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

by Charlotte on December 13, 2012 · 21 comments

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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??

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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.


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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?

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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!)

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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.

INTERVAL

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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.

POWER

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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.

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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.

PLYOMETRICS

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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!

ENDURANCE

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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!!

DIET
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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. ┬áThe 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?

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess December 13, 2012 at 1:25 am

I love your workout gear!!! Awesome!!! The class looks like a blast too! I don’t think it has made its way to Oz yet.

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mery December 13, 2012 at 2:47 am

hello
how can i contact you?
do you have email?

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Naomi/Dragonmamma December 13, 2012 at 6:36 am

I tried a RIPPED demo class during Gobblestoppers day at the Y last month, and it was OK. I’m really not fond of anything with that steady-beat exercise music in the background; still too “dancy-dancy” for me.

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Abby December 13, 2012 at 8:23 am

Oh that sounds amazing! I’m super jealous. I love my gym for the amazing price I get but dislike the number of undergrads running around and the dumb things whoever organizes group fitness does, like taking TurboKick off the schedule for next semester when it’s super popular :( Also the fact that there are zero classes until next semester, which is an entire month away! And that it seems like the best instructors are always leaving or teaching at terrible times. Sigh.

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Nicole December 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

I love your tights and skirt! So cute!

But to the subject at hand…I think it is a lot easier to avoid plateaus if you do a lot of sports/exercise that isn’t in the gym. For example, back when I could hike and mountain bike, if I kept hiking and biking all summer, I would get better endurance and strength, and just generally be able to do more the longer I went. Maybe it is because things outside of the gym tend to be full-body/compound by default? You aren’t repeating the same moves over and over.

That class looks like fun, and it also reminds me of the Jillian Michael’s workout tape 30 day shred- I think just because hers has different sections as well. But this class has more sections. It does look like something fun- I love the classes where there is a section that just kills you and makes you want to die, but you obviously can’t do that the ENTIRE class, so switching it up allows you to keep going for longer.

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Sylvie @ StruggleswithaFatA December 13, 2012 at 9:42 am

My favorite is Zumba! I love being encouraged to shake my booty in a group of other booty shakers so I don’t feel like an idiot but I can totally let my booty loose. Plus it makes me feel sexy even though I’m sure I look like a monkey having a seizure. For an hour I get to be Shakira. :D

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Alyssa (azusmom) December 13, 2012 at 10:00 am

You guys are awesome! I bet more folks would work out regularly if they had gym buddies like you.
My favorite workout is still a good yoga class. I like a heated hatha or Vinyasa class (although not Bikram: I find it a bit rigid. Which is kind of ironic for a yoga class). I took a power yoga workshop last weekend & it reminded me of how much I love it. :) I’ve yet to plateau with it, which is nice.

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Sarah December 13, 2012 at 10:04 am

Can you get me the recipe for the caramel corn? I can’t have nuts or seeds but puff-caramel corn sounds AWESOME!

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Meghan@themeghamix December 13, 2012 at 11:05 am

CrossFit! I used to spend a long time at the beginning of each month planning my workouts and strength routines to get comprehensive variety. Now I just show up and they kick my butt for me!

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Happier Heather December 13, 2012 at 11:27 am

I just started TurboFire, which I think I’ll love once I get all of the steps/choreography down. Basically, it’s TurboJam or TurboKick, but with more focus on the plyo and punching. I’ll probably end up doing my own ChaLean Extreme/TurboFire hybrid to get a good mix of cardio and weights, though.

(Yes, I know Beachbody offers an actual hybrid program, but with Exercise ADD, I have to go with my own schedule to keep from getting bored).

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deb roby December 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Sounds like a great class!

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Kim December 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

That class sounds awesome. Do they come up with all of the work-out or is it more of a program type? I love creative work-outs and that definitely would include looks of creativity!!!

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jennifer December 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

You are so cute, Charlotte! Your posts always make me smile! :)

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Jonathan Aluzas December 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm

We “plateau-proof” by offering interval classes, too. And we have three variations and encourage our clients to take all three in order to avoid adaptation and get a comprehensive training program.

My take, though, is that the best way to “plateau-proof” is to never be in charge of your training program! We are all our own worst personal trainers! Put someone else in charge, if at all possible.

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Jody - Fit at 55 December 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm

LOVE! Well from one that has been at this over 30++++++++++ years – mix it up & food – YUP! :) Always learning & always a work in progress is my motto! I do my on thing & not classes BUt I have learned the lesson – constantly “listening” to my bod to know what & when to change, mix it up as you say & the older I get, the more I do that PLUS FOOD! HUGE to staying ripped & not plateauing.. here is the thing – food is huge & some may not want to invest in what they really have to do to keep the weight & inches off as they age – take it from this 55 year old in menopause! ;)

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Matt December 13, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I too have a plateau proof workout style. I haven’t hit a plateau in nearly 4 years now.

It started when I realized that the body doesn’t improve because you do something different or keep it “confused”. Rather it’s all about taking things to the next level with never ending progression.

Of course you can only increase the weight you lift or the amount of exercise you do so far, but technique is another matter I’ve been focusing on BW fo over 3 years now and I’m still improving my push up and pull up technique. Thus, I’m still improving, still getting stronger, faster, and plateaus are a distant memory. I can always find ways to improve my technical skills.

Great photos!

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delia December 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I’m not very coordinated, so that crosses off most group fitness classes. I do enjoy kickboxing though as well as spinning when the music’s rocking.

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Ashley Brown December 17, 2012 at 5:25 am

This class seems like quite interesting and effective for losing weight. I believe making your exercise a fun activity is the best way to get rid of extra weight.

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Sara Rrrrrrrrrrr December 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Hi Char! Glad you posted on this one! After try the MN Valley YMCA demo, I signed up to be certified in it the next day. Not to Tabata’ie (Is that even a word?) & tough enough to still keep your body guessing. After I teach 4 days a week of straight cardio, I need more weights and I found this format to be just easy enough and repetative enough to follow safely!
Thanks for blogging on this!
See you in class!

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Rossie Ballard January 10, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Omgeee! Love this, thanks for doing this awesome blog! Hope you do mind I share it to the R.I.P.P.E.D. world!!
Rossie Ballard
R.I.P.P.E.D. Master Trainer

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Aria Colby January 11, 2013 at 8:23 am

LOVED your article! We are gettingbitboutvto the RIPPED nation! Keep up the great work!
Aria Colby
R.I.P.P.E.D Master Trainer

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