasn’t prepared for was someone to nail down the numbers quite so aggressively (with absolutely no attempt to understand the context). Most of our ‘scores’ were in the normal range — his mainly at the lower end, mine mainly at the higher end, but we were both made to feel like total failures.
For example, my body water was 34.4 which is towards the higher end of my “normal range” 28.8–35.3. After peering over the machine, Spencer simply told me to “reduce my water retention” — with no guidance on how to do so or questions as to understand the cause. As a side note, with a 5 min Google, I confirmed two possible reasons; 1. the time in my cycle and 2. I am a week into a keto diet; both of which can cause water retention.
Spencer then moved on to my mineral report — my score 3.5, vs a normal range of 2.9–3.5. Again, I was told this was very high. When we mentioned that it was in the range, suddenly Spencer decided it was actually fine, good in fact.
Next up — body composition. My left leg has more fat and less muscle than my right leg. Spencer helpfully advised that this was probably because I was right-handed. I offered an alternative explanation — that I’d been out for a few months with torn ligaments in my left foot (he wasn’t listening). This time he did offer a solution — use the leg press to reduce the imbalance.
The final crunch for me was being told I was “Pre-Obese”.

Until my friend started asking for details on all the levels, I was made to feel like quite the heffalump (turns out there are 4 obesity levels above this). My (now dear) friend Spencer kindly advised me to take HIIT classes to deal with this problem and burn some of the fat.
To say I was taken aback, somewhat depressed and demotivated by this experience would be an understatement… and my body confidence is fairly high. I found myself wondering how someone with already low body confidence would feel.
So how does this tie into Sudor — the platform that we’ve spent the last 18 months and a lot of blood, sweat and tears building?
We strongly believe that the only person that can be responsible for your fitness journey is you. This means showing up, managing your workout schedule and investing the time to build your own knowledge and experience around fitness and what works for you.
We built Sudor to encourage the world to move more. Just moving a little bit every day can have a significant impact on wellness and mental health. You’ll never find progress bars or comparisons on Sudor — we are focused on connecting you with trainers, workouts and classes that you will enjoy — because if you enjoy something you’ll come back again and again. And if you move more consistently, you’ll feel a million times better — and if you ask me, that feeling is worth more than a million machines telling you you’re normal.

One of the many gym selfies I took to see if I really was as obese as the machine was telling me: