Monday, June 18, 2012

Shaya's Story


All of our clients write a declaration on their first day. This defines why they are training. Everyone wants to look good in a bathing suit, that's what they want. Why they want it is what will drive them to the end. For Shaya it's to climb mountains.

She wanted to be physically strong enough to climb mountains as if it were no big deal. She also wanted to be mentally strong enough to deal with life's mountains. Meaning she didn't want to see any issue as a barrier, but rather as a hurdle.

She wants to become a celebrated theatre/stage director, and being the only person in her family involved with entertainment and the arts, she wanted to create her own destiny and be strong enough to pursue it.

Shaya on Day 1


Age: 19
Height: 5'8
Weight: 144
Body Fat: 23%
BMI: 21.9
Waist: 29

On day 1, she was nervous and shy. Not what you would expect from someone who wanted to direct a whole stage full of people. We did our standard assessment that we put all of our clients through. Nothing strenuous and designed to spot weaknesses. Something almost anyone can do without issue. Shaya on her first day after the assessments nearly fainted!

She had to lie down for over 10 minutes. Cindy who also happens to be an EMT was especially worried and wanted her to get some blood work done. She lost all the color to her face. The tests basically consisted of walking on a treadmill, grading ranges of movement and flexibility, assessing posture, etc.

Shaya said to us, "this is bull!" And was determined to be in the kind of shape and be the type of person she envisioned herself to be. She said, "I want to be strong." She didn't want to feel weak. In talking with her, one could sense she had been through a lot and when she said strong, she didn't necessarily mean a physical thing, she meant a feeling. She played sports, did yoga, surfed, hiked, ran, but none of those things necessarily ever made her feel "strong."

I think what she meant and what a lot of people mean by strong is, being able to go outside and live your life without feeling vulnerable. She wanted to create a habit and lifestyle of being strong. This is part of her mantra now.

Shaya on Day 30

She got a lot better after 30 days. She was even sporting a new hairdo. Her confidence and her belief in herself got stronger. You ask her to do something and she will either say she can do it now, or she'll be able to accomplish it very soon.

At first she could barely hold a 15lb kettlebell with two hands.By day 30 she could do multipe triple crushers with a 15lb kettlebell and swings with a 25 without issue...

At Day 50

She was cleaning 50lbs, pressing 50, and front squatting 50 in a very tough kettlebell complex. Complex meaning you never put the weight down, which is much more difficult than a regular circuit. You are constantly dealing with load. That video was just her demonstrating after a tough workout but she in her normal workouts can do multiples of (3x3x3)x3. Which means 3 sets of 3 cleans,3 presses, and 3 squats in a row.

She can also do multiple Turkish Get Ups with a 25lb kettlebell. One of our signature moves.

The Get Up represents a culmination of a mind and body in balance with, strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. It's everything yoga and weight training strives to be all in one. It's also symbolic of the mindset we try to cultivate. A mind that can get up over and over under duress, that is always stable, and can take any form of impact.

To go from barely being able to lift 15lbs over her head to pressing 50lbs multiple times? Especially in a world where girls aren't expected to be strong, she is creating a different path from girls who just do pilates, yoga, spinning, running, or a ballet fitness bar class. Why can't girls be strong too? Sometimes there is a lot of sexism in fitness. Like girls should be skinny or at best look fit, but shouldn't BE fit.

We incorporate lots of yoga, pilates, and different training modalities, even those borrowed from ballet. But its just to lengthen, and lengthening is just the precursor to strengthening, not the replacement of it. Flexible muscles without the ability to apply power are useless muscles.

And at Day 60 she found her abs!


Age: 19 - 20
Height: 5'8
Weight: 144 - 137
Body Fat: 23% - 19%
BMI: 21.9 - 20.8
Waist: 29 - 27

Normally people only want to see before and after photos of people who lost a lot of weight, not someone normal looking who got fitter. Well these photos are for inspiration not a form of exploitation. That anyone should be able to strive for better for their own personal reasons and get some recognition for it.

Her goal wasn't weight loss, it was about being and feeling strong. And you could sense through her new picture, her new found confidence in herself. Or maybe its more self belief than confidence. She impresses herself every time she shows up to train. On a superficial note, she was also really happy about her stomach.

Being one of our youngest athletes, I look forward to seeing what this mountain climber has achieved in her life.
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