TSS 6 | Cancer Survivor

Form Feedback is HERE! plus our interview with Jerome Snell

TSS 6 | Cancer Survivor

Your Tonal can now help you improve your form in real-time.
New Programming – Triathlon Endurance with 6x Iron Man World Champion Mark Allen
Tonal was mentioned on Forbes.com.
NBA star Alex Caruso uses Tonal in “the bubble.”
Coach Pablo is brushing up on cheetahs.
Tons of new content including – Dead On Deadlift, Quick Core, and Rest Day Meditation.
All this plus our interview with Jerome Snell!

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Form Feedback is HERE! plus our interview with Jerome Snell

What do you have in store for people?

We are going to talk about a very exciting new feature that Tonal dropped after our last episode. We are also going to talk about some super cool new content coming in addition to a couple of hits within the news and some general updates on the coaches.

Who is our interview with? 

Our interview is with Jerome Snell.

Before we get to all that shameless plugs. Don’t forget we’re available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart, TuneIn, wherever you get your podcasts, you can find us while you’re there. Be sure and subscribe, so you never miss an episode. If you want to stay up to date on things between episodes, the best way to do that is to go to Facebook.com/supersetpodcast and like that page and join that group. You will be able to stay up to date throughout the weekend. If you have any tips or tricks or questions, you can post it right there and we can respond to you or even other audience/Tonal users can respond to you. Come on in, the water is fine. Also, wherever you’re getting your podcasts from, if you could leave a review for us, that’s super helpful. We greatly appreciate that. I guess there’s all that.

This is a major update to what your Tonal does. Major Form Feedback has arrived. This is a pretty impressive tech. 

Each of just the handles and the arms has sensors within them.

What about that little clip guy I see on the bar thing?

That’s how you turn the bar on and off.

I didn’t know if that had a little guy following you too.

I know there’s a ton of them. I know they have sensors built in all kinds of places. I don’t know that one offhand.

Probably it wouldn’t need you though because it would connect to the arms anyway. 

Here’s the deal. It has all these sensors in it and they’re like gyroscope senses. It being the machine has been collecting data since the day you bought it, not through the camera for anybody freaking out.

The camera is not watching you.

Before it does, you’ll get a chance to opt-in. What happens is every time you move the handles like if you pull back on them, let’s say to do a row or a bicep curl, it is measuring your movement. I’ve told you before, whenever you’re doing your own custom workout, you can see in the background information how intense that move was. You can watch it over time. The machine is always tracking that, but now as it tracks, it can tell you what you’re doing wrong. For example, I was doing some sumo squats and it was like, “Get lower,” and I was like, “Dang it.” I had to make sure that I was letting the bar go all the way down to where it connects to the machine. I couldn’t just leave it at my shins. I had to go down to the bar and then use my glutes to pull up. I think it’s super crazy good. It’s insane that it doesn’t need a camera and they’re saying there’s going to be a camera added later. There’s a camera built into your machine. They’re saying that that’s going to help, but the whole reason that they wanted to do it the way they did, which I think is amazing is that they wanted people to be able to be comfortable in front of their machines, not have to stand in one space.

That’s good, but I also think there are a lot of people that get squeaked out at the idea of the camera looking at them, especially when you’re working out, that’s kind of vulnerable. I think that they can gauge all that without actually “seeing you.” It’s pretty cool. 

It’s amazing how good it is though. The first time I had it happen, I was doing Rose and I was on the last set and my arms were getting tired. I knew that my form wasn’t as good as it should be on that last one. It was like, “You need to get those arms back there.” I was like, “How did it know?” It’s so accurate. This will be interesting because there are some competitors that are coming to market. We’ve got Tempo. There’s a new one Carbon Trainer and then we’ve got FORME Life. All of those are coming out. All of them claim to have different ways of providing feedback. Personally, I’m super excited that this one focuses so much on weightlifting and correcting your form without having to focus just on the camera. Some of them, for example, Tempo, I’m not picking on them, but I’m a little skeptical because they use the same AI that was using Xbox Kinect. I used Xbox Kinect and I think I was one of the five people in the world.

You yelled at Xbox Kinect. 

It was very glitchy. It could in theory, see your joints, but there were also other downsides to it like it would get confused about things behind you. I get where Tonal is coming from. The way they’ve set it up is not completely dependent upon being in front of the trainer in a certain angle.

The sensor is more tactile. It’s experiencing movement and engaging whether you’re doing the thing properly, as opposed to a thing trying to look at you and who knows what else it’s looking at. It’s also cool that this has been baked into the machine the whole time and they’re like, “Surprise.” 

It’s been gaining our information the entire time it’s been out. I don’t know if you remember when we talked to Aly when we had our first interview with him and he talked about how it could tell you like slow down, etc. It’s because they were already working on this. That was the precursor to getting to this point. From what I understand, this is just the beginning. I don’t know what else they’re planning, but I can’t wait.

The next update is you don’t even have to lift the weight. It just does it for you.

That would be cool. That’s your dream equipment right there.

I’ll buy two of those.

What if it still made you hurt? What if you didn’t have to move, but it made you hurt and sweat?

I would sweat and I would hurt, but you don’t move. I can sit there and watch TV. 

There you go, guys. We finally figured out to get Tom on a machine. He doesn’t actually move.

They’re like, “That’s not a thing.”

Maybe someday.

It also makes you wonder like, “What else they got in there?”

It’s like I said, the camera is not on, but when they do turn it on, because they said that’s in months to come, you’ll get an option to turn it on so you’ll know ahead of time. You’re not going to get a surprise. Also, how will that change the Form Feedback and what other things does that mean? I’ve got some ideas. Maybe that’ll lead to one-on-one training, personal training. I’ve got so many exciting ideas. Who knows what they’re thinking? I can’t wait to see where they go.

On the heels of the Form Feedback that they just announced, there’s a new program that I bet a lot of people are jonesing for. 

I cannot believe this. I am so excited. It is all about triathlete. I think it’s called Endurance for Triathletes and it is specifically geared strength, endurance for triathletes. It’s getting ready and training in-between seasons. One of the most exciting things is that it was in part created or he helped design it by Mark Allen. Mark Allen, if you guys don’t know, is a six-time Ironman World Champion.

It’s a big deal to complete an Ironman regardless of where you place. He didn’t just complete six and didn’t just win six, he won six world championships.

Think about how fast that is. Remember when we were in Atlantic City and those guys were jumping on and off their bikes in record time. They were hopping on. They were going from running to biking and they didn’t even stop to put shoes on.

Jump right in, choose something that looks interesting, and just try it. Click To Tweet

I saw one guy changed his tire while riding the bike. 

Honestly, I wouldn’t doubt it. These guys are crazy good and it’s so fast. They were out of the water in ten minutes. We were at a Half Ironman, but they were out of the water and then they took off on their bike, nixing their back and then they’re off on their run or I guess run then bike.

They were amazing. You make a great point, not to disparage them or a backhanded compliment, but they weren’t world champion level either. I can’t even imagine what somebody like that would do. 

I’m like, “You just blink and he’s back.” I can’t even imagine how fast that must be.

It’s like, “How are you dry already?”

It’s cool to be training with people of that caliber. One of the things that get me excited whenever I am on the Peloton is training with all of these world athletes. This is a way to train with a world triathlete right on your Tonal. This guy has input into what that program looks like and you’re doing the program that he designed. That’s amazing.

Any insight on how they help with the swimming portion?

This is just my theory. I haven’t read up on everything because this just hit. We record a couple of days before this hits. My understanding is though it’s all about this point is the endurance muscles or creates endurance for your muscles.

It’s getting your body in physical shape to be able to do that. You’re not going to take your Tonal in the pool. 

Similar to like whenever I do the Better Bike and Tread program, I’m increasing my muscular strength so that whenever I’m on the bike or the tread I’m getting PRs. This is the same thing. It would be working specific muscle groups to then have better endurance while doing a triathlon. It’s hitting all of the big muscles that you need for a triathlon. I’m particularly excited about it because I took my first outdoor bike ride in almost a year. The ladies that did that, they want to get me in the pool soon too, when it’s COVID free.

Good luck. You’ve got time. Good thing that this is a 47-week class. 

It’s not, four weeks.

Forbes.com. It’s still weird for me to talk about magazines as websites and not magazines. I am assuming that there’s still a Forbes magazine. I want to say Forbes magazine, but that’s not really how anyone will ingest this information. 

The only one I know that you can confidently say that about any more is The Atlantic.

Also, Newsweek, I believe. Forbes.com and/or magazine, if you want to kick it old school, I had an article about high-tech home gyms.

Tonal got a mention and they were talking about all of the different high-tech gyms that are out there. Specifically, whenever they mention Tonal, they talked about how back in March, Tonal told them that their sales tripled at one point in March when people were being urged to stay home more regularly. Isn’t that insane?

That is amazing.

I know all of these companies are doing great with people working out from home. This was not in this article, but I saw another article, which I should have included that something like 59% of people are now saying they will not return to an actual old-fashioned gym once the all clear is signed.

That makes sense on two levels. One, people now have awareness about germs and disease that they didn’t have and sensitivity to that that they didn’t have before. I think also once you’ve made the purchase and you get yourself set up in your house, why would you go back? You already spent this money. 

I know everybody’s very aware that I love Tonal but the fact that you have this in your home and it tells you all that you need to do. If my goal is to lose weight so I can go and pick, I want to do programs that focus on getting lean. I keep doing them. I can throw in other stuff like power or whatever, I’m still getting a fantastic workout, but I don’t have to design it. I don’t have to think about it. I can’t say enough how exciting that is. It’s so cool.

While we’re talking about Tonal in the news, Yahoo.com, their sports department had an article about Alex Caruso, who I know is an NBA player.

Ironically though he is isolated because this was all about the NBA bubble. He is in the NBA bubble. This was talking about how he is getting to use the Tonal while he’s training for the NBA in the bubble.

Any insight on, is there one Tonal or a bank of Tonals that they’re all allowed to use in the bubble? Did he have a Tonal shipped specifically to his bubble within the bubble? 

That’s a good question, but you should probably watch the video to find out for sure.

That face says you don’t know.

I watched his video a couple of weeks ago and I can’t remember.

I’m envisioning a whole bank of them that all the NBA players go up and use. 

I don’t know because I get what you’re saying, but at the same time, if it’s a bubble and it’s all about social distancing, being careful and they’re being tested, you would think that they would need to be separate too.

I get that. I have not been following this at all because it’s sports and I don’t care, but I took it to mean like the bubble, you’re tested and then you go in the bubble and they’re assuming that you were tested and you’re safe. They’re putting everybody in there. 

These guys get tested every day. Every single person in the bubble gets tested every day.

In my head, I was hearing it like it’s an island. 

No, because you know how people can be asymptomatic. Let’s say you were on the cusp. You don’t have any symptoms, but you’re a week into your illness, but you didn’t know it. You get there, you don’t show up as positive and sometimes the tests are wrong. You then get sick, you’re asymptomatic and you’re giving it to all these people and nobody knows. They’re still testing them. I thought it was daily. That’s the way I read it.

I knew that they were still testing. I thought it was like, “You’re all safe. You can interact.”

I know that’s the theory. I just don’t know that it’s supposed to be that way.

Basketball is pretty high contact unlike baseball, there are some, but not near to the degree that you do in basketball. 

Cancer Survivor: Cancer is not a death sentence. The key is to catch it early.


There’s more one-on-one. They’re fighting over that ball and very close contact. A lot more than you would in baseball. We don’t know much about sports, but we know that much.

I’ve seen movies.

You’ve been to baseball games?

I would say St. Louis. You have to go to Bailey to do field trips because of the Cardinals. Through osmosis, you learn about baseball. 

We’ve never been to an NBA basketball game though. We’ve been to high school basketball, which is different and it doesn’t count.

Of course, the Harlem Globetrotters.

Have you been to an actual Harlem Globetrotters game?

I have.

I should have known that. I love how much you love them and then still hate sports.

I even met Goose Tatum.

I believe it. I got nothing after that.

We’ll move on. Coach Pablo cheetah lover extraordinaire. I don’t even know how it came up. I was joking around randomly Coach Pablo is an expert on cheetahs and apparently, he heard that and he is studying up on cheetahs. 

I woke up to that in my Insta Stories and I about died.

What did he put in your Insta Stories?

He had this cheat sheet about cheetahs. It has all these stats about cheetahs and then he’s like, “I’m learning.” It was like, “I’m almost dying.”

We will one day have you on the show. There will be a quiz. She’ll ask you Tonal questions and every other question will be for me. It will be entirely about cheetahs.

The great part is he won’t know whether or not you’re right or wrong.

You better get ready. 

You’ll have your own cheetah sheet.

It’s going to be like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom up in this. Speaking of Coach Pablo’s Dead on Deadlift. 

This is a brand-new program. You get to become an expert on deadlifts. This program touches different kinds of deadlifts throughout the program. You get to practice them every single day. It also includes advanced weight modes. I’m thinking like chains, which I know you don’t work out, Tom, but imagine bending over to pick up a heavy barbell with weights already attached to it. That’s hard enough but then add chains to it and pulls down.

I don’t understand. It has chains on it too? It’s like Jacob Marley’s ghost?

Yes, it’s like that.

Where did the chains go?

It’s in the machine. It’s an added weight mode. What it does is that as you go down, it adds more weight to it. The weight goes up on your downward movement, so it makes it more challenging.

The weight changes depending on where you’re at in the move. Is that something you could even do in real life?

No. That’s one of the cool things about Tonal. You can’t do that. You can’t do Eccentric mode. You can’t do Spotter mode. None of those things exist in the real world.

I know technically Tonal is in real life. 

I knew exactly what you meant. I was there.

Here’s my question, and you might not have an answer for it, but now I’m intrigued. If you’ve never been able to do these movements before, will over time people be able to develop muscles and look different than they did otherwise or than they would have otherwise? 

I’m not the person to ask this. You need to get on this Tonal, ask a coach and ask that question. That’s what you need to do.

I will forget all about that by the time we’re done. 

I don’t think that it would, because you’re using the same muscles. You’re just using them in a different way.

It’s like a twofer. Before you’re going to use muscle A and then if you want to do muscle B, you’ve got to do this whole other thing where now you can do muscle A on the way up, muscle B on the way down. 

Let’s talk about a bicep curl. When you curl up, that’s when you’re expending energy and then Eccentric mode when you go back down. One of the advanced modes is called Eccentric mode. What it does is it adds the weight on the Eccentric parts. This is the heavy part, but then it adds weight on this part. You’re still using that same muscle and so it’s just the reverse for chains. It’s like when you’re going up, you’re adding more, more and more.

Take time for yourself. Don't feel guilty about it. Click To Tweet

I think I got it. I still like this Jacob Marley’s ghost idea.

Now that we’re done talking about that because I don’t know what else you’re going to say.

You know you’re eager when you do the segue. Have you ever done a segue on any of our shows?

I’m tapping it right now. History in the making. That is the other new program that came out, but there are also some new workouts. There’s Quick Core with Coach Paul. It’s 25 minutes of advanced core work, three moves. You’re going to work your core from every different plane and get your heart rate up. There’s Bring Your Kids with Coach Gabby. It’s a nine-minute workout that’s for the whole family. I love that especially summertime.

I bet you that might come in handy as people go back to school, but they’re doing virtual. If there’s still some PE requirement, that might be something you can get your school to help count and you can track it and show they did it. 

After you’ve worked hard, you can do a Rest Day Meditation with Coach Jared. He leads you through a meditation so you can find self-awareness and a sense of perspective.

Before we wrap up and move on to our interview, it was Tonal’s CEO, Aly Orady’s birthday. It was July 19th, where every two weeks we would fill in the gap. In honor of that, Crystal will now sing happy birthday. 

No, I won’t, but happy birthday.

We want to pay for the rights. Would you do like a TGI Friday’s happy birthday? “Happy, happy birthday. Birthday, birthday happy.”

I don’t need to. You just did. Thanks, Tom. 

You’re welcome. Happy birthday.

Joining us is Jerome Snell. How is it going?

I’m doing great. It’s been a bit crazy. I’m sure for a lot of people being home and people that can work from home shouldn’t complain that they can work from home. Sitting behind a computer and nonstop meetings all day long, it’s like being in high school again, but it’s worse because there you had three minutes of passing time. Now, I’ve got meetings that are running next to each other. I can’t get anything to drink. I can’t go to the bathroom.

Tell us how you originally found Tonal. What path led you to it?

I can’t remember when I first heard about Tonal. It must have been on a commercial or I ran across it on the web. I thought that is cool. I had heard of the Peloton and seen the Peloton. I hadn’t ridden one, but I knew what the concept was. I saw what Tonal was trying to do. I saw the commercials and thought, “That it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” Having a history of weight training and being a geek by trade. I’m a software engineer and made a software team, I love the technology aspect of it. I was immediately intrigued. The closest place one out other than San Diego was two hours away in Santa Monica. We jumped in and pulled the trigger right out. It looked like the coolest thing ever and we were right.

How did you get to the point where you were like, “I would like to do some weightlifting to get strong?” I understand there’s a journey that you went on to get to that point.

In my 20s and 30s, I was always working out and go to the gym 3 to 5 days a week. I wasn’t trying to be a bodybuilder or something like that but I always wanted to stay fit and I enjoyed working out and the benefits that came from it both from a body and mind perspective. It’s perfect timing when we got the Tonal. We got it in late February 2020, before everything got locked down. That wasn’t intentional. I didn’t have a crystal ball and know that there was a global pandemic coming when we ordered it in January. They worked out well because coming back to the history point, once I got into my late 30s and I had two daughters, my time to go to the gym was cut off and that’s largely by choice. I prioritize spending time with my daughters over going to the gym.

That stopped. My physical fitness level dropped pretty precipitously. My personal journey comes around to it when I was diagnosed with cancer. I have head and neck cancer. I had a little bump that was almost the size of a pea. I looked at that and it felt hard. I’m like, “That does not seem right.” I didn’t think that much of it but I might as well go see an ENT, an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and have it checked out and the doctor immediately knew that it was something. He didn’t tell me and he did a good job of not letting on. He looked at it, ordered an MRI. He got those results, came back, and did a biopsy, which was painful.

The next day I remember it clear as day like it just happened. I was sitting downstairs working on a budget presentation for the following week. I got a call from the doctor saying that unfortunately, it was positive and everything stood still. It’s like what you see in the movies where everything stops. My world literally changed. It’s crazy because it was my eleventh wedding anniversary and my wife was coming home early that day. We were going to try to sneak a happy hour to celebrate before we got the kids home. Instead, she came in and I was standing in the kitchen. I was thinking maybe I won’t tell her. I will tell her at some point but, “Maybe, I won’t tell her now because we can enjoy a drink.” I was like, “I’m not going to tell her.” She walks in and as soon as I saw her, I burst out in tears immediately.

The most difficult part at that point was I had no idea what it meant to have cancer. What that meant to me is that you’ve got a certain number of days left. You’re going to die and then that’s it because a lot of what you see in movies or read about is the worst-case scenario. I was completely scared that I’m not going to get to see my little girls who were 3 and 5 years old. I’m not going to see them grow up. I was absolutely devastated. That went for about a week between the diagnosis, which was a Friday, to the following Friday when I first saw my oncologist and got the results of the PET scan, which is a full-body scan for cancer to see if it’s metastasized or spread. Thank God, it hadn’t spread. It was isolated right in my lymph node. There was a tumor here, but there was more up in the lymph node on the right side that I couldn’t see because it was under the skin. Thankfully, this little bit poked out or otherwise I would have had no reason to go see the doctor at all. I’m quite happy about that.

It’s a crazy thought that you happen to feel that bump, pay attention and that you made the choice to go ahead and check it out. I might be guilty of avoiding those types of conversations with doctors.

She’s one of those people that it’s like, “If the doctor doesn’t tell me, then I’ll be okay.”

Logically, I know that doesn’t make any sense. My first thought is avoidance.

That’s a variation on if we don’t test for COVID-19, we’ll have no more cases.

I admit that and I know how ridiculous that whole thought process is. There’s part of you that doesn’t want to know.

Typically, that’s the male reaction. I’m just painting with a broad brush. That’s typically a guy thing. You’re fortunate that you’re not like that. You were like, “This is weird. I’m going to go get it looked at.”

I can’t say that I always run straight to the doctor. There are other things that blow out for sure, but I’m incredibly glad I did. If I can give you or the readers any advice, my PSA is if you see something, say something. I don’t mean become a hypochondriac and run to the doctor. If you got a lump, give it two weeks or so, if it doesn’t change, if it’s hard and it seems not to move with the skin, those are both bad signs. It doesn’t mean that it’s cancer because 99% of bumps that people find are not malignant. The reason I say it is because my wife and I told a couple of our close friends about it. The day after it, a neighbor and good friend came to me and asked more about diagnosis and said, “Look at this lump I’ve got on my neck. I’ve seen it there for about six months. I haven’t done anything with it, but your story has motivated me to get it checked out.”

I’m like, “Go get it checked out.” When I felt it, I was like, “It feels very similar to what I felt on my own neck.” He went to the doctor, had it checked out, and that was a different type of cancer. It was a cancerous tumor in his neck as well. Thankfully, he went and had that checked out because the key with cancer as I was saying before, it’s not a death sentence. Medicine has come a long way and a lot of cancer is curable. The important thing is catching it early, so that it hasn’t spread, hasn’t infected other parts of the body. If it’s isolated, you can target it with radiation. If it’s a tumor, cut it out or use chemo for blood cancers and other types like that.

Do you live in Three Mile Island? What is going on there?

It’s a wild unfortunate coincidence for sure. To give the happy ending, he and I have both had a scan since our treatment. We are cancer-free and hopefully, that continues.

That is wonderful news.

What was that process like for you? What did they have to do? Was it a removal? Were there other things involved? What’s that look like?

It was awful. I’m certainly not a doctor but as I understand there are three modalities when you’re treating cancer. There are radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy, or immunotherapy which are the drugs or vitamins in an IV. Usually, with the cancer treatment, there’s always going to be one that’s primary. For me, the primary was radiation because of where the tumor was. They weren’t able to do surgery and cut it out because they wouldn’t be able to get the margins around it. They found that it’s better to do radiation. I had radiation for seven weeks, five days a week. Monday through Friday, and then every Friday, I had four-plus-hour chemo sessions. You probably saw the picture on the Tonal Facebook page, but that’s pretty much where I was for that entire time because I had a fentanyl patch on my arm. I was taking a lot more painkiller medication. It kept the pain down thankfully but it knocked me out. I didn’t make this up but I think it’s a great description. I was living near my family as opposed to my family.

I’m glad it was temporary. I’m sure in the moment though you have to wonder like, “Am I doing the right thing? Is this going to be worth it?” I’m sure thoughts like that go through your head.

There are only two choices here with it. Go through the treatment or die. I didn’t choose B for sure.

Cancer Survivor: Tonal became a welcome-back-to-life present.


I’m glad that the treatment was successful. By the time you get to the end of that seven weeks, how do you feel? What’s your physical activity? What are you able to do? What’s that look like?

I felt terrible, probably worse than I’ve ever felt in my life. I’m 6’1” and I was about 190 pounds when I started this journey. When I got done, I was about 160, maybe dropped into a high 150. I dropped a solid 30 pounds during the treatment. Because of where the treatment was, it affected a lot of stuff around there including vocal cords and my ability to swallow. As you can imagine, I had trouble eating beside the fact that the chemo made everything taste terrible. I was on four Ensure shakes a day and that’s all. It’s literally all I was eating. I had to get up. I would wake up in the middle of the night around 3 or 4 in the morning and drink one Ensure to count for the day because otherwise, I wouldn’t get them down during the course of the day. It was either I was sleeping during the day or had no interest in eating. I felt incredibly weak. I was on the drugs. I heard the Tonal about two weeks after getting off of all the drugs. It was like a birthday present and a welcome back to life present. This birthday was the one that I’ve celebrated the most since I was a kid.

That’s the best time to make a big purchase like that because your wife can’t fight you.

When I saw it, I remember I sent it to her and telling her, “This is cool. My body is decimated. I’d love to get this and then try to build it back.” I’m expecting her to be like, “No, I don’t think so,” or “No, it’s not a good use of money.” She’s like, “You should. That’s a good idea.” I’m like, “Let’s do it.” Coming back to your question on how I was feeling, it was pretty tough because I hadn’t done anything physical besides walking. Once the Tonal finally arrived, even though I had a history of weight training, it was very difficult to get started and get my body moving like that again.

What kind of program did you first select when you’re like, “I got to get back up to speed?” Tonal has a lot of great programs.

It’s not like focused on somebody coming in from having cancer treatment.

They probably don’t have something that’s like, “You want to recover from chemo.” What did you look for?

I look for one of the easiest things I could find, to be honest. I definitely looked for beginner and it was Coach Natalie’s Building Basics. That seemed like a great entryway to get in there and I jumped on that.

Were you able to complete the program? Did you need to modify it? Did you make some changes to it?

I was able to get through it. I’m trying to think back. I don’t think I modified a lot. Once I started making a movement and feeling better, the energy started to come back reasonably quickly and I started to feel better. I started finished treatments just before Halloween. I was off to work for 2 to 3 months, the last three months of 2019. I went back to work in early January 2020 and started working out six weeks after that. My body had a little time to recover without much exercise prior to starting on the Tonal.

Do you feel Tonal was good for your recovery?

Without a second thought, yeah. It’s been amazing for my recovery and honestly, if there’s a silver lining to the COVID situation of being trapped in our houses, having the Tonal and a five-minute walk from my office to the Tonal. I walk from my office to the gym to work out, so I have no excuses. That’s helped me at the time being able to do it.

What made you opt for Tonal over traditional weights?

The size and form factor. I looked at more traditional machines and free weights. They’re big and you’d have to put it in the garage. It would take up so much space in the garage, especially in the summer, it would be miserably hot. This worked out well. One of the primary drivers for my wife is that when it’s put away, it’s reasonably attractive. It looks like a long TV on the wall. The technology is amazing and that’s one thing that drew me to it having the tech integration and the AI is doing the lifting is pretty incredible.

Is there a favorite thing about it or an aspect of it that surprised you that you didn’t expect?

It’s how hard the lifting was. Getting on free weights, I can lift a lot more weight than the number says on the Tonal.

Isn’t that fascinating?

It is and the digital weight, I don’t know what factor but it’s definitely heavier than free weights.

I never did a lot of traditional weightlifting in the gym. I was always very intimidated. That made me very uncomfortable. Using the Tonal compared to free weights with the very small weights that I have at the house, that’s different. What’s the difference when you’re trying to do a bench press or a squat or a big move? Do you find that you notice how much of a difference there is?

With my younger years, I’m lifting a lot. I was benching two plates, which is 225, 10-plus times. When I’m on the Tonal, it’s 80-something pounds plus eccentric. I’m older than I was before so that probably has something to do with it. I can’t imagine if that is much different. I have a set of dumbbells. I dial my weights so you can go from 5 to 55 pounds. I can certainly curl much heavier on those than I can on the Tonal.

That’s something for people to keep in mind if they’re looking to get one. I know some people that are used to free weights, they hear the 100 pounds in the arm and they think like, “What if I blow through that?” There is something of a range there.

Reading through the Facebook community, I see that question quite often. I started myself when I first thought 200 pounds like, “That would be a nice 6 to 12 months that I’ll own this.”

You haven’t maxed out any of the exercises yet.

Nowhere close. The highest weight that I’m on is a deadlift, which is 125 or something like that. If you do get up to 200, do more reps. It’s still a significant amount of weight.

Coach Jackson says to slow them down too. That makes a big difference going like in a squat if you go down holding that weight slowly and then try to come back up, that sure changes things.

With the form trainer on there, I used for the first time and it caught me a couple of times. It was a glass pull down that I was doing. I wasn’t coming down all the way and it said something like, “Pull your arms down all the way.” I started doing that and it certainly was harder.

I only had it pop up on me once during a workout. I was doing like the triceps pole where you have to push your arms behind you. I was getting tired and it was like, “All the way back by your side.” I did fumble that. I was not pushing as hard as I could have.

For better or worse, it catches you.

Who’s your favorite instructor?

I’ve worked on programs with four instructors so far. It’s hard to say that I have a favorite because each one was excellent for what I wanted at the time. I started with Natalie and it’s exactly what I needed in terms of the basic program. I went on to two from Coach Paul. I then jumped into the Go Big or Go Home, which was a major challenge. It was great. I loved it but it certainly pushed me. I finished week three of Nicolette’s Raising the Barbell. That’s another one. That’s quite difficult. It pushes you but it’s great. It feels good. I did it. When I do that, I can feel my shoulder and my shoulder blades are already sore.

Another tough one that I highly recommend is Power to the Max with Coach Nicolette. I’m going to talk to you about Peloton in a second, but since you do have a Peloton as well, the Better Bike and Tread, you might enjoy those.

That’s my plan. One more week on Raising the Barbell, then I want to do the Better Bike and Tread at the same time as doing the Peloton Power Zone Program.

You have the Peloton, how do you find yourself combining the workouts for your schedule?

I worked in Chicago hours and I’m based in San Diego. My day usually starts sometimes as early as 5:00 but always no later than 6:00. I get up early usually around 11:00. I put in there a good five hours. Chicago is out at lunch and I work a lot with people in Europe as well. They’ve gone home at that point. I usually work until 11:00. I have a 2 to 3-hour block where I’ll do a workout on both and then have lunch and then go back to work. The silver lining with COVID, I couldn’t do that if I had to go into the office.

Do you find that you have time at night to hang out with your family or does that restrict the time that you have with your family?

I do because I’m coming back to work. I’ll usually work until 5:00 to 6:00 San Diego time, and then we got dinner and everything with the family. What’s difficult in terms of the work schedule is time with my wife without the kids because pretty much the kids go to bed and I follow.

Anybody would be surprised at what they can go through when they don't have a choice. Click To Tweet

When you have little ones, especially that is a challenge and always hard.

We’re fortunate because we have teenagers. They don’t talk to us even though we live in the same house.

I’m not looking forward to two teenage girls in the house. I know it’s coming down.

With my daughter, it started two years younger than with the boys. It was ten years old when the attitude kicked in and she’s thirteen and way nicer than when she was ten. Now, we’re dumb. We know nothing. She’s nicer, but she says nothing when you can see by her face that she completely disagrees.

Do you have any advice for people who are new to the Tonal community?

Probably the best advice would be to jump right in. Choose something that looks interesting and try it. Don’t be afraid to try different things because the Tonal is engineered to support you and you can put it on low weight, get the form right and start going. Don’t be intimidated is the key thing. Also, use the community. There’s a great community with a lot of information. I would bet that, especially for somebody new, every issue or question they’re running into, somebody has already asked them and found some solution for it.

Where can people find you on social media if you would like to be found?

On Facebook, I’m part of the Tonal Community and Jerome Snell on the Tonal Community as well as on Peloton Dads. There’s a good group that I jumped into or JSnelloton on the Peloton.

Jerome was on Tonal Talk with Kate. You can hear more from Jerome by going back to the Official Tonal Community and watching that Facebook Live.

It’s a great session. Kate had asked me a question about if I have advice for anybody going through a situation as I went through. I do have advice but the best is if anybody is struggling and wants to hear more about my situation or has specific questions, I’d love to chat with you. Please feel free to hit me up on Facebook. There were people that when I was going through cancer, that I met maybe acquainted through my oncologist and were extremely helpful to know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It was scary at times to hear what lay ahead for me. However, to see somebody that had gone through it all and then come out well on the other side was extremely helpful.

I’m getting some tips and tricks on how to deal with things. It was helpful. The one piece of advice I would say is for somebody that’s going through it is to take time for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. Even when I was sick, I would take the dog for a walk to have a little time for myself to clear my head and get lost in thoughts about everything that’s happening. You need time to process. That’s true for somebody that’s ill as well as the caregiver. One of the things I was talking about with Kate is the caregivers, in my opinion, my wife in the circumstances is a real strength behind getting through this. She took three months off work. All I did was lie there and go get radiated and chemo. She’s the one that had to keep our kids going and keep me getting to my appointments and make the housework. She certainly had the more difficult part of it.

I did have one thing while we’re talking about that. Not to end on a bad note but I brought a prop. This ugly, scary thing was how they had a strap me to a board when they gave the radiation. These black nodules went onto the platform that was on the radiation. It was only fifteen minutes. It wasn’t as bad as it seems when the radiation went around. What was crazy about it is if you ever had a cast, the fiberglass and it’s wet. They wrap it around and then it hardened. This is maybe not exactly the same material, but the same type of idea. The plastic that they push over your head or your face and it molds most of your face. It’s like the Man in the Iron Mask or something. It’s a bit weird.

Why did they need to put that on? Does that protect the other parts of you that aren’t getting the radiation?

It’s so that I wouldn’t move. The way that radiation works are it’s a big thing that moves around and can target down incredibly precise. It targets where it goes. If I’m moving around, it’s going to shoot me in the wrong place and could do some serious damage.

That’s awesome that they have it mapped out to that degree.

The technology in the last 10 or 20 years with cancer treatment has progressed incredibly. For me, it’s interesting to geek out on the technology and be marveled by it.

If anybody wants to see that, there’s a video component that goes along with this that you can find at our YouTube channel and it is titled after our Peloton podcasts. If you go to YouTube.com/TheClipOut and search for this episode or Snell, you can see what he was wearing while they did all that.

Thank you for showing that to us. It’s nice to see the end results that you’re happy and healthy at the end of that and to be able to see a piece of the equipment that went into that, make it more concrete and real.

There are residual effects to the treatment, which some minor ones will last for the rest of my life, but nothing major. I feel better now than I did prior to the treatment. In one of the Tonal Talks with Coach Jackson, he talked about doing four weeks to fat loss and then doing a muscle-building program. My cancer treatment, unbeknownst to me, was my three months to fat loss and then I started filling muscle, and I don’t recommend that to anybody.

I’m always amazed by people who have a positive attitude and then have a sense of humor. I don’t think I would be so good at it. Every time we talk to somebody, they’re like, “You just have to,” but I suck at it. My hats off to you for being able to do that.

Anybody would be surprised at what they can go through when they don’t have a choice. As I was saying, that’s the strength that got you to go through it. I’m not going to say it’s not difficult but it’s, “Do this or you’ve got six months or two years to live.” There’s not much of a choice when it comes down to it. You’ve got to put one foot in front of the other, push and hope for the best.

We’ll be checking in. I’ll be watching for you on the Official Tonal Community. If I see you over on the Peloton side, I’ll look for you there too and make sure you’re doing well.

TSS 6 | Cancer Survivor

Cancer Survivor: Every issue or question you might run into, somebody has probably asked it already and found some solution.


Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Thank you for having me. I enjoyed it.

That brings another one to a close. What pray tell do you have in store for people next time? 

It’s super exciting. Again, we get to interview a coach this time, the brand-new coach, Allison Tibbs.

This is a great rhythm that they’re going to get into. They get a new coach and then we’re like hazing. They have to talk to us. It’s like when you join a fraternity. 

I don’t think I like that you call us hazing.

I guess I am hazing.

Don’t associate me with that.

It’s like a good frat or bad frat member. 

That’s better.

Until next time, where can people find you? 

People can find me on Facebook.com/crystaldokeefe and they can find me on Instagram and Twitter @ClipOutCrystal.

You can find me on Twitter @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/tomokeefe. Find the show online, Facebook.com/supersetpodcast. While you’re there, like the page, join the group and wherever you’re getting your podcast from, be sure and subscribe, so you never miss an episode. Thanks for tuning in and until next time, keep lifting.

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About Jerome Snell

TSS 6 | Cancer Survivor

About You!

To talk about cancer recovery and how Tonal has helped.


Jackson but so far all are great!

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