TSS 14 | Lifting Weights

Tonal Teams Up with Tony Horton Creator of P90X plus our interview with Nick Utter

TSS 14 | Lifting Weights


Tonal makes enhancements to the Strength Score.

T-Locks are back in stock!

Tony Horton, creator of P90X, teams-up with Tonal.

Lots of new content including ways to incorporate your Theragun.

Tonal’s Black Excellence series continues with Merveille Mukoko interviewing the founder of Gear ‘Em UP, Khadijah Suleman.

Coach Jackson is close to releasing Go Big Or Go Home 2.

Coach Nicolette and Allison are teaming up to make more Tonal Treats.

All this plus our interview with Nick Utter!

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Tonal Teams Up with Tony Horton Creator of P90X plus our interview with Nick Utter

You made the big switch to the world of Apple, which means you have an Apple Watch, which means you can play with the Tonal on your Apple Watch.

I have to say that’s pretty darn cool to be able to turn the weights off and on with my watch. I really like it whenever I use the rope, because the rope doesn’t have a button. I always go over to the machine and click it because they don’t have an extra piece. You can move it from the barbell over to your rope, but I don’t want to do that. Now, I can click it on my wrist. The other cool thing is that if you have Apple Music set up, then you can make your Tonal go in and play your playlist off of Apple Music as well. That’s been pretty cool to play around with.

It’s all Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.

No, but I have been digging deep into my ‘90s playlist.

Because that’s the last time you updated your iTunes account?

No, I have a bunch of favorite artists. As it turns out, I overplayed a lot of songs in the ‘90s. When I hear them now, it’s a hit or miss. I either love it or I’m like, “Stop.”

You’re still burned out on it?


That’s a long time to say burnout on a song. It’s like, “Oh yeah, that song.”

Do you remember that song by Elastica, Connection?


It’s not as good as it was then.

Is it called Connection? I thought it was Ready to Go.

It’s connection. I think they also had a song called Ready to Go.

What do you have in store for people this week?

We’re going to talk all about all the new content that Tonal has put out. There’s new content, new enhancements, new features, all kinds of new things. We’re going to hit all that.

Before we get to all that, shameless plugs, don’t forget we’re available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart, wherever you get your podcasts, you can find us. While you’re there, you should hit subscribe so you never miss an episode. Also while you’re there, maybe leave us a review. That way, people that come along after you know that we’re worth a listen. We have a new review. Their screen name on iTunes is Washerenownot. It says, “Stumbled across this podcast while looking for info on Tonal. Lots of great info shared in an entertaining way.” Thank you. That was very nice of you. Also, if you want to stay up-to-date with us throughout the week, be sure and check out our Facebook page, Facebook.com/supersetpodcast, where we post different pieces of Tonal information that could benefit you throughout the week. Also you can watch all of these episodes if you want to see them with video, it’s on our YouTube channel that we built for other podcast, YouTube.com/theclipout. You can watch all of these episodes in full HD glory.

If you want to see my new tank top, this is the place to see it.

That’s all that, let’s dig in, shall we?

Tonal announced some changes to the Strength Score.

I know we called it a new feature, and technically this is just an enhancement to a feature, but it’s brand new, so we had to talk about it. Now, the Strength Score has benchmarks. When you click on it in the app, you can see where you were exactly per muscle group that you have gained the most versus gained the least. Because they changed it, some people went up in their score, some people went down their score. I went up. I broke 400.

That means she’s a big fan of this new system.

Before, the way that it was, if you hadn’t done a certain exercise and you’ve got a large PR on and then you did other programs, your Strength Score would drop. Prior to this, my highest score was 370, and it had dropped to 348 and I had been inching back up.

If I do something nice for you, if I bring you flowers and then I go a long time without bringing you flowers, the credit that I received for bringing you flowers has dropped off.

That is exactly right. Speaking of, did you know that you have never once bought me flowers?

I don’t want to affect my Strength Score. You’re not like, “How come you don’t bring me flowers anymore?” I’ve never brought you flowers. I’ve brought you lots of nice things, but never flowers. I feel like flowers are an uncreative choice.

I hate to say that. I get where you’re coming from.

I like to do different things, like I’ve surprised you.

You are a great gift giver. I am just giving you crap.

My Strength Score within the relationship is unchanged.

On this screenshot, you see on the right where it shows like back, biceps, chest, it’s showing how you’ve improved over time. This person has improved 300%, but it shows that the biceps haven’t gone up as much as the back. Their back has gotten a lot stronger, but their chest and biceps and triceps are a little bit less.

You were also saying off-air before we started that also when they rolled this out, it’s retroactive. It’s not like it started on a certain date and moving forward, they’ve layered it on top of your history so you can see this progress immediately or lack thereof.

I think this is really cool because basically they’re giving you even more details about your Strength Score. This will help people have a more intuitive connection between the work that they’re doing and the movement of what they’re doing. That’s cool. I want to mention one other thing. These benchmarks, I thought that’s what they were. I had to lean in because the screen is so tiny. The benchmarks will tell you by age where you stand compared to the average of all Tonal users. If you can see it says all genders and it says male and female, you can see exactly where you are compared to everybody else. That’s great. That’s a good way to give yourself credit for all the hard work that you’ve done. I like that. It’s more ways to give yourself a mental boost.

Sit down, do the right thing, put yourself in a good position to work out, stretch, and rest. Click To Tweet

It’s probably also a good way to know where your weaknesses are. You’re like, “I need to do more of the biceps.”

Good news for people, the T-locks are back.

They are back in the gear shop. People have been asking for these. If those people read this, they will be really excited about this. If they don’t, hopefully they are at least over on the Official Tonal Community page, because they need to know because they post about it a lot. This is a big thing.

Really big news, they have partnered with Tony Horton.

He truly is legendary. This is freaking exciting.

Even I’ve heard of P90X.

They teamed up with Tony and they did five workouts for Tonal. Here’s the thing, this has a lot of layers. Layer one, he did these five workouts, but it also introduces a brand-new feature or a new class type to Tonal, which is called Live. I know what you’re thinking. It’s not actually live. The instructor does the workout with you. In the past, for you non-Tonal users, the instructor would tell you what moves to do, then somebody would show you how to do them while you did them. Now, with these live beta testing, they do the workout right in front of you, they move with you. My understanding is that is the first step, that was the words that were used, to getting to live classes on the Tonal. That’s another layer.

I wonder how that would work on the live classes. I know that on Peloton, the instructors teach a lot of classes, you’re not talking them down, maybe the resistance isn’t as high. I wonder if they’ll do the moves, but they’re not doing their full weight or they’re doing half-weight or something.

I think that’s possible, except for the fact that when you have body weight exercises, you can’t do that.

That’s true. That makes sense.

I think that’s a great question. Since this is beta testing, there are five of these workouts that start with Tony and they also had a Tonal Talk with Tony. Kate got to interview him and learned lots of interesting things about Tony. He was diagnosed in 2014 with a rare disease. It is a rare complication from shingles. It does all kinds of things. It’s like having shingles in your ear is the way he described it at one point. You have balance issues, you can have stroke-like conditions, your face can freeze up like Bell’s Palsy, having trouble walking. It creates all these issues. Through diet, exercise and meditation, he has come back to his normal self in just a few years from having this. That’s amazing.

TSS 14 | Lifting Weights


Also I found it fascinating that he was a normal person in his twenties. By normal, I mean he did not work out every day. He ate the pizza and he drank the beer and he watched the football games. Fitness was not his life in his twenties. It became later in life that became a thing for him. For people who are like, “It’s too late,” it’s not. He’s 62, very impressive. I also learned that he is all about holistic health. What I mean by that is that he approaches it from a mind-body connection. There’s working out, there’s eating well, there’s also making sure that you’re handling stress by doing the meditation and the yoga. The classes that he put out, you have upper body, lower body, but you also have yoga. I thought that was really cool.

Here are the classes: Fit Full Body, Legit Legs and Chest, Legendary Legs and Core, Yoga Flex Flow and Action Arms. There are also some additional classes that are coming. They’re in the process of being made. This is just a start. There are another five that are being made. He wouldn’t go into details of what they were going to be. He just said that they were going to be different. He doesn’t do everything that he gets offered. He is very choosy with these partnerships and he legit loves the Tonal. He was going on and on about how excited he was about the technology when he first saw it. He’s had this in his own personal gym for a few years now. This is a very cool thing.

There are also some existing instructor classes that are using this live beta feature. We’ll move away from the Tony feature and talk about those. There were a few classes that came out. Paul has a Quick Fit. It’s a full body, only eleven minutes. This is perfect for getting in, doing a full body and getting out. What I love about this is this is that live feature, so Coach Paul is doing the entire workout with you. Also Coach Natalie had one that is all upper body. That is called Upper Body Burst with Coach Natalie. Then there are a few quick classes that came out. There’s Coach Pablo had a couple, and then they’re all very short classes, which are nice to fit in like at the end of a workout.

I wonder if they’re starting to find that people want shorter classes. I know that over the years, over in the Peloton side of things, we hear a lot of people saying 45-minute classes, but when they actually look at the metrics, it’s the 20 and 30-minute classes that people are actually taking. I wonder if maybe they’re starting to see something similar and that’s why you’re seeing a lot of these 12, 13, 15-minute classes.

I think there’s that, but also they’re great to add on too. If you’re a person who wants to fill in every day on your calendar to get those dots, then it’s great to be able to do that. Let’s say you are doing cardio of some kind, you can do a quick ten-minute workout on your trainer. Maybe you don’t have any cardio in your home, you only have the Tonal. This allows you to do cardio because they have many options. They have the dance cardio, they have the HIIT workouts. You can keep those matching of the cardio and the strength together.

You can even stack them and do your own little ala carte program.

I have done that, especially when I was doing the challenge for the Tonal. It’s a lot of fun to stack the classes together to do that. They’re very seamless how quickly they start up. I want to mention that we’re talking about this live feature being a beta. Tonal is looking for feedback for that. People need to reach out and give Tonal their feedback, so that they can continue to tweak it and make sure that it’s something that people are getting a lot out of.

There’s also some other new stuff on Tonal.

A while back, you might remember that Tonal had a partnership with Theragun. Now, they have Theragun content. They have classes that you can take that show you how to use your percussion recovery instrument and warm up and cool down.

Instead of stretching at the end, they’re like, “Grab that Theragun.”

It’s a little more targeted than that, but yeah. This is great because many people have these recovery tools, but they don’t necessarily know the most effective way to use that. You probably just start pointing at yourself and like, “That feels good, I’ll do that. That hurts but they say that hurting is good, so I’ll do that.” You really don’t know. Having somebody do a whole class with you that’s like, “Here’s exactly how you should be using it,” and they’re short. We were talking about with the adding on, this is another great way. This is a good warmup and cool down. They have upper body core and lower body that you can do warmups and cool down. It’s a great way to get your muscles all primed and also cool them down properly. That means you can work out again the next day and not be in pain. Who doesn’t love that?

Previously on The Superset, we had talked about Tonal’s Black Excellence Program. There’s some new stuff coming up with that.

This one really struck me because it’s a Tonal employee, Merriville Makoko and Founder of Gear ‘Em Up, Khadijah Suleman. Maryville is going to actually interview Khadijah about her experience being a black female founder. She’s also going to talk to her about Gear ‘Em Up’s mission and how we can all help that mission bringing athletic apparel, equipment and education to underserved children. I like that Tonal has continued the momentum of this program. It’s not something they did one time. They’re very committed to that and I appreciate that. I love highlighting different people from different realms. It’s very cool.

I think it’s cool that it’s not an instructor and a Zoom call. It’s not on a platform where maybe you can type something in the message. You’re going to actually interact.

I wonder if that’s the case because it is a Zoom call, you’re right about that. I know that there are settings on Zoom that you can silence the people because I’ve had people at work do that to me.

It makes me think though, since they chose Zoom as the platform that maybe they’re silencing people while they talk, but later on, they open up for questions. I’m not trying to put words in their mouth. I think that’s the direction they’re heading.

That’s fabulous. I hadn’t even considered that. That’s very exciting. Make sure that you get a chance to check that out because this is going to be another good one.

You have a little rumor that’s percolating.

Coach Jackson hinted, he pretty much just said. Go Big or Go Home 2 is in the works. It’s almost done. He made it sound like it was coming out over the holiday season. I don’t mean like it’s coming out in the next week or anything, but it’s just around the corner.

If you liked the first one, here’s your chance for Go Big or Go Home 2. Finally, Coach Nicolette and Allison are teaming up for Tonal Treats.

Once a month, they do these Tonal Treats. This month, November 20th, 5:00 PM Pacific, they are teaming up to make no-bake pumpkin pie. I don’t even know how you do that.

That is just raw pumpkin? That sounds disgusting.

I don’t know how it exactly works. I know that ingredients get put together and you have to let it set for a few hours. I’m not exactly sure. I’ve never made pumpkin pie. My favorite part about these Tonal Treats is it doesn’t really matter. It’s more about hanging out.

I have a question. I don’t think I’ve ever connected the dots here. Are they all no-bake items?

No, there have been items that get baked. What I think it’s more about is the fact that it’s a healthy version of the treats. It’s Tonal Treats, but also they’re using ingredients that are healthier than the traditional ingredients with varying results. I will say that Coach Nicolette is a self-professed not a good cook, so I think that’s part of it.

Part of the charm is that it doesn’t taste good.

It’s just about watching them hang out and try to make it, whether it rent turns out good or not. It’s always a blast. They are some of my favorite Tonal activities. Even when we have other people over or we’re doing other things, I have been known to turn on Tonal Treats instead.

Joining us on this episode is Nick Utter. Nick, how is it going?

I’m doing well.

What I always like to start with is how you found Tonal. How did it come into your life?

I saw some web ads on Instagram. There are a million of them that pop up on there. I saw that and then dug into it. I looked at some YouTube videos and various outlets reporting on it. This would be in 2019. We got ours in March 2020, early pandemic but it’s a pricey system. It’s a big investment to make versus maybe I’ll throw another lab machine in the basement or something. You can do that for a couple of hundred dollars if you’re not being too picky. I knew I wanted it. I think I brought it up to my wife in passing while we were out at lunch one day and she said, “I’ve been looking at that too.”

It’s half as expensive now if we’re both going to use it. We decided we wanted to pull the trigger. It was a matter of timing. COVID started happening. We’re in the New England area, in Connecticut, outside of New York. We got hit early. We took that as an opportunity to bite the bullet and grab it. I’ve never been a gym goer. I’ve been to the gym to take my kids to swim lessons. I’ll hit gyms at hotels. I worked out when rowing in high school here and there in the gym room we had, but I’ve never been like a gym rat. We hooked something up in the basement. It wasn’t the whole, “Let’s get away from the gym. The gyms are going to close and we have no choice.”

It was this opportunity to do a lot more than I could have done downstairs with a rack, a bench, a bar, some dumbbells and bands. I wanted to get into some of the more lateral movements pulldowns. It seemed like an interesting machine. I could do a lot more with it and a lot more easily. Thinking about adjusting weights back and forth, with me doing one set of weight, my wife is doing another in between every set, we’re taking all the plates off, putting plates on and it will do that for you. It seemed like a super-efficient way to work out.

A 45-minute workout on Tonal is probably an hour’s workout in the real world by the time you move everything around. I never thought about that of how much time that must add.

You can sometimes get more with less by giving your body a chance to rest, recover, and sometimes do these stretches. Click To Tweet

We try to take advantage of the space we have in our basement. We’ve got one room cut out for it and there’s a treadmill down there. I wouldn’t advise anybody ever to do this, but we had to get horse pads, like for horses to stand on installs. It’s a great mat, but the process of getting it into your house, into the basement, setting it up and then moving a squat rack and everything out of the way and putting it back on top, it’s a nightmare. We love being down there. It was some of my get home from work or whatever. I could squeeze it in before for COVID and everything, and try to squeeze it in before taking my kid to football. I enjoyed my time down there, but since getting Tonal back in March 2020, it has become more of a storage area. I want to go back down and see how it translates back into free weights, but it’s hard to not use Tonal when it’s time to work out.

It reminds me of when I was a teenager and I had this huge vinyl collection. I probably had a thousand records. I was seventeen and CDs came out and I had eight CDs. All I listened to where the CDs. I’d stopped listening to the vinyl. I took all the vinyl and sold them and bought CDs. That’s what it reminds me of I have all this other stuff that I’ve had for years, but I like this new thing, so screw it.

There’s that aspect of it where it’s a new thing that you want to try out, but also, there’s the convenience of it. I’m curious about your experience because, from my understanding, you have always lifted heavy. You mentioned you have a rack. I have never been a gym goer. I’ve also never been a weight lifter. It’s always been super intimidating to me. From your perspective, I’m curious what your thoughts are on Tonal versus your standard weights because I hear many people say to me, “I’m not sure about Tonal because I lift 700 pounds.” Can you put it into words what that’s like to go from using that traditional squat rack and machines to Tonal?

The first impression moving onto it is I was worried that the 200 wouldn’t be enough when we were first getting it. I remember telling my wife, “I’ll go to the basement if I want to do more.” I have not. Tonal is a lot more difficult if you’re going to give it a round number. If you’re going to bench 100 pounds with three weights versus 100 pounds on Tonal, it’s a lot harder. I’ve got a buddy, played a bunch of football, real strong guy. He came over one day and checked it out and I’m like, “What are you benching right now?” I’ll do whatever he was benching. “Let’s do it at 100.”

I pull the bench out for him and try out motor at a friend and have them go on there at a free workout and put it at 100. He was struggling. He had no idea that it was going to be that difficult. A lot of it is the balance that’s required, the weight comes down. You’re engaging other muscle groups. I’ve noticed development outside of the target muscles a lot more. I feel like I’ve been able to get much more well-rounded workouts using it. If I’m going to curl 50 pounds in my basement with SelectTech or something and I’m going to try to do that same way on Tonal, it’s a lot more difficult for me. I’d use bands and I’ve used free weights, plates and bars, but the equivalent weight on Tonal has been that much more difficult.

I don’t know the target audience but I’ve had a history of back injuries, some of which from working out, some of which from unfortunate accidents. I’m in my 40s now, but as I started getting older, I should probably stop trying to push all the weight in the world. I’m wearing a compression sleeve and I’ve got a wrist and everything else. I was at the point where I was curling and benching a lot of weight, but then I’d come upstairs and my daughter would ask for help pouring a glass of milk. I couldn’t pour the milk without using two hands because they’re banging up my wrist so bad.

I’m like, “This is dumb.” It’s cool that I can push more numbers. That’s fun and you always want to move ahead, but I should be going slower reps, a higher rep count and less weight because I’m not a kid anymore. Tonal also felt nicely in that area. I will say that with leg movements, I’m definitely doing a lot of those that full weight, 100 pounds if it’s one arm or 200 pounds if it’s two. I’ve been asking for any feedback, “Could we get a rep counter.” Instead of saying, “We increased your 2 or 5 pounds.” Increase, maybe another couple of reps. Maybe one day I do 8, 10, 12, and the next time I do 10, 12, 14 reps.

The weight is heavier than you would imagine on Tonal. It’s more of a challenge. I did tell myself I’m going to have to go in the basement and keep working out to keep up with the heavyweights and I haven’t. I find it to be smarter as I age personally. Everyone is going to be different. I find it smarter as I age to control the rep, complete reps, take your time with it and push more and burn out as opposed to we got to throw more weight on the rack.

Since you’ve been lifting for a long time and you’re very knowledgeable about it, do you find the personal training, coaching aspect helpful or is that superfluous for you?

I thought I’d want to actively avoid it, but I do like it. I bounce back and forth between programs and workouts that are guided and then do my own sometimes, especially if there are movements that I haven’t done that. I want to try and get exposure to it because some of them don’t seem to pop up for me in the programs or workouts that I do, but they’re there in the library. My wife and I tend to work out together. We’ll do the partner workouts. Maybe she’s not feeling well one day or too busy and I’ll go do something that will fit in between our workouts. I love the guided stuff. I think that the insight that the various coaches bring like I said, I’ve never been a gym guy. I haven’t had a personal trainer. My son has had a personal trainer, but I haven’t.

How old is your son?

He turned twelve. He was running flat-footed in football and I said, “It can be a lot faster.” We took him in mainly for agility and did a little strike stuff. Whenever I was there, I’m taking notes and watching because it was the closest I ever had to a trainer. There are things that I would do my routine in the basement. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine and do what works for you. I started off doing a strong wellness program with my wife where we do 5×5 reps of squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses and have one set one day, one set the next day or rest of a day and the day after.

Coming on here, there have been a lot of great pointers, a lot of things that I didn’t know or understand for myself so it’s great to hear. I don’t see a huge distinction depending on the workout you do, between advanced and beginner. I’m happy to go back and do a beginner and get some of that advice to go back and fill in some of those basics. It’s easy to forget about. I’m also one of those people that when I’m lifting weights, I get dumb and my brain stops working.

Give us an example of something that you do when you’re on a pilot.

I’m going to totally contradict what I said because this is a bad example of it, but I was doing some form of a squat, but I was on there doing it. I was doing one of coach Nicolette’s videos. She had mentioned to keep your back straight and make sure that you’re not arching your back. I was in full dummy mode. I was lifting whatever max weight was at that point. I was going over in reps. I was exhausted and she should give that warning not to arch your back. I listened and I had a very straight back, but then I rounded it. I pulled something in my middle back because it was, “The boss says to do this.” That was no good. My wife finished that one up on her own. I rested for the better part of a week, but I’m getting back to another great workout once I stopped for a few days, rest it up a few days after that.

I find it interesting that many people who have experienced lifting that they do one of those same routines, but also, they work the same body parts over and over again. I’ve heard a lot of people and the coaches talk about this too that that can be dangerous because your body will be over performing with certain muscle groups and then you’re not performing with these others. My question for you is when new people come into Tonal and they start talking about how they don’t like to follow the classes because it’s too slow and they don’t like to do the recovery time in between or things like that. Do you think that that’s something that everybody should at least try to see if it changes how they use the workout, how they experience it or do you think that some people who are super knowledgeable can skip over that or does it depend?

I’m a firm believer in being open-minded and trying new things. The people they brought in for coaches for Tonal are clearly super knowledgeable and great at what they do. I would advise you to try it, give it a shot and see how it goes. I’m the kind of person that when left to my own devices, I try to do twice a day if I can and not take a rest at all and hit weights every day. When I do that, which I have, you don’t get the same results and you stifle yourself. Your body needs time to rest. I’d go downstairs and do the same few stretches. Coming up here and some of the different stretches that are introduced on Tonal have been great.

For me, at least it’s impatience of, “I want to get to and I have a million things to do. Let me start pushing away.” I look at it as having your vegetables. Sit down, do the right thing, put yourself in a good position to work out, stretch and rest. You alluded to hitting complementary muscle groups just don’t hit biceps without triceps, push and pull. That’s all fantastic to get in there and do that especially if you know what you’re doing and it’s worked for you, that’s great. I think it’s important to be open-minded and try that stuff and give it a period of time, experimentation to see how your body feels and reacts. If you’re tracking metrics or measurements or whatever, look what happens there.

You can sometimes get more with the less by giving your body a chance to rest, recover and sometimes do these stretches. Yoga has been a place on Tonal that I haven’t done as much of it as I’d like, but I’ve done it a handful of times and it kicks my ass. It’s been helping with flexibility. It’s been the kind of thing I’ve always flirted with doing, especially some of my back injuries, but I’ve never quite gotten into it. Tonal was that excuse to sit down and give it a go. I’m not doing as much as I’d like, but I’ve experimented with it. I’ve done some of it. I want to keep it up. I think it’s a great thing that I probably wouldn’t have gotten into otherwise.

Do you think that you’re more willing to try things like the yoga on Tonal and because it’s right there? It’s accessible. You don’t have to go looking for it, or is there some other reason that like, “Now is the time?” Tonal was the moment that you decided to try yoga.

Part of it is the accessibility and that it’s there. It’s right in the machine. We’ve had DVDs around the house. A doctor at one point suggesting something and gave me one. I just never got around to doing it. Something about sitting in front of the TV with a workout video didn’t check on a man’s card or something.

This isn’t radically different than that, but there is something different about it. I can’t put my finger on what it is, but you’re not wrong.

I know there’s more intense variations on yoga and stuff out there that you could get into, but I never felt like it. I knew it was something I should do, but then with it being right here on the machine and maybe I put myself through a good workout and say, “I have some time left tonight. Let me cool down to some yoga.” That might be a good way to do things and one of the intro classes or something and said, “This is nice.” What I ended up discovering and I want to do it more for this reason is it feels like for me, if I go through, I’m pushing it and I’m sweating doing yoga, I’m not the most flexible guy in the world. I’m getting better. Sometimes I have this feeling in my muscles like I got out of a massage. It’s this great feeling afterwards relaxing and be in that. It’s not sitting there for 60 or 90 minutes and getting all the kinks worked out, but it’s reminiscent of that. I want to want to do a little bit more of it and I’m glad that I was introduced to doing it to at least some extent so far.

How about any of the other content on Tonal? They’ve added so much. Do you work it on some bar or cardio dance or prenatal dance?

When I was a teenager, my wife pulled me into some dance classes and they told us to stop coming. She was fine, but they were like, “We can’t take your money anymore.” It’s probably like 17 or 18. That’s something she wanted to do. We’ve been together forever.

Do you know that town in Footloose where you can dance? You should move there.

The dance stuff, probably not. I have tried a little bit of more high-intensity stuff. I think a coach Jared on there has some high-intensity videos. When I would work out in the basement and do weights in the past, if left to my own devices, I’d be down there for a ridiculous amount of time. Ridiculous as in like the benefit is gone. I’m spending time down there, but I’d enjoy it. I’d go down there at night and I might be down there from 10:00 to 12:00 pushing weights. I’d wrap it up with either an 8 or 16-minute interval run on a treadmill, depending on what I had in the tank. I want to get an interval for the high intensity and then rest, intensity and rest.

I figured I’ve spent all this energy already on weights, I warmed up. I don’t have to wait to get the benefit from the run. As soon as I start going, I’m going to feel it. That’s one area that would be nice to get back into doing a little more cardio. Over the summer, I was doing some interval running at a local school because that was all closed out. I bring the dog and we’d run and sometimes he tackles me, but it was all in good fun. High intensity is fun. I’ve enjoyed doing that on and off again. I do probably have the man thing of I need to push the weight. I don’t want to do off machine movement. It’s eating your vegetables. It’s healthy. It’s putting you in a better position to be more successful with the actual pushing of weight and all that. I’m trying to focus less on strength score and focus on other metrics, but it’s important to have goals and I think whether it’s yoga or high-intensity or whatever it may be, rounding out what you’re doing is important to serve gains on the weightlifting side.

Do you have any advice for people that are maybe just getting a Tonal?

Play around, explore and don’t say no to anything that’s on there. At least, check it out. If you don’t have the accessories, I feel like you’re limiting yourself to an extent. If you can get your hands on those, by all means, grab them so you have that many more movements that you can squeeze in. I think when I first got it, I started doing my own custom workouts, but pretty quickly in, I switched over to these workouts rather. I stuck away from programs for a little while. I didn’t get in the programs for a little bit because I wanted that variety to reach around and fill out this area and fill out that area and understand what there was out there.

The big thing I’d say to avoid is being overexcited and using it non-stop because that was hard at the beginning. In that first workout, they have you do to get your assessment work out to get a better starting strike score. Do that and say, “I’m going to leave it alone for the rest of the day. I’ve used it for 30 or 20 minutes. Now, I’m going to come back in two days.” It’s like being told, “You play with your toys for 30 minutes on Christmas morning and leave it alone for two days.”

I remember when I first got it, I wanted to constantly use it, but I was like, “I’m tired.”

You don’t want to give yourself a repetitive stress injury or something like that. I do feel like when I have hurt myself using Tonal, it’s been a mix of too much yard work, dump runs and whatever else we’re doing around the house, too many home projects, plus working out, plus me doing something foolish. In the basement, it was probably more of habitual foolishness using free weights. The things that I mentioned were like, I need two hands to pour a gallon of milk. I curled all this weight, but I can’t pour this gallon of milk without assisting myself. Go in too hard and too heavy. I feel like on Tonal, especially if you’re watching the coaches, they give you a good pace. My wife and I will be working out and looking at a time under tension and pointing things out to each other, usually after the set so as to not make anybody too angry when they’re all pumped up and working.

TSS 14 | Lifting Weights


“This was a little fast. You didn’t quite hit that.” We give each other that feedback. Tonal has been great for that. For me, being able to stay healthier while doing it. I think I’ve gotten a lot more functional strength and functional fitness out of it. I was able to burn quite a bit of fat this summer, which was nice without losing too much muscle, according to the app and scale I’m using. We’ll see how accurate that is. That was nice because that’s always been something that I’ve struggled with. I initially got into weights with her because it was like, “If we’re lifting heavy, dieting runs a little,” and this was my early getting into this mindset, “If I’m not eating enough, I can’t lift heavy.” This is something where I can eat all these pizzas. This is the doctor prescribed, which is not true at all. I hadn’t done much with working out through my twenties and then I had a back injury due to a fall in a snow storm.

I put on a bunch of weight and I couldn’t lift my arm over my head for a while. I couldn’t carry a laptop around. I had to keep a computer at home and another at work. It was terrible. As part of getting back into shape that was some of the heavy lifting and it was a good gateway because I didn’t feel like I’m going to do mail-order meals or something and constantly be starving or something that you can’t stick to. It became this good habit and with any good habit, you get bored into this hobby or habit or what have you to get better at it. You start saying, “Maybe having that bag of Doritos wasn’t a good thing.” As you wise up a little bit and go, “This is good food. This is bad food.” You learn and you try to behave, “Now, was a great food day. Yesterday was not.” I enjoyed it when I was cheating a little bit and it’s a journey.

You can’t be perfect every day. That’s not fun.

Even the strength score, I’ve seen my arms going down a little bit. I think I went up about 180 points in a week at one point for the upper body and then I dropped to 8 and then 8 again or 6 after that. I put the numbers in the background, keep doing the work and watch what it does over time. It’s like getting on a scale twice a day or something. You are going to drive yourself crazy.

I’m curious about what your strength score is though. Do you mind sharing?

It’s a low 1,300. The core is close to 1,200 and those round numbers bug me. This 1,198 will not stand. It’s foolish because they’re all estimates. It’s a measure. There’s no diodes and needles shoved into my body telling that, but it’s like, “I need two more points.” You’re going to overwork and not get what you want out of it anyway. My legs are in the low thirteens, arms are in the mid-thirteens and core is high elevens, but it changes. It comes and goes. It’s a journey. I hadn’t been lifting for years, but it was probably the better part of a decade doing all the strong lift stuff.

Now, we’re doing this. It’s a lot more disciplined and refinement and not just what I’m teaching myself or looking up twenty pieces of conflicting advice on the internet about how you should be doing things and sussing all that out over the years, experimenting, seeing what works for you. Tonal has been great for keeping me on a good path with this stuff, making sure that I’m not missing movements, that I wouldn’t be doing on my own in the basement where it’s like, “Let’s move a lot of numbers and have fun.” I’d say, “That was a lot. I’m great.” Doing things to make yourself healthier and stronger and whatever goals you want. I’ve been burning fat on total more than I would have on my own, even doing less cardio. It’s been a great machine for that and hitting those goals.

Where can people find you on social media?

I had a Twitter account for a while but moved off of that. The only reason I have a Facebook account, I’ve got a hidden account and it’s only to use the Tonal community. I try to stay low-key on the internet. I know the people that I spend time with and talk to in real life and outside of that, if people have moved into other things and other parts of the country or world, I wish them all the best.

Thank you for taking the time to join us.

Thanks for having me. This is fun. I appreciate it.

We enjoyed and appreciate it.

That brings this one to a close. Until next time, where can people find you?

People can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/CrystalDOKeefe. They can also find me on Twitter and Instagram, @ClipOutCrystal.

You can find me on Twitter, @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TomOKeefe. You can find the show online at Facebook.com/supersetpodcast. While you’re there, like the page and join the group. Wherever you’re getting your podcasts from, be sure and subscribe so you never miss an episode, and maybe leave us a review if you are so inclined. That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time, keep lifting.

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