Training with Rashelle – A Journal Part 3: Badass Sculpting & Charlize Theron

By Gail Asche
In the 170’s…

Well, I did it.  I ran out of excuses and completed my first workout with Rashelle Brown of Full Steam Fitness!  I thought long and hard for a plausible reason not to have to.  My imagination ran dry.  I tried “my dog ate it…” – seems that one is situational.  Ho hum.  Nothing ventured and all of that.

I’m delighted to report that it doesn’t hurt to blink today and typing appears to be painless if I stay in one position so I’d say we had a successful workout!

Unlike other personal training and gym class experiences, Rashelle doesn’t drag her training sessions out for an hour.  She can inflict her special brand of ‘Badass Sculpting’ in half this time.  I think that’s the official name for my training now… “Badass Sculpting”.  We don’t have long pauses and rest periods that drift off into a conversation about this or that… although I’m proud of myself for being able to squeeze in a thorough critique of Charlize Theron’s new movie, Atomic Blonde, that I had seen the night before (I’ll come back to that).  Nope.  Nothing like that.  No, we focus.  FO-CUSS!  Lack of focus does result in extra reps.  I learned this yesterday.  Rashelle is perfectly capable of counting to ten, but if your form sucks or your effort is even slightly below 100, she’ll keep counting.

Accountability apparently.  She really is a delight though.

So, it turns out I know the cheat for most exercises, including where to position my gaze to make push-ups easier – yes, this is an actual thing.  I’ll rush to my own defense and share that I didn’t realize one’s eye position affected push-up intensity.  I know it now though.  Standing above me, with an almost vertical line of vision to the back of my head this woman knew where I was looking.  That’s a handy skill to have if you’re in the business of torturing training people.  I’m pretty sure the position of my head and neck didn’t change after she instructed me to look at a specific spot on the floor, so I’m not sure how the she-devil knew.  She figured it out quickly too – I’d only done about two and she was on it… bam!  Push-up form perfected.  Check!  Remember, she is a delight.

Jokes aside, I feel great today and I really am glad I couldn’t find a feasible excuse to skip my session again.  As Rashelle had previously told me, I was capable of more than I had imagined, certainly more than I gave myself credit for.  I have my ‘homework’ to complete between now and our next session which I will be diligent about.  I’m sure the ‘excuse machine’ will kick into production before the next one, but I’m going to do my best to shut it down!  I’m now focusing on attaining Charlize Theron’s form (from the Atomic Blonde movie – remember?), that’s the only reason I downloaded the picture.

Undoubtedly Ms. Theron has a trainer like Rashelle and she probably knows where to look for push-ups.  I’d suggest a little trip to the movies if you haven’t already seen Atomic Blonde – you too will be inspired to work out!

Training with Rashelle – A Journal Part 2

Part 2 – Still 180
By Gail Asche

A vital component to having a Personal Trainer is actually meeting up with them and completing the prescribed workouts.  I know this.  I understand this.  However, I have yet to complete one.  To be fair, (to me) I was genuinely unwell for two weeks.  This week I just used the last two weeks as an excuse, and one headache I legitimately had.  I am weak-willed.

I worked out on Monday on my own and decided to throw in three sets of lunges – with weights.  My thighs were screaming for the next two days and it was on the second of these days that I was supposed to workout with Rashelle.  I might actually be her worst client.  Probably.

In an attempt to show a modicum of enthusiasm (and avoid being fired as a client) I invited Rashelle on a bike ride with me.  We’ve ridden before, but just toodling around town with our wives visiting breweries, and one other time when I was trying to help her understand gear transitions.  You’ll remember from my last post, Part One, that I’m a cycling enthusiast.  I love cycling.  In my mind, I could ride in a peloton with Froome, Cavendish, Contador et al, in reality, of course, I would need a week to complete one stage of Le Tour – at least.

All out of excuses I agreed to ride with Rashelle today and I elected to ride the ‘slower’ of my two bikes “so that Rashelle could ‘keep up’ with me.”  That was a mistake.  It’s an ‘off-the-shelf’ bike, I believe it’s made of steel and the tubes may be reinforced with cement because that is how it feels to ride it.  It also doesn’t like hills.  I tell this to anyone I encounter on or near a hill when I am trying to ride up one… the bike doesn’t like hills.  If I have an audience for any length of time I’ll also point out that I’m wearing normal training shoes and using run-of-the-mill pedals instead of clipping-in as I would on my carbon fiber, butter-like-gear-shifting road bike.

Rashelle kicked my arse.  And stomped on it.  She beat me at my ‘own game’.  We were only going on a little nine-mile loop – nothing too intense, a couple of little inclines, a couple of hills… I lost sight of her twice.  On her lady-shopper bike – with every accessory imaginable including mudguards, panniers and a bell… a bloody bell!  Lost sight of her.  I even tried to ‘cash-in’ on the fact that she is probably unaware of the additional effort it takes to ‘pull’ a rider behind you but I couldn’t always keep-up enough to draft.  I was bouncing through gears like a woman possessed and I couldn’t even draft behind her!  If she wasn’t the super athlete that she is I would be devastated right now… I’m a little hurt, I’m not going to lie… but more than that – I’m motivated.  That was probably her plan all along. Rashelle knows I’d like my old cycling form back and that I would like to register double digit speeds on inclines.  It must have been her plan all along to ride her absolute hardest to spur me into action.  It worked!

Between now and my scheduled workout with Rashelle next Wednesday I commit to riding my big old clunky bike every day IN ADDITION to completing a workout.  No more excuses.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Training with Rashelle – A Journal Part 1

If you go to Google and type ‘new runner’ you’ll get more than nine million results. Yep, nine… yep, million. By now we all know that the list that Google gives us is either sponsored – paid to be on the list, or merit based results – on the list based on reviews and impressions (how many ‘clicks’). I started clicking and found some pretty interesting information – some tragic cliché’s like “remember to tie your shoes”, which quite frankly if you need reminding you hadn’t ought to be out in public, some tear-inducing stories of inspiration “running saved my marriage”, some self-deprecating “I ran from chubby” (these were my favorite) to some self-professed miracles “drink coconut water with a lychee and bulgar blend to increase stamina” – ok, I made that last one up, but you know what I’m talking about.

Like a lot of fitness bloggers (self-awarded title), I used to be fitter, thinner, faster… twenty – but no more. I hit my forties like the hippo from the Madagascar movies – overweight, sassy, drowning in denial, yet inexplicably flexible (it’s a mystery). When I was 41 years and one day old, I weighed 40 pounds more than I had when I was 39 years and one day old… I wanted to blame my metabolism, Minnesota winters, patellofemoral syndrome, and a bone spur on my hip (the last two were diagnosed by an actual physician). And, while each of these factors undoubtedly played a part, the change was a result of my over-eating and dramatic change in physical activity… i.e. I got lazy and ate too much.

Luckily for me, my good friend Rashelle Brown is a Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach, Fitness Guru and all-round Badass-maker, so instead of reading 9 million blogs of varying quality, I decided to ask Rashelle to help me back to fitness. I’ll be sharing my journey via Rashelle’s website, giving the entire world a weekly update of my progress – or lack thereof if I waiver in my commitment.

This is week 1 – I weigh 180 pounds, eat fairly well – I’m a sometimes vegan, can’t fit into any of my ‘regular clothes’, and silently argue and negotiate with myself about every physical activity I plan.
– I’ll run 2 miles will turn into I’ll run and walk for 30 minutes, and even that can be negotiated down to – that’s a mile and I’m only a block from home.

Every day I have the best intentions for tomorrow. Once an avid cyclist clocking up over 100 miles a week, I fell twice during my last ride and I hadn’t gone two miles from my house. So, I am putting my faith in Rashelle and working to restore confidence in myself – I’ll keep you posted.

This. Is. Spartan!!

Obstacle races continue to grow in popularity among fitness enthusiasts and after completing the Spartan Sprint at Welch Village in Minnesota last year I decided to become a certified SGX Instructor with the goal of training a previously sedentary group of individuals to finish their first Spartan race.

A couple of dozen people started the journey in January 2017, attending bi-weekly Spartan Training classes.  As the weeks passed the training got harder, the workouts more vigorous, the time commitment more arduous and thus, the number of attendees began to dwindle.  Two distinct groups emerged, so I decided to complete the race twice, once with each group (never again).
Race Day was this past Saturday.  A sunny, slightly overcast day with the threat of showers in the afternoon.  Team one consisted of 5 would-be Spartans (including me) with the expectation of completing every obstacle with the fewest number of forfeit burpees* necessary.  Team two was larger; all of the people that had persevered and finished the Spartan training we started together in January – 9 brave souls, including me – again!  We jumped walls, waded through trenches, crawled under barbed wire, did 30 burpees, ran, swung, 30 more burpees, carried, climbed, jumped again, another 30 darn burpees… 21 obstacles over nearly 4 miles before reaching the finish line, which could only be reached by taking a running jump over fire.

Demons were faced and overcome, negative inner voices silenced forever as everyone crossed the line with a smile, triumphantly bowing to receive the coveted 2017 Spartan finishers medal.  I’m proud of anyone who sets their mind to a challenge and succeeds, regardless of the complexity, but I am particularly proud of ‘my’ Spartans.  Capable of more than they could have previously imagined, committed to a more active and healthy lifestyle, and looking forward to the next race… wherever that may be… whatever that may look like.

Aroo, Spartans.  Aroo!

*”Spartan Small-print” – any obstacle not completed as prescribed results in a penalty of 30 burpee’s.


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