Last week, Brynn, the founder of my workout obsession Refine Method, invited me to a test run of their brand new outdoor workout program called ReGroup. The actual program consists of eight outdoor classes during June and includes an assessment. The program is designed to help you hone your healthy habits so the changes you experience aren’t just this month, but last in the long term as well. From the website:
ReGroup is Refine’s new semi-private training program that goes outside the studio—both literally and figuratively. ReGroup offerings include comprehensive assessments, indoor and outdoor Metabolic Resistance Training classes, and healthy habit education and support. ReGroup is for clients who are serious about their goals and looking for an immersive program to get them there.
Most of us know how to live a healthier life, we just don’t do it consistently. We eat well during the week and then binge on the weekends; we begin a new workout program passionately and then lose interest. Then, we reach a point of frustration (or even desperation) and try to change our bodies by radically changing our lives.
ReGroup is not an overhaul or detox, it’s a structured and supportive program that helps you upgrade your daily habits so you reach your goals.
We start month one of ReGroup in June with a commitment to exercise. We’re asking you to commit to 8 intense, full-body outdoor workouts. Smaller groups, new exercises and new equipment will demand more of you.
From there, we will build on your workout commitment, adding healthy habit coaching. Through our sessions, we will improve how you eat, sleep, work and think. Are you ready to do the work?
I went to this trial class with no intentions of actually signing up for the program. The commitment aspect terrified me. I highly value my free time and while I go to Refine all the time, I pick and choose when to go based on my schedule and whims. And I love my workouts, so why would I want to do something different?
I didn’t know what to expect at the ReGroup class, but I was happy to hear the format is just like that of any Refine class: Warm up, power section, three circuits with a heart rate set, a core-focused finisher and then the cool down. I get anxiety when I don’t know what to expect at a new workout because I like pacing myself, so knowing the format was familiar ahead of time was a big comfort.
So, indoor Refine classes are really hard. They never get easier (although I do get stronger) and I leave every class feeling like I got my butt kicked.
The outdoor ReGroup class, however, kicked my butt harder than I knew possible.
For example — after each circuit we did a heart rate interval that consisted of a run around Stuyvesant Park. The park is pretty small, and this run around the block is not very far. But these three separate laps were the hardest running I have ever done in my life, and when I returned to the group I was literally panting. Borderline wheezing. Even in my fastest races where I push myself as hard as possible and feel like I’m not going to make it — I never felt like THAT. I could not have run another step and just when I felt like I had nothing left in me, it was time to start the circuit all over again!
You think you couldn’t possibly do that all again. Six circuit exercises + two other exercises + lap around the park. Again. And again. But you do it and surprisingly, each circuit feels easier because you’re more familiar with the exercises and have the hang of it.
As for the actual exercises, some were familiar, like pushups. I did well with those because among all the newness, it felt comfortable doing a move I recognized. We also did planks, another exercise I do often. But most of the exercises were brand new to me and those were the challenges. Wearing booties over my shoes and sliding back and forth on a sliding surface, I was sure I’d fall right over. I was actually absurdly terrified. I took it slow for the first circuit while I familiarized myself with the exercise and practiced not falling on my face, and it was easier the second time. By the third circuit, I had it. I felt great about my ability to slide back and forth with my butt sticking out and not destroying my face.
We did pull-ups on our backs with two bars. We balanced with one foot on a box while the other foot had to touch the ground behind us (another exercise where I worried about falling at first but by the third circuit it clicked — and that balance is good for the core!). In that photo above, you see the beginning portion of the class where we alternated between waving big heavy ropes around and jumping in and out of ladders. It was a very intense way to begin the hour.
When we did lunges with kettlebells, I went right for the medium weight kettlebell, avoiding the heavy one. Brynn saw me lunging:
“Why do you have the medium kettlebell?”
“I took it.”
Needless to say, my affair with the lighter bell was over.
During the entire ReGroup class, I kept thinking, “Thank G-d I never have to do this again.”
When the class was over, I signed up for the program.
I swear, I didn’t think I would do that. I’m so happy with my regular Refine classes. I am loving outdoor running. I hate getting dirty and while I love running outside, I prefer my other workouts to be indoors. I’m also working on getting faster and racing more often. I’m signed up for three races in June! Also, I’m going away for three concerts (Steve Winwood, Phish and Dave Matthews Band), so committing to eight workouts is tricky.
At the same time, I’m comfortable in my workouts. And when you’re comfortable is the best time to challenge yourself. ReGroup forced me out of my comfort zone. I could use a little kick in the tush. Everyone can. And I know myself enough to know I need outside motivation, and this is it. Like any Refine class, the hour flies by so even though it is extremely tough, it’s over quickly. To get a better sense of what to expect, you can watch a video that shows parts of the class.
Afterwards, I was dirty, sweaty and spent. And I felt AMAZING.
Even though I desperately had to pack for my trip to Cancun, I didn’t want to go home because I had so much energy! So instead I went to the Farmer’s Market and bought peach wine, I went to Lululemon and bought nothing, and I went to Houston’s and bought a veggie burger.
Knowing how crazy my June already was, I emailed Andy and said “Looks like I committed to outdoor Refine twice a week for four weeks. OK with you? ” Ha. While June will be slightly overwhelming — committing to two ReGroup classes a week + running + races + work + concerts — I know it will be even more exhilarating. ReGroup will give me the added push I need to get me out of my comfort zone and whip me into better shape. While I am slightly nervous, I am really, really excited for the challenge. I hope that by the end of the month, I can run a lap around the block and still be able to breathe at the end. That will be my true test of success!
Well, that along with the official assessments.
And I bet it will help me become a faster runner.
Would you ever commit to something like this?