Cardio Coach Volume 8Sean O'Malley
Year Released: 2008
- Audio Workout
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We all exercise for different reasons; some do it for health, others for stress relief, others want to feel good. Life can get in the way for even the most dedicated of exercisers. The anticipation of doing a Cardio Coach workout is enough to motivate me, even on the days when I just don’t feel like exercising.
I had the privilege of previewing Cardio Coach Volume 8. I knew it would be a tough workout. But, I was very motivated to do this workout, in order to help Sean.
In a previous post, Vrinda has given a very detailed breakdown of the the Cardio Coach Vol. 8 workout; my review focuses on my thoughts & feelings as I was doing the workout. I’m an advanced exerciser, very much into weight training, kettlebells and yoga. I’ve recently added running to my exercise routines though, as a cross-training activity. Cardio Coach helps me tremendously; I’ve even started to enjoy running. Now on to the workout itself.
Sean is his usual, motivating self. I’m just getting into the warm-up, feeling loose, when Sean says “Okay, your challenge begins here.” I’m thinking to myself, “Gosh, I wish this warm-up could go on.” Sean seems to be a mind reader though, since he goes on to say, “. . . but don’t panic, we’ll use the next few minutes to ease into the challenge.” I breathe a small sigh of relief.
Did I mention that I’m not really a runner? Needles to say, I’m not the most graceful looking person when I’m running. But, when Sean says “Everything is as it should be. You’re looking good. “I feel strong, powerful, and like a true athlete.
Once again Sean comes in at exactly the right time with, “I’m right here with you. I know your legs are screaming. You can do this.” How does he do that? He MUST be a mind reader, since this is at the point where I’m thinking, “Oh boy, how on earth can I finish this challenge?” Of course I can, Sean is running right along with me.
Music here is perfect for recovering and gathering my thoughts for the tough challenge ahead.
This challenge is a long one; 2 8+ minute sections. I felt so accomplished when I finished this section; my prior run training was more along the lines of run 1 minute, walk 2 minutes, run 1 minute etc. I’m now thinking to myself, “I can really do this!”
The music in this section is one with a heavy beat, perfect for pacing. It helps to have Sean whispering, “Persistence, focus” at the start too. Sean’s encouragement, once again, comes at just the right time, “Here is where we grow stronger, leaner and more empowered.”
Setting exercise goals and accomplishing them, is a metaphor for life. Sean’s focus on action and doing, is just what I need to hear for the other parts of my life too.
I know we all have choices in life and we create our own success. It helps to hear Sean saying, “We create our own reality. . .When you choose to hear it.” I’m feeling so strong and empowered during this workout, the statement really stuck home.
As I first did Challenge 3, I’m feeling a bit tired and a bit discouraged because I think I should be running faster and harder. Then it struck me, “I’m here, I’m working hard and I’m not about to give up!” This is what challenging yourself is all about. It’s not about what I think I “should” be doing, it’s about what I’m doing right here and now and giving it my all.
It’s worth it to power through the entire workout to hear Sean say, “You did it. I’m proud of you.”
It sure was nice to lie down and stretch. I’m sure my neighbors thought I was strange, since I chose to do the stretch in my front yard. It was just so nice outside; I wanted to enjoy the outdoors a bit more.
After the stretch, there was some time of just quiet music and no talking. This was perfect was taking some deep breaths and reflecting upon what I had just accomplished.
OK - admit it. When you workout you fantasize too.
With Cardio Coach, my fantasies are of striving and winning races or noble feats of physical endurance. I soar through breathtakingsly beautiful scenery. Sometimes Sean's imagery paints the scenery. Sometimes Todd's music and my imagination over-rule. There are white doves, crystal clear springs, lush greenery. Sean O Malley's makes several appearances looking like a knight in shining armour. The goodness that I have come to know from corresponding with him, blends with the wonderful moral strength he manages to inflect his Cardio Coach voice with. His face has the radiance of those who are ultra-good human beings in my mind's eye. I feel uplifted and inspired.
CC 8 starts off with great drama. The music is like the background score of a larger than life film with a stupendous budget. I kept thinking of Dr Zhivago though the music isnt like Lara's Theme at all. Sean sounds exactly like he always does. Like the knight in shining armour. The first challenge starts with a bang. A longer than usual Level 3 hill and then 90 seconds at Level 4 up that hill. I was so wrapped up in the noble mission I laboured uphill bravely (aka no cheating and good form).
Then Sean announces Challenge 2. Two 8 minutes Level 3 hills (treks) - that is right two of em - with just a bitsy recovery in between. And the music turns badass. There is no trace of noble in this challenge. Oh yeah! This is wicked. This is fun. Oh my! It was so much fun to be the baddie for a change. The scene in my mind changed between a heist where Jason Stratham (my newest favorite law-breaker you cannot help loving), Sean and I were breaking and entering, working against time, to steal diamonds, to where I was the baddie running atop a moving train doing dangerous stunts. The train thing especially works so well with the momentum of the music. 8 minute hills at Level 3 (I have never done them or ever imagined I would) are tough-tough-tough. Yet the music and Sean propel you through. I actually increased the settings of the second hill just to see how long I could keep it up even though hill 1 wiped me out. When there are two minutes left in the second hill Sean says something about realizing success is so close and it felt like he was in on the whole heist thing. My poor, dead legs drew on will power because my body was so spent and I persevered to the end.
At the end of Challenge 2, I had to crawl to recover from the attack on my endurance.
As for Challenge 3, I am going to leave you in suspense. I will just say that it is more hills. Please note the plural. When Sean announced what I was going to do, I thought - Is he crazy? Did I hear that right? I couldnt believe he would actually make me do it. He did. The music is entirely different in this Challenge. The image in my mind was of army training bootcamps and I was the poor sod being trained. Sean does not sound in the least like a drill seargant. He is wonderfully encouraging as always. But he and the music drive you like you never thought you could be driven.
I love sprints. Sprints make me feel athletic and all-powerful. Let's face it. Running or pedaling fast gets easier as your body gets efficient at cardio. A hill on the other hand always has to be conquered. I'd rather sprint like the devil were chasing me than walk up a 12% grade. Sure, you could get CC 8 and substitute sprints for hills like some VF-ers said they do. But I challenge you to actually do so with CC8. When Sean says hill in this workout he means hill. The music says (and means it) hill. I feel such a sense of achievement from completing this workout.
What is very different about this volume is how the music switches so dramatically from the first challenge (which seems signature CC) to the second challenge (which is deliciously evil) to the third.
I have never stretched with Sean before. I do my own yoga stretches instead. This time I did stretch with Sean and I liked it very much. He starts you off in the equivalent of yoga Shavasana. He guides your breathing. Then he does the equivalent of the yoga tree pose while lying down. That felt really good as a hip opener. Finally a lying twist. It was short but very good. I must do CC stretches next time I do CC.
As always, to those that actually read the whole thing, thank you.
To the scrollers: Buy it. Swap for it. Steal it. But get it. Soon. Mindblowing.
Sean is professional, a perfectionist, a great motivator, and wonderfully talented. But his biggest asset is that he is mesmerizing. His workouts are enchanting. If you hate machine cardio, he can make you long to get back for more. At age 40 I run faster, stronger than I ever thought I could thanks to the Cardio Coach. As so many of us here at VF know he has an enormous heart and always puts people before commercial considerations.