I’m following the every other day training protocol for Hybrid, and this week begins with a total body Hybrid HIIT protocol. I decide to look up Will’s suggestion for trying his “killer conditioning” day (sounds fun!). In his video, Will uses a piece of cardio equipment that looks like an elliptical/stairstepping machine. Honestly, there are so many choices at the gym, and all the fancy gadgets and screens confuse me a bit, but I pick one that looks similar to the one in his video. After a brief  5-minute warm up, I do 1 minute low intensity followed by 30 seconds all out 100% tongue-hanging-out panting-like-my-dog effort, and repeat. I did that for 15 minutes, which is literally all I could stand. I get off and my legs are wobbly but I can still walk. Success! I can’t do math and work out at the same time, but I count the intervals when I’m done and I’ve nine, which sounds like too many.  I’m thinking next week I’m going to try this on a machine I’m more familiar with!

Next up is the squat/chins/bench press weight circuit. I’m sweaty and determined.  Last week I substituted lat pulls for the chins because I could only complete 12 on round 1 (not 15 like advised), but this week I’m determined to stick to my chinups even if I don’t hit the 15. For set 1 I got to 12, but for round 2 and 3, I barely hit 8 good ones, am mad, so finish 5 reps by jumping up, and working the negatives. I keep telling myself that this will get easier!

I finish with 20 minutes on another new machine (to me), the stair master. At first, I step on the pedals and sink down to the floor like a water buffalo. I look nothing like the cardio bunnies around me who hop on this thing like gazelles.  Why don’t I see these gals on the weight room floor? I ask this question later of the guy at the front desk, and he tells me it’s because they all think weights will make them “bulky.” I’m thinking “really??? Have they seen me? All 112 lbs of bulkiness??” Anyway, I select a function called “glute blaster,” because I figure my glutes need all the help they can get. After this, I head back to the pullup bar and finish 12 chinups…for fun! My heart is pumping and I’m sweating…err glowing!

The next day is a 6X6 upper body core workout. I am really looking forward to this-I get 3 minute rest periods (yum!) and get to push 80% of my max. Today calls for bench presses (love `em), deadlifts (my fave next to barbell squats and pullups!), incline DB presses, and weighted chins (never done them). I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m able to lift more already on my bench press over from last week on my 5X5 day! I easily get to 6 reps at 85, bump it a little to 90 to get 6 again, and finish a little less peppy with 5 reps at the same weight. Still after supersetting with deadlifts at 135 lbs (I take no break between the bench and the deads, only once the superset is complete do I rest for 3 minutes) I feel good about my effort. I then superset with incline DB presses (I pick up the 40 lbs but only get out 4,6,and 5 reps). It was a challenge from start to finish but I know the 35s would be way too light. Ugh- I need a 37.5!! The icing on the cake was discovering I could do weighted chins!! When doing regular chins on my Hybrid HIIT day, I’m already a little spent from the circuit, so I assumed the weighted chins would kick my butt. I’m able to do 12 with 5 lbs, so figure I should pick up the 10s on the next two rounds. I’m happy to be able to do more than 6 reps. 8 to be exact! Next time, more weight on that chain!

The next day is a 6X6 lower body day. So far, I haven’t met a day on the Hybrid that I don’t like. I love them all equally! I choose barbell back squats supersetted with leg curls and leg presses paired with straight leg deadlifts.  The power rack is my best friend. I warm up for a 135- lb squat with the warm up protocol described by one the brilliant BBR mods. It’s not like what I used to think about warm ups (i.e., 20 reps with a light weight, but a 5,3,2,1 rep scheme with progressively heavier weights).  I get warm and tell myself I’ve come a long way with the weight, but as I approach the last rep and attempt break below parallel on my squat I feel my form give and the power rack pins come to the rescue.  Very frustrating! Getting to ¾ of the way is never an issue but below that it’s a whole new challenge. Something to work on for sure and comments welcome! Still, despite my frustration I know I’ve improved on the leg curl (70 lbs for 6 reps straight after a 135 is good for me- considering I fought with 70 lbs on a 5X5 the previous week!). Though you can’t see the plates too well, I’m currently leg pressing 380 lbs for 6 reps (I think you can tell by the look on my face though- yikes!).  Those gals in the fitness mags who smile through this are either pressing nothing for the sake of the shoot or are superhuman.  This ain’t pretty!

The final day of this week is another HIIT training day. But before I begin today’s protocol, I head off in the morning to watch a local figure and bodybuilding show.    These athletes have trained hard and dieted harder, so I’ve got plenty of admiration for their hard work and sacrifice.  I’m posting some pics of me with some of the Master’s Bodybuilders and the show’s organizer. (Can you see how happy I look next to those guys…ahem. Maybe too happy.) There’s also a shot of the figure girls and women bodybuilders on stage.  From a distance they all look amazing.  The show’s organizer tells me that she thinks women’s bodybuilding is a dying sport.  Only 4 of them compete today, and there are at least 3 times as many figure girls.  I also have a chance to chat with the families and friends of the competitors.  It’s a very friendly, supportive environment, even though one husband jokes that his wife has been really cranky during the last few weeks of dieting (she wasn’t around to hear that!)

After the show I head home for my final day of Hybrid this week.  I’m doing this workout at home, but luckily I have all the tools to get today’s workout complete.  I put my toddler down for her nap, and while she’s off in dreamland, I begin my workout. I set the incline at 1.5, warm up for 5 minutes on the treadmill, and begin with a sprint at a pace of 6:22 for 30 seconds, walk for 1 minute and repeat the madness for 10 cycles. I can only hope my neighbors below forgive me because I assume I’m pounding our floorboards! I have no idea if this pace is a true sprint, but it’s 9.4 out of 10 as far as level of intensity. The model I’m using only goes up to to 10! I know I worked hard because the squat, chin, and bench circuit kick my butt. Still not able to complete the full 15 for the chins, and my ability to complete them gets harder and harder by circuit 3. But as aggravating as it is, part of my really enjoys the battle.  It’s a fight to the end! I finish with a 20 minute walk at a 14:45 pace at a 2.5 incline.

OK, time to go eat!

-Sumi Singh is a Personal Trainer in Austin, TX and an online diet coach. Her website is www.shailafitness.com




Sumi Singh is a diet coach, group fitness instructor,  personal trainer in Austin TX, and a mom.  She is an ISSA Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist, holds her personal trainer certifications from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and the International Fitness Professionals Association, holds a certification in pre-and post-natal exercise, and is a Les Mills Group Fitness Instructor. She writes for her online fitness blog at www.shailafitness.com, and is a contributing author on the BrinkZone.com.


She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Tufts University and a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University.  The strong science background gives Sumi a unique edge in being able to separate fitness fads and trends from effective approaches to fitness and nutrition.

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