In the last of a three-part series, Bay of Plenty Times reporters face a six-week challenge to transform their diet and fitness using different methods. This week, Carmen Hall writes about her experience with S.P.E.E Training.
The only mirror you'll find at S.P.E.E Training is in the loo. Upon reflection that should have been a big clue to the task ahead but true to form I prepared for my six-week fitness challenge by upping my wine intake, gorging on all my favourite foods and smoking cigarettes.
In my dreams I was slim, energetic and full of personality.
In reality I was on the wrong side of 40, fat, lethargic and angry most of the time - and not just at myself. I addressed these issues when I first met Reece Spee.
He said I could transform my life but I had to want it. I had to set my mind to succeed, I had to clean up my diet and do the training. I had to persevere and be consistent.
He would give me the tools - an eating plan, Leap Forward, devised and trialled by himself and his wife, Vanita, and I would commit to the gym three times a week in the seven o'clock class.
To say I felt like I'd been a victim of a hit-and-run in the early weeks at S.P.E.E is not an exaggeration.
The sessions are physically tough and push mental boundaries. Reece prefers to describe them as honest old-fashioned workouts that engage your core and build strength, endurance and stamina.
The ex-professional rugby player has drawn on his own experiences training under top international coaches to create programmes that focus on high intensity workouts in a circuit format.
Reece's philosophy is simple. "I like to see people achieve, there are no I can'ts or it's too hard and I hate this. It's I am and I can and I am going to do it."
"Conditioning isn't like she's fit or I am fit. What are you fit at? Oh I run, I bike. Conditioning is 360 degrees and utilising all the different movements you can do for your body."
"It doesn't get any easier you only get better."
That quote was posted on S.P.E.E's Facebook and now I am in that space. But in the beginning I struggled, big time, every muscle hurt ... for weeks. Some days it was a challenge rolling myself out of bed and I thought of countless excuses to be a no-show.
A foot injury early on made me want to give up but I was referred to Sarah from Back in Action Physio and Reece adapted my training sessions to suit. The classes are small, 10 people maximum and they gave me the determination to push forward.
It's hard to accurately portray the sessions which start off innocently enough with a warm-up before sending your body into shock. Repetition seems to be the key with exercises targeted to combat fatigue.
There is shuttle running, boxing, mountain climbers, squats with a ball slam, lunges, burpees and loaded bag lifts. This may sound easy but you try to do the "power of five", which is boxing alternating with 50, 40, 30, 20 and 10 push-ups then progressing on to two more stations. But somehow you just get down to business.
It's all against the clock. It's all against yourself and putting in a top effort despite not always wanting to.
And then there is Reece. I had the notion he would be in my face screaming at me to move my butt.
But he has perfected the art of perfecting technique in an unassuming manner that makes you want to smash it.
I weighed in as a "heifer" and I am still a "lardo" if radio personality Rachel Smalley's opinion is correct. I started off at 76.4kg but have managed to shift 6.4kg of that.
I have also lost inches and toned up. But the biggest achievement has been a lifestyle change.
At the start, my supportive partner told me to harden up and stop bleating on about the explosive workouts.
Now we are both members of S.P.E.E and I got the opportunity to see him eat those words.
The pain is a distant memory and every day we are getting stronger. I am not the Bionic Woman but I am a happier one.
For more information visit speetraining.co.nz