Several weeks ago I kicked off a series where I planned to discuss each of the five personal training sessions that I purchased from CustomFit Training. This is the fifth entry of that series. If you missed the first, feel free to jump back and read that one before starting in on the one below.
This entry in the series is going to be a little different that the others. Earlier entries have been written a few days, or even a week, after the training session was finished. This gave me some time to reflect on the workout so that I could break it down for anyone that might be reading.
This time around, I’m writing this entry shortly after the training session ended. In fact, as I type this it is now 7:36pm on Thursday night. My session ended at 6:15pm. Now that I’ve stopped sweating and put a couple hundred calories into my body, it is time to recap my last Personal Training Session with Bobby Pritchard of CustomFit Training.
Before I get into the session itself, I want to take a slight detour. This may seem unrelated but bear with me for a minute….
Each and every one of us has an inner voice inside of our heads. An inner critic, if you will. This voice generally pops up throughout our day and adds color commentary to the things we see around us. At least thats how my inner voice works.
If you know me, I don’t have to tell you that I’m a quiet guy. I try to avoid confrontation and I generally only speak when I feel as though I have something to add to the conversation. I genuinely don’t know how to do ‘smalltalk’ and tend to simply not say anything at all. Contrary to this, my inner voice is an asshole. Seriously, complete asshole.
Because of this, I tend to be rather competitive. This competitive mindset becomes compounded when I’m competing against myself. For instance, if I maintained an average of 2 minutes for a 500 meter row one week, it is completely unacceptable for me to row a 2:01 the following week. Even if I break even and match my time, I often see that as a loss.
Now that you’ve gotten a look into the inner workings of my mind, lets get back to the personal training session…
Last week, when I finished my fourth session with Bobby, I was given a good natured warning that I should come prepared for my last session. I would be working hard with minimal breaks. It was my last session and it would be the most intense workout yet. Oddly enough, I was actually looking forward to that.
When I walked through the door today, I met with Bobby and we exchanged the usual pleasantries. From there we sat down and quickly went over the game plan for today. I’m paraphrasing here but Bobby said something along the lines of “I’m going to be asking you to do some things today that you may not think you can do. I want to show you what you are capable of.”
Hearing my personal trainer say that he was going to push my limits was music to my ears. It is why I signed up for personal training in the first place. This is going to be awesome, lets go! Then it happened. Remember that inner voice I told you about – the asshole? At this point I heard that little voice saying “You’re going to show me what I can do? Nah, thats not how this works. I’m gonna show YOU what I’m capable of…”
Live every session before, we got started with a warm-up on the rower. My last 1,200 meter time I averaged a sub two-minute 500 meter time. I pulled something like 40 s/m for the first 250 meters then fatigue settled me down into the 32 s/m range. This time I pulled harder than I have before and held 40 s/m for 700 meters before fatigue took over. Tired, I dropped down to about 35 s/m and finished strong. When I got off the rower sweat was beading up on my forehead and I was breathing hard.
The session was broken into two halves. The first half consisted of Box Jumps (24″ Box), Push-Ups where I had to drag a 30lb sandbag across my body between reps, and Kettlebell swings with a 30lb weight. The idea was to treat the exercises like a circuit and go from one to the next with a minimal break in between. The circuit would be complete after three sets.
I got to choose the height of the box jumps. My options were 20″, 24″, and 30″. I’m about 90% sure I could have done at least one set with a 30″ box. a 20″ box simply seemed too low for an intense workout since we were shooting for a set number of reps. This left the 24″ box being the only viable option in my mind and I used it for the entire circuit and never missed a jump. In hindsight, I kind of wish I would have given the 30″ box a shot.
Periodically during the circuit I looked at my Fitbit to check my heart rate. The readout showed 144 to 146 and I know that wasn’t right. I’ve done enough cardio to know what the mid 140’s feel like and at times it felt like my heart was going to beat right out of my chest. If I had to guess, I would say there were moments when I was well into the 160’s.
After the first circuit was complete Bobby had me do crunches for 60 seconds. While they were taxing on my core, it was nice to kind of catch my breath while doing what I think of as a passive strength exercise.
500 Meter Sprint
Before rolling into the second circuit I had to do a 500 meter sprint on the rower. Before I got started Bobby was telling me that he was impressed with my average 500 meter time. He went on to tell me that he checked my splits from previous workouts and they were impressive as well.
Like clockwork, the compliment drew out the inner voice that said “Yeah, if you were impressed with that just wait and see…” I rowed harder and faster than I ever had before. I put everything I had into that sprint. I was pulling so hard that I felt like I was getting air-born in the seat. I hit 45 strokes per minute and did my best to hold out as long as I could.
I couldn’t maintain the speed and I crashed after the first 200 meters. I gave it everything I had but by the time I hit 350 meters there was nothing left and I literally had to stop and rest. When I was pulling with all my might it looked like I was going to come in at about 1:30 for a 500 meter time.
With 150 meters to go Bobby told me to catch my breath then finish up nice and easy. “Don’t worry about that sub 2:00 time”. My competitive drive doesn’t work like that and I finished strong with something like a 1:54 time (the clock stops when you stop rowing – you can actually cheat it and take breaks without it affecting your overall time).
Once finished with the sprint I needed a minute to get my composure. Suddenly I could taste the protein shake I had an hour before and I really didn’t want to have to step outside to throw up.
The second circuit consisted of switch-feet on a low plyo box (It is almost like a side to side step-up with an emphasis on speed), Kettlebell Shoulder Press with a 35 pound weight, and Push-Ups. The Push-Ups were actually a partner exercise. Bobby and I both did one rep then reached out and slapped hands.
Before starting the switch-feet exercise Bobby told me to pace myself because he wanted me to work for the entire 60 seconds. I did just that and started off at a pace that I felt like I could maintain for a minute. When he called out 30 seconds, I picked up the pace a little. I did the same when he called out 15 seconds. For that minute I wasn’t moving very quickly but I had one hell of a burn in my legs.
Shoulder presses were my break, of sorts. Anytime we do strength training during our sessions I feel like I’m in my wheelhouse. As the reps increased, my shoulders began to burn. Despite that, I did my best to tune out the burn, press the weight, and catch my breath from the previous exercise.
The last exercise in the circuit was partner push-ups. The first set was actually the most difficult because I felt like my timing was off. I was so worried about watching Bobby, so that I knew when to reach out and slap hands, that I lost focus on myself. Not only that, he seemed to be scooting away from me, making the reach for the slap all the more difficult. I was supposed to do 10 reps and I wound up failing, only hitting 8.
The second time around the circuit was a bit more intense. The time on the switch-feet exercise was cut to 45 seconds so I pushed harder. Kettlebell presses were my break, of sorts. When it came to push-ups I only had to do 8 reps but I was determined to hit 10. I focused on my own push-up and it made the exercise considerably smoother. The final time around the circuit was even more intense and I ended strong.
Like the first half, I capped the circuit with some crunches. This time I had to do 15 reps. The masochistic side of me wanted to do another 500 meter sprint to end the session but I know without a doubt that I would have thrown up afterwards. We ended with some much needed stretching before sitting down to recap our time together.
Since this post has already gotten fairly long, I’ll save my overall impressions for a wrap-up post. With that I’ll touch on my feelings of each session and lay out my plans for the future. In regards to my fifth session with Bobby Pritchard, it was pretty intense and I loved it.
If you are interested in following along with my Personal Training Sessions with CustomFit Training, the series has been outlined below.