My Alpha Showdown

This Saturday, I did something unlike anything I’ve ever done before, or ever thought I would even have to desire to do, much less actually do.

Lifetime Fitness offers its clients what they call Alpha Training and the Alpha Showdown – according to their site, Alpha is

 the most intense, highest form of training we offer. It’s an outcome-based regimen that works all of the body’s core energy systems. By focusing on speed, power, strength and endurance, it pushes the body to extreme limits…

When I started personal training back in February, I did it mostly so that I could learn proper strength training techniques that would help me stay injury free while running high mileage. I’m still a total newbie when it comes to weights, but somewhere along the way, I realized that I really enjoy lifting.

At some point, a few weeks into my personal training journey, my Trainer (henceforth known here as Trainer), mentioned this whole Alpha Showdown business. I had no clue what he was talking about, but he said that I should give it a try when the time came in June – he noticed that I seem to recover really quickly in between sets, and that I might be able to do well with minimal training.

And with that, a challenge was set forth – Alpha Showdown it was. Problem is, I had to get through marathon training first. With a lofty PR goal already targeted, I decided it’d be best to stay the course with low weight/high rep training until the marathon was over, and then I would start more Alpha-like training. After training for long distance running events for almost a year and a half nonstop, I would need a change of pace anyway.

Fast forward to Saturday. I can count on one hand the numbers of times I’ve actually lifted like an Alpha – clearly, this made my Type A, must be over prepared for everything personality a wee bit nervous. I toed that start line thinking I was going to blow chunks everywhere, and I hadn’t lifted a finger yet.

Before I go on, here’s what the Alpha Showdown Regional events have in store…

Power Gauntlet:

  • Ropes, 50 reps
  • 24″ box jumps, 20 reps
  • Weighted Sled, 2-25lb plates, about 50 yards

Strength Gauntlet (10 reps each):

  • Barbell Deadlift, 95lbs
  • Push-up with hand release
  • Clean & Press, 45 lbs
  • Front Squat (elbows to knees), 25 lbs
  • DB Renegade Row, 20 lbs
  • DB Squat Thruster, 20 lbs
  • Barbell Overhead Lunge, 45 lbs
  • Barbell upright rows, 45 lbs
  • Speed skaters, 12.5 lb DB
  • Kettlebell Swing, 14 kg

Endurance Gauntlet (about 1.5 miles total):

  • Broad Jumps
  • Lunges
  • Plate carry, 20 lbs
  • Sprint to the finish!

Um, yeah. So there’s that.

Here’s to hoping I don’t toss my cookies…

The week before the Showdown, I e-mailed Trainer asking if I could really do this without dying. Of course, he said I could it – power and endurance would be nothing new for me, but strength would certainly be challenging. The Alpha Facebook page had posted the exercises (without reps or weights) a few weeks earlier, and I was confident that I could do most of them… except the overhead barbell lunge. My weak point is definitely shoulders, and I had a tough time pulling out even a couple solid reps in the weeks before the showdown.

Sure enough, it did me in. I made it through Power and the first 6 strength exercises, but couldn’t pull off the overhead lunge. I was under the impression that I could pass on it and be ineligible to place (ha – you guys are funny!), but still continue on, but apparently that wasn’t the case.

So, I had a good run, but my Alpha Challenge ended early. While I’m super proud that I could accomplish what I did on such little training, I’m also pissed that one set made me unable to finish out strength moves I know I’m more than capable of doing, and an entire gauntlet in which I knew I’d kick some major ass.

Then again, I went into this knowing that others had been training for months, and curious about what I could do. I’ve come out knowing my strengths and, more importantly, my weaknesses, and Trainer and I are working on a plan.

Just like before my first half- and full marathons, I had a premonition that this would be the start of something amazing, and I was absolutely right. I can honestly say that I have my FitFluential family (and Trainer, of course!) to thank for setting me on this new and exciting journey – seeing so many strong, fierce, and dedicated women out there lifting hard and heavy gave me the push to try something completely out of my comfort zone and discover that I can be good at it, and that I love it.

A fire has been lit, and I will be back – faster, stronger, and more powerful than ever.

9 thoughts on “My Alpha Showdown

    • YES! It was awesome. I really wish I could have thrown down on the the whole thing… guess I just gotta train meaner! 😉

  1. Whew, I was exhausted just reading that list. Way to go! Like you, I’m mostly a runner but am finding I do like weights… and they definitely make us a stronger runner!

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