Sweat Diaries

This Collingswood Yoga Teacher Celebrated Her Birthday Week With a Glow-in-the-Dark Class

Meghan Peters' birthday week included sleeping in, yoga doing, weight lifting, and relaxing with her husband and two cats.


/ Photograph courtesy of Meghan Peters

Who I am: Meghan Peters (@phat_girl_yoga), 42 at the start of the diary and 43 by the end

Where I live: Collingswood, New Jersey

What I do: I am a buyer by day and a Yoga For All instructor by night and weekends. I teach a weekly Every Body class on Wednesday nights (7:45 to 9 p.m.) at the Grant Building in Collingswood. Starting June 1st, I will be subbing an all-levels vinyasa class on Saturday mornings (from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.) for a teacher going on maternity leave. I also teach a monthly Yoga for Bigger Bodies workshop at Sol Space in Woodbury, New Jersey. The next one is June 1st (noon to 2 p.m.).

What role healthy living plays in my life: I am passionate about fitness. I love to be active and do it not because I feel I have to, but because I want to. I love the way movement makes me feel. All movement should be joyful, and if you’re not feeling it one day, it’s OK. As a big bodied person who’s part of the fitness industry, I think it’s really important for bodies of all sizes to have representation. Seeing someone who may look like you in a gym/class environment can be really empowering.

Health memberships: The great outdoors (free), yoga and spin at the Grant Building in Collingswood, and Cedar Street Barbell Club in Philadelphia. See websites for pricing.

Monday

birthday yoga

Peters eats some V Marks the Shop lox and bagel goodness for breakfast. / Photograph courtesy of Meghan Peters

Note: It’s my birthday week and Memorial Day week, so it’s not a typical week in my life. I am usually a bit more scheduled, but I have time off and celebrating to do!

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off for the first time of many. I hate getting up in the morning. I am by no means a morning person and stay up late most nights.

6:45 a.m. — Another alarm. I have to push snooze again because I am in a two-cat snugglefest. I would upset the balance of nature if I got up now. I check emails so as not to disturb my cuddly cats.

7:15 a.m. — While still in bed, I manage my Instagram account. I do some scrolling and liking on the ‘gram. I’m finally starting to come to terms with getting vertical.

7:30 a.m. — Shower time.

8 a.m. — Cat feeding time and lots of coffee! I arrive at the office between 9 and 9:15 a.m.

10:15 a.m. — Desk breakfast: I had a leftover bagel and some vegan whitefish/carrot lox to bring to work for breakfast, all from V Marks the Shop in Philly ($2.99 per serving).

1:30 p.m. — I take a break and go to the local Target for some errands.

2:30 p.m. — Late desk lunch today. Typically I prepare my work food on Sunday, but I didn’t this week because I am only in the office for three days. I bought three ready made salads ($4.99 each) to get me through. I also have some mango and raspberries I bought from Target ($6.41 total for lunch)

6:30 p.m. — Leave work. I have to go to the Cherry Hill Mall to make a return.

8 p.m. — Home. Dinner with my husband. We have Beyond Meat Italian sausage with peppers and onions ($5.62 per serving).

9 p.m. — Husband and cat quality time.

10 p.m. — Email and Instagram follow-ups.

11 p.m. — Yoga class prep.

Midnight Bed with a book: MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood.

Daily total: $15.02

Tuesday

birthday yoga

Weightlifting at Cedar Street Barbell Club is one of Peters’ regular workouts. / Photograph courtesy of Meghan Peters

6:30 a.m. — Same wake-up struggle as yesterday. I am a creature of habit.

7 a.m. — Weather and news check-in. I contemplate staying in bed with sleeping cats. It’s a pipe dream.

7:30 to 8:30 a.m. — Same routine, feed cats, prep breakfast and lunch, head to work.

9 to 9:15 a.m. — Office time.

10 a.m. — Desk breakfast: two bananas and some leftover BjornQorn popcorn ($1.82 total)

1:30 p.m. — Lunch. It’s too beautiful to stay at my desk all day, so I opt to go for a ride. This decision works out great because my friend/co-worker Kelly treats me to an early birthday lunch. Buffalo Cauliflower for the win! I’ll save my salad for tomorrow.

2:30 p.m. — Back to the desk grind. Emails, emails, and more emails.

3:30 p.m. — Fading, then Michael Jackson’s “Bad” comes on the work radio. That’s right — I’m bad, and I do know it! You got this, Meghan Peters. Just a couple more hours.

6:15 p.m. — I AM OUTTA HERE!!! I eat a power bar ($1.99) in the car because tonight is a gym night. Generally, I barbell train three times a week.

7 p.m. — Stop home to get changed, feed the cats, and get my husband.

7:30 p.m. — LET’S GET STRONG!! Barbell strength training has changed so much in my life. Feeling strong and embracing my power has done wonders for me physically and mentally and has helped my yoga game, too! Both activities get me out of my head and fully into my body. It’s nice to be able to check out of the daily grind for a little bit. That total body connection is where I truly began to RESPECT my big, strong body.

9 p.m. — Gains accomplished!

9:30 p.m. — Hummus and baba ghanoush on pita for a quick post-workout snack. All are from Riverwards Produce ($3.99).

10:15 p.m. — Emails and yoga prep, including compiling my playlist for this week’s class based on suggestions from my students. The theme is ’80s, so this should be a good one.

11:30 p.m. — Off to bed! Tomorrow’s a big yoga day

Daily total: $7.89

Wednesday

birthday yoga

Peters the day before her 43rd birthday. / Photograph courtesy of Meghan Peters

5 a.m. — I’m up, I’m up.

5:30 a.m. — My yoga practice.

7 to 7:45 a.m. — Final touches for tonight’s yoga class!! It’s gonna be a good one. Let’s just say “GLOW” + “YOGA” could = “GLOWGA.”

9:15 a.m. — Back in the office saddle, and I eat two bananas ($0.50).

9:45 a.m. — YAY!!! My mom surprises me with an early office birthday cake. Vegan strawberry shortcake with fresh Jersey strawberries! She’s the best mom ever.

1:30 p.m. — Leftover salad ($4.99). I spent some of my lunch break prepping my ’80s-inspired outfit for tonight’s yoga class. It’s all neon and fringe.

6:15 p.m. — I’m officially off of work until next Tuesday. Yay!

7:45 p.m. — Most of the time, I teach a pretty standard all-bodies yoga class. BUT when it’s my birthday, it’s time to celebrate!

I like to teach a special, once-a-year Glowga class. This year, it’s ’80s-themed. We do a special playlist, I buy glow accessories, and some students even come in amazing ’80s workout gear! Leg warmers, Ray-Bans, side ponies, and even a Culture Club T-shirt! With my neon pink/yellow fringed T-shirt and headband, I look a lot like “Macho Man” Randy Savage. We turn the lights off and glow up, bending, twisting, and inverting. When it’s time to wind class down, we play some ’80s trivia before shavasana.

9 p.m. — Class ends with well wishes, tokens of affection, and lots of hugs. The yogis that attend my Wednesday night class are unbelievably dynamic. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people on a weekly basis. They’re so strong and are willing to try anything that’s tossed their way — except line dances. They won’t do those.

10 p.m. to midnight — As I leave my 42nd year, I’m reflecting on how amazing my life is. I work hard, but all of it pays off. I am surrounded by amazing people. I am content yet I want to strive for more. My goal for the next year and beyond is to show people how to enjoy movement and to allow that same momentum to teach them to respect their own bodies just as they are, right now.

Daily total: $5.89. Freebies make for cheap days.

Thursday

birthday yoga

Birthday tofu scramble, courtesy of Peters’ husband. / Photograph courtesy of Meghan Peters

9:30 a.m. — Slept late — really late. I’m not mad about it either because it’s my birthday! I wake to the smell of coffee and breakfast cooking. My husband had made me a birthday tofu scramble with peppers, onions, and a sprinkle of vegan cheese. Since today’s a special occasion, he’s serving it with warm tortillas and avocado ($3.50).

1 p.m. — We’re taking a walk about. It’s rainy and muggy, but that doesn’t stop us. There’s a quote from Bob Marley: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” I think about this every time I walk in the rain.

2:30 p.m. — I am not one to stop moving, but today I really do just take time to relax. I don’t feel the need to fill every moment with something. We just hang out — me, my boo, and the cats.

6:30 p.m. — We’re going to see director/writer John Waters at the Free Library of Philadelphia tonight with two of my oldest and dearest friends. I’m really excited!

7:30 p.m. — Showtime.

9 p.m. — The talk is great. We stay after to get our books signed.

10 p.m. — Quick bite at Northern Liberties’ Cantina Dos Segundos — vegan bowls ($12).

Midnight — Bed time!

Daily total: $20.99

Friday

birthday yoga

Everything Bagel seasoning amps up Peters’ breakfast. / Photograph courtesy of Meghan Peters

9 a.m. — Wake up. Another sleep in.

9:30 a.m. — Bagel with Earth Balance and some Everything Bagel seasoning for good measure ($1).

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — House work. It had to happen sometime.

2 p.m. — We whip up a quick rice bowl with black beans, tofu, peppers, onions, and spinach topped with avocado ($3.99).

3:30 p.m. — It’s gym day. We’re going to get in a weightlifting sesh before we go to dinner later to celebrate my birthday with my sister. Off to CSBC!

5:30 p.m. — Back home to get decked out to go to dinner. We have reservations at 7:30 p.m. at Tomo Sushi & Ramen in Old City.

7:30 p.m. — We fill ourselves on vegan sushi and good conversation. Tomo uses smoked tomato in place of raw tuna, and it is A-MAY-ZING! The vegan ramen doesn’t disappoint either.

9:30 p.m. — We finish off dinner with vegan mochi. This was a big ticket food entry but worth every penny ($40 each)

10 p.m. — Home from another day of birthday shenanigans. It’s been a great week, and I still have more festivities this weekend: Collingswood’s annual May Fair on Saturday, spin class on Sunday morning, dinner with friends, and more weightlifting. I am happy.

Weekly Totals

Money spent: $44.99

Weightlifting sessions done: 2 (although Peters had another one over the weekend)

Yoga practices completed: 2

Bagels eaten: 2

Days off of work: 2

Days struggled to get out of bed: 2

Days slept in: 2

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