By Cliff Smith
My wife and I started the Sunrider Fitness Brigade Training Program together in May of 2014. Our initial commitment was $120 for 6 DVD’s (12 different workouts), and 90 days to complete the designated regimen. We're almost 6 months into it, and I’m ready to report on my experience with this intense, military style workout program.
I was already in pretty good shape, or so I thought, until our first 45 minute exercise routine was over. It kicked my butt! I’m someone who has only missed a few days of fitness work over the past 20 years. If I’m not mountain biking, which is my motivation for staying fit, then I’m in the pool swimming laps, or out hiking, or in the gym.
I don’t usually like working out in gyms or health clubs, or having a regimented training program. So, really I was participating in Fitness Brigade for my wife, who never had a workout program that lasted more than a couple weeks. Plus, I wanted to evaluate this program for our customers and Sunrider members.
The Fitness Brigade kit comes with workout bands that you can use for resistance, but we invested in a few 5 to 10 pound hand weights. We also picked up a couple inexpensive yoga mats.
Day 1, I thought, “Wow, this is hard!” We both had to perform modified versions of a few of the exercises. On screen, a couple of the Fitness Brigade participants show how to modify the exercises for any fitness level. I had to do pushups on my knees most of the time. I was plenty strong in the squats and lower body exercises, but they were still painful to get through. Jane could only do a few of the pushups and sit-ups. Now, even after 6 months of working out like this, we’re still doing some of the modified versions.
The first days and weeks of this program felt like an entirely new fitness experience for me. I was never one who liked to warm up fast or start sprinting off the block, but with only 40 minutes for each workout, the heart gets racing and the chest starts pounding right away. You have no choice but to get going if you want to get through it. For me, the worst part is always the warm up. At age 52, it takes a little while for my motor to start. At first, I found myself gasping for air much of the time, but now the breathing is getting easier.
It still takes a few minutes for me to get revved up, but my mountain biking has improved dramatically with better strength and stamina. My legs are more productive and I can get up and over more obstacles because my arms are much stronger now. It’s funny, most people my age are settling into old age, but today I feel the strongest I have ever felt in my entire life.
We finished the 90 day commitment, and only took a couple extra days off. We always made up the missed segments at the earliest possible convenience and got right back on track. It was easy to stay on track with the handy booklet provided.
After the 90 days, I wanted to keep going because it felt like I was just reaching the point where I could actually do most of the exercises at full capacity. Now, my routine is Fitness Brigade for 3-4 days in a row mixed with some swimming, followed by a long day on the mountain bike, then a day off, and start over. I’m now alternating between the Basic Conditioning Training workouts and the Resistance Training workouts in the Fitness Brigade program. This routine is paying big dividends and I hope to stay with it as long as I can. I think Fitness Brigade will now be a part of my life for a long time.
Of course, Jane and I consume lots of the Sunrider foods, drinks, and herbal supplements. So, this gives us the energy and the healthy balanced nutrition we need to reach for a higher fitness level. It’s great knowing that we can become stronger and healthier even as we get older.