Hellloooooooo. It has been a minute, and for good reason. I’m excited to fill you in on some of my excursions from the past month! You may remember that I was participating in the Burnout challenge sponsored by Gwee Gym (based in Houston) earlier this year. Let me give you a little background story.
Last year, after watching the Olympics, I tweeted that I wanted a body like 400m sprinter Natasha Hastings, and got super psyched that she “liked” it.
Fast forward to this spring when Natasha announced a contest presented by Gwee Gym. To enter, you had to purchase the Burnout by Gwee Gym fitness program and follow it for 8 weeks! The 3 participants with the best results would win an all-expense paid trip to Austin, TX to meet Natasha Hastings and appear on her Tea Time vlog.
At the time, I was looking to gain muscle and lose some belly fat. A chance to meet my favorite track athlete seemed like perfect motivation! So I got started.
Boy, was I in for a surprise. The Burnout program is basically a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout that trains every part of your body and uses plyometrics to increase your heart rate. I’ve personally never followed a fitness program for more than a week or two and never worked with a personal trainer, so when I tell you I was hurting, I was HURT. Burnout is no joke, you will sweat more than you have in your entire life, even if you’re not a big sweater, but the results are outstanding. I’ve gotten 3 other people to try Burnout and they’ve all seen slimmer, fitter frames with inches lost.
The Gwee Gym Pro is the device we used for the challenge, which is a pretty ingenious system that allows you to perform normal drills and exercises like push-ups and squats with resistance, so you can build muscle definition. The Burnout program is a 5-day set of videos led by trainer Rich Winley that takes you through 35-50 minutes of grueling workout (always bookended by warm-ups and cool-downs of course!).
Mandatory photo check-ins helped me keep up with my progress and I was amazed at how much my body transformed from completing workouts and changing my eating habits (more water, less sugar!). The best part of the challenge was making new friends in the participant Facebook group, where we encouraged each other and posted selfies of our workouts to stay accountable.
The challenge ended in July. I immediately celebrated with the biggest cup of ice cream I could find, and in August I got an e-mail saying I was a winner!!
Last week, I finally got to travel to Austin. The plane ride itself was an adventure (it was my first time flying in a post 9/11 world and by myself, so that’s a whole blog in itself). I landed in ATX just after 10am, and came face to face with some good ol’ Texas humidity. I met up with the other winners and took the shuttle to our hotel where we met the awesome Burnout team who would be our tour guides for the rest of the day. On the way, we saw a field of real-life longhorns–which I totally freaked out about and didn’t get a picture of, so I definitely have to go back now.
First stop: Lunch at Casa Maria where we chatted, ate amazing Mexican food and met Natasha (and her brother)
Second stop: Ignite Fitnez, the one and only gym you HAVE to visit if you plan on working out in South Austin. They have an amazing facility just outside of the city center with tons of great equipment. They were gracious enough to loan us their space while we taped testimonials (Natasha was impressed with my delivery *faints*) and provided these comfy tees we’re rocking in the photo below.
On our way to the last location, Natasha offered to chauffeur us in her beautiful Audi named Cocopuff. Best. Ride. Ever.
Final stop: Galvanize, a co-op and networking campus situated in Downtown Austin at the heart of the 2nd St. District’s tech mecca, where companies like IBM, Indeed and Google are located. We filmed our Tea Time vlog episode here and had a perfect Boomerang photo op. This is another go-to space if you’re in Austin. And I must say, the lighting here is something serious 😉
It’s sad to think this amazing day had to come to an end, but it did 😦 We said our goodbyes to Natasha, returned to the hotel, shed mini crocodile tears with the Burnout team and checked in to our rooms.
We were in town during the second week of the famous Austin City Limits Music Festival, so the town was buzzing with people. We explored 6th Street that evening and stopped at Voodoo Donut (proof that everything is indeed bigger in Texas). Our pedicab driver was Spider-Man, and who doesn’t love Spider-Man?
The official motto of the city is “Keep Austin Weird,” and after my experience, I can confirm the city is indeed a bit weird, but with some of the nicest people, I’ve met (although everyone’s probably pretty nice when you tell them you’re from out of town). I would describe 6th Street at Franklin St. on steroids if you’ve ever been to Chapel Hill, or diet Bourbon St. for all the NOLA fans out there.
I had an early flight out, so after waking up at like 5am I said my goodbyes to the city of Austin and headed back to the airport to return home. A lot can happen in 24 hours, and this is by far the most fun I’ve had in awhile. So grateful for the experiences, friendships, connections and memories I made in Austin, and for the Gwee Gym Pro that started it all.