7th OYO Circus Workout

7th Week

Click on the photo of the workout to download the workout itself, the exercise reference guide, and workout tracking sheet!

This week you are tasked with revisiting your core in a major way! The goal here is to take more difficult movements requiring more overall total body usage and get you applying it on your own when maybe normally you wouldn’t attempt these balance endeavors. Every aspect of core is hit with this bad boy so have fun!

Click HERE for the previous 6 workouts!

Reference Guide

Processed with Moldiv

Elevated Plank – Utilizing a BOSU, step, bench, equalizer, or anything you can to raise yourself your feet off the floor you are going to do exactly that while maintaining a proper plank position (straight line from shoulder, to hip, to heel while keeping abs/glutes TIGHT). If you are not able to hold an elevated plank then simply hold a regular plank. The higher the elevation, the more difficulty!

Processed with Moldiv

Function Crunch Raises – Grab a dumbbell (weight of your choice) or stability ball if the weight is too much and lay down on your back with your feet fully extended. Keeping your knees relaxed, heels on the floor, and arms above your chest you are going to crunch all the way into a seated position while keeping the dumbbell or stability ball aimed towards the ceiling the entire time. If not able to crunch into a full seated position simply go as high up as you can for each rep! Eventually you will be able to do the full crunch.

Processed with Moldiv

Dip Position Leg Lifts – Utilized the Lebert Equalizers (a bench or ledge works nicely as well) get your body into a dip position while keeping your arms extended. From here you are going to start with whichever leg you’d like (you’re doing both eventually) and lift it as high as you can while keeping your leg fully extended. While you lift you want to consciously crunch your abdominals in the process to finalize that squeeze in your midsection. You’re going to do ALL ONE SIDE before moving on to the other. To make this hard, place your feet on a BOSU (blue side up).

Processed with Moldiv

Full Length Cable Rows – Find the cable row machine and make sure the isolated hand grips are put on each cable pulley. Take a seat and rather than placing your feet on the outer foot pedals you are going to place your feet together on the CENTER platform. From here you are going to lean all the way back until you are lying flat while still holding on to the handles. Your arms are strictly the catalyst so try not to pull with them too much. Control your body on the way back up to the starting position and repeat! PS odds are you are going to be able to pull more weight than you think you can on this one so keep that in mind if the first set seems to be too easy.

Processed with Moldiv

One Legged Side Crunches on BOSU – Standing on one leg you are going to place your fingertips gently behind your head (DO NOT interlock… interlocking your fingers promotes pulling on your neck and ain’t nobody got time for that), stretch the side of your body out that is NOT standing on the BOSU before squeezing your side by getting as close to touching your elbow to your knee as you can. Go back to the stretch and repeat!

Processed with Moldiv

Swiss Ball Inch Worms on BOSU – Place your BOSU blue side down and stand on top while holding your swiss ball at the sides. Squatting down you want to place the ball on the ground and stretch as far into a full length plank as you can before pushing back to a standing position. IMPORTANT!!!! When you place the swiss ball down on the floor instinct is going to make you want to readjust your hands on the ball. DO NOT re-adjust because it won’t end well. Hold on to the sides and keep them clamped down as you roll out.

Processed with Moldiv

Dual Cable Crunches – Grab a mat and place it on the ground in the center of the gym’s cable apparatus. Make sure the cable pulleys have the isolated hand grips on them and bring them all the way to the floor. Choose the weight of your choice on BOTH cable stacks. Now lie down on your back, bring the cables over your chest, and crunch upward! Be cautious not to strain your neck too much! Control on the way down and repeat!

Processed with Moldiv

Dumbbell Plank Transfers – Grab a weighted dumbbell of your choice and get into a plank position with your feet set wide. Start with the dumbbell off to the side then while maintaining your plank reach out, bring the dumbbell to center, and extend it to the OTHER side. Each time you extended either arm outward that is one rep.

Michelle “Hulk” Huntley – The Legend Continues

Michelle “Hulk” Huntley – The Legend Continues

Michelle Bike

per•se•ver•ance
[pur-suh-veer-uh ns]
noun
1. Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc. especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
2. Theology. Continuance in a state of grace to the end leading to eternal salvation.

Not everybody meets their future spouse ordering contact lenses over the phone, but Michelle “Hulk” Huntley isn’t exactly like anybody you’ll ever meet so it’s fitting that on June 1st, 1998 that was exactly how she met the love of her life. It was by cosmic chance that Owen, her husband to be and manager of the sales office Michelle was calling, picked up the phone the day that she called. Normally he didn’t answer the lines but if not for a shortage of staff that had everyone pulling extra duties then this story would have been finished just as quickly as it started.

Michelle, born and raised in Philadelphia (as made evident by her East Coast sass if you ever have the good fortune to talk with her) was simply looking to check into the latest method for contact lens shipping when she rang, but when Owen answered she couldn’t find herself able to pull away. When the phone call reached the hour mark it was clear that he wasn’t really looking to hang up all that quickly either. As they squeezed the last bit of stimulating conversation they could muster from the rousing subject of eye-wear advancement delivery Michelle and Owen exchanged personal numbers before finally calling the “sales call” quits.

“When I hung up the phone, I knew I’d found my husband.” Michelle said with the biggest smile I’d ever seen as she recalled the 1st time meeting Owen. She proved that her smile still had room to grow when she said “3 weeks later he left Florida and moved to Philly.”

“He just up and left? Job and all? 3 weeks, really?” I asked, surprised.

“Yup, June 25th was the day he came to Philly…” Michelle beamed as she stared off slightly, reliving the memory.

As I reveled in her memory and she soaked in the recollection, she was the first one to break the warm silence.

“My life is made up of June… I joined Rebel in June, did you know that?”

“Yeah, I’m seeing a lot of June popping its head up. The Universe has a way of talking to you, that’s for sure…” I said.

“Yup. June 1st, 1998 was the day of that phone call. June 25th was the day he moved to Philly. June 19th the next year we were married. June 10th, 2010… that was the day I lost him.”

* * *

            Growing up Michelle had 3 main aspirations that fueled her fire like a never ending propane tank; always be involved in sports, finish school, and become a Doctor. With a loving family and true East Coast determination Michelle attacked those goals like a warrior with a thirst for conquest and quench that thirst she did…

“Sports? What sport didn’t I play… My favorites were softball and bowling, but I played volleyball, basketball, competed in track and field, practiced Tae Kwon Do and did some fencing. You know when they were picking kids on the playground for teams? I was usually picked first or close to it, even over the boys. Some of them would be like ‘What? You’re gonna pick her over ME?’ and they’d be like ‘yeah, you’ll see…”

            She went on to explain that not only was she athletic, but she’d always been on the thicker side to boot which took away any “fragility” that could be held against her. It was a double edged sword though because that meant she always had to be doing something in regards to being active or she’d gain weight just by damn near thinking about it.

“If I had to pick a demon I’ve always carried with me, it’s my weight. I was picked on as a kid for being a little bigger and “straight laced” but it was ok, I knew it was my path in life to succeed. Even still, it was hard shopping in the little girl’s ‘pretty plus’ section because even as a kid you know what that means… Why can’t you just be pretty?”

            That love of sports carried over to college as she continued playing volleyball and softball at a high level. Her physical dominance was no match to her intellectual excellence, though. Spending a year at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science before moving on, Michelle graduated with Bachelor’s degrees from Penn State and Temple, the latter coming with “Magna Cum Laude” honors! For a little added awesome let’s throw in the fact that Michelle became an EMT at 16 until the age of 30, meaning that in between practices, games, homework, studying, finals, and family she was literally saving lives the whole time.

“I’ve always been very patient. I didn’t really date or do much else, I was too focused.”

            Through her journey all the way up to meeting Owen and beyond, Michelle had experienced your standard hardships; tough financial times that make you scrape the couch for coins, battles with weight, adjusting to new jobs, moving away from family and feeling alone in a new place, and so forth… but throughout it all she persevered. She was careful to point out that she didn’t view any of her struggles as traumatizing but more so as standard fare.

“I didn’t have any significant tragedies growing up or anything, not more than the usual stuff. I just saw it all as a grind… you just gotta get through it. You have to keep going.”

           That mindset was tested when a year into Michelle and Owen’s marriage when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although in earlier stages, it was malignant and required a fierce battle ahead… When most newlyweds were still gushing in the “honey moon” stage of their marriage, Michelle and Owen were letting their loved ones in on the heartbreaking news, getting set for the first of nearly 20 surgeries, undergoing radiation therapy (and the baldness that ensued), and figuring out insurance policies.

“Owen was perfect through it all… He truly was a great man. We stuck by each other every step of the way, and there was only one thing that ever caught him off guard. It was Valentine’s Day, 2001 and I had been going through chemo. You can only hold on to your hair for so long till it’s gotta go, and that day was the day. When he came home from work I opened up the door with a smile, bald and all, and said ‘hey baby!’ He had this shocked look on his face and he kind of stuttered for a second… then he just smiled at me and all he said was ‘alright then…’ We were good to go after that!”

            It was 2006 when Michelle’s occupation brought the happy couple to California and subsequently away from family, friends, familiarity, and essentially everything they had ever known. After an aggressive treatment regiment, inevitable lumpectomy, and careful monitoring the cancer was held in check. With one blessing came another hardship however as being thrust into a whole new world was as difficult as you can imagine. Luckily they had each other and that meant there wasn’t a mountain too high to climb, river too deep to cross, or storm too harsh to weather on top of what they’d already triumphed through. They made a habit of rolling through the punches with grace and diligence… perseverance put into practice setting them up to endure any hardship thrown their way even when life tossed everything including the kitchen sink at them. After all, every survived experience is like a sparring situation getting you ready for your next fight and this transition to a brand new coast was simply the next step in swingin’ on. It wasn’t until 4 years later that the ultimate knockout rocked Michelle clear off her feet and did everything it could to keep her down for the count…

            It was March of 2010 when the second breast cancer diagnosis found its way to Michelle and Owen’s door step. No easier to deal with the second time around it forced the already intense treatment to be stepped up another notch. A lumpectomy was no longer an option as a mastectomy was now required if she was going to have a shot at making it to the next “round.” Michelle opted to go with a double mastectomy (“I wasn’t gonna be a ‘uni-boob’” she quipped) and made it through a little less voluptuous, but alive none the less. Amidst it all Owen didn’t bat an eye once. Even when complications arose from the surgeries and infections started to flare that man was there every step of the way. One such memory provides a perfect depiction of the superhero Owen ended up being through it all…

            On June 9th, Owen picked Michelle up from the hospital recovery room and safely brought her back home . He had the downstairs couch all set up for her to sleep since it was more comfortable that way for Michelle and proceeded to get her all situated for some much needed slumber. Once she was set, Owen tried nonchalantly handing Michelle back her wedding ring to put back on after she had taken it off and given him so as not to lose it while she navigating through her hospital day.\

“I told him ‘Nuh uh, that ain’t how you do it…’” she said with her trademark Philly sass, lighting up the same way she did when she was reliving the moment of meeting Owen for the first time.

“That’s when he smiled, got down on one knee, and slipped the ring back on my finger properly and kissed me like he was supposed to. He said he loved me, I said I loved him, and I watched him go upstairs with the promise we’d see each other in the morning.”

That was the last moment Michelle and Owen ever shared together.

“I knew something was wrong when I woke up in the morning and things just didn’t feel right.” Michelle shared. “I was an EMT for a long time and you learn to read situations like that…”

            As soon as she stepped foot in their room Michelle instinctively knew Owen had passed. She tried in vain to resuscitate him after dialing 911 but in the back of her mind she knew it was already too late. Three months after her second cancer diagnosis and resulting surgeries Michelle was now unexpectedly on her own. Although her family was there every step of the way it was hard not to feel stranded and alone in what was still a relatively unknown home front. She’d lost her rock when she needed him most… It was now her duty to learn how to make it through life in California without her best friend, deal with the cancer (14 surgical procedures in the matter of a year and a half to put it in perspective), and continue to put one foot in front of another no matter what.
Weight was already an issue before the steroid-based treatments (on top of everything else) ballooned Michelle up to her heaviest weight at 352 lbs.

“It was hard because I never associated with being that person… in my mind I was still that really athletic and curvy chick with nothing I couldn’t do, and that wasn’t true anymore…”

            About a year and a half had gone by since June of 2010 and Michelle was still looking for her ladder out of the hole she’d found herself in. As time marched forward life’s obstacles started shifting from battling cancer and dealing with the loss of her husband to putting more focus on getting rid of this newfound weight. Surviving cancer and the loss of Owen were defining moments for Michelle that would travel with her every moment from here on out, but it was time to take her life BACK rather than merely float through it numbly. That’s when the Universe delivered an angel of a messenger…

            Tami Larsen, an original Hulkster/Rebel since 2009 and working at the Dental office Michelle had an appointment with one fateful day early 2012 happened to be that very ladder Michelle was searching for and although I want to go with the cliché “and she didn’t even know it” the phone call I got from her indicated otherwise. You know how certain things stick with you for some peculiar reason even before your brain is able to register it as significant? That was the case with Tami’s phone call;

“Hey! I met someone that would be PERFECT for Hulk… Her name’s Michelle and you wouldn’t believe what she’s been through… She’s coming off a lot of surgeries, dealing with cancer, and she just lost her husband. She’s trying to get back on track and I told her to call you.”

            It took 2 months from that day for Michelle to give me a call. In her words she was “weak, hurt emotionally and physically, and needed to offload. It took me 2 months to make it happen and pick up the phone.” After talking with her for almost 40 minutes on my front porch (she is definitely blessed with the gift of gab!) we got her all good to go for the next challenge that was about to start… in June.

            It was in the office at the gym when the nickname “Hulk” was first bestowed upon Michelle. For those of you aren’t familiar with the Fitness Rebellion in our neck of the woods, it used to be “Team Hulk” before I was simultaneously selected to be an Anytime Fitness ambassador for a “Rebellion” being started (1 of 50 from all over North America) and served a cease-and-desist from Marvel. Due to my lacking belief in coincidences I believe the Universe had a plan and in this case it was giving “Hulk” a new identity and spirit like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Well, it was smack dab in the middle of all of this when Michelle got herself signed up for the beginning of her Rebel journey. At the time everyone who wasn’t a member of the gym initially was input in the computer with “Hulk” before their last name so the office folk knew they were one of “my people.” When Michelle “Hulk” Huntley appeared on the screen we both thought it had a pretty snazzy ring to it… Little did we know it was symbolic of not only who she was going to become but more so who she had always been all along…

            “Hulk” means the world to me not because I’m a fan of the comics and think it’s cool (that is just a bonus) but because of what he represents. We ALL have a beast inside lying dormant until provoked… Do we let it out or stifle it? Everyone knows what being stuck between a rock and a hard place feels like, but how do you respond? Do you submit and cower or do you Hulk out and Hulk smash? If you can’t excel with talent then triumph with effort, and that’s what the Hulk is… Raw effort that doesn’t always look all that pretty but NEVER gives up without a fight… Since Michelle joined up with the Fitness Rebellion a little over a year and a half ago from this write up she has exhibited every bit of that and more. For starters, she’s lost 73 pounds and counting since that day she became the ONLY person I refer to as “Hulk” (fun fact: she bowls with a 15 pound ball so for every 15 pounds she loses she views it as a “strike”). Her very first challenge she earned the coveted “MVH” given out to the “Most Valuable Hulkster” on each team. It’s essentially our Fitness Rebellion’s hall-of-fame induction when you earn that title. 3 completed Rebel challenges later she became the 4th overall recipient of the “Hulk Legend” award. Unlike the “MVH” title this prestigious title is NOT guaranteed to be given out and is only awarded when it happens. The criteria is simple: intangibly representing every aspect of being a Rebel in every way which means never giving up no matter what, upholding the “Rebel Code,” and supporting everyone around you with the heart of a lion in the process. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being a leader of love internally and externally in a way that history books make note about. Michelle has been forever written into the Fitness Rebellion history book and we’re just getting started!

            To see Michelle work and “be” is like watching genuine magic. She doesn’t have an ounce of quit in her body and doesn’t accept it from anybody else around her either. Her severe asthma, residual surgery aftermath, and built up bodily limitations leave her needing to modify most exercises and it’s THAT VERY MINDSET that has made Michelle a Legend and a defining example of what “never giving up” truly means. If she can’t do something, she finds a way to do it anyways. “All or nothing” doesn’t exist anymore and in its place is the infinitely more effective “do something.”

            “I’m no different than anybody out there. It can always be worse. I mean, I’ve survived 2 bouts of cancer, the loss of my husband, almost 20 surgeries, and more… but I’m alive. I have to take care of me because no one else is going to. It starts within.”
Forever humble through every moment Michelle is the type who you’d never know the accolades she’s achieved because she’d never tell you. Just the same she’ll shrug off what she’s been through as tough but noting that “there are other people out there who have it way worse… We’ve all got a story.” She’s quick to point out her parents as 2 of her most inspiring and shining examples of perseverance that showed her the proper way in handling the tribulations life slings at you. She’s just as speedy to point out that she wouldn’t have made it without her faith, either. The common denominator being she points her finger everywhere else but her when it comes to how amazing she is yet she said it best herself… it starts within.

            “If you try to plan it won’t happen, but you can prepare the best you can. I do what I can control and accept what I can’t. I’ve got faith that where I’m supposed to be, I’ll be and that what I’m supposed to do, I’ll do. You’ve got to take it as it comes. It’s all about your mindset. Things will always be tough, and it’s ok to have your moment… but buck up when its time. You’re not going to make it if you don’t keep marching on.”

            When Michelle and I first sat down I asked her what she wanted the tone of her story to be. I explained that these stories are THE most viewed component of Timetorebel.com, often garnering thousands of views in the first week alone due to the Facebook shares, retweets, and the Fitness Rebellion’s official Facebook page carrying the story as well… What did she want to say with such a dynamic platform? I wanted her to think about what she was hoping people will take away from her journey and apply to themselves. After a brief pause as she pondered a proper and scholarly answer, she looked at me and said one simple and definitive word I will from here on out always associate with Michelle “Hulk” Huntley;

per•se•ver•ance
[pur-suh-veer-uh ns]
noun
3. Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc. especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
4. Theology. Continuance in a state of grace to the end leading to eternal salvation.

As of the publishing of this story Michelle has lost 102 lbs and counting!

As of the publishing of this story Michelle has lost 102 lbs and counting!

1st OYO Circus Workout!

Chaplin Rebel

AhhhOOO!!

Each week an OYO (“On Your Own”) workout will be released right here on Timetorebel.com as well as posted at the gym. Participants in the 15th Rebel Transformation Challenge are committed to 2 boot camps a week in the “Rebel Room” at Anytime Fitness as well as this 3rd workout! Each OYO workout will always correlate with what we are doing in the boot camps each week so you don’t have to worry about any overlap. For instance our first week of boot camps consists of Lower Body and Upper Body so get ready for some good Core work to tie it all together!

Some of these exercises will be difficult to figure out at first. Some will be confusing and raise questions. Some will feel like you need a Masters in Rocket Science one second and then… CLICK, it all makes sense! If you haven’t maneuvered the gym/an exercise routine on your own before then you are the very person this is meant for. Let me be clear… This is not meant to take your precious time away from you with “homework.” This is your chance to have a professional guide you in learning how to operate your body the same way you learned how to operate your car, cell phone, job, or anything else essential to your livelihood.

This is meant to get you outside of your comfort zone in such a way that you are made better for it. These workouts are designed to improve your quality of living by not only setting the ultimate foundation for those of you in need of one but also enhances the foundation of those looking for a boost! By the end of these 3 months the goal is to be moving better with a stronger body while learning how to stay consistent with your life style change and new habits so as to minimize “backtracking” from here on out. In essence, you get in what you put in. This works if you work it and for a lot of you that is the TRUE task; to stick to something long after your initial motivation to get through the tough spots are gone but the desire for the end goal is still there. Sometimes it feels easier to talk yourself out of something rather than putting the agonizing work into something… Well those “sometimes” are in the past Rebels… It’s time to work towards a better you! 

Week 1

Reference Guide for the Workout above

IMG_1222

To set yourself up in proper plank position lay down stomach first on your mat and set your forearms up down on the mat (turning your arms in “L’s” as in the photograph) and position your feet shoulder width apart. Tighten your quads (thigh muscles… you’ll feel your knees rise off the floor), then tighten your glutes (butt muscles) like you’re trying to bounce a quarter off those suckers! Finally, lift your hips until you are making a straight line from your shoulder to your hip to your heel. Congratulations, perfect plank position! From here, if you need to bring your knees down to help support your lower back (as illustrated) then feel free to do so!

IMG_1221

Place your BOSU down on the ground with the blue side up. Go ahead and stand on top with your feet shoulder width apart while holding your medicine ball chest level with your elbows slightly flared. From here twist in one direction at the torso (not simply with your arms) then twist to the other side! Your balance will be getting a good test here, so if you need to start on the ground please do so.

IMG_0946

Get in a push-up position with your feet in a wide stance. Simulating a bear crawl, bring one foot as far up to your hand as possible, leave it there, bring the other leg up to the other hand, then bring your legs back to original position before repeating.

IMG_0947

Take a seat and flatten your body as much as you can, using your arms positioned behind you for support. Then, crunch together at the abdomen! If your lower back starts to bug you, keep one foot on the floor at all times and crunch one leg at a time.

IMG_0945

Take a seat and get in a V-sit position. If able, keep your feet off the floor. In this position, reach as high up as you can in an attempt to touch the ceiling. Focus on feeling your torso stretch out and even add a bit of twist to get as much leverage as possible. The more stretch, the better. Alternate each arm with the picking!

IMG_0948

This one can be done in a knee plank position OR traditional, depending on ability. From a plank position, be sure to take a wide stance with your toes, Reach all the way up like you’re trying to touch the ceiling, go back down to a plank, and alternate to the other side!

– Ringmaster8

Cheryl Murray – “I’m not Disabled… I’m Cheryl.”

Cheryl fat face

Cheryl Murray – “I’m not disabled… I’m Cheryl.”

“I’m unwilling to be a helpless victim. Sure I’m scared sometimes, but I force myself to do what I have to do. It’s not the things I’ve done that I’m proud of, it’s the stuff in my head I’ve had to fight through to do it.”

                Those were the first words to come out of Cheryl’s mouth when I asked her what she wanted her story to say once people had the chance to catch a peek through the kaleidoscope that is her. Simple yet powerful her statement cuts like a knife through the gimmicks and trickery often sought after to “make it through” life by trimming away the bullshit and leaving you with a foundation you can either choose to accept or deny; you have the choice to be life’s victim when it attacks unexpectedly and relentlessly but rest assured that throughout that decision making process it will be terrifying beyond belief. We ALL have felt the mind and body blows of that last statement, but it’s what you do with yourself as the dust settles that defines who you are at your core… How do you respond and what actions do you take? If you’re Cheryl you respond like a cat with nine lives and the tenacity of a tornado… This is a glimpse of Cheryl’s storm.

                If you were to catch snippets of Cheryl’s life growing up you’d swear you were watching reruns of “Leave It to Beaver.” You’d see a loving family with a nice home in Northern California that recycled before it was cool. Church every Sunday with full societal calendars for the whole family in between… they were the epitome of the American dream. A dual parent household with one daughter and one son that ate healthy, exercised regularly, exceled in work and school, adorable family dog… I think you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, per all circumstances her upbringing carried with it the “usual suspects” regarding growing pains and tumultuous times but to her own admittance nothing too extraordinarily tragic beyond that.

IMG_6746
                It was while she was attending grad school at the San Jose campus of the University of Phoenix when Cheryl’s Americana upbringing suddenly took a turn towards “The Twilight Zone” of the television spectrum. It started with a hospital trip and the two reasons that prompted her to take it; a bruise resembling a black and purple vortex that showed up out of nowhere on her hip and the nonstop bleeding that occurred after casually scratching an itch on her head. Combined with the extreme fatigue she’d been feeling (among other symptoms) she decided it was time to promptly get checked out so she stopped her dinner preparation for that night and had a friend bring her to the ER.

She never made it back home that night.

                After having some tests run Cheryl could hear her name announced over the intercom with a tone of urgency that instantly made her anxiety swell. Her husband at the time was working night shifts which left Cheryl by her lonesome to deal with the fear bouncing around in her head like pieces of shrapnel.

“I was in the waiting room for the longest time. While I was there my greatest fear was that it could only be one of two things… cancer or AIDS.”

                A lot of us have gone the “Web MD” route in our brains of figuring out the worst case scenario and convincing ourselves that’s EXACTLY what we’ve got, but when it turns out to be true… it can be profoundly soul shattering. Unfortunately, it did end up being one of those two things… leukemia. At the very least she had an answer to the suddenly surging ailments she was experiencing; it just wasn’t the answer anybody ever hopes for. Boot straps were pulled up as treatment started immediately and aggressively. With her grit to keep moving forward and the support of her family Cheryl went about trying to beat the cancer that had suddenly found its way into her family’s home.

                Progress was swift and after only a few months of dedicated cancer management (radiation therapy included) the cancer began reverting course! They’d beat the cancer into remission! It was an optimal situation because it gave them more time to get it gone for GOOD.

That lasted 3 months.

                The beginning of 1998 did not bring good tidings as the cancer came back with a vengeance in January forcing Cheryl and her family to get right back into defense mode. It would only be fair for Cheryl to deal with one life-altering catastrophe at a time but as we all know life is FAR from fair and it was April of 1998 when life dropped another sledgehammer driving Cheryl even deeper between the rock and hard place she’d already found herself in… On the day Cheryl was scheduled to have her annual bone marrow biopsies from the diagnosis a year prior, she had a stroke.

“After the cancer came back I harbored a LOT of anger. When I had the stroke though… It was bad… I mean I’m 29 and I’ve suddenly lost the ability to walk, talk, drive, ski… I thought I’d never be able to go to work, travel, or get on a plane ever again…Things you can take for granted until all of a sudden you can’t do them anymore.”

                Awhile back Cheryl and I had a conversation about the daily planner she kept at the time of her stroke. Cheryl detailed how she kept track of everything in this agenda; work obligations, social events, and medical appointments filled the bylines within the weeks up until the day where she was set to have a bone marrow biopsy which was cause for a very powerful moment when she showed me the point of stoppage. It bore a symbolic resemblance to an author stepping away from writing a carefully crafted book mid-paragraph.

                With the leukemia coming back around a second time and in rapid fashion the bone marrow transplant was a necessity still regardless of this newfound “kitchen sink” life had just rocketed Cheryl’s way. After gaining some control on the stroke situation the transplant was pushed from April to July. It was during those months Cheryl found herself dwelling on what she’d lost in her life and reveling in the anniversaries of bad occurrences for a long time afterwards.

“When I was in the hospital my Dad brought in a ‘PEOPLE’ magazine for me and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t read it. I remember thinking ‘I JUST WANT TO READ THE F*&@!ING MAGAZINE!!’ but… nothing. That was hard.”

                When the time came for the transplant fingers were crossed and prayers were sent out that Cheryl’s body would accept the new bone marrow and an immediate road to recovery could begin so they could put as much of this awfulness as possible behind them. At this point in the story I’m sure you’ve picked up on the tone that things hadn’t taken a lucky break yet and I’ll tell you they weren’t about take a turn in that direction now. With her body rejecting the transplant Cheryl suddenly found herself in yet another situation where she wasn’t sure she was going to make it out alive. Things got so bad physically she nearly needed a feeding tube to combat the inability and lack of desire to eat. Luckily Cheryl found herself able to stomach grilled cheese sandwiches which is essentially what she lived off of from July of 1998 until February of 1999, the date she was released from the hospital with her body finally accepting the donor marrow.

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Christmas of ’98 was spent in the hospital. Making it to Christmas of ’99 was in genuine doubt in this picture…

                Once released from the hospital the fight was far from over, but things were at long last starting to look up. With the bone marrow transplant going from being rejected to being accepted it wasn’t longer after Cheryl was deemed cancer free. The rigorous, aggressive, and draining treatment paid off! Sure, she had to get annual marrow biopsies for 10 years (they have to drill a hole in your hip to put in perspective those unfamiliar on how “not simple” this task is) but that’s better than actually having cancer! Cheryl’s spirit, however, was far from healed… The unexpected and sudden loss of abilities coupled with the weight gained from the drugs she now had to take left her in a dark, defeated place.

                It took a fateful crossing of paths at church with a single mom who had multiple sclerosis that started the revolt against her own demons keeping her down. 

“What I really admired about her was that she never let the MS get her down. I started going with her when she ran errands and even went to the gym with her. She helped introduce me to people after I’d been in a cave for so long. She showed me that things could be different…”

Bit by bit Cheryl started to crawl out of her shell as the days went on. She even started to do some volunteer work at her Church again! Over the years Cheryl dug deep to regain her life back even though the realization that it wouldn’t be the same life she had before had a tendency to send her on a roller coaster of ups and downs. Through the rough times Cheryl retaught herself how to drive, how to walk, and how to eat healthy again. She got herself back to work, travelling with the family, and even joined several gyms with yoga becoming a new favorite therapy for not only her body but her mind, too.

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Getting back to everything she was able to do before sometimes means needing a cane or motorized transport to aid with the devitalized left side of her body, but it all goes back to the first words Cheryl said when we sat down to put the pen to paper on this;

 “I’m unwilling to be a helpless victim. Sure I’m scared sometimes, but I force myself to do what I have to do. It’s not the things I’ve done that I’m proud of, it’s the stuff in my head I’ve had to fight through to do it.”

It was 2009 when Cheryl found her way to Anytime Fitness.

Cheryl group

“I’ve belonged to a lot of gyms in my life, but none of them hit like Anytime did. It was different… I found myself actually wanting to go and really liking the people there. I also remember thinking ‘who’s the weirdo who yells a lot?’”

(Spoiler alert: I was am that weirdo who yells).

Wasting no time she joined up with a transformation challenge that just so happened to be on the verge of starting and wouldn’t you know it… she won the damn thing. She even lost 20 lbs in the process! It was soon after that when Cheryl, who was once told she wouldn’t ever regain the ability to walk all that well ever again, trekked across the Golden Gate friggin’ Bridge.

“When I walked the Golden Gate, it wasn’t exactly something I’d been fantasizing about for years and years or anything… It was that things were going really well and I wanted to make a bucket list to give myself some goals and aspirations. I needed that, or else I wasn’t going to keep pushing myself. You need to have goals to work towards or else you won’t do anything.”

To know Cheryl now means most would be surprised finding out that for as gregarious as she is, she still sticks to her reclusive tendencies  (only they are much healthier now). From that initial challenge in 2009 Cheryl has joined damn near every single Hulk/Rebel challenge since (missing one due to hip surgery in 2011), putting her up there as one of the most tenured Hulkster/Rebels there is. Her presence is coveted and her inspiration is legendary as she’s shown more people than she knows the true meaning of strength, inside and out. If you ask her about her inspiration and her take on it though, you get a much different and humbled response:

“I get it, you know… People being happy for people with disabilities being able to make it past them, but I don’t see it that way. In my head I don’t see myself as disabled… I’m Cheryl.”

Cheryl cross legged

This photo was taken once we concluded our session. What you’re seeing is the first time Cheryl crossed her legs casually in a conversation since her stroke. The best part is it was inadvertent yet instantly recognized. Thank you Cheryl for such a wonderful moment :).

AhhhOOO.

–          Rebel8

PS Check Cheryl out!

Rebel Winter Rescue

Promo

Rebel Winter Rescue!

If you’re searching for the details on the 14th Rebel challenge starting in mid-November then you can close your Google maps app because you have arrived at your destination. I’m going to give some hard facts below, but first I want to address the focus of this challenge and what differentiates it from a “traditional” Rebel challenge.

The holiday season can be a hectic, stressful, wallet-depleting segment of our lives that can feel like being swept up in a tornado with no sign of stopping until after the 1st of the year. Thus it makes it easy to put yourself on the back burner and give in to the holiday anxiety by doing what we have all done at some points (or are currently doing now) in our lives; we succumb to laziness, throw good eating choices out the window in anticipation of “I’ll start making better decisions when all this craziness dies down,” and use the weather as an excuse to skip everything but holiday parties and marathon shopping. Trust me, I’ve been there. With Rebel Winter Rescue, the mission is to not get caught in that landslide. Subsequently, there will be no weekly weigh-ins or before/after photos and measurements. There WILL be a fit test however so we can have a measure of success for the 2 months we’re going to survive together, only it will be a little bit different than done in the past.

The goal will be to kick some major ass in the health and happiness department Rebel style… That means chants before boot camp, sound offs, spray painted shirts, themed workouts, and some extras that are yet to be announced (like the incorporation of Anytime Health that will work highly in your benefit). Since weekends tend to be spoken for starting on Friday for most people during the holidays, there will be no weekend boot camps for this challenge. All boot camps will be held during the middle of the week in the evening (6pm/7pm) with BOSU getting moved to Saturday morning (so you’ll still have a weekend option along with the work-it circuit class that morning as well). We’re going to make it past Thanksgiving, Christmas time, and the new year together as… wait for it… one team! Because, you know, one dream and all :).

One final twist… Since we’re Rebels and we help others do amazing things while WE do amazing things we’re going to make the holiday season a tad bit brighter for many people the only way we know how; by bonding together. Every other week, we will be doing a different benefit drive starting with food, then toys, followed by clothes, and concluding with living essential items for The Living Room. More details will be given as we go, but for now know that everything raised and donated will be going towards locally organizations/families in need. It will all be raised by the community for the community.

Details

Start date: November 16th. Fit Tests! This will be the only Saturday other than the end where we will meet. End date: January 11th. Fit Tests! Days and Times meeting: This one depends on whether there is more than one team or not. If more than 30 people want to sign up, there will be 2 teams. If less than 30 people want to sign up, there will be one team. If the only way you can sign up is if the 2nd team day options are available, then still fill out the sign-up below and note that in the comments section so I can keep you in the loop :). To make all of this work, I need to stick strictly to the timetable below. If you’re looking to get on the 2nd team, that means recruit, recruit, recruit! CUTOFF IS NOVEMBER 2ND! NO MORE SIGN-UPS PAST THAT DATE!

If 1 team: Every Tuesday at 7pm and every Thursday at 6pm.

If 2 teams: 2nd team will meet every Monday’s at 7pm and every Wednesday at 6pm.

Cost: There are 3 different costs here. One for Anytime Fitness members, one for 1st time Rebel challengers who are NOT currently Anytime Fitness members, and one for returning Rebels who want to do the Rebel challenge but don’t want to sign up for Anytime Fitness. Please understand that the cost difference is to make it equal to those who are Anytime Fitness members and pay monthly dues. It wouldn’t be fair for a club member to pay for gym dues and do the challenge while you pay the same amount they do to do the challenge while paying another gyms dues or simply not paying anything at all. If you are not a member but sign up before or during this challenge, then you will pay the lowest cost.

Anytime Fitness Members: $200

1st time Rebel challenge participant: $275

Returning Rebel challenger but not getting membership: $400

Cost due date: At least half your payment down BY NOVEMBER 16TH and the rest paid BY JANUARY 11TH.I will be strictly enforcing this unless we have a conversation prior with any circumstances that I promise I will be understanding of. I find myself often times getting burned on payments, thus the emphasis this time around. I thank you for your understanding. Like I said though, if circumstances need to be a bit different for you, I’m all ears and would love to work with you!

Colors: Purple and Orange

Schedule: To be released before the start of the challenge

Party: TBD

There will be more info given in the near future, but for now I want to get the sign-ups started! I promise some awesome stuff will be packed into this bad boy, including some surprises I’m aching to announce but for the sake of the special I’m holding it in :). If you’d like to take part, then you know what to do…

Sign-Up!

AhhhOOOOOO!!!!

– Rebel8

Registration for “Rebels Made of Brick”

The Phoenix

With the 13th Rebel challenge (with Hulk as the roots of this Rebel Oak Tree) rumbling it’s way closer and closer, it’s time to start organizing the teams and open up registration!

This upcoming challenge is going to be unlike any other challenge we’ve ever pulled off. All the elements that make a Rebel challenge what it is are still intact; the shovel, the sound off, the chant, team songs, team colors, handmade shirts individualized to each team member, themed workouts, and much more. Even the point system from last challenge is being brought back with a twist…

This challenge we will be showcasing the power of the rebellion by joining hands and working together in a way that I am CERTAIN will ignite a wildfire of inspiration. No longer are we seeing which team comes out on top… No, now we are working TOGETHER as a solid unit to help out those in need in process of helping ourselves. Now, each point you earn will be the equivalent of a dollar being donated to a soon-to-be-named youth center in Sonoma County. Each point you earn from going to any extra class, showing up to orientation, bringing a friend to orientation, dressing up for themes, showing up for fit tests/measurements, and many more point earning opportunities over the course of the 3 month challenge… All of them turn into dollars raised and donated. The challenge party will consist of presenting the check all of our love and hard work earned.

This challenge will also tell a story. This story will be continually updated as we live and breathe it. Our pitfalls and follies will be documented into one of the greatest story ever told because it is OUR story.

With a “Wizard of Oz” theme, this tale takes place in the “State of Rebellion.” Far passed Gillikin Country and just beyond the Nonestic Sea is where this state lay, and it’s inhabitants are “Rebels” named after the state in which they reside. The State of Rebellion is divided into two factions of Rebels; Demolitionists and The Rock Republic. A gruff, surly breed these rebels keep their nose to the grindstone and plug away at the monotony that is life all the while completely and utterly convinced they’ve got it harder than anybody else. While they wait for change, they drudge on…

Similar to groundhog day the Rebels awake every morning with the same guttural groan and droop in their eyes. The morning of July 27th will be no different in any way except for one… the air will have a charge to it. The alarm clock will ring and the rats will need to be let out just like they always do, but an ominous presence will fill the void of air around you. The question as to why will be answered on the 27th… the day of the Blackout.

Start/End Date:  July 27th (ORIENTATION!!) – October 28th (final measurement day)

Team 1: We meet every Tuesday at 6:30pm and Saturday at 12pm. *

Team 2: We meet every Wednesday at 6:30pm and Saturday at 10am. *

* When choosing your team in the registration form below, be very mindful that Wednesday/Saturday is the most popular day and that if EVERYONE chose that day then that will leave the Tuesday/Saturday team short. If you are TRULY able to do either day, PLEASE mark that on the form so that I have some wiggle room if need be. You can feel free to leave your preferred team in the comments section 🙂

Cost Breakdown:

– $325 If already Anytime Fitness member OR sign up when you start the challenge
– $400 if you have never done a hulk/rebel challenge but would like to try it out
– $500 if you HAVE done a hulk/rebel challenge, want to participate in the upcoming challenge, but choose to forgo getting a membership

– Family discount: If you have multiple people participating in the challenge coming from the same household (couples or family only… roommate situations don’t count :D) then $25 will be subtracted from each person’s individual cost (ie 2 Anytime Fitness members who are married and joining the challenge will pay a total of $600 as opposed to $650)

– Payment due information: $100 payment due on July 27th. Payments are able to be made in whichever divisible way works for you as long as it is paid off by October 21st.

If all of that sounds good, then let’s get to it! Fill out the following form and I’ll contact you with what you need to know!

Click HERE for complete breakdown and analysis of the pricing details as well the details on EXTREMELY essential happenings like orientation, the importance of the fit tests and measurements (as well as what to expect and how to prepare), details on the program as a whole, and what exactly a rebel IS.

– Rebel8

Rebel Runner’s Carnival Fundraiser!

Golden Gate Relay

CLICK THE PHOTO TO RSVP TO THE FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE!

A group of us Rebels and Rebels-alike are gathering together and participating in California’s longest party this May 4th/5th! A 194 mile relay run, our group is comprised of veterans and first timers, so it’s sure to be an adventure…

CLICK HERE to learn all about it from the official site!

More than just a good time however, The Golden Gate Relay Run is put on to raise money for Organs R’ Us, an organization that doesn’t everything it can to raise money and awareness for organ donation via athletics. 

To do our part I am orchestrating and co-hosting a “Rebel Runner’s Carnival” with the help of Erik “The Punisher” Sherwood. It will be a barn burner of a workout, but 10x more fun. Like the Men’s Warehouse… I guarantee it. I’m looking forward to putting on a workout I’ve never put on before!

Date: March 24th (Sunday)
Time: 1PM
Location: Anytime Fitness on the corner of Santa Rosa Avenue & Kiwana Springs
Price: See Below

What’s the cost? A donation! Whatever you can spare. There is no minimum or maximum, just good faith, heart, and soul. We are hoping to raise $1,000 so every bit of couch change helps!

Feel like helping a good cause from afar? Here ya go!

Feel like helping a good cause from afar? Here ya go!

You don’t need to be a member to show up, donate, and workout but if you AREN’T an Anytime Fitness member be ready to sign a liability waiver :).

Lastly, you don’t need to workout to still show up and have a good time with good people. Don’t let a rest day stop you from absorbing the magic that is the rebellion in person!

E-mail me at Alllevelstraining@gmail.com if you have any questions :). I look forward to seeing you there!

– Rebel8

Rebel vs. Rebel – Return of the Beast

 
Can you feel it Rebels? The winds of change are upon us as an unfamiliar yet exhilarating presence makes itself known through the universe, culminating in the hairs on your body standing on end from time to time for no apparent reason other that “it’s here.”
It’s time for a revolution…

Rebel vs. RebelReturn of the Beast

This will mark the return of a grimy, fun filled fitness friendly feud for the ages as now each Rebel team is pitted in COMPETITION with one another. Don’t get it twisted, you’re not out for blood here, but you ARE out to rise above your own personal demons (or help others with theirs) with a team that just so happens to be using the OTHER team is competitive fuel :). 

Join the fitness rebellion

Quick Details for this 11 Week Experience:

CLICK HERE for pricing details (once you’ve clicked, it’s at the bottom) and information on measurement day, fit test day, and orientation!

Orientation: February 2nd (Saturday) at 12pm located at Anytime Fitness, Santa Rosa Avenue. Boot camp immediately to follow at 1:30pm (starting at the gym)

Week of measurements and Fit Tests: February 4th – 9th

OFFICIAL Boot Camps Start: The week of February 11th (team days/times as yet to be determined)

Last day (boot camps, measurements, and fit tests officially completed): April 20th

Team information: There will be TWO teams capped at 25 people per team.  Each team will have their own team name, team song, team shovel, team chant, team shirt, and team call out! Snag a spot while it’s hot!

If you have checked out the pricing page and the dates work for you, then it’s time to decide what team time frame to pick:

  • Team 1 – Meets every Tuesday @6:30pm and every Saturday @12pm. Measurement day is February 5th (Tuesday) at 6:30pm and Fit Test day is February 9th (Saturday) @12pm .
  • Team 2 – Meets every Wednesday @6:30pm and every Saturday @10am. Measurement day is February 6th (Wednesday) @6:30pm and Fit Test day is February 9th (Saturday) @10am.

Each team meets at Anytime Fitness off Santa Rosa Avenue for every boot camp

If you have open availability for BOTH teams, PLEASE be prepared to express that. 

It is VERY important that you understand the importance of the team you select. This is going to be YOUR team. We follow the “one team, one dream” philosophy, but I can’t have people switch classes on a whim the way people have before. A lot of work goes into building the team experience, and if you hop from team to team, it throws off a few things… It disrupts the workout I’ve designed for a certain amount of people, it inhibits your ability to fully experience that team camaraderie, and loses sight of the fact that this challenge should be approached as something more important than an after thought. Not showing up to your designated team workout because “I’ll just go to tomorrow’s boot camp” will not be something that will continue with this upcoming challenge. That doesn’t mean you can NEVER switch days, but if you need to switch then e-mail me… We’ll talk it over and see what solution we can come up with :).

If you are able to find a team schedule that coincides with YOUR schedule and would like to get on the list, the next step is:

Fill out the polls and information form! That is all the information I am prepared to take at the moment. I’ll be getting all contact information, shirt sizes, and other details from you soon… but for now I’m strictly in the “team forming” stage!

Once you are signed up, I will add you to the official “Rebel vs Rebel” Facebook group! This group is where pictures, accomplishments, questions, updates, news, funny things, and anything else that help, inspire, or drive us as Rebels. It’s our forum to banter and keep in touch with one another. If you are not on Facebook, don’t worry… All ABSOLUTELY MUST NEED TO KNOW INFORMATION will be posted on Timetorebel.com (so I suggest subscribing which can be done in the upper left hand corner). 
The concept is simple… From start to finish, the team that has the best AVERAGE fit test, measurement, and body composition improvement… Wins! It will be based on the cumulative numbers and averages of each team/number of participants. Meaning that just because your team lost the most weight literally, doesn’t mean it wins in the “average composition lost” category. It’s all designed to be completely fair and absolutely “unwinnable” if you don’t pull together as a team.

There will be two showdowns at the park with team oriented obstacles and contests. The winner of each showdown will acquire points. Nice segway into the next topic of inclusion…

Point System

There will be a point system in place this time around! You will earn points with fit test improvements, attendance to boot camps, spirit shown on theme days, and even attendance to orientation! These points will play a VERY big role in determining the winner since they will be used in conjunction with team averages for fit test, measurement, and body composition improvement. Be sure to watch the video at the top for the full scoop!

To sum it up nicely, it’s going to take a lot of team spirit to win this thing 😉

Navigate the polls and information form below to sign up! T.Your vote is how I am tallying the number of participants and the information form is how I will send you vital information towards the next step of getting ready for this thing! If you don’t leave your e-mail address, you don’t get an e-mail! Simple as that! AhhhOOOOO!!!!!