The Training Guide is Available for Download!
The TRUBLUE team may have completed the Reach Your Peak program, but now it’s your turn to get started! The eight week training guide has been released and is available for download, so find a TRUBLUE near you and get started!
Benefits of Training with Reach Your Peak:
The program is designed to help any level of climber improve their overall health, improve endurance, rebound from life changing events such as pregnancy or injury, and to strengthen already existing skill-sets. Of course, there are other unintended side effects that have been seen from following this program. Some of the TRUBLUE team reported:
- Healthy weight-loss
- Overall feeling of increased “coolness”
- New-found passion for climbing
- Wife started taking notice of toned and strong new physique
- Increased popularity from making new friends at the gym
- Less tired and sluggish at work
- Better nights of sleep
- And more!
If all those things sound like what you’re looking for from your fitness program, then let’s get started!
This video from Week Eight highlights the final Reach Your Peak training session. The tests are over, and the results are in: every climber averaged gaining a grade and a half of climbing ability during the training period. That’s a huge leap for everyone, and truly something to be proud of!
In Week Seven, the TRUBLUE Team tries a new approach to their challenge routes – with an attempt to climb doubles (or in some cases, even triples).
The TruBlue training program is over, and I am moping about the house, a gallon of ice cream sitting just off the dvd box for The Notebook. I’ve just gotten done with a good cry and am pacing back and forth in the kitchen, see-sawing between quiet desperation and silent fury as I foot-tappingly wait for the s’mores-flavored Pop-Tarts to spring from the toaster. I started the family-sized box this morning and am about to finish the last of them, targeting the pastries with single-minded intensity. We all need goals, and sans Reach Your Peak homework I find myself adrift in the world, a leaf swallowed in the capricious seas of life. It’s a low point for me, two days out, and a low point for my waistline, having put on 180 pounds in forty-eight hours.
The Pop-Tarts finish, and they are dust in my mouth as I choke them down, the butter I’ve spread across them a spare but self-flagellating necessity. My phone rings. It’s my friend, Ted.
“Tyler, we’re heading to Keystone this weekend. Want to come?”
Hmmm… I think to myself. Hmmm… Can I do it? It’s been literally days since the program finished. Can the slug I’ve become since tumbling from the pinnacle of fitness I’d achieved days before still make it up some hard rock climbs? I brush crumbs from the dreadlocked beard I’ve sprouted and fill my lungs with new air.
“Sure, Ted, that sounds great.”
I need a montage. Even Rocky had a montage.
The gym is bustling when I arrive, the young and beautiful climbers dancing their way up the walls. Ballerina feet toe into delicate footholds, and the air is full of the gentle whirr of TruBlues lowering their charges to the ground. I stretch my harness over my girth, sucking my belly in to cinch the waist tight, then spill my gut over the belay loop. I’m breathing heavily now, this Thursday trip in to the gym more exercise than I’ve had since completing our final evaluation Tuesday, where I’d managed a double repeat of the hardest grade I’d ever climbed at the BRC, onsight, with no rest between. I grunt like a farmer as I struggle to pull my shoes onto swollen feet. I stand up and wobble over to a TruBlue. Clip in. Grab the first hold. Step up.
The foothold explodes below me, unprepared for my weight. The TruBlue lowers me to the ground where I unclip, then sit down heavily, the impact shaking chalk dust loose from the overhead lights. What to do?
I do three crunches, and two pushups, losing five pounds in the process. That’s better. I tighten my harness and re-clip in, the gym going quiet as I step back up to the wall. “Can he do it?” their silence asks. Somewhere in the distance Eye of the Tiger starts to play. I square up, grab the start hold, and venture off, the first steps difficult, then easing as I find my rhythm. I work through the same progression we’d completed throughout the program, warming up, then moving up a +/- grade per success until I fail at 5.12. I leave the gym, svelte and ready to attack the overhanging alpine granite sport lines of Haus Rock.
I’d forgotten in the long, dark times following the end of Chris Wall’s program that the TRUBLUEs make for an excellent partner when you want to get in a great workout in just a little time. All the workouts we’d completed were finished in an hour or so, and I finished the program climbing harder than ever, despite starting the program after an injury-forced layoff. I can’t overstate that… Normally it takes me four or five months of unfocused gym climbing to get into what feels like great shape. This time, with only hour long workouts, I got into better climbing shape than I’d ever achieved. It was great to have specific workouts to complete, and definitive stopping points to tell me when the workout was over. I plan to keep up the workouts, despite the completion of the program. I feel like more improvements are waiting for me.
Chris suggested we rest in the week following the final evaluation, and I did for a couple of days with disastrous results. Thankfully, I leave the gym back in fighting condition, the fog lifting around me. I turn down Unbreak My Heart, turn off the Lifetime movie, change my melodramatic Facebook status, close the pictures of cats on my browser window, scrub my tear-stained face, and get ready to climb. Hopefully the Reach Your Peak team and I can make it out for some outdoor climbing soon, if the weather decides to cooperate. Either way, the TruBlues await.
In this episode of Chris Wall’s Tips, Chris talks about the best things you can do outside of the gym to see improvements on the rock.
Well, it finally happened! I reached the top of my 5.10+. It was one move – I needed to use my left hand, not my right! My left!
Well… let me clarify… it happened, but not in my test. Nope. I fell off when I was almost at the top (three times) during my test. It was, of course, three days later during some lunch-break climbing that I got to the top of my 5.10+. But I did it and I’m so pleased! I was certainly sore the next day, but it was that good kind of sore, the sore that says “I accomplished something”.
I’m in a habit of climbing two or three times a week now thanks to training – I’m hoping that since I’ve been able to make time in my schedule for the last two months, I’ll be able to at least get myself out an average of one or more times a week now that formal class is over. It shouldn’t be too hard – there’s a ton of us hooked on climbing in the office, it shouldn’t take even more than a quick email blast to get a whole group of people to use their lunch hour to head to the Boulder Rock Club!
I’ll miss the training though. I’ll need to have Chris Wall’s voice in my head shouting, “go! Now! Go go go grab it now!” The Trublue’s certainly really do push you to your limit too. There’s no way to “take” on the wall, which makes me a million times more determined to not let go, to find the right hold, and to get up. In practice and outside, having the ability to take is a great thing, but when I’m trying to improve my fitness and get stronger, I do like the challenge of that factor disappearing. It’s a great kick-your-butt motivation tool.
Well, maybe this is a good place to bid you adieu… but maybe this isn’t the last time you’ll be hearing from me! We’ll see.
For now, however, it’s been a pleasure. Keep climbing!
This week was our final session and the evaluation of how far we’ve come. After my last homework, I was really confident and excited about this session. Then Griffin got sick.
The night before the evaluation, my sweet boy had a fever on and off all night long. He didn’t really get to sleep until 6 am and then for only a few hours. Same with me. After about three hours of sleep, I was no longer confident or excited for the challenge of the day. I thought about skipping the session, but changed my mind. I really did want to see not only how I had progressed but how far my teammates had come over the past eight weeks.
The session was a really fun and energized hour, with all of us motivated to see how hard we could climb after the benefit of Chris Wall’s training and the unforgiving nature of the auto belays. I started with a 5.7 warm up, a grade that had actually been a bit challenging with my initial post-baby fitness level. This 5.7 was a piece of cake, as was the 5.8. Moving onto the 5.9, things were a bit more challenging but I managed to send the 5.9 on the first go.
This is where things got tough. The 5.10- I was working on was within my reach. I made it to the second to last hold and fell. According to the “rules,” however, that counted as a completed route. Onto the 5.10… I made it halfway up one but had a hard time figuring out the sequence for my feet. After failing twice, I moved to a 5.10 with open feet. No luck.
By the end of the hour, the 5.10- was my max grade and above my goal of getting back to a 5.9 level. I am really proud of how far I’ve come and am motivated to continue climbing regularly. After all, I still have that 5.10 as my new project.
Week 8’s objective was pretty much the same as the first week’s goal – a test (I called it, didn’t I?). We were to start with our warm up and move up in grades (with a 5 min break between climbs) as high as we could until we couldn’t climb past 2/3rds wall height. This was my chance for redemption, considering the previous week’s mental flop left me 3 holds shy of climbing doubles on my 12 proj (twice I might add!) as well as missing the onsight of Animal Magnetism, a fantastic 5.11c at Boulder Canyon’s Animal World, when I missed the correct body position and fell off the LAST move to a HUGE jug after climbing through all 13 bolts and both cruxes! I needed to get my head together and send. I was even good, despite all temptations, and didn’t climb Sunday or Monday, per Chris’s instructions, to rest up for Tuesday’s testing.
Tyler and I started off the session cruising through our warm-ups, with me trailing him by about 2 minutes. I tried to keep any pump at bay, sticking to the routes of the required grade with the largest holds so that I’d have all the gas I could muster for the project routes. After 8 weeks of training, I’m climbing barely anything at the BRC that’s not under a TRUBLUE and have almost everything below my limit totally wired. I did hop on one new 11+ish route, though, to keep it interesting and fair – no problems there. Next up after warm-ups was a single lap on the pink 12. Flew through it (1st lap hasn’t been an issue, second one is the challenge). Since, unfortunately, there are no 12+’s under the TRUBLUES, our next goal was to try for doubles on a new route. For me, this was a slopey and tenuous 12 I had yet to redpoint but had spent a little time working out the beta. First go, I peeled off a sloper just under 2/3rds height. Five minutes later, I was back on the route. I was able to climb through the first half, up to a stance without too much trouble. Finding better feet (this route was all about body position and tenuous moves to get you’re feet up on the right holds) above the break enabled me to climb through the next section to a good hold at the base of the top overhang. Shake, chalk, shake, chalk, repeat. FIRE! And I made it to the finish hold with applause from the Reach Your Peak Crew below. After finishing, there wasn’t enough time to hop back on for a second lap before the recap chat with Chris. I did get back on and send NO PROBLEMO after our talk, but with significantly more than a 5 minute break. No worries, it felt awesome to send a new route I initially found to be harder than all the previous projects.
In summary, the Reach Your Peak Program and focused climbing (read: laps) on the TRUBLUES has made me stronger with significantly better endurance. This was my original goal (building endurance at my limit) and I’ve achieved it. I feel like I’ve really solidified the grade and am now able to climb multiple laps near/at my limit in a session whereas at the start of the program, I would have only been able to give these routes a couple attempts before becoming burnt out and forced to head home. So if you’re wondering if this was a success, it was, in all respects. I plan to continue with many of the training schemes we followed, particularly laps and down climbing, as well as adding a little bouldering to increase raw power.
So, faithful followers, that’s for following all of us and I hope you’ve had fun! I encourage you to try some of these workouts. They’re hard and tiring, but if you stay consistent, I guarantee results regardless of your ability level (I think we’ve demonstrated that). Now, go find your local TRUBLUE Auto Belay and GET STRONG!!!
“All good things must come to an end” is a dumb proverb. It’s cruel and merciless, and its utterance feels like salt in a wound. As I type this last Reach Your Peak blog post, I can’t help but feel very sad panda. The last eight weeks have zoomed by, and although I can (and will) still climb with the amazing people in the group, it just won’t be quite the same. Things will change, and I’m not the biggest fan of change.
Let’s be honest, though, some changes are meant to touch your life. The Reach Your Peak program has been such a change for me. I proudly proclaim that it has changed my life, and yes, that may sound a bit overdramatic but it’s totally accurate. I learned so much about myself that I wouldn’t trade this experience for all the Godiva chocolates in the world. I’m fully confident that it can have the same effect on anyone who follows the program and discovers the full benefits of climbing.
Athletic Confidence I’ve mentioned before that I grew up with severe asthma, and when I was a kid the treatment was much different, and less effective, than it is now. Due to my illness, I avoided most sports and loathed Track & Field day. I was always one of the last kids picked for team sports. This had a lasting affect on my confidence as I became an adult. Climbing has completely changed that. With this sport, I can excel. I can overcome my fears. I can beat my personal records. I can set new and higher goals. And the best part is that I will never get short of breath doing it. Now, I am more apt to push myself. Now, I am more inclined to try stuff I would never have dared to before. Now when someone says “hey, Jenn, wanna go do the Santa Fe Century Bike Race next year?” I just might reply with a hearty “HECK YES!”
Lesson learned: I can be athletic despite my stupid, defective lungs.
Let Go of Your Fear, Padawan I was afraid to climb because I was really afraid of falling. Like, no-way-in-hell-am-I-letting-you-dangle-me-thirty-stories-in-the-air-from-a-rope scared. Falling is a big deal for me. I’m not even afraid of what happens when I land, it’s the sensation of falling through the air that scares the bejeebus out of me. The TRUBLUE Autobelay allowed me to overcome this fear, at least where climbing is concerned. I feel totally safe and confident as I tip-toe up the wall, and when I get to the top I have no reservations about letting go. It’s second nature to me now; something I don’t think about or hesitate over. In this regard, the TRUBLUE is perfect for the apprehensive beginner. They work like a dream, as long as you remember to clip in! Now I only wish they could install them all over Eldo Canyon.
Lesson Learned: Take the leap, it might be fun and not as scary as you think! Also, The TRUBLUE is my hero, and ALWAYS clip in, kiddies!
I lack Discipline I really didn’t need the program to teach me this horrible self-truth. I was well aware of my procrastination and tendency to choose a Whole Foods Chocolate Mousse Parfait and Family Guy over going for a jog and an apple. True story! What I did learn in this respect is that I do much, MUCH better in a team/group environment. Making commitments to others keeps me on track because I don’t want to let anyone down. If only I worried as much about letting myself down, then I might be able to lick the discipline thing once and for all. This new insight has given me some ideas about how to combat a backslide once the program is over, and I’m looking forward to implementing some new strategies to keep me going and stay motivated. However, the progress I made has been so significant, I will be pretty pissed at myself if I fall into old habits and lose all that hard work I’ve put in already. I. CANNOT. LET. THAT. HAPPEN!
Lesson Learned: Group activities work well for me, find more of them!
I know there are more lessons that climbing can teach me. It’s the type of sport that can teach you something every time you do it for the rest of your life. I consider myself fortunate to live where I do, and to be exposed to the amazing climbing community here in my hometown. I hope you can find a similar excitement and joy in climbing from the Reach Your Peak program. Thanks for your readership and your support!
In our final Climber Spotlight, meet Jenn! Jenn’s job means she has her hands in outer-space, but this out-of-this-universe lady still can’t seem to find a travel partner (and it’s no surprise why not!)
I made it! I made it all 8 weeks and I feel awesome! This is the best shape that I have ever been in and I owe a lot of it to myself, Chris Wall, and TRUBLUE Auto Belays, and my teammates in the program. I tested out at a 5.10 + ~ I’ll take that!
Chris helped me have a bit of confidence to start climbing. He helped me feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed. Chris Wall is very good at his job, and he really understands what people need, when they need it!
I couldn’t have gone this far without the endless support of my teammates – so a BIG Thanks to, Megan, Candie, Leslie, Tyler, Marc, and Shannon! They made it fun to climb, and they all showed me new ways to think about climbing. Tyler and Marc have helped me with small techniques that helped out in a big way!
I would also like to thank my wife, and partner in crime, Jennifer for having the guts to try the program in the first place. I had a feeling that she would be a good fit for climbing, and boy was I right! Thank you for being my climbing partner at the gym!
And a HUGE thank to TRUBLUE Auto Belay – I learned so much from this program. I learned how the Auto Belay can fit into my physical workout routine – I learned how a gym can use Auto Belays to start their own workout programs. I also learned how other people are using TRUBLUE Auto Belays.
I watched as a grandparent brought their grandchild to the Boulder Rock Club for a day of climbing. The Grandparent didn’t need to know anything about climbing and didn’t have to participate if they didn’t want to. That’s just one example.
I highly recommend that if you are looking for a new fitness routine to break up the monotony, find your nearest climbing gym. Climbing centers or gyms usually have equipment that new climbers can use or borrow.
You can find climbing gyms all over the globe!
Here are a couple of handy websites to visit:
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