It is one of the biggest lessons I learned in fitness. When I began I could have sworn that fitness was about just losing weight, getting stronger, and achieving fitness goals. The reality is I missed the big picture. Losing weight, getting stronger, all these types of things are not REALLY the goal. These are outcomes, but the goal is to empower people, to make them feel capable of so much more they could ever imagine.
Most of us hate to fail. We hate it so much that we avoid anything that could make us feel dumb, stupid, or just simply badly. That is why starting a fitness program can be such a large commitment for so many people. How do you do it though? How do you make people excited and empowered by fitness?
I wasn’t sure of the answer until I started getting some really exciting emails from some of our DVRT Master Instructors. They had been introducing their clients to our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Press test. When I first heard of this I was somewhat hesitant. After all, the test was really designed to challenge fitness professionals, not every day individuals. I didn’t know if the standards were realistic, I didn’t know how people were going to react to the intensity.
I posed the question to my small group class recently, would they like to try the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Press test? They vaguely knew what I was talking about as I had performed the test to get my Level 1 DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training certification in March earlier this year. In preparation for that test, I trained for nearly 6 weeks, so I knew when the time arrived, there was a strong possibility that I would pass, which I did, but by no means was it easy.
What I realized over the 6 week period of training was the difference between my week 1 attempt, against my week 6 attempt. Using the test as a baseline for my fitness level was really motivating for me and I wanted to see if my class felt the same way. After all, seeing such significant progress is what smart fitness training is all about. Experiencing big time results!
So, today I gathered four clients from my small group training class, two of which were game to try the test. Now the parameters of passing the test for the Level 1 certification are very specific, and demanding;
All tests are done within 5 minutes:
Women under 150 pounds: 40 pound Strength USB for 50 repetitions
Women over 150 pounds: 60 pound Strength USB for 40 repetitions
Men under 170 pounds: 60 pound Strength USB for 50 repetitions
Men from 171-210 pounds: 80 pound Burly USB for 40 repetitions
Men from 210+ pounds: 100 pound Burly USB for 40 repetitions
I felt these standards were not appropriate for my clients, despite the fact that all of them were super strong. After all, I realized the standards were based for instructors, but I wanted to apply it for my population (although they are GOING to work up to these standards!) I just wanted to acknowledge the fact that this was the first time ever attempting the test. Therefore I came up with my own standards of four bags options, while staying with the 5 minutes timed standard:
Women 20 pound Power for 50 repetitions
Women 30 pound Power for 50 repetitions
Women 30 pound Strength for 50 repetitions
Men 50 pound Strength for 50 repetitions
The most amazing thing about today was the sense of community spirit and encouragement the test fostered. The two clients who elected to do the counting, were so motivated by the wonderful results of the first two people that they insisted on trying it. The outcome was that they got higher numbers than they could ever have imagined, they felt amazingly strong and totally empowered. All my clients now have a baseline of where they are, right now in their fitness journey. They are asking me when they can retest, such was the energy created by them all today.
We will retest again in six weeks time, and after that I will increase the Ultimate Sandbag size or weight depending on the client.
In my class environment, I ensure we all work together in a non-judgemental, body positive space where strength comes in all shapes and sizes. Despite this, a large number of my clients thought idea of being tested was scary. Today we all realized that we are in this together and tests like these are just another way of building a foundation for us all. It was a truly positive experience.
The key in building success in fitness isn’t based on a scale, or even what we lift. Rather, it is what the experience teaches us about ourselves. That with some determination, dedication to a goal, and following SMART fitness programs we can be successful. So many judge their progress by pain in the gym when in reality it could be measured by positive experiences.
“I honestly didn’t think when I started that I’d make it to 50. Maybe in a month I’ll be ready to try 30 lbs!
It was a great way to start my birthday.” – (53 reps with 20lb Power Bag)
I am so excited to see how in the next few weeks they keep growing!
How about you?