Several weeks ago I published an episode of the Slimming Down Dad Podcast where I spent a little time talking about a friend that was opening his own fitness studio – CustomFit Training. For his grand opening he was offering a discount on Personal Training, Group Training, and Punch Cards (used for drop-in classes). The discount was very appealing and I immediately knew that I just had to take advantage of it.
Initially the plan was to purchase 10 Personal Training Sessions for my wife. She has been struggling with weight loss for some time now and when we sat down to discuss the idea, she was excited. We formulated a loose plan together and eagerly awaited the grand opening so that we could take advantage of the discount.
As the date grew near I began to get tempted. The discount was appealing enough that perhaps I should also consider purchasing a few sessions. I would have loved to purchase the same 10 Sessions that my wife planned on but it simply wasn’t in the budget. 5 Sessions, on the other hand, was manageable.
Not long before this I finished up 3 Sessions at my gym – Anytime Fitness of Gilbertsville. While the sessions were kind of expensive (30 Minutes Each) I felt like I came away with a lot of useful information. Being that CustomFit Training was an entirely different facility, I thought it would be beneficial to expand my horizons and try something new.
When the Grand Opening finally rolled around my Wife and I were in attendance. We discussed our plans with Bobby Pritchard (The owner and personal trainer we would be working with) and he was happy to answer our questions. We walked out having purchased 15 Sessions (10 for my Wife and 5 for Myself).
Working with Bobby
During that Grand Opening event, I talked to Bobby about my goals. I wanted to increase strength and reduce body fat. He follows along with the Slimming Down Dad Facebook Page and was aware that I’m currently lifting heavy. He also knows the personal trainer that I worked with previously, which was a bit of a relief knowing that he was interested in my goals and not just throwing a routine at me.
My wife has had two sessions with Bobby at this point and seems very happy with her experience. He pushes her enough that she feels as though she has to work but not to the point where she constantly fails and feels discouraged. Perhaps I can get her on here, or on the podcast, to discuss her experience in greater detail.
I’ve met with Bobby once so far. When I arrived we sat down and discussed his ideas. Since I was doing my heavy lifting at Anytime Fitness, he wanted to work on Cardio Strength and Intervals. This would help me burn fat as well as build strength.
Once the talking was out of the way he set me up on a Concept 2 Rower and had me warm up over 1,000 Meters. I have a love / hate relationship with rowers and it has been several weeks since I’ve used one. It was a nice change of pace and I had a decent sweat starting when I crossed the finish line.
We made our way into the primary exercise space in the facility. This is where Bobby put an 18″ Plyo Box on the floor and told me that we were going to start off with Step-Ups. At that moment I felt a little cocky since these are a part of my current Leg Workout.
Bobby’s Step-Ups were a bit different than the ones I normally do. In this case I would place my right foot on the box and drive my body upward. Once my right leg was completely extended I would drop my left foot back down to the floor. Unlike the Step-Ups that I do, where I step back down with my right leg and take a half second break, my right foot was not to leave the box. It doesn’t sound like a huge variation but let me tell you, it makes a very big difference.
After two sets of 15 Reps I was fatigued and it was affecting my balance. Bobby rotated the box to drop it from 18″ to 14″ and had me finish out the last set at the lowered height. When I finished, my quads were burning and my legs felt rubbery.
Medicine Ball Slams
This is the point where I began interval training. With my legs still shaky, Bobby handed me a 14 pound medicine ball and explained the motion. With a rigid lower body (giving my legs a break) I was to lift the ball high above my head and drive it into the floor. The idea was to slam it hard enough that it would bounce then catch it without working my lower body.
With a timer set for 30 Seconds, I got to work. Over and over I slammed the ball into the floor, pushing myself to get in as many reps as possible in the short period of time. While I was breathing heavy, the 14 pound ball didn’t feel like it was quite heavy enough. Bobby had a solution for that and handed me a 20 pound ball for the second set. By the time we finish three sets my biceps, triceps, and shoulders felt swollen and tired. It was a great workout that I hadn’t tried before and it would be an amazing way to get out any pent up frustration.
Kettlebell Curl and Press
With my arms fatigued, the next order of business was to continue interval training with a Kettlebell. Just like the Medicine Ball Slams I would be working as hard as possible for 30 Seconds then taking a 30 Second Rest.
The timer started and I got to work with a 20 pound Kettlebell. I first curled the weight, keeping my elbow tight to my body, then pressed it overhead. I don’t know how many reps I did on that first set but I felt like I could go harder and swapped out the 20 Pound Kettlebell for a 25 Pound Kettlebell.
When I completed two sets on each arm, my shoulders were on fire. I was so impressed with the exercise that I incorporated it into my Chest and Arm workout the following day.
Barbell Front Squats
I want to preface this part by stating that I love to Squat. The Low Bar Back Squat is one of my absolute favorite exercises in the gym and is the cornerstone of my Leg Workout. Front Squats, on the other hand, I absolutely hate.
Before this personal training session I had never attempted a front squat. I was mildly insulted when I was instructed to use an empty bar but I quickly learned why that was the case. The Front Squat is an entirely different animal that works the legs in an interesting way.
To set my depth, Bobby placed a Plyo Box behind me. The objective was to go just deep enough that my butt touched the box then drive back up. After a few reps he had me stop and placed a foam pad on the floor to elevate my toes and focus the weight to my heels.
After a few more reps he had me stop again to adjust my form. Following the Starting Strength program I have developed the habit of driving up on the center of my foot. In addition, I rotate my toes out so that I am able to drive my knees apart and get some extra depth.
Situated with straight feet, toes elevated, I began to squat. 15 Reps felt like 100. My legs burned, my back ached, and my wrists began to get sore. For the third set two 10 Pound Plates were added to the bar and it was too much for my wrists. I suppose I just don’t have the anatomy for resting the bar on my shoulders while still holding on (which is the reason I gave up on learning the Power Clean).
I finished the set but had to resort to practically crossing my arms and laying the bar across them instead of my shoulders. Needless to say, my Front Squat needs a lot of work.
I have no idea what this particular exercise is called but it was tremendousely effective at working my core. Before starting, Bobby explained that he is not a fan of sit-ups due to the potential for injury (resulting in doing them wrong) and he went on to ask “How many times during the day do you do a sit up motion? Probably once when you get out of bed. Instead lets focus on working the core in a more practical way.”
Bobby dropped a 30 pound bean bag onto the floor. As it made contact it sort of spread itself out to take up more surface area. He bent at the waist and placed his palms on the bag. Using his core, he drove is arms forward and slid across the floor. When he was in the plank position, he walked his feet forward to get back into the starting position. Then it was my turn…
He made the exercise look easy. It was anything but easy. The objective was to stay in control at all times. Throwing your arms forward and catching yourself at the last second was cheating and the rep didn’t count. I worked my way across the room. Once there, I got to take a short break before turning around and going all the way back across.
This exercise was damn hard but I really liked it. In fact, I want to get a bean bag and mimic the exercise at home.
For the last exercise of the session, Bobby lead me outside to the back of CustomFit Training. Resting in the grass were two very large tires. One tire looked like it belonged on an industrial strength dump truck and weighed a couple hundred pounds. The tire that I was using, which was significantly lighter, looked like it belong on an old farm tractor.
Back to interval style training, the timer started and I went flipping. Once I got to the end of the grass, I turned around and repeated the process until it was time to take a break. At first I was really into this exercise. I’ve seen it on TV and on YouTube dozens of times and it always looked like a lot of fun.
While a lot of fun, it reminded me of the Rowing Machine. At first it feels easy, like you could do it all day, then out of nowhere the fatigue sneaks up on you and you’re exhausted. I went from flipping and running to flipping and walking. By the end of the last set it was all I could do just to turn the tire over.
Tire Flipping is dirty work (it is an old tire after all) but I can see why so many people enjoy it. It is a practical exercise that produces a solid workout in a short period of time. I’d definitely like to do more in the future.
To end the session I did some light stretching. I’ve never been a big fan of stretching after a workout because I’m not very flexible. Back when I was doing Insanity and Focus T25 the stretching phase was almost as difficult as the workout itself. Getting myself into position was difficult, holding that position was like doing a second strength routine.
Stretching with Bobby seemed more practical. There weren’t any crazy positions to get into and it felt like something I could definitely incorporate into a regular workout.
As I explained at the start of this post, I’ve got 5 Sessions booked with Bobby Pritchard of CustomFit Training. I’m very happy with the first workout and look forward to future sessions.
Oddly enough, my general gym routine winds up taking about two hours to complete. By the time I finish 30 Minutes of Cardio and work about 10 Strength Exercises, I walk out of the gym feeling queezy and on the verge of vomiting.
While my personal training session was considerably shorter, I felt like I got a great workout. I had that same queezy feeling by the time I got home and was in desperate need of a Protein Shake for the quick calories.
If you are interested in following along with my Personal Training Sessions with CustomFit Training, the series has been outlined below.