Saturday, November 2, 2013

HIIT with Ray Elbe

I've been going to a Brazilian Jiujitsu class run by MMA fighter Ray Elbe. In addition to Jiujitsu, he runs a combat fitness class for women on Fridays. 

Yesterday, I decided to check it out. 

Mind Games
I really enjoy trying new things, especially when it comes to different exercise classes. However, just because I enjoy it, doesn't mean I don't feel nervous before trying something new out. I feel apprehensive about my performance. I wonder what the other people in the class are going to be like. I wonder whether or not I'll be able to do the exercises. Worst of all, I feel really self-conscious. 

It always feels like no matter what I do or how much I work, I end up being the biggest one in class. After losing 33 kg (72 lbs) and still being the heaviest girl in class -- trust me, it's a hard pill to swallow. I feel like I always look like the girl who doesn't try or the girl who doesn't really care about being healthy or fit. It's tough. Getting over that mental hurdle and actually going is a huge battle that I continue to struggle with. 

Still, I show up.  I really don't know what it is in me that actually gets me through the door. I surprise myself each time I go. Even though I can't pinpoint what it is that drives me, I hope it never disappears and that I continue to show up and try regardless of my fears. 

Physical Fatigue!
There were 5 girls (including me) in the class (and yes, I was the heaviest one). It was basically an HIIT circuit training class - 4 groups of 4 exercises each; we did each exercise for 30 seconds, and 2 rounds of each exercises. So each exercise group would last for 4 minutes. 

Doing 4 minutes of exercise sounds easy, right? Ya right! He really pushed us to give it our all for those 4 minutes. No rest between each 30-second round, just go go go! Rounds 1 and 2 were fine -- then we got to round 3. By the end of that round, I was exhausted! I had to really dig to get through that last round. It was tough. Not only was I tired, but I found those exercises the most physically challenging. 

For me, what helped most was when he kept saying - It's a mental challenge, not a physical one.

This is something that I've seen over and over again. I know it's in my mind -- finding the strength to push through that is tough! I kept hearing his voice saying, don't stop. Don't stop. Don't stop, and I kept trying to stay in the zone and push through. 

In the end, I did the whole circuit. I didn't stop. I didn't give up, and I sure as hell didn't let the fact that I was the heaviest one there interfere with my enthusiasm and determination to make the most of the class. 

Learning to Push Through & Facing Fears
HIIT workouts are so exhausting! Who would have thought that 16 minutes of exercise could leave you so spent. Well, I know through our CrossFit WODs that the duration of the exercise doesn't matter as much as how intensely you perform each exercise. 

What was really great about this circuit was that it was all using body weight. We didn't need much space or any equipment. It just goes to show how you can always get in a good workout at home. You've just got to push yourself. That's definitely where having a trainer, plus a group of others, comes in handy. I know having Ray constantly pushing us to keep moving and keep going faster helped me keep moving and really trying. 

I know that the progress that I have made in the past year and a half with fitness has resulted in facing my fears. The whole task of just showing up to try something new is an example of that. I feel scared. Even now as I type this my heartbeat is quickening a bit because it is frightening. 

The thing is, you really don't know how much you can accomplish until you try. You've got to just somehow find that belief in yourself and go for it. You can tell that I still have hesitations and doubt. A lot of times that belief in myself isn't there - but I'm determined to at least fake it till I make it. 

I know that the only way I'll improve is if I keep showing up and keep trying. I need to remember that it doesn't matter what others are doing, saying, or thinking. What matters is that I keep showing up and giving it my all. Slowly but surely, the results of my efforts will show. 


  1. Hi Ayesha! Your size has to be in your mind because in the picture of you between the Gracie brothers in Las Vegas, either they are GIANTS or you are tiny, and I believe the latter:)

    It would be fun to see a HIIT workout. I read somewhere once that Bruce Lee trained in different exercises using mostly his own body weight for resistance. He was lean but very muscular at the same time. Anyway, great information from your post!

    1. I have to agree with Marc. I don't think you are seeing your true size. You need to go back and look at the pics in your October review post. You have some long and lean legs in the pic of you practicing the guillotine choke.

  2. Our mind can control so many things!!! Weight loss is very mental!!! Why do we allow it to negatively control us? Proud of you for overcoming and going to class!!!

  3. My insecurities can also get the best of me. I'm finding that yoga is teaching me to try harder, hold a pose longer, and in general do more. I wish I had discovered this when I was much younger. You're doing great so don't be so hard on yourself. :)

  4. Hi A! I think you aren't realizing how much fitness experience you bring into a new class. You're much more knowledgeable about fitness in general that most other classmates would be. You should feel confident about trying something new, for that reason. You've already proven yourself. If you mess up because you're new at it--so what. Confidence is only important when you're not doing well. But I bet those other girls were impressed with you, whether they said it or not. Heck, I think you're quite formidable. :D


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