Getting through the door: Transformation Challenge

When I began IronTribe, Sam told me the goal was to get through thIMG_0739e door.  Well, the first goal is to get out of bed so I can get to the door.  There have been days when that has been difficult. I looked at the workout, and would think, “I can’t do that” or “I don’t even know what that means”  and cancel going. Sam and I  made a deal that I would not look at the workout the night before because there is a scale for every move. (I have actually gotten to the point where I can look at the workout and know that there is a scale for the things that I am not quite able to do yet.)

This post is about the Transformation Challenge, a 40 day challenge that began Jan. 4 and ended on Feb. 12.  When I joined IronTribe I decided that I was not there to compete with anyone but myself.  I joined the challenge to well, challenge myself for the 40 days.  I have learned a lot about what I am able to do with encouragement and if I push myself. It has also made me realize some things about the rest of my life, my diet in particular.

I could be discouraged about the challenge if I only focused on weight loss.  I did not lose weight during the challenge.  I actually gained a few pounds but I know why.  I was traveling part of the challenge, I fought off a cold for at least a week, and I didn’t stick to the eating plan that I know works well for me.

For the past year eating in a way that makes sense for me has been my challenge.  I know what works –  a whole food plant based diet with some eggs and fish once in a while.  I’ve been pulled in many directions on diet – to try the ways that work for other people.  I also traveled a lot last year which always makes eating right somewhat difficult.  I say somewhat because it is not impossible to continue eating fairly well when I travel.  I always make the choice.  The most difficult times are when I don’t have time to prep for the week ahead.  If I don’t get my prep done on Saturday or Sunday then I have a more difficult time during the week. That time is my priority.

So, I did not lose a ton of weight during the challenge. I want to celebrate what I did achieve over the past 40 days.

  • I gained lean muscle mass.
  • I made it to IronTribe 27 days (they are not open on the weekends so that really isn’t too shabby with travel.)
  • I increased the amount of weight I can lift and back squat.
  • I RX’d a workout for the first time.
  • I made it on the leader board for the first time – thanks to my partner, Hannah.
  • I’m attempting burpees on the floor. It’s pretty ugly.
  • I am stronger.
  • I tried pull-ups on the bar.  That is a  process.
  • I have some awesome 6:15 am friends to hang out with.
  • I never thought I would get to the bar on the right (35 pound), but that is the bar I start with now. IMG_0733

On Friday we re-tested with the same weight and movements from Jan. 4.  On the first day of the challenge I did 4 rounds +6 reps and DNF’d the second part.   On the 12th I completed 6 rounds of the first part and finished the second part.  The workout included thrusters, front rack lunges, ring rows (scale), 50 calorie row, 50 sit-ups and burpees -not in that order. In some ways it felt more difficult on the 12th because I am now working with heavier weights.  So to go back to a 15 pound bar felt like I wasn’t lifting much.  But I was able to do the movements quicker and do more.  I still cannot lunge well but that will come.  My left knee continues to give me some problems.


Encouragement is a big part of what makes IronTribe different than a lot of places I have worked out.  I would not have tried to back squat 105 pounds if I hadn’t had Carrie and Katherine telling me I could do it.  The special workouts we had on Saturday’s throughout the challenge helped me tackle some other moves that I would not have tried otherwise.

What I have discovered is that I am stronger.  The work I do in the gym improves my yoga practice.  I feel better when I begin the day working out, which I already knew from the years I have worked with Sam.  One of the issues I have struggled with is not being able to get to other activities that I enjoy like swimming and biking.  I just don’t have time right now.  I have had to finally realize that it is ok for now.  I’ll figure out when I can swim and bike again as  I make some adjustments to my schedule in the coming months.  IMG_0740

This is an ongoing process.  The journey doesn’t end with the end of the Transformation Challenge.  Tomorrow morning I will be in the gym again, seeing what I can do, how I can challenge myself.  I will encourage others as they encourage me.


About millie jackson

I am a librarian, a yoga teacher, a storyteller, an athlete.
This entry was posted in #whyItribe, challenges, change, exercise, Iron Tribe, nutrition, Sam, training. Bookmark the permalink.

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