By Jesse Ben-Haim
Hello Iron Monkey Strength Students and Guests!
I hope everyone is staying safe at home during these unprecedented times! I figure while many of you are home, now is a great time to write up this review for your reading pleasure, so here we go!
For those who don’t know me, I’m Jesse Ben-Haim, and I’m Coach Jason’s Assistant General Manager. One of the duties of my role has been to participate in our small group programming in order to be able to speak about it more effectively to all of you! Luckily for me, the Mile Deep Program was starting the same week we were opening, so it was the perfect time to jump right in!
As many of you know, I am also a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach. My past job had limited my ability to have a set workout schedule and routine, and this made it hard to follow a set program. I tell you this information because even trainers go through ups and downs when it comes to their own health and wellness. Although I have many years of training behind me, I came into this program feeling out of shape and weak. I was the heaviest I’d ever been, and my body felt stiff all the time. After looking over the weekly routine, I honestly had some concerns with my ability to get through it! Fitness wise, I was in a weird place that I had not been in a long time. I haven’t had a coach to guide me in almost a year, so knowing I had Coach Jason there to guide me, helped put all those worries aside and allowed myself to trust the process.
The focus of the program, if you could guess, was Strength. The program itself consisted of 4 days a week for 8 weeks. The schedule was Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, however if I missed a day, I could make it up on an off day. The exercises consisted of a Warm-Up, Skill/Prep Work, Strength Work, Metabolic Conditioning (Not every day), and a Cool-Down. It was very simple as each phase of the workout only had 1 exercise to focus on (Excluding Conditioning Work). Also, to prevent a plateau, Coach Jason would change the order of the workouts on a weekly basis and occasionally alter a movement (for example, Pendlay Rows to Bent-Over-Rows). The entire program could be tracked on the TrainHeroic app.
The biggest challenge I had in the beginning was not what many would expect. It was the Warm-Up and Cool-Down. Coach Jason uses the Ground Force Exploration (GFE) from the Ground Force Method as his choice of Warm-Ups and Cool Downs (The Cool Down is the GFE in Reverse). It’s such a great method because it really focuses on all the lagging areas where most of us don’t focus on in our daily lives. Because my body was so stiff and tight from my lifestyle habits of the past year, the movements of this method did not work well for me initially. However, I knew it was the best thing for me. I felt like my body was locked up all the time and after a few weeks of the GFE, I noticed a tremendous change in my mobility. I no longer had a nagging tightness in my right hip that I had for the last 3 years! It was incredible!
After the warm-up, we would go into some type of skill exercise which was designed to prepare our body for the main lift. We would do exercises such as the Turkish Get-Up, Single Leg DL’s, Kettlebell Cleans and Planks. Occasionally Coach Jason would change it up, but those were the main ones. I really enjoyed doing these exercises at the start of the workout because it allowed me to practice them effectively while not fatigued. Also, I enjoyed learning a new way of preparing for a movement. Normally, if let’s say I was Squatting, I would just do a few light warm-ups and then go into my normal sets. By doing a Turkish Get-Up as my Warm-up instead, I’m able to understand how to connect my entire body, get a nice sweat going and truly prepare it for what is next to come..
The strength portion of the workout was by far the most neurologically challenging part. When I first started out week 1, I was embarrassed by the weight I was lifting. I wasn’t used to this type of method since most of my past exercises were higher rep ranges. For this program, we would lift anywhere from 70% to 90% of our 1 Rep Max. Depending on the Reps and Sets, it could take anywhere from 20-40 minutes just to complete the strength portion of the workout. Some weeks we would do 5 Sets of 5 Reps, while other weeks 10 Sets of 1 Rep. Overall, the Reps were meant to be 5 or less for the purpose of gaining Strength. I’m not one to curse much, but there were a few days where I might have yelled something out, ha-ha. It was hard, but I always say nothing worthwhile comes easy!
Depending on the day, we would finish with some type of Metabolic Conditioning. This was the part that varied most throughout the 8 weeks. For me, it was the hardest part of the workout since it followed the Strength portion, and cardio and I are not the best of friends. We used methods such as Every Minute on The Minute (EMOM), As Many Reps/Rounds as Possible (AMRAP), Flows, Grinders, 21/14/7, etc. If you’ve got a confused look on your face, well you’ll just have to come by to experience all these cool methods yourself!
Now to the part that we all care most about, the Results! Below is my In-Body Metrics which can be accessed at our Studio for all our Students!
As you can see, I made some positive changes! I managed to keep my weight the same while adding close to a pound of muscle, losing 1% of Body Fat and reducing my Body Fat Mass by 2 pounds. While I am not overly satisfied with these results, I have noticed I feel tremendously better overall, so to me that’s what counts the most! Sometimes we are so focused on the numbers on the scale that we lose track in something as simple as how well we feel!
Also, I am much stronger than I started! I hit Personal Records (PR) on all 3 lifts! For the 3 main lifts we performed, here are my totals below.
Overall, I found this program to be a perfect fit for me for so many reasons. Although challenging, it focused on what I had been neglecting the past year, which was mobility, strength and conditioning. It created the foundation that I had slowly started to lose, and I am excited for the next program that Coach Jason throws our way. I hope this review was helpful for you. Although I am employed by Iron Monkey Strength, this was my honest review of our most recent program. I look forward to seeing you all back at Iron Monkey Strength in the future!
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Strong!