On Saturday the 24th of this month our beloved trainer waltzes into the studio, most of what she has in store for us is already set up. It reminds me of the photos I’ve seen of the military obstacle courses you see on TV. We normally have half the studio but today the entire room is full of maniacal contrivances to do —-? Who knows what? I knew we were in for something hard or worse. The tip off was her smile. That grin conveys, the following, welcome, or welcome to hell. I’ve got you this time. It’s a test of all tests. You can do it, let’s give it a try. Not too bad for one congenial grin. We had two new faces in our group, which worked out fine, since two of the regulars didn’t attend. While we were wandering around aimlessly, Nicole was putting up signs at various stations around the room. I always stand in front so I’ll describe the room looking outward from the wall directly behind me, one station on the left then the left wall, the wall in front and lastly the wall on the right. The TRX straps are down, and we have our mats with us. Nicole tells us that we are going to do each station for 90 seconds. However, after each station, we return to the TRX and do the exercises at the most difficult level. Hey, this is the “Elite Class,” what do you expect. Now 90 seconds doesn’t sound like a long time, especially if you are doing it at a snail’s pace. You know that isn’t going to happen. It’s fast-paced and rigorous. So, instead of our usual warm up, we retrieve a Bosu ball and do step ups, side steps and crossovers; we are now warmed up to start the program of the day.

I can only describe the event in the first person, because so much was going on. We did the maximum of 12 reps on the TRX. Our first one was a low row while hanging almost horizontally. My first stop is a large medicine ball, I have to slam the ball onto the floor, catch the ball take it above my head and rotate it around my head and repeat. Now we return to the TRX straps and do a high row again from the most difficult position. My second stop on this crazy merry- go-around was a smaller medicine ball; here, my feet are up against the wall. My body is in a half crunch, which means my core is engaged actively while I’m bouncing the ball in front of me and repeating the engagement of my core and the ball striking. We next did power pulls. The next station to me surprisingly wasn’t that difficult, another medicine ball, where you squat without touching the seat behind you and toss the ball into the air and catch it on your vertical stand. We started to repeat the TRX. Next I did what Nicole calls the drums, three gym balls set up in a loose triangle two drumsticks. The goal is stand in the center of these balls, hop, jump or lunge at the balls, tap them, return to the center and repeat going from one ball to the next. I’m sure all of you at one time or another has seen the tiny orange cones at little children’s soccer fields. Nicole has a series of these in a row extending about 30′.’ Your mission is to pick them up in rapid succession and turn around and replace them again then repeat. I think this is the time when hallucinations begin to start, and the mind becomes foggy. I say this for two reasons, one I’m working really hard, and secondly, I think this is when we had a so called break and the break being a one legged handstand for 90 seconds and a few atomic crunches thrown in for good measure, just in case we weren’t tired. Now back to the circuit, along the same traverse as the cones is a series of Bosu Balls separated by about two feet, I (the royal, I) run along the tops back and forth. The very next exercise to my knees was the hardest of them all. The steps were arranged about the same distance apart as the Bosu Balls. The steps progressed from one to thirteen. Nicole didn’t care how you traversed this treacherous little heart pumping 90 seconds of hell. I could jump from one to the other, jump over them using one hand as support while I flung my old body over the hurdle. I did a combination of leaping from one to another for I think four levels before reverting to the assisted leap. The next one on the agenda from hell was quite ingenious. Nicole had a 12X12 plastic top on four casters. Your exercise was, placing your toes on the top and walking on your hands imitating a wheelbarrow. At the far-right wall is another little 12X12 device on this one you did pikes for ninety seconds. After this one I got down on the floor extended my arms so I’m in a plank position except the plank is angled downward towards my feet, now all I have to do is move myself across the room sideways as a crab. The very last exercise I never got to due to time and since we all were doing different things at the same time, I can only conclude everyone missed at least one exercise. However although I never got there I’ll regale you with this last piece of torture. There is a Bosu ball, where you stand beside, squat down, fall controlled onto the ball, arch your back across the ball, swing your body forward and stand up. Nicole, as much as I love you, it wasn’t going to happen, once I got down, I wasn’t coming back up soon. I can’t think of a time that was more fun, challenging because it was novel. I think this is a duel testament, one for Nicole taking the time and effort to devise a class that combines so many different disciplines with TRX and to her hard core group for embracing the challenge wholeheartedly. We are a good group of people who strive to make our bodies into machines just like the TRX motto says. Well done Nicole and well done fellow classmates!