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Week 1: "The Goal Is to Survive"

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I met up with my trainer Lisa Oberacker for our first session at Executive Personal Fitness (14th and Liberty). I was excited, nervous and a little scared to find out what she had in store for me… and a day after I can say I'm decently sore but feeling good!

I'm not sure if I'll make the full 12 mile course, but regardless of how far I make it, Lisa gave me what I consider to be a reachable goal: "The goal is to survive!" no matter how slow you go.

I started with a cardio warmup for about ten minutes on an arch trainer (kind of like an elliptical, low impact on joints). For the rest of our session, we focused on strength training with different circuits.

Trainer's Tip: The Beast will take a lot of upper body and core strength, since there's a lot of climbing and crawling. Working your arms, shoulders, chest and abs will be crucial.

Circuit one was 10 pushups and 10 squats on a very unstable half balance ball. I alternated between the two exercises, doing each three times.

The next circuit alternated between two moves that I found to be slightly harder: first hold a one minute plank with hands on the half balance ball turned upside down (instability=greater muscle use). The next move required me to hold myself up with two arm straps, so my feet were dangling, and pull my knees up to my chest. The goal was to touch my elbows with my knees, but that was much harder than Lisa made it look! Looks like my abs (and hip flexors) need some serious work.

Lisa claims that the abs and hip flexors respond to strengthening pretty quickly, so here's hoping!

I also did some work with the Kettlebell, squatting and lifting the bell straight out in front of me as I stood up (I'll include pictures in the next post so you can get a visual of some of these moves.)

I finished up with some arm work, lifting two eight pound weights from my shoulders to over my head. I did 3×15 reps. Then I did 3×20 reps lifting two five pound weights straight out in front of me, and straight out to the sides. That one is harder than it seems, too!

The last piece of our session was maybe the most painful. I faced an old frenemy: the foam roller. It helps release lactic acid buildup in the muscles, and is supposed to reduce soreness the next day. It's also good for anyone with IT band problems, like me. Click here for more on how to use this torture device recovery tool.

Trainer Tip: stretch randomly throughout the day,  and do about thirty pushups each day on your off days just to keep  your muscles working. You don't want to feel like you have to start over every time you hit the gym. Also, a protein boost is a good addition to your fitness routine. Any kind of powder form or casein or whey protein will work, but Lisa said the best way to get your protein is through food, like a nice steak or a piece of salmon with quinoa.

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