Hi readers, this is Jen Kline (Exec. Editor of The Zone Magazine), I gave Carrie Nelsen (of Gold’s Gym in Shrewsbury) off this Wellness Wednesday so that I could share a little with you about my adventures in Missile Training with Qadry Ismail but don’t worry, she’ll be back next week!
Last Tuesday started off like any other. I woke up, got the kids off to school and then sat down at the computer to get some work done. The difference was that I was already sweating bullets at what was to come.
See, that afternoon, I was scheduled to meet with Qadry Ismail, former Super Bowl winning, wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens. I was interviewing him for the December issue of The Zone Magazine and then he was going to give me a little taste of what his clients experience during Missile Training. Ahhhhh!
Those that know me are well aware that I am not at the top of my game with the whole exercising thing right now so the thought of working out with a former NFL football player scared the daylights out of me. Especially since I’d received an e-mail from him the day before which instructed me to drink 64 oz of water and eat 50 grams of protein before I met with him at 3:00 in the afternoon. Um…what? Yeah, he was going to kill me!
So, I did my best and was able to get down all of the water and 45 grams of protein (actually a little easier than I had expected), threw on my yoga pants, nikes and a Raven’s t-shirt, of course, and headed on my way.
After I arrived at the Elite Spine and Wellness Center, where Qadry meets with and trains his clients. I was greeted by reception and asked to have a seat. Before you knew it, they were escorting me back and Qadry, with a big smile on his face, introduces himself.
He was super friendly, very welcoming and excited about speaking with me. So, we sat and chatted for 30 minutes about all sorts of things from childhood memories to football to what he’s doing now.
(Watch for the December issue of The Zone to see the interview with Qadry!)
Then it was time to get started with the training. What surprised me most was that we weren’t meeting in a gym and there was no equipment or machines, just an empty room, approximately 20′ x 15′ with a few mats on the ground and a couple of step benches which we used only as a place to sit during the interview.
I am used to a gym full of treadmills, ellipticals, weight benches, etc. What in the world were we going to be doing? What ever it was couldn’t be that difficult without all of the equipment and usual tools of the trade…right?
“We’re going to start by doing a few wall push-ups” Qadry says.
Ok, I can handle that, it’s better than regular push-ups anyway.
“But we’re going to do them a little differently.”
Now, I am not going to do Qadry an injustice by trying to explain exactly what we were doing and how we were doing it. I would surely butcher it and could never explain it as eloquently as he but, here’s the run down as best as I can remember…
We started with the wall push-up but, instead of the usual push-up motion (back and forth), Qadry instructed me to hold the position for one minute. The important thing was how I was holding my body.
“It’s all about form and function” Qadry explained. “When one muscle fatigues, other muscles will try to compensate. What we want to do is keep the focus on the muscles we are isolating.”
As the alarm went off on his watch, indicating that my minute was up, I felt good. I had done pretty well and thought…This isn’t bad at all, I’ve got this!
Following Qadry’s instruction, I placed my back up against the wall, feet the correct distance apart and slid down the wall into a sit, while raising my heels (or was it my toes) off the ground. It took approximately 10 seconds before my legs started to shake, at about 20 seconds my back started to slide down the wall. I know I had a look of terror on my face and was thinking…what do I do now?
Qadry was very encouraging and directed my focus to my body, what it was doing and which muscles were compensating for the fatigue in my legs…”lower your shoulders…relax your facial muscles…just let your body slide down the wall but focus on keeping the correct form.”
So, that’s what I did. By the time Qadry’s watch began to beep, I had slid completely down the wall and had to be helped to standing because my legs were still shaking.
What have I gotten myself into? That was so embarrassing! I must be crazy, I should have known I couldn’t do any of this – I haven’t done a real workout for a couple of months now…
Qadry flashed me that smile of his, pat me on the back and gave me some words of encouragement, “Don’t worry, you are doing great. I’ve seen big, athletic guys who are supposedly in the best shape ever, come in and do the same thing.”
Ok, whether he was telling me the truth or not, he sold me and I was ready to move on to the next thing…arm raises. This was the only time any piece of equipment came out at all and it was a 2lb weight “It’s the only weight we’ll use” he says.
Really? I’ve got this covered. I don’t know that I’ve ever used a weight that light. I’ve always gone straight for, at least, the five pounders.
Once again, Qadry’s focus is on the form and function of my body. It’s not about the size of the weight, it’s about the way that I raise my arm – does my shoulder shrug when I lift and hold my arm straight out, while holding the weight?
Then it happened…my arm started to slowly lower…on its own. I did my best to raise it again but that meant I would shrug my shoulder or lean a little to the left or right. Again, it’s explained to me that it’s more about focusing on my body and keeping the rest of the muscles from trying to do the work of the muscles we were attempting to isolate.
The final step was the “lunge”, although it wasn’t quite like any lunge I’ve ever done before. Sure, we started out in your basic lunge stance but from there he fine tuned my position…move this leg here, drop my shoulders…drop this knee a little…I was leaning to the right a little…until he felt my body was in prime position.
Then as he pressed that little button on that dreaded watch of his…”Ok, now hold it.”
He’s got to be kidding me. He wants me to hold this position for one minute? I’ll be lucky if I can hold it for 10 seconds.
And then my leg starts to shake a little.
“You’ve got this Jennifer. You’re doing great!”
Yeah, he’s just saying that. There’s no way I can do this.
By now I realize it’s not about how perfectly still I remain but more about dropping my shoulders, relaxing the other muscles in my body and BREATH! So, I try to focus on that.
My leg is shaking horribly but before I knew it, I heard the beep of the watch. It was over! I had done it! I had really done it! I was able to hold it, I didn’t fall down, I didn’t give up. I rocked it! (ok, maybe not so much, but I did remain standing, that counts for something.)
Um…what? Switch what? I know he doesn’t want me to do this again, right? This man is out of his ever lovin’ mind… I used to like him.
“We’re going to do the left side now.”
So, I complied, all the while I was now actually voicing my complaints out loud “I don’t think I can do this.”
Qadry, as what I had come to learn was his way, gently encouraged me and kept reassuring me that I could do it.
So, with legs, feet, knees and shoulders perfectly placed, I dropped into the lunge. By now my entire body felt like it had been put through the ringer and it took 5 seconds, maybe less, before my legs started to shake again.
“Qadry, I can’t do this.”
“Sshhhh, you can do this…just drop your shoulders”
“No, I can’t do this.”
With that second verbal doubt, Qadry seemed to transform into what I can only compare to as a Bob or Jillian (ok, maybe not Jillian) on The Biggest Loser. He was on his knees, in my face, eye-to-eye contact and gave me a good dose of “Don’t you give up! You can do this! Stay with me Jennifer! Don’t give up!”
By this point my entire body was violently shaking…I’m not kidding…I was a complete mess.
And that was it, I could hold it no longer and dropped to my knees. I felt so bad and not because my legs were shaking or because I was now starting to feel like I might vomit at any minute, but because I felt like I had let Qadry down.
He didn’t skip a beat “It’s ok.” and raised his hand and began to count down “5…4…we’re going to finish this out…3…2…”
I knew what I had to do and quickly got back into position. “…1…”
Down in the lunge I went and he again began to count “10…9…” My leg is already shaking “8…7…6″ now my entire body is shaking again…”5…4…3…” and now, to my own surprise, I was thinking – I’m not giving up, I can do this! “…2…1!”
Qadry, flashing that big smile again, helped me to my feet and gave me another pat on the back. “Good job!”
And that was the end of my 30-minute work out. I thanked him profusely, he gave me lots of encouragement and then I was on my way.
My entire body pretty much resembled jelly and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to walk to my car. I flopped into the driver’s seat and called my husband. “Honey…It was amazing…but I don’t think I’m going to be able to walk for a few days.”
To my surprise, I woke up the next morning feeling GREAT! There were no aches or pains, I felt good and energized and there was a pep in my step. I have to admit that I was shocked because many times before when I felt I had “over done it” during a workout, I was limping for days.
When I e-mailed Qadry to thank him again and shared this with him, he explained that “The design of the work is not to have the person sore but work them out in an elongated manner thus minimizing soreness and helping the person function better!”
Well, imagine that – fantastic!
Qadry works with everyone from the professional athlete to the middle school student who wants to improve his game and everyone in between, who is serious about their fitness and wanting to improve their “body’s ability to turn on and off at will”.
Thanks again for the experience Qadry and for showing me that I really can do it!