Can You Plateau-Proof Your Workout? [The Great R.I.P.P.E.D. Experiment! And it's not my pants this time!] Featured

Authors: TheGreatFitnessExperiment



That’s right – we be pumpin’ the el-bees in the a.m. Which is about as cool as three soccer moms (okay technically a karate mom, a dance mom and a soccer mom) in the ‘burbs are going to get. I love us.



This morning found me, per my usual, sneaking into my morning fitness class five minutes late. (In my defense, my kids’ school doesn’t open its doors until 10 minutes before the class starts and it takes me 10 minutes to get across town to the gym. Add on another few minutes to check in, get Jelly Bean to the childcare and change out of my boots and… yeah, I’m always late.) Do you know how hard it is to sneak in to a class where you always end up in the front row? And the teacher knows your name? Including middle and last so she can call me out just like my mom??


That’s right! Gym Buddy Jeni (who is 6 months pregnant and adorable!) recently started teaching a new class called R.I.P.P.E.D. and I love it. I love it so much I’m willing to risk looking like a total doofus every Wednesday morning as I trip over people’s water bottles and yell “SORRY!” about eleventy times over the music.


This was Jeni and I trying to be sneaky after class. Clearly I suck at sneaky. When I walked out, one of the dudes on the weight floor commented, “You know, I definitely don’t have a hard time telling which one is you!” And I answered, “Because of my awesome neon pink Under Armour kicks?” (More on those tomorrow – along with OH YES a giveaway of the same for you guys!) He replied, “Well and the pants help too.” I shrugged, “What can I say? I love blending in.” I didn’t mention to him that the other day I wore a pair of capris with a swirly pattern so dizzying that I started telling people it was a magic eye trick – and they believed me! I like to think I provide a daily dose of entertainment for everyone who sees me work out. Everyone’s got to be good at something right?


So enough about my admittedly off-kilter workout style – what about this R.I.P.P.E.D. class? Billed as the “plateau proof workout”, I was first drawn to it for its variety. I am, after all, the most ADHD exerciser out there. The key to never plateauing is to keep mixing your workout up to keep your body guessing. Hence the class is divided into 5 parts which I’ll briefly explain and show you a sample move. But in case you are good at counting and noticed there are 6 letters in the acronym, I’ll give you a hint. That, above, is how it ended. (Actually this is pretty much how we end all our workouts: talking about food, swapping recipes and occasionally getting Gym Buddy Megan to chug homemade caramel corn.)

RESISTANCE (is futile! Kidding! It’s the opposite of futile, actually! Try it!)



The first section is dedicated to the lifting of the weights. And posing like Get Fit! Girls, apparently. Moves generally involve several body parts and motions – like combining bicep curls with shoulder raises – to make it more challenging. And yes, we’re all holding 10-pounders. It’s what we could find for the picture. Don’t judge.




The second section is all about the high-intensity interval. You do a lot of moves where the names really have nothing to do with what it looks like – I think we did some kind of squat jack thing called an iron maiden?? – but that skyrocket your heart rate. It’s a short section but it’s tough. We’re doing smiley skaters here. I call them smiley skaters since we’re so obviously not really doing them and posing for a picture. Nobody smiles doing skater lunges.


The third section, power, brings the weights back but for more whole-body moves. The three of us are demo’ing one of my new fave moves called The Hulk or something else nonsensical. You start like Megan on the right in a low sumo squat with the weights almost to the floor and palms forward. Then you explode up onto your toes and lift the weights up over your head like Jeni, in the middle. (Jeni always tells us to imagine we’re flipping tires if that helps you with the motion.) The you bend at the waist and do a bent-over reverse fly, like me on the left. And yes you have to make that face I’m doing too. It’s not a real workout if your neck veins aren’t popping out! There’s also a bunch of Spiderman push-ups in this section so that by the end of the 8 minutes I want to die. Seriously, I’m drenched in sweat.


Then somehow this happened. I don’t even know what this is except that I think I’m peeing on the wall dude-style, Jeni might be giving birth and Megan’s adjusting her girls. There was a lot of laughter from onlookers during this photo sesh and after seeing this snap I’m beginning to understand why.



Sometimes you just gotta jump, jump! And the fourth section, plyos, is all about getting some air under your feet. (Unless you’re pregnant. Then we make you do a leprechaun jig obv.) Jumping jacks, jumping lunges, a weird carioca variation and pretend moves from sports I have no idea how to play (jump shot? What?) are all involved. And holla for the sweaty pits!



The last section is the only one I’d consider “easy” and after all the tough stuff, the steady state cardio is a welcome break. It’s like remedial Turbokick – so it’s basically some kicks and punches. No dancy-dancy stuff though! (Which I miss sorely but I know a lot of you don’t like.) Here we’re supposed to be doing some kind of palm strike to the nose. Which while Jeni and Megan are knocking teeth out, I’m just asking for a high five. Hey, who wants my wallet? You do!!


The last section – and one you don’t actually do in class – is diet. I haven’t read through their diet materials but I’m told it’s basically Paleo. So I’m guessing homemade caramel corn probably isn’t on the plan. Their loss. (Have you ever tried caramel corn made out of puff corn?! Mouthgasm.)

My Conclusion

I think RIPPED is a riot. I’ve only been doing it for a month-ish but so far they seem to change it up regularly and it’s a group fit class that is easily scaled to any skill level. Beginners can drop the weights and just do the motions and crazy people, er seasoned vets, like me can go nuts with the heavier weights and higher-intensity options. It’s a good mix of strength and high and low cardio.  The music is great. And it’s short enough that you can push really hard, like you should do in the high-intensity sections. Not to mention the abs made it so I couldn’t laugh for a week. If you have a chance to try it out I definitely recommend it!

And because I know someone will ask: Nope, I did not receive anything for free nor did I get paid to write this review. I’ve just been having such a riot that I had to share it (and my awesome pit stains – why do we always take pics AFTER the workout?) with you!

Do you have a current favorite fitness class? How do you plateau-proof your workout?

Written with love by Charlotte Hilton Andersen for The Great Fitness Experiment (c) 2011. If you enjoyed this, please check out my new book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying EverythingCan You Plateau-Proof Your Workout? [The Great R.I.P.P.E.D. Experiment! And it's not my pants this time!] for more of my crazy antics and uncomfortable over-shares!

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