Through Facebook, I was invited to participate in a fall Instagram challenge by Fitapproach, LLC as part of their Sweat Pink Ambassador program. As busy as I keep myself these days, I don’t normally add more “to-do’s” to my already overflowing task list, but Instagram? Fall? Pumpkins?
I was reeled in, hook line and sinker.
The challenge was simple: every day for five days, ambassadors were given a fall-inspired topic to Instagram about and use the appropriate hashtags in the photos. Since I try to Instagram at least one photo a day for Strong Figure, I figured this would just make my photos more creative and hopefully a little different too! Maybe give my followers more than another squat video or something. 😉
The challenge ended up being really fun and actually helped me enjoy the crazy-nice weather we’ve had here lately.
Challenge 1: Instagram your favorite pumpkin recipe.
My favorite fall recipe isn’t necessarily healthy, but it’s a favorite everywhere I go. These cookies are crazy easy to make, super fast, and gooey, sweet, and packed full of pumpkin.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies
- One package of gluten-free vanilla cake mix (or regular–it just makes me feel a little healthier using a wheat-free base.)
- One can pumpkin
- One bag of chocolate chips (darker chocolate in my opinion is best–white chocolate like here in the picture, may make the cookies too sweet.)
- Throw all three ingredients in a bowl, spoon the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet, and bake at about 375 for 25 minutes–depending on your oven.
- You don’t need the extra cake-mix ingredients like eggs, oil, etc. And by omitting these ingredients, you get to save on some calories and extra fat. (Avoiding fat when eating carbs is always better for the waistline anyway!)
Try these cookies and let me know what you think!
Challenge 2: Instagram your favorite fall accessories.
I love fall for this very reason. I could not WAIT to put on some leggings and boots and rock the heck out of the trends that I hope never die. Summer is too hot. I actually hate wearing shorts unless they’re some kind of spandex gym shorts and even still, I’m not a big fan. Leggings and boots? Let me show off my quads and still look cute and trendy? Yes please. Top that off with fun sweaters, cute jewelry, a scarf here and there–let’s just say that FALL is my favorite accessory. Comfy, cute, confident mixed with chilly mornings and breezy nights–not too cold, not hot anymore–it’s JUST RIGHT!
What’s YOUR favorite fall accessory? If I had to pick just one, I’d say leggings. But I’m going to be the first to claim that FALL is my life-accessory!
Challenge 3: How do you sweat pink in the fall?
It was super easy to pick a pumpkin recipe and even easier to take a selfie with my plum leggings. But I had to think about this one for a while. Sweating pink…in the fall…geeze! Working out, lifting weights…it’s my life! What do I photograph? Of course, I’m thinking outdoors. So what’s my favorite way to exercise outdoors? I’m not a runner–but every now and then when I do enjoy a nice jog it’s typically during the fall. I love to go hiking with Erik and our puppies and that’s still one of my favorite activities, but doesn’t everyone go for a hike when the weather is perfect and the leaves are beautiful? How am I different?
I know. I am a strength athlete. This challenge actually gave me the idea to go outside for my workout on this day. So instead of going to the gym, I grabbed my 75 pound PINK atlas stone (that I made by myself!) and did 8 Tabata rounds for about four minutes. I know that four minutes does not sound like much, but if you’ve ever done a Tabata workout, you KNOW this is tough. I picked up this stone–alternating it from one shoulder to the next–as many times as I could in 20 seconds with 10 second breaks, until the timer stopped. I was sweating. I think I got this sucker off the ground at least 24+ times. After I rested, I practiced picking up and putting my 80 pound water-filled keg overhead.
And when I was done with my keg presses, I went across the street to the park to practice walking on my hands. I’m horrible at this but fascinated by it all at the same time. I really want to be able to walk, but I’m terrified of falling! I need to learn to tumble and roll out of the handstand position. Any tips? I tried a few somersaults and I was amazed at how dizzy I felt when I stood back up. It wasn’t like that as a kid! Man!
So, how do YOU sweat pink in the fall?
Challenge 4: Instagram your favorite fall scenery.
Since fall is my favorite season, I searched my phone for 30 minutes trying to find the perfect picture that captures one of my favorite scenes. Living in the Shenandoah Valley has so many perks–it’s pretty unbelievable how beautiful this area is. We have mountains, rivers, valleys, streams…and in fall, everything is so darned gorgeous. I guess it’s why I love hiking so much in the fall–between the trees and the scenery, and then all the animals, weather, and sitting down to a bowl of hot chili when it’s all over or even cuddling up in the stands to watch a college football game–these are those moments when you realize life is perfect. This picture captures so many happy moments for me: the backdrop is part of James Madison University’s campus, the college that both Erik and I graduated from. And since we live within walking distance of the school, being able to walk our puppies–who loved watching the geese on such a beautiful day–makes everything in life feel perfect. Having these moments together and being able to walk through campus any beautiful fall day is wonderful.
What’s YOUR favorite fall scene?
Challenge 5: Instagram your favorite fall activity.
I almost put a picture of Erik, Laila, Atty and me hiking, but when this moment arose on Saturday, I realized that it’s not just hiking that I love about fall, it’s being outside in general, AND with people I love. Here, I spent the entire afternoon with my friend Myra and her precious little girls. We played outside and laughed, enjoyed the sunshine, the breeze, the dogs running around us, and it was another perfect life moment. We talked about going apple picking soon, Erik and I just texted about hiking this weekend, and my friend Reagan and I just took a long walk through the hiking/bike trails across from my house this past Sunday. My favorite fall activity is appreciating my friends, my family, and enjoying their company in an environment that constantly takes my breath away.
It really is amazing how much I love fall. October has always been my favorite month–I’ve said this way before Starbucks Lattes and “all-things-pumpkin” became a Pinterest sensation. I mean, October is my birthday month, it’s a tailgating month, it’s a beautiful scenery month, a perfect weather month, and it’s a month where it brings families in a little earlier at night, the stews and chilis get hotter, and the anticipation of Thanksgiving and family gatherings are right around the corner. When my dad passed away in October, almost four years ago, I thought that I would hate October for the rest of my life. I thought that October would be a sad month, that I would dread the fall, and that forever I would be doomed to writing metaphors about summer ending, trees dying, coldness enveloping us all, and the blackness drawing us into despair.
But even in death, my dad won’t let me be sad. He won’t let me hate something so beautiful, and I think he makes me appreciate it all the more. Some days may be sadder than others, but there always seems to be a beautiful sun shining whenever I need it most, a view to behold when I’m missing him, and a breeze to sweep through my hair and remind me he’s always there.
There really is nothing more spectacular than a beautiful fall day.
Thanks Fitapproach for this awesome Instagramming opportunity!
You look so happy and beautiful in the last photo <3 I love fall 🙂
Stephanie Wimer says
Thanks Amber!! You are too sweet <3 and I do feel happy!!! #FallForever!