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My 12 Week Transformation

My name is Kathleen, and I am doing the Tucson Transformation Gym 12 Week Challenge. Here's my story!

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Week 1

Monday, September 10th, 2018

I've never been a huge exerciser. I love yoga, both for its strengthening benefits and amazing sense of relaxation. But I've never gotten into any other exercise, really.

But lately, it's been catching up with me. I noticed some weight gain, and I knew that I wasn't taking care of my body as well as I should. My boyfriend goes to Transformation Gym, and because he's supportive of all my goals, he suggested that I try the Boot Camp class.

Frankly, I was intimidated. "Boot Camp? Seriously?" I questioned him. He assured me that it's not full of hard-core instructors, screaming at the class and making them cry. He promised me that the trainers welcomed everyone, no matter their fitness level, and I just had to show up and actually do it. Taking him at his word, I did just that.

I laced up my shoes, took a swig of water, and tightened my ponytail. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door to the gym. High-energy music pulsed throughout the room, and as I took a look around, I realized that everyone looked...normal. Sure, there were plenty of people who could probably bench press me. But plenty of others just looked like normal people. Like me. I felt better already.

I met the owner, Ron, right away. His warm smile and friendly greeting put me at ease, and he gave me a quick tour of the building. Then he asked how I'd rate my fitness level (not great) and what I wanted to accomplish (get stronger and healthier). "Ok!" He said with a smile.

Next I met Johnny, the instructor for my very first Boot Camp class. Ron let Johnny know that I was brand new, and Johnny assured me that he'd keep an eye on me. That made me feel good - I knew I'd need an explanation of all the exercises, and probably correction of my form as I tried them. I definitely didn't want to get injured, so I felt good knowing that Johnny would help.

Before I knew it, class was starting. Gulp. But actually, it was great! Johnny started by reviewing the day's workout with the class. It was written on a board propped against a wall, so we could take a look at anytime to know what was coming next (or feel proud of how much we'd already done!). He demonstrated all the exercises, and pointed out some common errors in form so we'd keep that in mind. And then we were off!

And wow, it was hard. I mean, I knew I wasn't too in shape, but this class confirmed that beyond a doubt. I could tell that I was definitely the least fit of anyone there, but I actually didn't mind. I had gone in feeling that I just needed to take the first step, and by the time class ended, I was feeling proud of myself. Tired, sweaty, but proud.

As I walked back to my car, my legs were already feeling both stiff and wobbly. Sounds a little odd, but I promise, it's possible. I'd considered coming back for another Boot Camp class on Wednesday, and decided to play that by ear, depending on how I felt.

The next day was PAINFUL. Standing up hurt. Sitting down hurt. Moving at all hurt. I take the stairs at work, and I promise you, walking up two flights of stairs took about three times longer than normal. The following day, Wednesday, was the same. Did I go to Boot Camp again that day? Ha - nope! Since I couldn't yet walk normally, I figured my body needed some more recovery time. Amazingly, I was starting to feel better on Thursday, and by Friday, I felt just about normal! Time for another class.

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Friday, September 14th, 2018

Time for my second class. And this one was Code Red, which would be a step up from Boot Camp. Just like before my first class on Monday, I was a little nervous. I'd never done high-intensity interval training, and I was feeling a little intimidated despite my positive experience earlier in the week.

But I knew that I needed to get over it and get on with it. So in I went.

Ron teaches Code Red, and he welcomed me with a big smile. Just like Johnny had done on Monday, Ron went over the exercises with the class, demonstrated each one with some explanation of proper form, and then we got started. We did several rounds of exercises, trying to complete as many reps as possible in 1 minute, then switching to the next exercise.

I found that I really liked that approach. Mentally, I felt like I was succeeding if I was able to keep the exercise going for the full minute, rather than feeling like I wasn't completing the "right" number of reps like everyone else. Of course, I know that I'm just getting started and I need to time to get stronger and I'll get there. But in the meantime, I like feeling like I'm getting something done.

We used core boards - my first time using one! I've always had pretty good balance, so even though I'm not very strong and I definitely need to work on my endurance, I enjoyed the balancing challenge. Even though it came with weights and squats!

True to his word, Ron kept us moving (quickly) throughout the whole class. I was absolutely exhausted at the end, but still felt great. Sounds weird, but it's true. I don't know if it's because of all the adrenaline and exercise endorphins, or just the sense of satisfaction that I'd come back and worked out again, but I felt really, really good.

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Week 2

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

I'd intended to work out on Monday and Wednesday this week, but ended up with another commitment on Monday night. I was a little worried about how long it had been - three full rest days. Would I have lost all my (admittedly small) gains? Was I going to hurt like crazy all over again the next day? Well, there was only one way to find out.

So I hit Boot Camp again. Johnny's workout today included jack knives, kettle bells, rowing machines, running outside around the parking lot, carrying weights above the head for a certain distance, burpees, and wall sits. Now that I'm looking at that list, I'm feeling pretty good about myself! I did all of that!

Ok, to be perfectly honest, I couldn't finish all the reps in the time allotted, except the jack knives. I did finish those and I felt pretty darn good about that! But just like before, Johnny explained and demonstrated all the exercises, provided modifications for those who needed it (that's me), and kept a close eye on everything throughout.

I don't think I've ever worked out like that in my life. I'm pushing myself with every workout, feeling tired, sweaty, but also accomplished. I'm liking this transformation thing.

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Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Today was another good Boot Camp. I'd been wondering about the wisdom of working out two days in a row since I'm still a newbie, but it was actually ok. I was a little sore after yesterday's workout, but wasn't feeling too bad today so I showed up and did my best today.

I'm really enjoying the fact that every single workout is different. Different exercises, different combinations, different weights, etc. There's a lot to learn, but there's also a lot of support from the trainers, and it's definitely not boring. Even though I tried to exercise regularly on my own before starting at Transformation, I knew that I didn't have the creativity to change things up constantly, and I also didn't push myself nearly as hard as I'm being pushed now. It's a nice kind of pushing, don't get me wrong. More like accountability and support, which is exactly what I needed. I'm just scratching the surface and it's kind of exciting, knowing that I'm already making a little progress, and that there's so much more to do.

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Week 3

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

I've got an ambitious goal this week - three workouts instead of two. I have no idea how that's going to go, but I'm going to give it my best shot. Ramping up, pushing myself, trying to get stronger.

Today's workout had three different rounds, each with three exercises. We picked a round to start with, repeated each exercise as many times as possible for 1 minute before moving to the next exercise in that round for 1 minute, etc. Each round required three rotations of the three exercises, then on to round two, then round three. Once all three rounds were done, we ended with a finisher. Here's what we did:

Round 1: Assault bike, jumping pull ups, SDHP (Sumo Deadlift High Pull)
Round 2: Battle ropes, Russian swings with the kettle bells, jumping squats
Round 3: Wall sit, sled push OR a tire flip, shuffle sprints

Today was kinda fun! I found that I enjoyed jumping pull ups (even though I had to stop to catch my breath), managed to get the kettle bell from from shins to my chin for SDHP (yeah, needed to stop during that one, too), and also enjoyed sending ripples down the ropes as fast as I could. I also learned that the ropes are harder than they look, and wore me out faster than I expected. All good to know, all gives me LOTS of room for improvement.

And that finisher? 100 sit-ups. And I did. Every. Single. One. It took me awhile, and I had to pause for breath. But I kept getting back to it and I finished! I was super proud of that. It was a good workout today.

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Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

My second workout in two days. Here goes nothing.

Today gave us two 14 minute AMRAPs (as many rounds/reps as possible). The first included V-ups, a 100-meter farmer's carry, a 1-minute plank, a 200-meter run, and Russian twists. As if that wasn't enough, the second one included ring rows, a 1-minute incline run, push ups, and jump rope.

Fun fact: I can't remember the last time I jumped rope. It's probably been about 20 years, at least. Turns out I'm out of practice!

This whole workout really pushed me, in a good way. It was a lot of new exercises, lots of intensity, and the added challenge of trying to get to keep the movement going for the full amount of time, or getting the full number of reps. It was not easy, not one little bit. But I'm still loving the variety, and I know it's the best thing for me and my goal of becoming stronger and healthier.

The finisher was two rounds of a band walk (put a resistance band around your legs, either above or below the knees, and then do a sideways crab-style walk. Feel the burn!), and single leg DB (dumbbell) deadlifts. The band walk was oddly fun, despite the challenge. Maybe just because we all looked silly! And the deadlifts were a chance to (finally) catch my breath a little, which was nice.

Interesting side benefit of all this exercise: I've become less interested in dessert. I have a sweet tooth for sure, and firmly believe that there's no bad time for ice cream, and you can't possibly have too much chocolate. But since starting this workout, I'm finding that I crave it less. I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or not, but it's a good thing for sure!

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Friday, September 28th, 2018

Time for my second Code Red class, once again led by Ron. We enjoyed/suffered through four rounds of five exercises, repeated until we got through it all: 3-minute treadmill run at a 4% incline, alternating deadlifts, swings, up downs (using one foot at a time and a core board, run onto the board and back off until Ron told us to drop and do a certain number of push-ups, which changed each time), and a catch squat press, performed on the core board for extra fun! The finisher was holding a plank position with hands on the core board, with all the unbalanced goodness to make it exciting!

True to his promise of high-intensity interval training, Ron kept us moving constantly, and moving fast. But even though he definitely notices when you're giving yourself a breather (maybe that's just me!), he's still really encouraging to get you to get back in there. I knew he had my best interests at heart, and that helped. Only marginally at times, but still a good thing!

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Week 4

Monday, October 1st, 2018

Something about week 4 feels like a milestone. I think I've dropped a few pounds, so that's exciting. I haven't noticed any change in how my clothes fit yet, but I'm snacking less, still eating less dessert, and overall feeling pretty good. I've never had trouble sleeping, but I definitely sleep very soundly after workouts. All great stuff.

Today brought us three rounds of exercises, each with two exercises, to be repeated three times before moving to the next round.

Round 1: 300 meter run, 25 goblet squats
Round 2: 30 barbell push presses, 50 bar hops (literally, just jump over the bar from side to side - a lateral move that wore me out faster than I expected)
Round 3: 30 V-ups, 1-minute plank
Finisher: 20 hip thrusts, 20 bent rows with a dumbbell (bend from the hips, using one arm at a time to pull the weight up by bending the elbow)

I hadn't done anything with barbells yet, so that was a fun challenge. I had to switch to a lighter one and that definitely made it easier (of course!) to complete more reps and ensure better form. I'm going to be feeling it in my arms tomorrow for sure.

I'm still loving the variety that each workout brings. None of them have been remotely the same, and it's great not to have to think about it. I just show up, follow the workout on the board, and that's it! No creativity needed when I'm already tired after a long day. It's perfect, and just what I needed.

I'm planning to do three workouts this week, too. Last week showed me that I could do it, so I want to make it as regular thing as much as possible.

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Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

Today was fun! We had five different rounds, each with two different exercises, to be repeated as many times as possible within three minutes. Then on to the next round, and so on. We rested for one minute between each round (thankfully), and at the end of the five rounds, repeated the whole thing.

I felt really good today, and I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe because each round went by really quickly, since it was only three minutes. Or...maybe I'm getting stronger? I still had to stop and catch my breath pretty often, but I felt like my breaks were a little shorter than they were even a couple of weeks ago. So that feels like progress, which is exciting.

It was also a great mix of exercises. We did American lifts with kettle bells, push ups, mountain climbers, V-ups, leg lifts, hollow rocks, bicycle crunches, lunges, and so on. Lots of variety, and the rapid switches meant that it went by really quickly.

I've also noticed that everyone at the gym is really friendly and welcoming - not just the trainers, although they definitely are. A woman introduced herself to me tonight - just asked my name and how long I'd been coming here, and then told me her story. We agreed that we love the positivity that's part of the atmosphere here, and how everyone just does what they can do and it doesn't matter how fit you are. She's been coming for years! I love that. At pretty much every workout, someone is introducing themself to me, offering a fist bump or a "nice job", and it just makes me feel really good. It doesn't matter at all that I'm slow and not very strong yet - because all that matters is that I'm showing up and doing my best.

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Thursday, October 4th, 2018

I did it - three workouts this week! Today was another good mix of exercises. We started with a plate hold (25 lbs suggested for women, I could barely do 15 lbs!) for 40 seconds, the 12 barbell deadlifts (another new one for me). We repeated those five times, then followed up that up with a 1600 meter row or run. I chose rowing and was really proud of myself that I did the whole thing! I had to pause a couple of times for breath, but I got back to it and got it done. Yay!

We finished with three rounds of one-minute wall sits and 40 kick-backs with resistance bands, 20 on each leg.

It doesn't sound intimidating. And taken individually, none of it was. But boy, my face was dripping with sweat. Like, actual drops of sweat rolling down my face onto the floor or bench. I guess I'm working hard, and I feel kind of awesome about it. Looking forward to what next week brings!

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Week 5

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Today was challenging - two rounds of AMRAPs, each with three exercises:

Round 1: Double kettle bell squats, kettle bell push-ups (balance hands on top of kettle bells on the floor, then push-ups as usual), 200meter row
Round 2: Wall balls, medicine ball lunges, 200-meter run

The exercises in each round were completed as many times as possible in 16 minutes. Then three minutes of rest, and on to round 2. The fun (?) part was that each time, we added reps to the first two exercises. We started with 10 reps of squats and push-ups, then 20 the next time, then 30. I assume that some people went beyond that, but I definitely didn't. I'm not fast enough yet! But it was a darn good workout, that's for sure.

And there's always a finisher. Today's was 100 crunches, and I'm proud to say that I did every single one of them. Whew. I'm guessing that my abs will be a little sore tomorrow, but that's ok. It means that I worked hard and that I'm getting better! Nothing wrong with that!

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Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Here's the funny thing. Every day's workout is different (love that!). And I like some exercises better than others - naturally. And because I'm kind of excited about this whole "I'm a person who works out" thing, I've told a bunch of people about it. I happened to have a water cooler conversation with one of my co-workers today, who asked how it was all going. "Great!" I said enthusiastically. "Done any burpees lately?" he asked. "Huh. Actually, no. They haven't been in the workouts for awhile." Grinning, he said "Today, I predict 100 squats and 25 burpees!" Gee, thanks.

And lo and behold, burpees were part of today's workout. I blame my co-worker!

Two 12-minute rounds today, each round consisting of three 1-minute exercises repeated four times. Then a few minutes of rest, then onto the second round.

Round 1: Ring row, burpees, plank
Round 2: Assault bike, wall sits, box jump/step ups

So round 1 focused more on arms, and round 2 focused more on legs, in general. By the end, all of me was just plain tired, but in a really good way. The finisher involved kettle bells - squats, naturally. I'm already feeling it in my legs. I don't think I'm going to be crazy sore or anything tomorrow, but it's nice to feel that I've really worked my muscles. Progress!

Also, Ron suggested that I do the 3-D body scan, which I find fascinating. It does just what the name suggests - takes a complete scan of the body, and measures all kinds of things: weight, fat mass, lean mass, body fat percentage, basal metabolic rate, body shape ratio, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and trunk to leg volume ratio. Plus, there was an avatar of me! It was weird, even without a clear face, I instantly recognized it as myself. And it was slightly horrifying, since it clearly showed that I need to do more work to get myself healthy. But that's what I'm working on!

Most of the above areas need work, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that I'm actually doing ok for fat mass versus lean mass. I'm almost at "ideal!" Yay! Most of these categories compare my measurements to others of my same gender and age, and the categories for most are "needs improvement" (yep, that's mostly me), "average" and "ideal". The fat mass and lean mass also add a "lean" category. Definitely not there yet, but that's ok.

I'm hoping to do another scan in a few months and compare my measurements. Hopefully I'll see some real improvements! Fingers crossed.

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Friday, October 12th, 2018

Friday, October 12
Another round of Code R.E.D. today. This one had four rounds - starting with a 3-minute run, then Russian swings, laying flat and lifting the kettle bell straight up and back down to the ground (one minute per arm), goblet squats on the core board, and core board twists while holding a medicine ball - after two twists, throwing the ball to the ground and catching it as it (sorta) bounces back up. Which essentially requires another squat, just for fun!

Something about one of this week's previous workouts really worked my quads, because they are SORE today. Not so much just walking around normally, but with all the squats that we're doing, I'm really feeling it. Since I'm trying to work out every other day (more or less), I'm usually pretty well recovered from a workout by the time I do another one, even if there's still some tenderness in a muscle group. But my legs need a little more time this week, it seems!

The finisher was ab work. Again laying flat on the ground, arms above the head holding the medicine ball, then raising it up above the head as we came into a seated position, then back again. Then leg lifts. Ow. Clearly, my abs need some work!

The whole point of Code R.E.D. is to keep us moving, a high intensity workout. And Ron definitely accomplishes that every week. I'm always tired and very sweaty by the end. But I still feel really good!

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Week 6

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Boot camp today, and man, it was tough. Today was all about a LOT of reps. Not too many exercises, just lots and lots of reps. Did I mention a lot of reps? Yep. A lot.

Today included:
200 Russian swings
150 V-ups with alternating legs
100 wall balls
50-calorie row

The finisher, if anyone made it, was band pull aparts and negative chin ups. Spoiler alert: I absolutely did not get there. Heck. No.

To make today extra challenging (fun?), there was an additional exercise to complete if you needed a break from all the reps. Here's what those looked like:

Anytime we needed a break from the Russian swings, it was 10 burpees. The break from the V-ups was 50 mountain climbers. The break from the wall balls was a 200-meter run. No break for the row - just get it done!

All things considered, I was pretty pleased with myself today. I got through about 100 of the Russian swings before I needed to stop. And honestly, knowing that if I stopped, I'd have to do 10 burpees definitely motivated me to keep going as long as I could. Turns out the trainers know what they're doing! One part "supportive of our health goals" and one part evil geniuses.

By the time I got to the V-ups and the wall balls, I was getting more tired, so I needed more breaks. But I did my best to keep going, and get it done, and I actually did make it through all the reps. Whew.

I also talked a little with Ron about trying the keto diet for 7 days. I'm not a huge fan of restriction (mostly because I'm, you know, human), but I figure that I can survive for 7 days! Ron is a big fan of keto - not necessarily long-term, but definitely as a re-set for the body. He also champions a modified version of it - rather than eliminate 100% of all carbs and sugar (including most fruit, which would be hard for me), he encourages eliminating carbs and processed sugar but eating as much fruit as desired, plus the meats, cheese, fat, and veggies that are part of the regular plan. I feel like for me, that makes it a lot more achievable. I'm not a huge fan of complicated cooking and I'm also a big fan of routine (as in, I literally eat a sandwich and apple for lunch every single workday, because then I don't have to think about it), so the less I have to reconsider what I'm used to eating, the better off I am.

I'm already making some changes - instead of breakfast cereal, I'm eating oatmeal with fruit and a dash of honey. I realize that oatmeal isn't keto, so I'll switch to eggs when I start, but in the meantime, I'm reducing my carbs and sugar. And in today's lunch, I put my regular sandwich fixings in a lettuce wrap instead of bread. I'm way more pleased with myself for this modification than I should be, I fully admit it. But a couple months ago, I would have looked at you like you were nuts if you suggested that I *think* about my lunch instead make the exact same thing every day. So this is progress, and I'm excited about it.

I've also been wondering about my results from all of this. I know that I'm feeling stronger, but I'm not necessarily feeling like my body looks much different, and I don't think my clothes are fitting differently yet. So that's a little frustrating. But Ron told me today not to worry about any of that - not the weight, not subtle changes, none of it. That I just needed to keep going and results would follow. He also said that he does see a change - that my face looks slimmer. I guess it's a little hard for me to tell because I see my face every day. But I'll take it!

The conversation with Ron is truly a great example of how supportive the staff is. They're kind, encouraging, and full of positivity. I honestly feel great about the fact that I'm making some lifestyle changes here, and I feel good when I'm actually *doing* it. Even when there are burpees masquerading as a "break"!

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Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Today's boot camp was a really good mix. As always, Johnny led us through some warmups and then went over the plan with us, demonstrating everything as he walked us through it. Here's what we did:

Hollow rocks/holds - work for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds
Bicycle crunches - work for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds

We repeated these five times. Ouch. It might not look like it, but that's a lot of ab work right there. Or, it was for me, at least!

Then a 1600-meter run/row. I rowed, because I strongly, strongly dislike running. But rowing is kinda fun! So I went with that and busted it out.

Then four rounds of 50 jump ropes and 25 ball slams (literally, hold a medicine ball above your head and slam it to the ground. Pick it up and repeat. Sounds easier than it is when you're doing it 25 times in a row!).

Finally, three rounds of 30 bent rows (15 on each arm) and 15 straight leg deadlifts with a kettle bell.

It was a lot - Johnny kept us moving, but there was just enough rest in there to keep me from collapsing. Hooray!

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Thursday, October 18th, 2018

No workout today, but I DID go shopping for my keto week - starts tomorrow! I bought salmon (to cook with butter/olive oil and lemon pepper) and beef patties (no buns!). And eggs - I just can't face having to cook something every morning because I don't want to get up early enough to make that happen. So I'm making egg "muffins" - eggs, cheese, sausage and red peppers, all baked in a cupcake pan for easy reheating in the morning. They're in the oven as I'm typing - hopefully they turn out great!

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Friday, October 19th, 2018

Another Code R.E.D. class with Ron today. As always, we started with a 3-minute run (ideally, 6.5mph at a 4% incline. I can manage the incline, but definitely not the speed. I run slooooowly at around 5ish mph, and take it down when I need to walk. But - I walk fast! And I've noticed that I've been able to run a little bit longer each week, so that makes me feel good. Still can't do the full three minutes, but I'm getting there.

Then we did core board burpees (jump on the core board, twist, jump off and then back into a plank position for a push-up, with hands on the core board. Then back up! Then a rope climb (up and down the rope wall twice), Russian swings, and a catch/squat/press with the kettle bell. Then back to the running. We repeated everything four times, and then all collapsed in exhaustion.

Ok, that's an exaggeration. But it was hard! After the four rounds, we did two rounds of pullovers (on our back, holding a weighted pole above our heads, then sit up while keeping the weighted pole raised above our heads, then sloooowly roll back down until we're on our backs again and the bar is on the ground above the head, where we started), and leg lifts (on our back, raising both legs straight up and then lowering them together back down without touching the ground. Ideally, anyway. Me, not so much).

Basically, I think Ron just planned that finisher to make our abs hurt as much as possible. But it's effective stuff! I jokingly complained that I was tired at the end. He jokingly apologized. I said I didn't actually think he was sorry at all. And then we both laughed. I have to say, being able to laugh when you're dripping with sweat and can barely catch your breath actually does make the whole thing more fun! Ron really has created a fantastic atmosphere for his classes. Love it!

And about that rope wall... It made an appearance in the gym recently. I've been eyeing it, wondering how excruciating difficult it would actually be and how long I had before I'd be forced to find out. Turns out, today was the day. And yeah. It was HARD. Made even harder by the fact that several people can climb at the same time, so there's a lot of movement happening that you have to react to. I couldn't quite make it to the top, and I'm also pretty afraid of heights, so that added an extra bit of fun - but I think I'm going to feel this one in my arms tomorrow, so I guess it's all for a good cause!

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Week 7

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

As of today, I'm officially halfway through my 12 week transformation! I do feel stronger, which is super exciting. It's been a long time since I really felt that way, and I like it. Now, on to the second half!

Today's Boot Camp had two main parts - a 10-minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible) and an E2MOM x 10 (every two minutes on the minute, times 10). So not a lot of components today, but, man, just as tough as ever.

The AMRAP was one goblet squat and one HR (hand release) push up, then 2 of each, then 3, etc - for 10 straight minutes. What's an HR push up, you ask? Basically, once your body is lowered, you lift your hands off the ground, then plant them back down again for the next push.

I made it to about 9 reps of each exercise as the 10 minutes elapsed. So. Tiring. But we weren't done, not by a long shot! On to the E2MOM x 10! Whee!

For this one, the premise is simple: you have two minutes to complete a 200-meter run or row, and then 10 American swings with the kettle bell. If you finish in less than two minutes, you get to take the remaining time to rest, because as soon as the two minutes are over, it's time to do it all over again! We did 10 rounds, for a total of 20 minutes on this part. Predictably, it got harder to complete everything within the 2 minutes because I was tired. That also meant very little rest. But I kept going as well as I could, and felt very accomplished at the end.

But, of course, we weren't quite done yet. The finisher was 100 sit-ups. Now, I can do about 20-25 at a fairly consistent pace before my abs start saying things like "dude, ow," and "seriously, what'd we ever do to you?" And that's fine, my abs are entitled to protest, but I still had about 75 to go! So I knocked them out a few at a time, but it took awhile. Sorry, abs - but thanks for hanging in there for me!

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Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Today can really be summed up in one word: running. Now, here's the thing. I don't like running; I never have. I don't know why exactly, I just don't. I like (or at least tolerate) plenty of other exercise. But running - not so much. Now, if I'm being chased by someone wielding an ax, you can bet I'll run. I'll run like crazy. Short of that, though, I will never choose running.

So imagine my delight when I discovered that running was every other exercise today. Yay! (Actually, boo). Oh well. Onward and upward. Right?

Here's what we did:
200-meter run
50 kettle bell curls
200-meter run
50 V-ups
200-meter run (yep, there's a pattern emerging here)
50 Russian twists
200-meter run
50 kettle bell triceps extensions

Then the finisher was a resistance band walk and one-minute wall sit, repeated three times (time allowing).

So yeah. So much running. And full disclosure, I did not run all of that. Maybe half? I was already having a "feeling pretty tired" kind of day, and having to run that much was tough. But I did what I could, and made it through. Slowly.

It's not that I would have magically run all of that even if I wasn't having a tired day. But I do think that my general tiredness affected my performance to some extent. Nevertheless, I finished and felt really good about it when I was done. I also sincerely hoped that I wouldn't have to run again anytime soon. We'll see how that goes!

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Thursday, October 25th, 2018

I was still really hoping that today would be free of running. And for the most part, it was! Of course, the one running part also involves carrying weights, for added fun. But at least it wasn't half of today's workout! Here's what we did:

4 rounds of 25 Russian swings and 2 net climbs
3 rounds of 25 wall balls and 20 box jumps (or step-ups as a modification)
2 rounds of a 500-meter row and 200-meter kettle bell run

Then the finisher was three rounds of a one-minute plank and 20 resistance band pull-aparts (hold the band straight in front of you, then pull your arms apart until it's taut, then release).

It's been a busy week, and I was still feeling tired today. Like yesterday, I didn't feel like I was performing as well as I know I can, or as well as I have been. And some of this stuff is tough - the net climbs, running with a kettle bell - none of it is easy. I decided that I was still going to push myself and do as much as I could, but not worry about that fact that I was dragging. There's always next week, and I'm still happy that I went and got it done.

One thing that I think is really important to know about TTG is that literally everyone is really nice and really helpful. I had picked up a 16-lb medicine ball and was struggling with my wall balls. It was just really heavy and I was starting to wear down. One of the guys in the Strength Con class gave me a couple of tips (push up out of the squat and use that momentum to throw the ball up) - which totally made sense, and I was trying, but he realized that maybe my ball was too heavy. He got a lighter ball for me and even though it was only a couple of pounds lighter, it really made a difference. It was nice of him to go out of his way to give me a hand, and it's just another reason that working out here feels good. The culture is really supportive, and I love being surrounded by that positivity.

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Week 8

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Today's boot camp had three different stations, each with three 1-minute exercises to be repeated three times in a row. The general idea was to do each exercise as many times as possible for one minute, move to the next, then the next - then start over again from the top . So each station took 9 minutes, with about 3 minutes of rest in between stations.

Station 1:
Barbell push press
Back squat
Bar hops (put the bar on the ground and hop over it from side to side)

Station 2:
Battle ropes
Goblet squats
Jumping pull-ups

Station 3:
Sled push
Air squat (no weights, just squats)
Wall sits

I started with station 1. I didn't put any additional weights on my barbell for two reasons. Firstly, 40 pounds was plenty for me to contend with, and secondly, I wanted to be sure I had the correct form before making it any more challenging. Working with the barbell makes me feel super strong, which then kinda makes me giggle, because even though I've gained a lot of strength, I'm hardly what you'd call buff. But it's a journey, and I'm happy that I'm on it!

I did station 2 next, which was outside. The weather was gorgeous, and it felt GREAT to be outside, even if I had to push a sled. By the time I got to the air squats and wall sits, my legs were definitely letting me know that I'd been working them. I was very glad that neither required additional weights!

I was pretty tired by station 3. I think battle ropes are fun (no idea why, I just like them), but then doing more squats (this time with a kettle bell) was hard. And the jumping pull-ups used arms AND legs, all of which were getting tired. I noticed Ron keeping an eye on us while I was doing my jumping pull-ups. He was beaming angelically - you just can't be mad when he looks so genuinely happy! It made me smile and for a moment, everything felt a little easier. I guess that's the power of positivity in action.

The finisher was a 1-minute plank and 40 side-bends with a kettle bell (20 on each side), repeated three times. I can't hold a 1-minute plank yet, but I'm getting better. I think I'm around 30 seconds now... Soon I'll get there!

Another good, tiring, all-around workout today. I can't believe that I'm already in week 8. It's gone by really fast, and I'm realizing that I really want to keep this up even after my 12 weeks are done. One man who's often in boot camp with me said that it becomes like an addiction, and he's right - in a good way. Once it's a habit, it feels really good and I'm happy that it's becoming part of my regular routine.

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Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

It's a busy week this week with Halloween, so I'm working out two days in a row. Not what I'd normally do, but I have to get my three-a-week done!

Today's format was a little different. Rather than rounds, we just did several exercises with a LOT of reps, and only did the whole thing once. We started and ended with my "favorite" - running! Yay (or do I secretly mean boo?)

400-meter run
100 sit-ups
75 wall balls
50-calorie row
75 American swings (with kettle bell)
100 lunges (50 on each leg)
400-meter run (apparently one wasn't enough)

The finisher was 20 def squats (stand on a box with a kettle bell and lower it until your hands are at the level of your feet), then a 30-second handstand hold (it's kinds like it sounds - start on all fours by a wall, then walk your feet up the wall so you're in a handstand position. The closer you can get your hands to the wall, the higher your feet go, and you're closer to a true handstand position.). Repeat twice.

I ran as much as I could (still not a fan of running, still can't run that far), and it was definitely really physically challenging to have so many reps for each exercise. It's asking a lot of the muscles to keep repeating the same thing over and over again without switching to something else! There were some that I just couldn't finish, but I did just about everything - which actually made me really proud! I've come a long way in the last eight weeks.

Then handstand hold was kind of fun in a weird way, even though I was only slightly more vertical than parallel to the floor. I'm not a fan of any kind of upside-down stuff (no crazy roller coasters, I could never do a somersault even as a kid, etc). So even attempting anything related to a handstand felt pretty weird, but kinda fun at the same time. I think that like anything else, I'd get better at it if I practiced more.

After today, I could already tell that I was going to feel everything in my muscles for the next couple of days - all those reps were going to catch up with me. But it was still pretty cool to see what I'm capable of!

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Friday, November 2nd, 2018

It's the end of Week 8 for me, which is pretty hard to believe. Ready for another Code R.E.D. class with Ron!

As always, we completed four rounds of the following:

3-minute run
1 minute of combo kettle bell swings: Russian swing, high swing, American swing
1 minute of push-up rocks (hands balanced on the core board, complete a push-up, then rock the core board to dip once to the right and left, then steady again for another push-up)
1 minute of catch presses with the kettle bell (this one includes raising it above the head)
1 minute of squats/bus driver (balance on the core board, squat and hold a barbell weight straight out in front and then rotate 6 times like a steering wheel, channeling your inner bus driver - just like you always wanted!)

Then pullovers with the barbell weights, and finally leg lifts. Each for one minute at a time, repeated twice.

So something REALLY exciting happened for me today - major personal milestone here! You know how I don't like running? Yeah, I really don't. But I do it anyway, even though I don't think it's fun and I'm not great at it. Well, today, for the first time, I ran for the WHOLE THREE MINUTES of the first round. That might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but for me, it really, really is. I ran at the 4% incline that Ron suggests (but only at about 4.5mph instead of his suggested 6.5mph). So even though I'm running slowly, I'M RUNNING! And I DID IT FOR THE WHOLE TIME! Ron was proud of me. I was proud of me. Yay!

The rest of the workout felt good, too. As always, Ron kept us moving right along. But even towards the end, when I was tired and I had sweat dripping down my face and my back, I felt GOOD. Excited about my running milestone, and realizing that even though I was tired, my body was still capable of getting it done because of all this training. And that felt amazing.

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Week 9

Monday, November 5th, 2018

Today's workout was deceptively simple. It *looked* easy enough, but definitely turned out to be more challenging than I expected.

We started with a 5-minute ladder. Meaning we had two exercises (burpees and Russian swings). First we'd do one of each, then two of each, then three, etc. We kept going for 5 minutes, just increasing by one rep each time. I think I got to about 7 by the time it was over. The Russian swings weren't too bad, but the burpees were killer. No surprise there!

Then we did a 20-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of the following: 40 air squats, 20 hand release push-ups, and 10 suitcase deadlifts (with a kettle bell in each hand, squat until the kettle bells touch the ground, then push back up to standing using your leg muscles). We just kept repeating these for 20 solid minutes. So tired. So tempting to just rest at the bottom of each push-up. Just snuggle up on the gym floor and...yeah, maybe not. Not wanting my face on the floor absolutely helped motivate me. I guess I'll take motivation wherever I can get it!

But that wasn't all! When the 20 minutes were done, it was time for another 5-minute ladder. This one included burpees (because doing them before was awesome) and kettle bell thrusters. I think I got to 5 or 6 reps at the end of the 5 minutes. I was tired, for good reason!

The finisher was two rounds of 15 weighted step-ups (I used a weighted bar instead of the 40-lb barbell) and 1-minute planks. By the time THAT was over, I really was kinda tempted to just collapse on the floor.

That's really the beauty of the variety we get in boot camp. No matter how easy or simple a workout looks when you read it on the board, it's always challenging and makes good use of all the muscle groups. I know that I got a DARN good workout each and every time, and I love that.

The further I get into my 12-week transformation, the more little changes I'm noticing. For example, I wore a pair of jeans today that I haven't worn in a few weeks. I love them, but the waistband was getting kinda tight. Today, it wasn't. Yay!

And for boot camp today, I wore a pair of yoga pants that I've had forever. They happen to be a size larger than my other workout pants, but that's never been a huge issue. Until today. I've never once in my whole life thought "huh, I sure wish I had a pair of suspenders to wear with my yoga pants right now", but they've suddenly gotten a little too big and I had to keep hiking them up! I think I'm going to have to retire that pair so I don't end up with a wardrobe malfunction. But that's ok - it's all proof that everything I'm doing is working, and that's super exciting! Just four weeks left in this particular stage of my journey, and I'm excited to see what changes I notice next. Hopefully my pants stay put for the rest of the journey!

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Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

Johnny gave us three tough rounds today. Not much rest built in, so we were moving the whole time! Here's what we did:

Round 1: 30 barbell push presses, 150 jump rope (repeat three times)
Round 2: 15 pull-ups, 300-meter run (repeat three times)
Round 3: 30 American swings, 30 sit-ups (repeat three times)
The finisher, assuming we had time, was three rounds of 20 elevated bridges and 1-minute wall sits.

I started with round 2 to get the running out of the way when I was most energetic. Similar to last week, I had a slightly easier time with it today - I even managed the run the entire 300 meters once or twice! That's not a massive accomplishment for some, but it's pretty big for me, and I was happy about it. Since I can't quite manage a pull-up yet, I substituted for ring rows. Then I moved to round 1, where I struggled with the push presses. Clearly, I need to work on upper body strength! Johnny corrected my form, which was helpful. But at the moment, I lack the strength to do 30. All in good time...

Then on to round 3. By this point, I was pretty tired, but I got through the American swings and even used a heavier kettle bell than I've used before. It definitely made it more challenging, though! Finally being on the floor for sit-ups felt great. Until I had to, you know, do a bunch of sit-ups. But I got through it! I didn't have time to get all the way through the finisher, but I powered through a couple of wall sits and called it a day. Another challenging workout in the books. It's amazing how you can feel so tired but still feel really good.

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Friday, November 9th, 2018

Another round of Code R.E.D. today, with some special guests - our social media intern, Jackie, and a group of her friends! They all did great, and Ron kept a close eye on all of us (as usual) to make sure that we were doing everything correctly, and explained and demonstrated everything before we got started. All the trainers do that, of course, which is great. The only difference was that today, I wasn't the newest member of the class! Yippee!

We did our usual four rounds, consisting of:

3-minute treadmill run (ideally at a 4% incline and 6.5mph, though I run at about 4.5 mph)
Twist-Drop-Twist (hop onto the core and twist until Ron tells us to drop and do a varying number of push-ups. To make it extra fun, the hands are on the core board, and we have to twist it beneath us before completing the next push-up. Then back up on the core board for more twisting and push-ups until a minute is up)
Dips with the core board (targeting the triceps, our arms were positioned behind us on the core board with our legs straight out, then we'd lower our rears to the ground and back up for a minute. Ouch.)
Russian swings for a minute
Squat press (holding a kettle bell, squat and then raise above the head, again for a minute)

Then we finished with some ab work to round it all off!

I was able to run for the full three minutes during the first round, but not the rounds after that. I did run for at least half the time, though, so that's still pretty good progress for me. Otherwise, I'm working on general endurance - being able to do more exercises without resting as much. I definitely have a LOT of work to do there, but I can handle more than I could when I started working out, so I'm on the right track.

I loved watching Ron go over everything with the new students today. Making newcomers comfortable is something that the whole staff really excels at, but it was great to realize just how good Ron is at it. With a group of 6 or so new students, Ron had his work cut out for him, but he just kept making the rounds, correcting form and demonstrating things again when needed. He's always really positive and encouraging, but it was fun seeing it in action now that I'm pretty comfortable with everything myself. I hope some of Jackie's friends decide to come back and start their own transformations

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Week 10

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Today brought a new challenge for the first round - double kettle bells! We did five exercises for one minute each, then went through them all again for a total of 10 minutes: Russian swings, dead lifts, presses, squats, and thrusters. Presses and thrusters are hard enough with one kettle bell, but they are REALLY hard with two! I did as many reps as I could, but it wasn't an easy round. Then again, I wondered how much I could have gotten through when I started my transformation - probably not nearly as much. It's hard to compare exactly, but I know that I'm leaner and stronger, so that's pretty awesome as a reminder!

Then we had two 10-minute AMRAP rounds: weighted step-overs (holding two kettle bells, step onto and off of a step, then turn around and repeat) and wall sits, then wall walks and 12-calorie rows.

To make things more "interesting" (by which I mean harder), the first time we did the weighted step-overs, we did five of them. The second time, we did 10. And so on. I got to 20 by the time our 10 minutes were up. And I have to say, those wall sits were harder each time, having just done an increasingly large bunch of step-overs! That round definitely worked my legs.

We did a similar increase with the wall walks in the final round. A quick definition: a wall walk is kind of like a handstand with your feet against the wall rather than freestanding. And you walk your feet as far up the wall as you can, ideally until you're in a full handstand position. That just feels totally unsettling to me, but I got up as far as I could. For those, we started with two reps, then four, then six, etc. I think I was about to start eight when our 10 minutes were (happily) up.

No official finisher today, but I did a lot of stretching for my legs, which felt great. It's hard to believe that I'm already on week 10 - just three weeks left! It's gone by a lot quicker than I expected, and it's still something that I look forward to each time I come in. It's partially the atmosphere and partially that I like the challenge and seeing myself become stronger. But the reason that I feel so good about it is less important than the actual feeling, I think. It means that I'm self-motivated and also getting tons of positivity from being in the gym. I'm doing this for myself, I'm loving it, and that's a recipe for longevity.

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Week 11

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Ok, so while *technically* this is week 11, week 10 did not go as planned for me, so I'm taking this week as "10b". Though I didn't feel sick last week, I ended up with crazy congestion, could only breathe through my mouth, and was really wiped out - not super conducive to boot camp or Code R.E.D. So I elected to stay home, hydrate, rest up, and keep any germs that might have been festering to myself.

This week, I'm back in action! The congestion is pretty much gone, and I'm back to breathing through my nose. In case you haven't taken the time to appreciate nose breathing lately, please do. It's awesome.

After six days off, I was worried about how I'd do today. Was I going to be rusty? Am I going to experience beginner's agony all over again? Time will tell on that one, but I think that today's boot camp was challenging enough that I would have struggled even without the days off.

Deceptively simple, today consisted of three rounds of:
100 lunges
500-meter row
100 air squats
400-meter run

No weights, nothing fancy. Just good old fashioned reps upon reps upon reps. And then some more reps. It turns out that I can't do that many reps of lunges and air squats all at once, or in the time allotted. That didn't surprise me. I got through everything in round 1, and then did about half-ish by the time I reached round 2. Since my legs were screaming for mercy, I decided to do as much as I could and then move on. I was definitely pushing myself, which is the overall point, and figured that collapsing wouldn't help anyone!

What DID surprise me was that running was one of the easier things today. I've always liked rowing, so that felt like a reprieve. But the running actually felt...good? I took a really slow pace and just let my leg muscles relax a little, which they badly needed after all the lunges and squats. And though I didn't quite get to 400 meters, I got pretty close and felt good. So that was very weird and also pretty awesome.

There's a distinct possibility that my legs will be in a lot of pain tomorrow. We shall see. But it's all part of the transformation, and with this many weeks under my belt now, I know I'll get through It.

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Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Since Thanksgiving is this week and I could only fit in workouts on Monday and Tuesday, that's exactly what I did - two days in a row. My legs are definitely hurting from yesterday's squats and lunges, but it still needed to happen! Luckily, today was much easier on the legs.

First, we did 40 seconds of work/20 seconds of rest for the following, repeated four times:
Leg lifts

Then 1 minute each of the following, repeated four times:
40-second plate hold/20-second rest
10 burpees (if you finished within a minute, take the time to rest)
3 wall walks (same thing - if you finished within a minute, take the time to rest)

The first round was actually pretty doable for me, which felt great! I struggled to make it to 40 seconds with my planks, but everything else felt good.

I had a 15-lb plate for my plate hold. I realize that it doesn't sound heavy, but holding it straight in front of you makes it AMAZINGLY heavy. I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure it weighed about 500 pounds by the time I was done with each round. I've got to work up to 40 seconds; definitely not there right now. And burpees are just plain hard. The wall walks felt the easiest, but they're not necessarily easy, either!

Overall, it was a great workout. Challenging, yet doable (I had my doubts about that considering my sore legs). I was talking to a fellow exerciser after class and he said something that resonated with me: that it's amazing what our bodies can do. And it's hard, but we get better and better at it, and it's just really cool to see that happen. He's absolutely right! I love that attitude and it's everywhere at TTG. I wish I didn't have to wait until the beginning of next week to keep the momentum going for myself, but it'll go fast. Happy Thanksgiving! Week 10b is a wrap!

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Week 12

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Just a couple of weeks left for my transformation. 12 weeks sounds like a long time at the beginning, but it truly went by incredibly quickly. So I'm making the most of it. Here's what happened today:

Two rounds of:
50 wall balls
40 Russian swings
30 burpees
800-meter run

I find wall balls kind of challenging (though I realize that IS the point...), so it took me awhile to get through them. The Russian swings weren't too bad, but the burpees were rough. I think I only managed to get through 10 or 15 in Round 2 - it just wasn't happening. The last couple of weeks, I haven't managed to do 3 weekly workouts so while I'm not technically out of shape, exactly (for me, anyway), it was still tough to get through.

But here's the weird thing: the running went well! I seriously never thought I'd say that. Like, NEVER. But it really did. I set a slow pace (about 4.2 mph) and just...ran. I ran for the longest period that I've ever done at TTG, by far - about 7.5 minutes at that pace. And even though it was challenging, it was doable.

So that was Round 1. And while I was running, I thought "ok, so this is great. You're doing great! But you're going to be more tired during Round 2. So it's ok if you can't run this much at that point. Just try, and keep going, and you'll finish the 800 meters somehow".

But running was fine during Round 2, too! Whoa. I did the same thing - set a slow pace for myself and just did it. And same thing happened - I ran the entire 800 meters on the treadmill.

So. Wall balls are hard, burpees are nearly unspeakable, but apparently I'm getting a lot better at running. I'm calling that a big personal win for today!

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Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Today brought another challenging boot camp class. And the first round even included some partner work! Here's what we did:

1-minute leg toss and 1-minute plank, repeated six times. The leg toss was the partner exercise. One partner would lie flat on the floor and do leg lifts. The twist was that their partner would stand at their head and push their feet down each time they came up - making the leg lifts quite a bit more challenging! Since we had to rotate doing the leg lifts and being the "pusher", we each did three rounds of leg lifts, but all six planks. Whew!

Next up was a 12-minute AMRAP:
15 ring rows
60 jump ropes
15 double kettle bell presses
100-meter run

For this one, we just kept moving from exercise to exercise - getting through as many rotations as possible within the 12 minutes. I think I was on the third round when time was up. Keeping the momentum going is hard when you're getting tired, but it does create a really good, challenging workout. And it's nice to be able to go at your own pace and not feel like you're "behind" anyone else. Another positive to TTG workouts!

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Friday, November 30th, 2018

Fridays mean Code R.E.D. with Ron! Each of the four rounds started with a 3-minute run as usual. I had a harder time with the running than I did during Monday's workout - but today's run had a 4% incline whereas Monday's didn't, so I think that contributed. I ran for the entire 3 minutes during the first round, and then progressively less for the next three. But each time, I ran for at least the first minute and a half, and always ran again after taking a break to walk. So...I kept it moving, at least!

After the run, each round included one minute of each of these:
Squats with kettle bell, on the core board
Core board burpees
Russian swings
Catch 2/Press 2, on the core board

Sounds simple, right? NOPE. It's not that the exercises are complicated, but they are definitely difficult. That's kind of the beauty of all of this. Everything we do is, well, totally doable. But done in combination with all the others, it's tiring and muscle-building and exhilarating and exhausting. And fun.

So yeah. Simple exercises, done in quick succession, are definitely proving themselves to be effective at building my strength and endurance. It's really cool to see. Next week is my last week of the transformation (What??? Already?) and I'm excited to do another 3-D scan to see what, if anything, has changed. I do see some physical changes. Maybe not DRASTIC, but I know I'm heading in the right direction.

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Week 13

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Thursday, December 6
So this was supposed to be my final week - my grand finale to my initial 12 week transformation! But life had other plans for me. Work commitments kept me from the gym every day except one - today. Not exactly the three-a-week that I've been aiming for, but I was happy to get one workout, at least. It has also been nearly a week since my last one, so that always makes me nervous...

We started with Tabata. Never heard of it? Me neither! It involves performing an exercise for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeating eight times for a total of four minutes. We did two rounds. The first was alternating hollow holds and V-ups, while the second round was alternating scissor kicks and toe touches. Feel like making your abs cry? Do exactly what I just described!

Then we did three rounds of an "every three minutes on the minute":

Round 1: 10 burpees, 30 American swings
Round 2: 10 burpees, 25 thrusters
Round 3: 10 burpees, 200-meter run

Sensing a pattern? Yep, me too. So many burpees. So much ow. Yay, health?

For each round, we had three minutes to complete it, and could rest if there was any leftover time. We'd move right from round to round (no extra rest built in), and repeated three times. So we were definitely moving and working hard the whole time. Whew. I'm glad that if I could only do one workout this week, it was a good one!

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Week 14

Monday, December 10th, 2018

Monday, December 10
Ok, this week is FOR REAL my last week. Since I've had a couple of crazy weeks that kept me from doing all my workouts, I'm counting those as half weeks, so I'm making this one my real Week 12. I made it!

Today we started with a partner ab warmup - leg slams. One minute at a time, then switch places with your partner, and repeat three times. Round 1: ok, I got this! Round 2: huh, this is getting harder. Round 3: yeah, owwwww. Moving right along...

Today was a big ol' 25-minute AMRAP:
10 Russian swing/high pull/American swing combos
10 heavy goblet squats
20 hand release push-ups
200-meter run

So pretty much, the idea is to repeat those over and over as many times as possible within 25 minutes. I just about got through four rounds. Still pretty sure I'm the slowest in the class, but that's ok. I'm still out there getting it done, so I'm ok with being slow!

Then we ended with three minutes of planks (I broke that up into three one-minute planks) and 50 sit-ups. Today was challenging and although I was pretty darn glad when it was over, I also felt the same awesome sense of accomplishment and happy tiredness as usual.

I'm feeling sad that my transformation is almost over. I've really had a surprising amount of fun coming each week, learning a TON from Ron and Johnny, and being constantly impressed with myself and what I'm capable of doing. It's made me feel really great about making the investment in myself and my health, and I want to continue. So I guess I need to figure out a new plan soon, so I keep the momentum going!

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Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

New trainer today! Well, Joel is new to me, but familiar to many others at TTG, and he seems beloved by all! So right from the start, I was excited to do boot camp with him today.

He really put us through our paces. I was a little bit sore from yesterday's workout, but was absolutely determined to do three this week. So despite that little bit of soreness, I showed up...and got more sore. Here's what Joel had in store for us:

100 American swings (every time you put the kettle bell down, do 15 burpees)

So I have to say, that burpee caveat is pretty darn motivating. I decided from the start that there was NO WAY I was going to do burpees in the middle. So I took a moderate pace and actually did all 100 American swings without putting the kettle bell down! Mission accomplished.

Of course, Joel did make us do 15 burpees at the end, regardless. Darn it. Oh well. At least I hadn't already done 15 others!

Then we did four rounds of the following:
1 minute of rowing
1 minute of double kettle bell thrusters
1 minute of box jumps/step-ups
1 minute of sit-ups
1 minute of side planks (switching between the right and left side each time)

I'm good with rowing (I mean, I'm not going to qualify for the Olympic rowing team or anything, but still!). Double thrusters are hard for sure, but I did my best to keep going. Those minutes definitely felt longer! I used a 30" box for step ups, so felt pretty good about that. The sit-ups, as usual, felt really doable in the early rounds, and felt more challenging in the later rounds. Side planks are hard enough, but when I'm already tired...yeah. I had a hard time with those. But I guess that's a pretty clear area that I can work on. So that's ultimately a good thing.

The finisher was killer. Russian twists with a kettle bell for 20 seconds, followed by a hollow hold for 10 seconds - and repeat eight times. Super duper OW. But, I suspect, also very effective! So...yay?

I told Joel at the end that I was pretty much going to go home and die, but that it was still good. He laughed and said "Glad I could help you with that!" He then genuinely told me to ask if I needed any help with anything. I just love that - I've never met him before today, but he was already offering his support and expertise in a really friendly way. No wonder everyone loves him and is glad that he's back!

One more class this week. One more class in my transformation. Let's see what Thursday brings.

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Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Today is the last class of my transformation - or at least, it's the last class of the BEGINNING of my transformation. As I keep hearing, fitness is a lifelong journey, and we're never done. In a way, that's a really positive thing - there's always a new challenge and a way to make ourselves better. It's a good outlook!

So, here's what went down today...

The warmup was a 5-minute dead run followed by a 5-minute rotation of 10 hollow rocks and five V-ups.

I'd never heard of a dead run, but was PRETTY sure it wasn't going to be super fun. I was not wrong. It's done on a treadmill, and instead of turning it on or using settings, we just walked until the belt moved, and then ran/walked as fast as we could for five minutes, just using our own strength to keep the belt in motion under our feet.

Sound easy? Pssssh. You've clearly never tried it! I started at a slow run. "Ok, you've got this," I told myself in what turned out to be a delusionally positive mantra. Pretty soon I was walking, and then it was all I could do to keep placing one foot in front of the other. That belt has a fair amount of resistance! Anyway, I made it through (barely) and then the hollow rocks and V-ups seemed slightly easier by comparison. Then on to the actual workout.

We went through two different EMOMs:

10 Russian swings and 10 air squats
15 hand release push-ups

250-meter row
10 burpees

So for each, the goal was to complete the exercise (10 Russian swings and 10 air squats) in one minute, then move to the next one (15 hand release push-ups) and complete that in one minute. Then back to the first one, and repeat for 12 minutes. Then, if you are still breathing, move to the second EMOM.

I could, more or less, get through the Russian swings and air squats, but struggled with the hand release push-ups. And then second EMOM was harder - today I learned that I can't quite get through 250 meters in one minute, which meant that I had no rest time before heading into burpees. Joel offered alternative rowing goals for anyone who hadn't reached 250 (*raises hand) - 200, then 180, 150, etc. I appreciated that for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I was exhausted, and secondly, because it made me feel like it was all totally ok. I could do whatever I could do and it was all good.

That's truly such a hallmark of being at TTG. The options and positivity make it such a good experience and the whole staff really embodies that.

Finally, after the EMOMs, Joel announced that it was time for the finisher. Then he grinned and said "There's no finisher! You're done!" I've never heard sweeter words.

But in a way, that's a really appropriate way to wind down these 12 (actually 14) weeks. I'm done with my 12 week transformation, which is what I originally set out to do. And I feel great, thanks to everyone at TTG and all of their encouragement and motivation throughout. But it's not *finished*. I'm not finished - not as a person, and not in my fitness journey. Today's "no finisher" was also appropriate in a much bigger way because I still have goals that I haven't reached. Just as I want to continue growing and learning and evolving as a person, I want to do the same for my fitness. I want to keep getting stronger and learning and seeing the results of my hard work reflected in my health.

I guess I've learned two main things during my time at TTG. Firstly, that they can create a killer workout and somehow make it really fun - which is really impressive. And secondly, that everything truly builds on itself. Every workout, every rep, everything makes us stronger and better able to tackle the challenge the next time.

So yeah, there wasn't a finisher today. And in that bigger sense, there never will be. And because I learned that from Ron, Will, Johnny, and Joel plus the whole crowd at TTG, I'll be back.

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