Last month, NBC debuted their latest fitness reality competition: STRONG. Airing on Thursdays at 8/7c, STRONG pairs 10 women with 10 elite trainers, and puts them on a journey like no other. Two of those trainers, Chris Ryan and Todd Durkin, have worked with Cybex for many years, and we are proud to watch and root for them on the show.
As a weekly bonus, we'll recap the previous episode of STRONG with Chris right here on the Cybex blog. Chris will give us an insider’s perspective on each episode and maybe a hint about what's on tap in the next episode. Although he is now eliminated, Chris is still providing insight, and speaking to those still in the competition, for the blog. Follow Chris on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more photos and insight from the show.
With the competition down to three teams, we definitely saw the toughest power challenge, climbing and picking up the weights. We saw a couple of different ways that the teams tackled the challenge. What would your strategy have been?
It's so hard to say what your strategy truthfully "would have been", but I would have probably opted to carry a moderately heavy load split around 80% on me and 20% on Giovanna (my trainee) knowing that I can move my body weight well when under a heavy load with good grip strength from all the deadlifts, farmer carries and weighted pull-ups I do. And Giovanna proved her strength from all the work we had done on core engagement and grip strength really paid off during that hanging challenge. Awesome job by Bennie and Jill of the Blue team for taking home the big win: a guaranteed trip to the finals and a $50k medallion!
Since there were only three teams left, there was no drama when it came to who was going into the tower. This led to a bit of a relaxing moment for the teams. Did you get to experience much downtime while on the compound?
Yes...as competitive as STRONG is, there was a lot more going on than what was able to be put into each action-packed episode. My favorite part of the show were the mornings in the training yard; just seeing what each of the ten trainers loves to do, with the sun coming up over the mountains in Malibu and ten awesome women just grinding and sweating it out. There is something very invigorating about those moments--literally seeing people doing what they love and improving someone's life directly at that moment in time--it's very powerful to take in.
The Yellow team battled through Brittany’s injury throughout the episode. At this point, much like the NBA/NHL playoffs going on right now, you figure most people aren’t competing at 100% of their health. How do you put mind over matter to keep going?
You just do. Like you more or less said, it was all about tapping into the inner athlete for these women. It is something that we all have within ourselves, but over time gets put on the shelf to collect dust as adulthood sets in. The athlete just knows there is a job to be done and does it; it's about being comfortable with being uncomfortable. That is where you reach greatness within yourself!
Speaking of battling, this Yellow 2.0 team did it AGAIN this week, not only eliminating another team in the Tower, but doing it by breaking their own record time once again. Can you explain how this is happening?
They are absolutely clicking on all cylinders physically, mentally and spiritually. They are also getting in a lot of practice on the Tower too -- all kidding aside -- the way to get better at the Tower is to run the Tower, again and again!
Purple looked absolutely heartbroken at the end. Having been the presumptive favorite, or at least one of them, throughout the competition, how did they miss out on the final?
Just like any athlete can have an off game, they had theirs at an unfortunate time. At this point you need to run the Tower clean, quick and efficient. Absolutely zero time to catch your breath or adjust your gloves, which are just precious seconds taken away that your opponent will not give back.
Here we are, two teams, battling for the top honor and a big prize. Will it be one of the toughest teams throughout the competition, in Benny & Jill, or the redemption team who never quits, Todd and Brittany?
Well I guess we will all have to tune in Thur night and find out won't we :)
No sneak peak, or prediction from our friend Chris. Be sure to join him, and us, as we see who wins the STRONG competition this Thursday, June 2nd, at 8pm EST on NBC.
"STRONG" is produced by Dave Broome and Sylvester Stallone. The competition is hosted by Gabrielle Reece and airs in its regular time slot of Thursday nights at 8 p.m. Be sure to tune in and see how Chris and his partner Giovanna stack up to the competition, and check back here weekly for his recaps and thoughts from the episode.
To learn more about the show, visit nbc.com/strong.