Rebel Ramblings – The Pursuit of Toughness

That video right above this sentence… Yeah, I’m doing that shit.

Balls. In. Throat.

Due to some amazing friends/Rebels/crazies who banded together and registered me for something that I very well could have secretly resented them for (because I mean… SURPRISE YOU’RE DOING A 24 HOUR TOUGH MUDDER!!!!!) I am a fully registered member of the World’s Toughest Mudder legion and I couldn’t be more stoked about it. The “get Cox to WTM 2014” movement was spearheaded by my man Justin and his better half Maggie whom along with a Unicorn and some dear friends I get the pleasure of traversing the Sin City landscape with come November 15th through the 16th. Justin and I had many a conversation about how nuts it would be to get after World’s Toughest Mudder and had you asked me a couple months ago I would have sworn on a stack of every religious academia you could find that I DEFINITELY wouldn’t be attacking WTM this year.

Well wouldn’t you know it… we’re now about 3 months away from that getting blown out of the water like an epic pirate battle.

Sounds like living to me!

24 hour Tough Mudder course in Vegas with my favorite people? Sounds like living to me!

So now that you know the setup here’s the skinny on this Rebel rambling. I’ve found myself having a lot of thoughts and feelings on the matters surrounding this event that keep swirling and swirling around in my brain cage frantically searching for a crack so they can escape. My better half Cara is an absolute blessing. She is here to talk to and through this whole fiesta with and I’ll never be able to express my thankfulness for the encouragement she provides just merely with her presence and reassurance that “I’ve got this shit.” I’m not sure what part of my circus-addled brain is soothed by writing out my thoughts and feelings, but I’ve learned not to really question it and go for it with gusto. So… here we are.

There are some days I find myself riding a wave of anxiety like I’m trying out for the upcoming “Point Break” remake *Editor’s Note*BOOOOOOOOO!!!!*End Editor’s Note*. I have a problem sleeping through the night as is but now my brain dog has another stress bone to chew on so I’m sure you know how that goes. With that being said… Something I firmly believe in is that all goals worth working towards carry nerves behind them. It means you care. It means you FEEL what you’re doing and your heart is IN IT! Sure, these feelings are scary and intimidating but they can be just as much exhilarating and refreshing. Problem is not everybody percolates on those nerves long enough to experience the good side. I see it a lot like Platform 9 3/4 in “Harry Potter.” You see this brick wall in front of you and you’re told there’s an awesome place behind it… All you gotta do is run through it!

You just look like a weirdo when you stop and stare at the wall though...

You just look like a weirdo when you just stop and stare though…

The point I’m making for those unfamiliar with the reference (aka muggles) is that the fear of the worst case scenario is strong enough to hold a lot of us back from the best case scenario when we sit on our haunches and pray for the day life gets easy and problems don’t exist anymore.

Update: All problems solved.

Update: All problems solved.

That day will not only never ever come but contrarily we arrive back at my first point… All goals worth working towards carry nerves behind them. The nerves highlight the adventure. The anxiety amplifies your focus when channeled correctly and it all starts with that good ol’ cliche we call perspective. Simple enough… If it were easy it wouldn’t be special. So… even the bad feelings surrounding this World’s Toughest Mudder insanity are really just good stuff in disguise!

There was a point and time when I was competing back when that I documented every single milligram of nutrition I took in and every molecule of energy expelled out. Each second spent on a cardio machine, every rep lifted, and every pound accounted for all day, er’ day. I did some semblance of this with various extremes (most often on the “most” extreme setting) and I burnt myself out like already bald tires kicking off an all day drag race.

Hey there...

Pictured: Creepy face and burnt out.

When every waking moment is spent worrying about controlling literally everything around you it’s common to crash and crash HARD. When you are too stubborn to crash however is when you find yourself caught in this limbo between a complete mental breakdown and the self assurance that this is the price of being “healthy.” It’s like an emotional purgatory where all you want to do is laugh and cry at the same time equally and BOY IS THAT CONFUSING! Are you doing the right thing? Are you hurting yourself? Are you merely feeling the result of hard work and dedication or are you overdoing it? AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! So the answer… WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN BECAUSE THAT WAY YOU CAN CONTROL ALL OF THE THINGS!!!

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Did all of this obsessive compulsion and delirious drive lead to me being the best body builder in the world? Not a chance. I was mediocre on my best day when it came to competition. It’s the journey though… The experiences I had, knowledge thirsted for, and dedication to see it through even when every aching inch of me screamed to quit every single goddamn day that molded into my approach now. I learned not only what not to do but also how I didn’t want to feel. What did I want out of fitness? What was the overall end goal? Do the ends justify the means and once I achieve physical perfection I’ll be happy or do I have it backward? What’s the point of burning the candle in the middle and at both ends if you’re too exhausted, angry, and high strung to enjoy it? Is that really the goal? Is that REALLY how you want to feel at the end of the day or did you just find a new form of misery because that’s where your fucked up self is most comfortable…?

These were the hard questions I found myself not able to shake once I’d finally hit the major burnout point. They were the questions that were nagging in my brain all along I just didn’t have the strength to run away from them anymore.

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Don’t get me wrong… Some people truly do thrive off of goal oriented health… Even NEED it for happiness and sustainability! I found out the hard way I am not one of those people. It’s kind of like how some people absolutely LOVE mathematics and numbers while others (right here) see an algebraic equation and can literally feel an aneurysm giving birth unto itself. If you’re one of those “math makes my soul hurt” kind of people can you imagine the torture of attempting to become a calculus expert? On top of that can you see how ridiculous it would be to beat yourself up for not enjoying it? Yeah, kinda like that…

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Fast forward about 7 years from my last competition until now and the thing I’m most proud of regarding my personal accomplishments in this health and fitness world has been my ability to equalize and maintain. Those questions from above that caught up to me… I answered them and answered them accordingly. Had I not gone all in on the roller coaster that was my weight loss/body building journey I wouldn’t have been able to define what health means to ME. Plain and simple… I would never have known! For all that stress and anxiety I put myself through I also found a lot of things that DO work for me that I implement to this very day. I learned an immeasurable amount about nutrition, the human body, exercise manipulation, and so much more in the process. I proved to myself that I could do something and finish it out. I was and am proud of myself and to earn your own self pride is what makes your heart flower blossom in my opinion.

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Something like this… only inside your chest.

I defined fitness and made it fun for myself. I started doing everything I could get my hands on… I became two timed TRX certified, began a love affair with the BOSU and undulating ropes, took a couple Russian kettle bell courses, started signing up for mud runs, developed a fierce Zumba habit for awhile, and much more all in the name of taking it all in and experiencing the joy and benefits each different thing had to offer. I learned to explore and redefine the way I think! I learned to accept and carry my demons with me rather than feeling like I’ve got to banish them forever and until then I’m broken and useless. Truth is we are ALL broken in some way or another so there is zero point in feeling like you’re a solo cracked vase coasting through a sea of flawless fine china.

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So during those 7 years and even with all the comfort zones I leaped out of I never found myself face to face with an event that required the kind of meticulous training (above and beyond the hard work I put in by default) a body building competition requires… Until now. Sure, I’ve upped my training ante for various relays and Tough Mudders but never to the all encompassing degree that body building demands.

To me this World’s Toughest Mudder is more than just a 24 hour obstacle course designed to see what you’re made of. It’s my chance to take everything I’ve learned the last 7 years and combine it with the mindset and dedicated training nature of the competitive perfectionist I was (or frazzled myself trying to be rather) the 4 years prior. I get to take the fat kid I once was (and still am to a degree) with me for the ultimate culmination of “I told you you could do it you sad son-of-a-bitch-amazing-woman!”

Drawing credit: Fellow Rebel Jason Moughon

Drawing credit: Fellow Rebel Jason Moughon

The swirl of all this means I’m yet again in new territory which is frightening… but also where I thrive. I refuse to get as high strung as I used to yet will be showing up to Las Vegas in November in the best shape I’ve ever been in. You can bet on that like your mortgage depends on it. Only I’m going to have fun first and foremost. I’m going to get the results people don’t get by doing the work people don’t do but I’m gonna do it with a big ass grin on my face. I’m going to eat with purpose and experience the joy of feeling great rather than dwell on the fact I can’t get Green Burrito tacos every other night because I’m a TEMPLE, DAMNIT! If I feel myself getting out of whack and losing focus on getting results and enjoying it in the process… Then I’ll eat some cake and take a day off like a boss. There was a day when I internalized that as “fitness suicide” but now I look at it as a life essential. THAT is what I learned in the last 7 years and THAT is the thing I’m most proud of out of every single thing I’ve ever done; to be exceptionally normal. 

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I will have my slip ups and pitfalls but that’s part of the growth. I accept and embrace them, something I never used to do. Through this process I will exacerbate my inner silver back gorilla to the umpteenth degree and passionately cherish every moment. I will be so sore I can barely walk and then I will take care of myself properly (with some Unicorn help because she is what makes the world go ’round) so I can do it again. I will rest when I need to. I will eat when I need to. I will switch my training schedule when I need to. I will modify when I need to. All things I equated to being a failure merely years ago that now I have learned is the only way to success… Adjust and adapt, baby!

Pictured: The feeling of adjusting and adapting.

Pictured: The feeling of adjusting and adapting.

To conclude this introspection/therapy session I plan on updating these Rebel ramblings frequently. This was cathartic as hell while providing some accountability. Aside from all that important stuff I hope that a look behind the curtain might help some of y’all out. There’s comfort in knowing you’re not the only one struggling and the struggle is definitely real. We’re all in the same boat just rowing different oars! Iron is forged by fire and if you’re in the midst of gettin’ scorched just hold on like Wilson Phillips because you’re gonna emerge from the flames stronger than you were before.

Trust me.

On the flip side I hope to represent that when you NEED some forging fire… make it! You are the pilot of your own plane and you alone get the blessing of deciding where you’re going. You also get to decide what kind of plane ride you’re going to have as long as you know that you can’t control the turbulence and just need to ride it out till it clears up (mini vodka bottles not included).

Until next time…

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– Rebel8

 

Return of the OYO – On Your Own Workout!

Click on the photo to download the workout, exercise reference guide, and workout tracking sheet! Download it to your phone or print it from your office or home!

Click on the photo to download the workout, exercise reference guide, and workout tracking sheet! Download it to your phone or print it from your office or home!

Don’t call it a comeback… the return of the On Your Own workout! With Erik “The Punisher” Sherwood putting a ring on Jackie Mitchell like a boss this weekend I wanted to make sure that everyone was still taken care of and kept in the game Rebel style! That’s where this OYO comes into play… This total body bad boy is designed to make you branch out and kept comfortable with equipment you might normally have instructors telling you how to use. The only way you’ll ever get familiar with this stuff is through practiced application! THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY!!!

If this is workin’ for you… THERE ARE 10 MORE!!! Click HERE to check them out….

Reference Guide

Warm-Up Options

Warm-Up!

TRX Suspension Knee Drive   TRX Suspension Knee Drive – Make sure that the clothe strap (the loop that hangs from the handle) hangs to the halfway point of your calf. Next, grab an equalizer or anything else to stabilize in front of yourself to keep your balance when things get tricky. Once set, put your foot in the loop and extend that leg all the way back while staying nice and low on the leg still on the ground. Staying as still and solid as possible drive the suspended knee forward and flex your abdomen in the process. Stretch your leg all the way back again and repeat! BOSU Squat w. Alternating Barbell Punch   BOSU Squat w/ Alternating Barbell Punch – Set a BOSU on the ground with the blue side facing up. Next you’re going to get a barbell that is a challenging weight of your choice. Keep it held up at your shoulders like you’re going to do a shoulder press only instead of pressing upward you’re going to squat as low as you can and upon coming back up, punch 1 arm out with a full extension while keeping the other in. Squat again and repeat on the other side! BOSU Lateral Toe Touches   BOSU Lateral Toe Touches – Set a BOSU on the floor with the blue side up and step on top of it with your feet all the way together. Keeping your knees together and making sure they don’t go too far past your toes squat as low as you can where you’ll be able to hold that position. Finally put your arms out in “zombie mode” and lightly touch your toe to the floor. Stay as still as possible while you bring your foot back and extend your foot on the other side. Be sure to keep your chest out and head up! Equalizer Crunch Thrusters Equalizer Crunch Thrusters – Grab an equalizer (yellow bar) and mat and find some space. Lay the mat down then lay the equalizer down on its side on top of the mat. When you lay down on the mat on your back your feet should have part of the equalizer beneath them and above them. Next, place your hands underneath your butt and crunch your abs. Lastly you are going to fully extend your legs all the way out between the base of the equalizer, crunch your knees towards you, then fully extend your legs ABOVE the equalizer. Each time your feet go into the center of the equalizer is 1 rep. Dumbbell Flys w. Stability Ball Dumbbell Flys w/ Stability Ball – Choose a dumbbell set that is appropriately challenging and grab a stability ball. Roll into position (making sure your next is supported) and start with your arms fully extended above your chest with your palms facing one another. Keeping your arms extended bring the dumbbells to the side and use them to stretch your chest out. Carefully navigate how much stretch is best for you! Start slowly… Bring the dumbbells back to the top and squeeze your chest in the process before repeating! Kettlebell Squats w. Alternating Press Kettlebell Squats w/ Alternating Shoulder Press – Grab a pair of kettlebells and hold them with the weight resting on the outside of your forearm. Hold them up with your palms facing each other as you take a shoulder width stance with your feet. Squat as low as you can and on the way up shoulder press one kettlebell while keeping the other still. Squat back down and repeat alternating each side! Band Back Squeezes Band Back Squeezes – Grab a band and hold it straight out in front of you with your hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your arms fully extended pull the band apart and squeeze your back muscles. Return back to the start position and repeat. Make sure that tension stays on the band for the entirety of this exercise! Step 360 Band Curls   Step 360 Band Curls – Grab a step 360 platform and a band of your choice. Notice the grooves on the outside of the 360… This is where you are going to loop the band. Make sure the band is even before stepping on while holding the handles. Keeping your palms facing upward curl as high up as you can while lifting your elbows upward in the process. When going back down be sure to extend your arms all the way for a full stretch. Repeat!

Rebel S.O.B. – Complete Challenge Schedule

S.O.B. Beach Yang

Welcome to the Summer of Balance!

For the first time in a challenge 2 Rebel factions, the Winders and the Grinders, will be intertwined together! 2 cosmic forces fused together in symbiotic harmony. Complimentary forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the individually assembled parts. Basically we’ve got to wind it up then grind it out together and the finished product is going to be AMAZING.

Bookmark this page. Take a screen shot of it on your phone. Print it out and post it where it is most visible. This is your compass for this challenge. You will find every important date, time, and detail here. You can see what muscle groups we’ll be working on at each boot camp so you can plan your own personal workouts around them with no overlap.

Before we get to the calendar of events it’s important you know about:

The Rebel-Yum

Lettuce Turnip the Beet

Click the photo for full details on what our food support group “The Rebel-yum” is all about, how you can benefit, and how to be a part of it!

This challenge marks the return of the “Rebel-yum!” What is it? For full details, click on the picture of that badass kid wearing the shirt I want super bad. Meetings are every Monday @ 7:30PM and last for 45 minutes (beginning July 7th and facilitated by yours truly so to stick to the 45 minute time limit). In food group, you’ll find new perspectives you might not have thought of before. You’ll find you’re not the only one having a tough time. You’ll be a part of a support group set and ready to help you keep track whether in person, via facebook, or through popular health and nutrition apps such as “Lose It!” or “My Fitness Pal.” You’ll also have the ability to share what YOU know that could possibly help someone else! We’ve all accumulated a lot of experience on this journey we call life… Let’s put it all together and make figuring it out easier!

Click the photo to "Like" our "Rebel Runners 3k - 10k" Facebook page and sign up to run with us!!

Click the photo to “Like” our “Rebel Runners 3k – 10k” Facebook page that takes place smack dab in the middle of our Summer of Balance! and sign up to run with us!! ALL proceeds to benefit local youth charities

The Official Schedule

Days/Times: Tuesday@7PM & Saturday@10AM OR Wednesday@6PM & Saturday@12PM

June 28th (Saturday) @ 12pmOrientation! You will pick up your “Rebel Packet” this day
June 30th (Monday) @ 5:30pm/6:30pm – Measurements for BOTH DAYS. Tuesday meets for measurements @ 5:30pm and Wednesday will meet @ 6:30pm. There will be a make-up date announced AFTER this day.
July 1st/2nd (Tuesday/Wednesday)Starting Fit Tests!
July 5th (Saturday) @ 10am- Workout at the park for BOTH TEAMS! Rather than start the first official boot camp of the S.O.B. challenge on July 4th weekend where a lot of people may have to miss due to family/vacation plans (and that’s not the tone we want to set for this challenge) This boot camp will be for BOTH teams at Harvest Park (2327 Summer Creek Dr.) at 10am to get an early start to what will surely be a festive weekend! That, or it’ll be good to work off the hangover from the night prior ;). THIS IS NOT A SHOWDOWN WORKOUT! This will be a true group workout, no competition (except with yourself of course).
July 7th (Monday) @7:30pm – Return of the Rebel-Yum!
July 8th/9th (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Legs! 1st official boot camp of the Summer of Balance challenge! We will be returning to “The Yard” as well as wall-sitting ferociously to this challenges team song for the 1st time together. Prepare to learn proper lunge and squat mechanics as we go over extensively how a lung/squat is supposed to look and feel (veterans this applies to you!)
July 11th (Friday) @ 6:30pm – 7:30pm – A 1 time FOAM ROLLING DEMO! Open to both teams, you will learn in a hands on way how to alleviate basic tension spots all over your body all while learning the how and why of it. Tight calves, tight hips, tight shoulders… They very well could become a thing of the past once you learn this stuff!
July 12th (Saturday) – Upper Body! 1st Weekend Weigh-in! Every week we will keep a barometer of where you’re at. Weigh-in will be AFTER boot camp every Saturday. If you’re anxious, Click HERE for my thoughts on the scale that should help out.
July 15th/16th (Tuesday/Wednesday)Core! Rebel style plank, partner crunches, 4 corporals, and more! We will also be starting and finishing with a mental exercise regarding finding our own personal balance.
July 19th (Saturday) –
Balance! Time to work on your stabilizing muscles while keeping your body as warmed up as possible for the Rebel Runners Fun Run the next day… More importantly it’s SHIRT DAY!!! Even more important than that…

WE WILL HAVE A SPECIAL REBEL GUEST INSTRUCTOR!!!

July 20th (Sunday)Rebel Runners 3k to10k! ALL proceeds to benefit local youth!! CLICK THE LINK TO SIGN UP AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH THE REBELLION!!
July 22nd/23rd (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Upper Body! In order to give your legs a rest from the wicked awesome job you did on the fun run a few days prior, we’re going to get back to the northern region of your body. AhhhOOOO!!!!
July 26th (Saturday) – Legs! If it’s burnin’, it’s workin’…
July 29th/30 (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Core! If it were easy then it wouldn’t be special…
August 2nd (Saturday) – You are going to be left to your own devices with a specialized OYO that you can do at any time! Where will I be? Attending Erik “The Punisher” Sherwood and Jackie Mitchell’s wedding! Seeing as how it is a gym affair it would be hard to get a trainer to substitute… I asked Erik but he said he was busy… Fear nothowever! You will be given the ultimate opportunity to strut your Rebel stuff and step outside your comfort zone with a total body workout leaving you feeling great (with a touch of exhausted in there for good measure). Take command of your gym! Take command of your body! Regularly scheduled programming resumes Monday with Food Group.
August 5th/6th (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Upper Body! You get the results people don’t get by doing the work people don’t do…
August 9th (Saturday) – Midpoint measurements! You will only be doing a weigh-in and circumferences measurements as this day is meant to give you a picture of how exactly your body has transformed in 5 mere weeks. Tuesday will still be meeting at 10am while the Wednesday team will be scaled back to 11am. I can no longer measure anybody who shows up past 11:40am due to time constraints. This opens up a Boot Camp blast for every Rebel to attend at 12:30pm! It will be at the gym and will be “Tough Mudder” style training in the yard in honor of next weekend…
August 12th/13th (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Balance II! 1st Theme… ORANGE AND BLACK! In honor of the giant rag tag group of Rebels we have trekking to Tahoe and running Tough Mudder this weekend it’s best to give the ultimate send off to the high number of 1st timers conquering North Star. Whatever orange and black gear you’ve got, wear it! Tough Mudder gear a plus! Have you done another mud run? Wear that stuff too!! LET’S CELEBRATE!!
August 16th (Saturday) – Legs! Since I will be gone with a sweet crew of juiced ruffians ready to jamboom some slopes in the name of Tough Muddery, you will be led by Anytime Fitness’ finest! Michelle LaBlue & Erik Sherwood will be filling in as they work over your legs while we work over that mountain. AhhhhOOOOO & HOOOOORRAAHHHHH
August 19th/20th (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Core! 2nd theme… 80’s!! Whether sporting some authentic 80’s gear or dressing in the bright neons that accentuated that decade come ready for a totally rad all 80’s soundtrack to get down with.
August 23rd (Saturday) – Upper Body! No frills, just a grimey Rebel arm beat down
August 26th/27th (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Total Body! 3rd theme… BLACKLIGHT 12.0!! The room is going to get blacked out as more blacklights than ever before are going to be hung in this nuclear wasteland of a radioactive Rebel room! Dress in as much white or fluorescent/neon clothing as you can!
August 30th (Saturday) – Legs! You’ve got to want it more than anything because anything can stop you…
September 1st (Monday) – Labor Day! No Rebel-Yum this day! Regular food group will resume the following week 🙂
September 2nd/3rd (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Core! 4th theme… VILLAGE PEOPLE! In honor of labor day you have a plethora of occupations to dress from… Cowboy, cop, construction worker, Indian, biker… Let’s have some fun and see who dresses as what as we become champions of our midsection. You will also be voting as a group on what you want NEXT WEEK’s theme to be! Results will be announced that very night to give you adequate time to prepare!
September 6th (Saturday) @11am – Workout at the park!! Both teams time split will be met in the middle as we gather at Harvest Park (2327 Summer Creek Dr.) in one giant group and enjoy some fun in the sun together as we work our total body. This is your opportunity to bring as many friends and family as you can to show them what being a Rebel is all about! This is NOT a competition workout, this is a group workout in the most fantastic sense!
September 9th/10th (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Upper Body! 5th theme… Whatever was voted on the week prior!
September 11th – 15th (Thursday through Monday)

Anytime Fitness Annual Conference!

I will be gone this week leaving you with another OYO to do on your own. The Unicorn, Bridget, John, Denise, and Myself will be representing in Scottsdale, Arizona with our shovels held high and AhhhOOOs on blast! I’m even leading a “Rebel Sun Rise” boot camp that Friday as Anytime Fitness folks from all over the world are going to get a taste of what you guys do every single day. AHHHHHOOOOOO!!!!!!

September 16th/17th (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Final Boot Camp! Final theme… CAN’T DULL OUR SPARKLE!! In Rebel tradition we will be finishing the boot camps the way we started… with legs. It will be the exact workout you did day 1 to show you just how far you’ve come! As for the theme… Sparkle is the name of the game. Bright and vibrant… Make a statement! More importantly… Have fun with it ;). It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!
September 20th (Saturday) – Final Measurements! The exact same process as you did in the beginning. Mandatory to get your before/after certificate! There will be a make up day announced once these measurements are over. Come in at your regularly scheduled time (with cut offs being at 10:45am and 12:45am respectively)
September 23rd/24th (Tuesday/Wednesday) – Final Fit Test! Our final group hurrah as we do the same fit test we started with. This is personally one of my favorite parts of the entire challenge because the physical strength and ability you’ve attained by this point is off the charts! This will be the last chance to dig deep as a group so be sure not to miss the surge of Rebel energy on such a great day!
October 4th (time still to be determined):

Challenge Wrap Party & Award Ceremony!

Click on the photo to get pricing details (bottom of the page)!