I have mixed feelings about social media, but there is one thing I cannot deny. It is a game changer for me and my fitness journey. You can easily find millions of videos for workouts to do at home, at the gym or with a partner. But best of all, it introduces you to new gyms that you might not normally know about.
This was the case for me and Accelerate Seattle. I discovered them on Instagram and was hooked. If you've watched their stories, you know that their classes exude a level of intensity that cannot be matched. The workouts are intimidating just to watch.
After several months of trying to find time to go, the Fit Fam and I found a week where it worked with all of our schedules. We were originally signed up for a Wednesday 5:00 AM class but the class description made me dizzy. 'Max Output Training’ means so many things to me. None of which I was ready for. So we chose to attend the Friday 5:00 AM class which is described as more of their 'classic' workout. Plus, anytime I visit a gym for the first time, I like to try their classic workouts or a workout they are known for so I can get a sense of their coaching style and what makes them unique. I was so glad we did this with Accelerate!
Accelerate is located on 1st Ave, just behind Key Arena. Parking at 4:45 AM was easy as pie - all 4 of us got parking right in front of the gym. The space is still new, so there are no signs outside (yet). When you walk in there are cubbies on the left and one open room that houses bikes, weights, SkiErgs and even a sled. Brandon greeted me as soon as I got there with a friendly smile and took the time to give me a quick overview of the type of classes they have there. He was sure to let me know that Wednesdays and Saturdays are the Max Output classes which are not for the weak. If I didn’t say it already, I was so glad we chose to come on Friday morning and not Wednesday morning! He also went out of his way to show us the other half of their space which is still under construction. It will ultimately double the size of their gym and include a huge black turf with their logo (scheduled to be ready in February 2019).
When 5:00 rolled around, Brandon had us lineup and begin warm-ups. Warm-ups consisted of lunges, butt kickers and toe reaches across the length of the room and back. Then, Brandon had us break out into teams of three. There was a board on the side of the room that listed the workouts across the six different stations. Each station consisted of two to three workouts. We would go for 5 minutes followed by a 90 second rest. However during the 90 second ‘rest’ we would be doing six burpees and ten wall ball throws. Just based on that, I knew I was in for a ride!
My team started at the SkiErg station which included burning 10 calories on the SkiErg and then doing 10 kettle bell floor taps followed by a high front raise. All the stations sound feasible, in theory, until you realize that five minutes is not easy if you’re going full out. I was intimidated by the SkiErg, only because it’s a new machine to me and I’ve never really used it, but in the end it was completely doable.
Station number two was one of the harder stations for me. It involved sprinting back-and-forth with the sled and then rowing 250 meters. I rarely work with the sled, only because my usual workouts do not include it. Brandon had been nice enough to add 100 pounds worth of weights plates onto the sled itself. In my head this seemed totally reasonable to push down the length of the room and back, but by the third round, I was completely exhausted. And I was moving at a slow jog, at best, to begin with. The only thing keeping me going was Brandon next to me saying,” don’t let me beat you to the end.” For someone who does not like the rowing machine, I was looking forward to the rowing machine because it would be a much needed break from pushing that sled.
The next round was a core station that incorporated the ab roller, doing a boat hold and bicycles. You know it’s a tough workout when someone who has a weak core considers this station the ‘easier’ station!
The next few stations involved using the barbells and medicine balls for deadlifts, squat jumps and lunges. The hardest station for me, by far, was the bikes. I have a history with these bikes - I dread them. I've used them twice at NW Fitness and that was 2 more times than I ever needed. They are the bikes where you feel like you are sprinting your butt off and you're really only at 250 watts. It's mentally defeating. The bike station was a timed station, it was based on 1 min on, 1 min off, 30 second on, 30 sec off, 1 min on, 1 min off. In any other situation, the same amount of rest and work time seems like overkill. You rarely need that much rest but in this case, I knew I would need it and that it would not be enough.
As soon as we started on the bikes, I knew I was in trouble. The first 20 seconds I felt strong but I could quickly feel myself slowing down and the numbers dropping. By the second round, the 30 second push felt like I was sprinting a mile. I could barely lift my head up to keep an eye on my numbers. Needless to say, the last round was brutal. For this Tabata loving gal, a full minute all out feels like an eternity. And when you're exhausted and on your last station, it feels like torture. Grit and sweat are the only things I had left to give.
Needless to say, the workout was tough, probably the toughest, full body, conditioning workout I've done in a long time. I can't remember the last time I felt that spent halfway through a workout. The workout was designed with every element in mind - legs, arms, core, cardio, endurance. I LOVED it. There is something to be said for a workout when you feel 100% spent and are completely satisfied knowing you got in a good strength and cardio workout. What I found surprisingly hard was the 90 second 'breaks'. If you think about it, six burpees and ten wall balls sound like nothing. They feel like things you would do as a light warm up. But I quickly realized that when your body is dying for a break and you have to do burpees and wall balls, it feels impossible. Those simple exercises, although small in quantity, were probably so effective in improving my conditioning because I was fully exhausted by then. The other thing I realized very quickly is that 90 seconds becomes 30 - 45 seconds when you have to do those additional workouts and 30-45 seconds rest isn't even close to enough when you've gone full out for 5+ minutes.
Brandon as an instructor and trainer embodies everything I need to stay focused and motivated. He has a calm, collective and quiet demeanor that sets the tone for the workout. You immediately know that he means business and he is here to push you. I was impressed with his ability to work from station to station and give very detailed and pointed form tips (You know I love that!). All while holding his 4 month old baby. And you know how I feel about dogs and babies at a gym! Nothing makes me happier than seeing a true family atmosphere in a gym, without sacrificing any focus or hard work.
I LOVED Accelerate. LOVED it more than I ever thought I would. I will for sure be back to workout with Brandon and his team. In fact, one of my 2019 goals is to work my way up to their Max Output Training.
Kudos to Brandon and the Entire Accelerate team for creating a much needed conditioning gym full of endless options and no shortage of sweat.