Peloton's Selena Samuela Has a '12 Days of Glutes and Legmas' Challenge
Every Peloton instructor has their signature calling card that differentiates them from their fierce colleagues. Jess Sims is the one to count on for sweaty EMOMs (i.e. intense "every minute on the minute" circuits). Callie Gullickson is the resident Trader Joe's fanatic who integrates functional strength moves that'll prep you for the heaviest of grocery hauls. And Selena Samuela? Aside from being one of Peloton's most motivating running and strength coaches with a seriously inspiring backstory, Samuela is the queen of the clamshell, aka the booty-burning move that sneakily works the core too. So it should come as no surprise to Samuela Stans that the clamshell connoisseur is leading her second annual lower body-focused challenge dubbed the "12 Days of Glutes and Legmas."
Samuela officially announced the start of the challenge on Instagram this week, inviting followers to tackle some of her favorite strength-building workouts over the course of 12 days. In her caption, Samuela specifies which class to take each day of the challenge; while most sessions are throwback classes from earlier in the year, a few days of the challenge include include live classes that members can take along with Samuela in real time via the Peloton app or the screen of a Peloton Bike or Tread. The challenge commenced on Sunday, but if you missed the boat and feel left behind, take heart. Many of the classes are just 10 minutes long, so you can easily catch up by stacking a few back to back (or just extend your own personal challenge into 2022).
"The 12 Days of Glutes and Legsmas Challenge is both a nod to the Christmas song and to last year's glutes and legs challenge we did together after the holidays," Samuela tells Shape. "Folks loved the challenge last year and it's one of the things I get DMed about the most."
But Samuela is clear that the 2021 iteration of her lower body-blasting challenge is significantly different from its predecessor. "Last year's challenge was a three-week challenge with three classes per week, all of which were 20 minutes long," she says. "This year, we are taking a class every day including the 24th, and many of the classes are only 10 minutes long. It's designed that way so people can have 'active recovery' days with those shorter classes, or have room to stack those shorter classes with their regular workouts, whether that's one of our runs or cycling classes, bootcamps, other strength classes, or one of our newest shadowboxing classes." (ICYMI, Samuela and fellow instructors Kendall Toole and Rad Lopez just launched Peloton's debut series of boxing classes with a two-week program).
"It's an accountability challenge and it's a practice in consistency," Samuela says of workout challenges. "We can't always be motivated, but we can be consistent. Consistency is a choice, while motivation is a feeling that comes and goes. Consistency is where you are sure to see progress and change in your endeavor regardless of what it is."
To that end, Samuela sees the Glutes and Legsmas Challenge as much more than just a workout program, but as a celebratory way to foster community during the hectic holiday season. "[But] you totally don't have to celebrate Christmas or any of the winter holidays to partake," she says. "In fact, it's an awesome treat to yourself — it doesn't have to be your birthday to do something good for yourself! And you'll feel like a total legend when you get to say 'I've worked out every day for the past 12 days, and I'm stronger for it.'"
If you're a total fitness newbie and the word "challenge" strikes fear in your heart (and quads, glutes, hamstrings, etc.), don't fret. While Selena says the program wasn't designed with absolute beginners in mind — most classes include dumbbells so experience is a plus — everyone is invited to partake in a way that feels safe and sustainable. "Modifications are always an option and are encouraged because as I say in my classes, modifying and adapting are great — just find a way to not quit," she says. "So if that means dropping to a lighter weight or doing some of the exercises as bodyweight, by all means do what you have to do to stay in the game." (Related: Here's How to Sync Your Peloton and Apple Watch)
So why does Samuela think focusing on the glutes and legs is so essential to overall fitness? "I love working lower body for a few reasons," she says. "Every single athlete knows that leg day is arguably the most important day — whether you're a golfer, runner, cyclist, boxer, surfer, or tennis player. Even if you're not into sports, you use your legs and lower body-focused movements to do even the most basic everyday things like walking, picking up groceries (that's a deadlift), squatting down to pick up your kids or your pets, or moving boxes — the list goes on and on. Your lower body houses the largest muscle groups in your body so the stronger you make your glutes and legs, the stronger you are overall."
And in case you're wondering, yes, her signature move definitely plays a major part in the 12-day challenge. "Clamshells are my go-to move," she says. "A bridging clamshell is almost just as much a core move as it is a leg move, as it asks a lot of your obliques, similar to a weighted, modified side plank." she says. "I love unilateral movements and offsetting movements that challenge your balance and ask your core to do work by resisting flexion and rotation forces telling your body to twist and turn and lose balance. A lot of my lower body classes are sneaky core classes too, so you get a big bang for your buck. People love to skip leg day and it's a mistake so let's make it fun and learn to love it." (Related: The Best Peloton Weights for All Your Workouts)
Inspired to hop into Samuela's challenge? Head to her Instagram for the full list of classes that will get your lower body fired up by Christmas.