Class Review: Fusion with Steve At MidTown!July 6, 2012
“I’d like to see some Mary time for a while.” Jesse said to me in April, as the Duel in the Pool was coming to a close. That was a hard one to admit but I knew he was right. Good coaches usually are. They can step back and see your big picture and offer you those nuggets as to what you need. I don’t take any suggestions lightly.
Of course… naturally my focus had been elsewhere the prior weeks. We had a lot of money to raise and I am involved heavily in an organization I love in Teens Living With cancer. By the way we are at $75,000 with kick off against Macca in Kona this October on the docket. We are not done yet.
At the same time Jesse made his suggestion… I began thinking about my body as a 38 year old athlete. I am a year and a half away from turning 40, and I know my best athletic years are still in front of me. While I can train the way I did when I was 27…… I can’t. Back then I could get away with not paying attention to strength training or even eliminate it as we approached the big race. At 27 I had a child, I could carry him on my hip … you know…. the mom walk (kid in arm, hips pushed out….) after 7 hour training days and not suffer the effects.
When I hit 35 I began to realize that the same old same old wasn’t the way to go anymore. Yes I can still execute the volume necessary for Ironman training but I had to learn about recovery and restoration, and functional strength. I have become the queen of R&R, especially in the past few years and it’s what allows me to train as I can. Functional strength is something that as I trend towards 40….. becomes more and more important. Yes I want to train and compete at high levels…. I also want to be able to get out of bed in the morning without back pain. I want to spend the day at SeaBreeze and not have it rock me.
I have been training on a TRX for years now. I have one of the originals. I love it. But I was looking for something a bit more. I belong to this fabulous gym … Midtown Athletic Club, and knew I wasn’t taking full advantage of the classes and services they had to offer. What I was looking for was the best of the best when it comes to functional strength, and an early class time. I am not at the gym past 9. Because so much of what I do is solo….. I was looking for a class format.
At the same time I was looking to build my Ironman team. When I prepare for an Ironman I assemble the best of the best to help me. My coaching is through Qt2 Systems (whom I also coach for). My nutrition is through The Core Diet (part of QT2). My body work is through Lyn Mazzeo, an LMT at Breathe Yoga. I knew I was in need of a good strength and conditioning specialist, even though I am a Triathlon Coach and in the fitness industry. I still need to learn from the best of the best. After asking around, I was advised who was the best.
I began taking a class called Fusion, taught by Personal Trainer Steve Lopes at the end of April. Because I am so versed in TRX I thought this would be the perfect fit to my training regimen, my friend Diane took it too. I don’t see her often, now I get to see her every week (she’s my mom hero).
It was the perfect fit to my training regimen, and I was humbled on day freaking ONE.
I came to quickly learn that Steve is the MASTER of functional strength. We don’t use a lot of equipment. Some kettleballs, the ViPR, weight, jumprope, ladders…. simple things. What we do use is our bodies. Through this class…. I found corners of my body I never knew existed. I can do Atomic pushups on the TRX pretty well….. but in Fusion…. I realized that I am only as strong as my weakest link. I seem to have had MANY weak links.
Day one, the jump-rope became my nemesis. When I tore my Achilles a few years ago my Physical Therapist advised me to jump-rope to help it’s strength. I sucked at it, and I was terrified of another tear. Tear that once and that will happen. So I stuck to my eccentric calf raises and went about my way. I couldn’t ‘ hide from the jump rope in Steve’s class. It took me six freaking weeks to jump rope. It became my goal. I am still a double jumper but I am getting there. And I have to say my PT was right, it does help that darn Achilles.
What I appreciate about Fusion is Steve. Turns out he’s a former Marine, and Power lifter. Of course I would find the former Marine.
Honestly though…. that is the kind of personality I respond best to. I have never had a coach that has held my hand. I have had coaches that are direct, to the point and know they can push me. I might drop an F Bomb, but I know that when the bar is raised it’s raised for my own good.
Steve is not afraid to raise the bar. He’s not afraid to raise my bar. That’s rare in a class format. You can be assured that in this class your form is watched like a hawk. We execute certain exercises for a period of time, typically 90 seconds (depending) and Steve will scroll through the class and make sure each athlete is doing it right. We joke that a Steve minute is really twice as long, because he takes the time to ensure proper form with each person. Like it or not. You will not perform a kettle-ball swing, or even a crunch incorrectly. Some people come to classes because they don’t want that kind of personal attention.
Here you get it.
Every movement we do has a purpose. He can relate it to anything. Picking up groceries, kids, getting out of bed in the morning. His knowledge of physiology, functional movement and how everything ties together is unbelievable. He knows what I do out of the class format and gives me direction and guidance as to how to balance myself out. During a simple squat exercise last week he could immediately tell my lower back was sore. He gave me a correction and it allowed me to focus on strengthening and working it correctly, as well as a head’s up to pay attention to that and not try to muscle through it.
Yesterday morning we were out of jump-ropes. I had mine, and the girl next to me didn’t get one. Steve gave her mine and gave me a weighted jump-rope instead. While my immediate reaction was to drop an F Bomb (silently of course) I realized that he knows me as an athlete and this was just him raising my bar. He wouldn’t push me in a direction that would put my swim, bike and run in jeopardy. But at the same time he teaches me to move on all different planes. As triathletes we tend to move forward and back, now I can move side to side.
I highly…. highly recommend Fusion with Steve. It’s at 6am on Thursday mornings at Midtown Athletic Club. Through the past ten weeks I have noticed definite improvements in my quality of life. It doesn’t necessarily allow me to swim, bike or run faster, I have to follow sport specifics for that. But it allows me to swim, bike and run stronger, recover more effectively and more important…. sustain a day on the water slides.
Every Thursday morning I come home and show my husband one new thing I have learned. He’s an athlete too and he is big on functional strength. I have to admit…. I think if he met Steve he’d shake his hand. He loves when coaches bring me to my knees. There is only so much…… “I beat Lance Armstrong”…. a husband can take.