When I was a kid I had a bit of an obsession with Wonder Woman (didn’t most girls?). I had a pair of red welly boots that I literally lived in and one day at primary school when we were making Easter baskets I decided to use some of the gold card to make myself a pair of wrist cuffs and a headband just like Wonder Woman’s. I also had a lasso made of string that I looped onto my jeans. My super hero transformation was complete! Fast forward a few years (ok, lots of years) and I was ready again to embrace my inner super hero.
This weekend I went to a women’s strength training session called ‘Wonder Woman Workshop UK’ which is founded by a kick ass personal trainer and Sweaty Betty (one of my favourite workout gear brands) Ambassador called Suzie ‘The Suzinator’ Lubuska. I first heard of Suzie from Twitter. We would tweet each other randomly because I am up at silly o’clock to go to the gym and Suzie is also up early with her PT sessions and boot camps and I always thought the pics and tweets that Suzie would mention from her training sessions looked awesome.
The Wonder Woman Workshops are held once a month in beautiful Greenwich Park and so on Saturday I was up super early so I could be at the park bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for a morning of strength training. In addition to Suzie running the workshop she had also invited a couple of guest coaches along who were Lisa James and Helz Gardner. Lisa is Wales’ strongest woman and also a World, British and European powerlifting champion who competes in the World’s strongest woman competitions.
Suzie’s workshop came at the perfect moment as I had recently burnt myself out from doing a cookie cutter training plan that I had purchased online that turned out to be one of the worst things I could have ever done. I was feeling really unmotivated about strength training and had lost my mojo.
Before the workshop kicked off Suzie asked everyone to introduce themselves and give a reason for why we were attending. I had explained I had lost my strength training mojo and was looking to get it back. The other women attending were training for triathlons, half and full marathons, ultra marathons and various obstacle events such as Tough Mudder and Rat Race and those who wanted to improve their strength training. It was a really mixed and inspirational group of women and I was looking forward to the morning’s session.
Suzie started us off with some mobility exercises and body weight training to get us warmed up for the strong girl session by Lisa and Helz who would be showing us how to lift atlas stones (which were 30kg, 35kg, 40kg and 50kg) and to clean and press the log bar (40kg). I was really excited as I have always wanted to try lifting both but never had the opportunity.
I failed on the first lift of the 30kg atlas stone. I struggled a little to pick it up and then I couldn’t get the technique to flip it up onto my shoulder. I felt a bit annoyed with myself which was kinda silly really considering I had never tried it before. But thanks to expert coaching from Lisa and Helz, and watching the other women lifting them and also encouraging each other my confidence grew and I decided to give it another try. This time I lifted the stone more easily as I made sure I used more power in my legs as Lisa instructed and then when I had the ball at waist height I did the hip thrust that was needed and voila it was on my left shoulder! I was over the moon, really happy at being able to do it. Everyone had a go at lifting all 4 atlas stones, I was ridiculously happy to manage to also lift the 35kg and the 40kg stone. I didn’t manage to get the 50kg onto my shoulder although I managed to pick it up quite comfortably so now I have my goal to try and get the full lift next time. Once Lisa and Helz’s session was finished we asked questions about how they started power lifting, what their training sessions and nutrition was like, what supplements they took and it was really inspiring to hear them talking about their experiences, they were also very funny and made us laugh a lot.
After the strong girl training Suzie took us through a kettlebell circuit. I haven’t done much kettlebell training recently although my PT Toby ‘Wan Kenobi’ did a lot of KB work with me when I was training for Tough Mudder last year and so it was great to use them again. Inbetween the sets we also had to do sprint drills, it was tough and very challenging but it was awesome. Unfortunately my heart rate shot up way too high at one point (211 BPM! I hope it might have been a blip with my Polar as if it really had gone that high I’m sure I would have been carried off on a stretcher crying for my mum) which made me feel sick so I had to sit out for a couple of sets until it returned relatively back to normal so I could go again. After the kettlebells Suzie had us doing some partner work, we were leap frogging, jumping over and doing press ups on each other. It was a lot of fun. To end a brilliant training session Suzie took us through some stretches, some were new to me that I will definitely be incorporating for ankle and hip mobility. The sun was shining and as we were doing our cobra stretches feeling the sun on our faces I couldn’t stop smiling, my strength training mojo was well and truly back.
If I had to sum up the Wonder Woman Workshop in a few points here is what I would say about it:
– Suzie is a really motivational PT and strength coach. She has the right mixture of being tough to get the best out of you and also encouraging you to push yourself a bit harder. I also loved her great attention to technique, she was watching everyone and correcting us when needed
– The atmosphere was brilliant. I have never met such a big group of women (a few I also knew from the Twitter world via Suzie so it was great to meet them in person) who all love strength training so much and who are all really strong and humble in their strength and abilities. Everyone was really friendly, all had interesting journeys which led them to train with Suzie and I felt really honoured to train with them all
– The guest coaches Lisa and Helz were fantastic. Suzie mentioned she likes to invite guest coaches to her sessions to bring something different that she wouldn’t normally teach. I really love this attitude as it says a lot about Suzie and wanting her workshops to be the best available in the women’s strength training market
– Excellent value for money. The 3hr workshop cost £25 and the coaching we received was top notch
I will definitely be telling some of my training partners about the Wonder Woman Workshops and bringing them along to future ones. It’s not often you get a chance to train with such inspiring, friendly and motivational women. I had a fantastic time and the fact that I am typing this blog post with severe DOMs (even my eyelashes hurt) the day after the workshop speaks volumes, I loved it. Thank you to everyone at Wonder Woman Workshop UK for making me feel so welcome and I can’t wait to see you all again soon!
Thank you to Suzie for allowing me to use her pictures from the workshop. If you would like to find out more about WWWUK you can go to:
https://www.facebook.com/WonderWomanWorkshopsUK or follow Suzie on Twitter @Suzinator81