Day 12: The House Blend (Yoga+HIIT+Strength Training)
Background: Synergy is where namaste meets break a sweat training. This studio offers 45 minute sessions combining HIIT, functional strength training, and yoga. Each class incorporates different exercises, equipment, and music to spice up your routine. The sound track is ever-evolving and the sweat sessions are dynamic. Learn more about Synergy by checking out their website here.
We were running down the streets of OB checking our watches with fury.
5:28–5:29 — and then the dreaded 5:30.
Yet again we have broken our cardinal rule of never being late for class.
For reference, this class started at 5:30.
It was good fortune that our instructor, Sofia, who is also the studio owner, was beyond accommodating. She checked us in and brought us up to speed as the class was getting rolling.
Now, why do we say not to be late? Because sometimes you miss out on the opportunity to learn what you will be doing. This is never a good idea when you’re incorporating a new type of training into your routine. So definitely don’t do what we did — try to show up 10 minutes early.
But still, we arrived, and were ready to hit the ground running. From the moment we got there the energy was high. The focus of the day was back exercises, thus the soundtrack of the day was throwback. Destiny’s Child blared from the speaker.
Now, this was something I could get into.
Synergy offers several types of classes ranging from high intensity strength training to restorative yoga. This particular class incorporated aspects of HIIT, yoga, AND strength training. Even better, one of my best friends, Zach, joined for the fun. We always love when people show up for our 100 Days of Fitness challenge, so if you’re following along, feel free to meet us at the studio!
Once we were in the main room, we grabbed our weights — one 5 lb. and two 10 lbs. for me and one 7.5 lb. and two 25 lbs. for him — and joined the rest of the class in a circle. For the HIIT section, we were to cycle through a series of workouts. Some of the exercises I recognized (but still had no clue how to do) like deadlifts. And some were completely new to me — like ring rows and band-assisted pull ups. Each circuit was three to four minutes, and broken up with a yoga flow.
The yoga flow infused hip hop with power. This wasn’t your typical relaxed yoga class. It was fast paced and offered a variety of poses that warmed up your entire body. Downward dog! Chaturanga! Chair Pose! The music swelled as we worked our way through the movements. Besides being fun on its own, the flow was a great way to break up the HIIT circuits. We were all sweating buckets, but it never felt overwhelming or out of range.
Now I’ve taken enough of these classes by now to realize that I do 99% of the exercises wrong the first time. You can tell by the cautionary glance of the instructor from across the room before they come to help you out. For Synergy, it was no different. The culprit? Deadlifts.
From my perspective, I thought you only had to fold over with the weights then stand back up. Well looking back at it now, my back looked more like a Hunchback of Notre Dame than a board. Sofia was quick to show me the better way to do it, and even took me over to the mirror so I could see for myself proper form. She shared with me how the purpose of the lift is to feel it in the back of your legs. Armed with this information, by the end of the class I was doing it (for the most part) right!
Then we moved through exercises like supermans, hammer curls, and bicep curls. Exercises that are pretty standard and easy to grasp. But even with these, Sofia showed me how to improve my form. It was crazy how a tuck of an elbow or turning the hands inward could completely change the difficulty.
Then — the super fun part started. Band-assisted pull-ups and ring rows. I love trying new exercises that I’ve never done before. Not only does it distract me from that fact that I am working out, but it also keeps each new class interesting. The band-assisted pull ups were awesome! Never in my life have I been successful in doing a pull up. But assisted by the band, I was cranking out 10 at a time! Also the ring rows showed a new and dynamic way to work out your chest and back.
Every time I would look over, Zach was either hammer curling his 25 lb. weights or dancing to the throwback music. We both had a ton of fun and it was wild how quick the class went by. Before we knew it, we had cycled through each circuit three times, and completed several yoga flows. Right as we started to wind down expecting a stretch to end the class…
Surprise!! 20-second pull up holds — three times — with jumping jacks between. And no letting your chin rest on the bar! To say Zach and I both burnt out in advance of the 20 seconds was an understatement. But it was cool to see how the body reacts with muscle fatigue and exhaustion. Huge props to the girls in our class who were holding their 20 seconds like professionals. Even Sofia jumped up on the bar to share in the struggle with us.
All in all — we loved it. The class remained engaging and fun all the way through and we got an amazing workout. If you are looking for a jumpstart in your workout routine, Synergy is an amazing place to start. Check them out for the next The House Blend session.
Meet the Instructor!
Sofie Lorain — @soafefers
1) How did you become involved in fitness?
It was a complete accident! I always wanted to work with a group of people and teach and lead them — it just wasn’t adults. I wanted to be a 1st grade teacher and that’s what I was in school for. I loved dancing and my friends told me about a Zumba teacher training and how it would be a great idea to do something I like and make money doing it. I agreed. I got my in at my friend’s gym. I started training there. I was just doing it for fun but something changed. The women in my class would start coming up to me and telling me how they are losing weight, gaining confidence, feeling stronger, taking more chances in life, feel emotionally better, and so much more. I had no idea that an hour class a few times a week dancing to Enrique was having a dramatic difference in their lives. Knowing that something so small that I was doing was making a huge difference fueled me. I realized that kids are easy to mold at such a young age but adults are not. We get stuck in the day to day and it’s hard for us to change for the better sometimes. I wanted to continue with my passion of helping people but my platform was going to be in fitness for adults. I opened up my first studio in Minneapolis training people in a group setting after I became a personal trainer. The rest is history.
2) What is the story behind Synergy?
This isn’t easy for me to share but I always feel called to just put it out there because I know deep down it can help someone. In 2015 I left the studio that I opened and I also went through a very hard breakup. I fell into a bad depression. I remember there was a month that I couldn’t eat, all I did was sleep because it was unbearable to feel the pain in my heart when I was awake. At 5'5 I lost 30 lbs and weighed only 92lbs at my lowest point. One day I realized I had to figure out how to beat my depression because I couldn’t continue letting myself suffer like that. I made a list of everything that I knew that could start to make me feel better. Working out, eating healthy but still having fun, meditation, and here it is….yoga. I hated yoga and never wanted to do it but I knew it was beneficial for me to clear my mind and get better. At first it was hard to get myself to do anything. But I forced it. Week by week I started to feel a little better, gain a little weight and a few months or so into it I started smiling, laughing, and feeling like everything was going to be okay. Something else happened. My body… My body and workouts completely changed. For the first time I could deadlift over 200lbs. Squat 150+, do a backbend not to mention on a camel, I could lift more, run faster, jump higher, and keep my muscles under tension for longer. My recovery was better, my soreness wasn’t what it used to be, and boy did my booty look good. Why? I realized that for the first time I was paying attention to my breath. I was breathing properly in my workouts giving my body the oxygen it needs and exerting force with my breath. Yoga gave my mobility that stretching and foam rolling never did allowing to recover faster and have more range of motion in my workouts. I realized that yoga + strength + HIIT was the perfect Synergy. I put plans into motion and in November 11th of 2017 opened Synergy in Ocean Beach. The first Studio in California to combine Yoga + HIIT + Strength in its sessions! The rest is history.
3) What advice do you have for someone new to your class?
Never give up. I really believe that. Never give up on yourself. The first step is the hardest and just know that once you get the motion in place it gets easier the longer you keep it going. We all start somewhere and at Synergy we have your back. We will help you Rise to the Occasion.
Share your experience with the hashtag #100VizerDays or meet us at the studio to join in on the fun! Follow along on Instagram and Facebook