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Sydney's Balance Challenge for September

emember your New Year's resolution? Yes? No? Fear not: Senior Instructor SYDNEY MILLER is sharing simple, healthy and habit-forming challenges every month of 2017. Each one is designed to help you reach long-term goals through mini-routines. Here’s what she’s got on tap for September.

Whether you’ve been traveling and exploring, dining and drinking to your heart’s content, SoulCycling non-stop, or, just stuck behind a desk this summer, we know one thing’s for sure: It’s time to get back to some balance!

The start of fall is a great time to take stock and get back to the things that make us feel grounded and more balanced. That’s why we’re re-branding this month as Leftember — a time to find balance by shifting your focus in class to dominating that SoulCycle bike with your left leg, rather than your right. We all have a dominant side and use each side differently, but getting stronger on your weaker side (often the left for a lot of riders) will help you not only at SoulCycle, but outside the studio as well.

At SOUL, we like to ride together in sync, and as a lot of people are right-dominant, the right leg tends to lead the way in a lot of songs. If you continue to rely on your right leg for most of class every day, every week, every year, you may become weaker on your left side and more susceptible to injury on your right if you're working it overtime. I like to switch up the lead leg in my class so we ride evenly, but I've noticed that on the faster songs, many people couldn’t get the rhythm on the left leg because they weren’t used to doing it that way. I started this challenge a couple of years ago as way to reintroduce riding on the left, especially for faster songs. After September, riders were confident riding with both legs, felt stronger overall, and more balanced on both sides of the body.

To take this challenge a step further as we get back into our routines for fall, I teamed up with registered dietitian and Good Housekeeping Nutrition Director JACKIE LONDON to reintroduce some of our earlier challenges/goals that can hopefully help you find some balance. Here are three easy ways to balance out your day and keep you strong and grounded — all season long.

Stay for the stretch. If you’ve been following our challenges so far, you know we made stretching a thing for August. So why not stick with it? Stretching and foam-rolling release tension in the fascia surrounding muscle tissues — a key component to relaxing that other organ system, otherwise known as your nervous system. Keeping up with a 10 minute per day stretching habit can help you reduce risk of injury, maximize your workout, bounce back (post-workout!) even faster, and help you to just stay a little bit more zen throughout the day. But if just 10 minutes was challenging for your schedule, stay committed to staying for the stretch post-class, and sneak in a little extra stretch into your shower time. You’ll ease tension, decrease aches and pains, and feel more energized in no time. Need some inspo? Try out our favorites.

Eat breakfast every day. Sounds easy enough, right? So many people skip breakfast without even realizing it, and it can throw you off your game in more ways than one. The truth is, you always need a first meal of the day; when you eat depends on your body, your schedule, and what time you wake up. As a rule of thumb, aim to eat within 30 minutes to an hour after waking up to help you get your day started. Establishing a pattern right off the bat of not skipping meals in the a.m. sets you up to make better choices all day — even if you’re not ravenous. Check out our other top tips and breakfast ideas here.

Drink more. Dehydration of any kind can make you tired, cause pain, and increase lethargy — in other words, it’s a huge drag. And since most of us do really need anywhere from eight to 10 cups of water per day, it’s that much more important that to stay on top of it when we factor in heat, sweat, and all of the running around that seems to correspond with the start of a new season. While everyone’s sweat rate is different, it’s safe to assume that two bike bottles (about 48 ounces total of H2O) is what you’ll need to replete your losses and stay sufficiently hydrated during class and beyond. Aim to drink one during class (on the bike, throughout!) and one after. Remember: snacks count, too! Veggies and fruit help you stay hydrated. Just one apple, for example, can pack up to one half cup of H2O, plus, it’s got loads of vitamin C, fiber, and phytonutrients — all of which are key for health (lucky us, apple season is almost here!). Snack on extra veggies with hummus or salsa, add an extra heap of tomatoes to a salad, and get generous with your serving size on berries, citrus, and melon (extra delicious when you add ‘em frozen to sparkling water!). More of our top hydration hacks here.

Catch classes with SYDNEY at 19th Street, Bryant Park and Union Square. Ready to ride? Click HERE to grab a series.

Article by Sydney Miller
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