So far, we've completed 25 sessions over the last 5 weeks! That's half of this 10-week fitness program designed and led by Caroline Girvan, certified fitness trainer extraordinaire.
Well done on reaching the halfway point. Keep going because we are epic!
In this blog post and video, I share my initial impressions of EPIC II based on the first half of the program. I've so thoroughly enjoyed EPIC I (you can watch my positive review of EPIC I here) and am loving EPIC II.
Like many of you, I started EPIC II on January 3rd when Caroline Girvan released the program on her YouTube channel. And it's hard to believe that it's already more than halfway through! I personally don't want it to end it's so much fun.
In my opinion, EPIC Programs by Caroline Girvan are the epitome of home fitness. To be quite honest, they're some of the best programs I've ever done, gym or no gym. Such high quality and superior to most programs out there. Many of you (myself included) are considering dropping the gym memberships and keeping it up with your at-home training sessions. I've personally made more strength gains and performance progress with Caroline Girvan than I have at the gym. Very cool.
Initial Impressions of EPIC II
In my mind, having completed EPIC I and now more than halfway through EPIC II, three aspects of the program that have stood out as part of what makes this program extraordinary are:
Let me explain each of these in-depth.
Coolest moves ever! Paired with the fun, upbeat, music Caroline chooses, I forget that I'm in a grueling workout and feel like I'm on the dancefloor. And because we're having so much fun, time flies. Hour-long workouts, as intense as they may be, always have an element of fun so they never feel long. They are engaging physically as well as mentally so they fly by and the concept of time is elusive and ephemeral.
Caroline is the true master of the body. She knows how to target and engage large muscle groups as well as smaller muscle groups. She awakens muscle that might get neglected in other programs or if left to our own devices where we preferentially select exercises that target muscles that are already strong.
Her program has addressed my imbalances because of the thorough sessions and comprehensive nature of her programs. As someone who loves training legs and core, I would preferentially gravitate towards those ty[es of training sessions often neglecting my upper body. But with Caroline, I find myself doing hour-long arm-focused and back-focused workouts. For the first time, (with her programs) I've spent full hour training shoulders. It's a whole new world! And now, because of the focus and attention, I'm getting in other parts of my muscles, I am able to do full chest to floor pushups. Very cool.
Each session is so thoughtfully and beautifully designed that it is moving art. It reminds me of elaborate choreography for a dance number. It's that well constructed. And that is a testament to Caroline's unbridled creativity. This is part and parcel of what makes training with Caroline Girvan so fun.
But make no mistake, just because it's super fun doesn't mean we're not working super hard (and sweating!!) So that brings me to the next point.
EPIC II will push you outside of your comfort zone and beyond the limits of what you thought your body was capable of.
Caroline always emphasizes the importance of going at our own pace, making the workout our own and reminding us that it's “you versus you.”
We can dial up the intensity or mod down. It's entirely up to us. And as Caroline reminds us, it's only as hard as we push it. Personally, the challenging moves, complexes, and sequences make me want to push it hard. I want to embrace the tough nature of what she presents us within each session. And it feels just amazing when we do.
She has a way of encouraging us to give it our all each session and bring all that we have. By seeing her giving it her all and pushing her max, I want to push through the burn and embrace each challenge.
It's so motivating to see Caroline testing her limits also and really challenging herself alongside us. It's not supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be hard because that's how we make progress and get better and better.
Some of the toughest sessions that come to mind are the complex days. One of the leg complexes in particular was one of my absolute favorites. It was three mind continuous complexes and I was shaking and sweating profusely throughout the session. One of the coolest things was that it jacked up my heart rate and kept it elevated throughout. That was the best feeling ever. And I was able to use heavyweights, which I would have never fathomed being able to do prior to EPIC I. It just goes to show with consistency and a good attitude, you're capable of so much more than you know. And Caroline is unlocking that reality in so many people who are along for the EPIC journeys.
In particular, some of my favorite challenges were the bodyweight days with calisthenics and the leg complexes. They were so intense, but once you embrace the burning sensation in your trembling, exhausted muscles, you really do find yourself enjoying the difficulty of the sequences. And it feels good to push your limits because afterward, you feel so accomplished!
Caroline emphasizes quality over quantity and prizes good form over speed. If you have to do fewer reps in order to maintain good form, so be it. If you have to drop the weights, take a few seconds to reset and get back in there, so be it. It's so reassuring and inspiring to see Caroline do this from time to time. She practices what she preaches. And it's so refreshing to see this authentic aspect of high-intensity strength training because she shows us she's pushing her max and is right there with us every step of the way.
This brings me to my next, and final, the point about what I love so far in EPIC II.
I have experiences two levels of this.
Caroline's camaraderie and the EPIC community.
Throughout the intense, arduous sets and sequences Caroline gives us a thumbs up to remind us she's there with us and even though it's not easy we will persevere. She establishes rapport with us through her stellar onscreen presence and persona. She's extremely affable and gives big smiles in between sets when we're gearing up for another challenge. The eye contact really makes us feel like she sees all of us on the other end of the screen and is cheering us on. It shows us she's along for the ride, however bumpy it may be.
Caroline achieves camaraderie through her nonverbal cues which we'll see throughout the session. This is in the form of encouraging thumbs-up, claps, mouthing “okay” as if to say “we got this” and also as reminders for proper form ahead of the movement or sequence.
Reading the comments from the EPIC community and from my EPIC friends, the general sentiment has been that doing EPIC feels like training with a friend – a very very strong friend.
The other level of camaraderie I have felt is from the EPIC community. Caroline has attracted a plethora of kind, supportive, encouraging, and challenge-seeking individuals. This is easy to see from the outpouring of love on Caroline's channel. Each video has hundreds of comments and responses from people who are so grateful to Caroline for creating her programs, who are helping answer people's questions, and also supporting other EPIC folks following these programs.
There's a private Facebook group as well for further community support and it's a great place for EPIC goers to virtually convene and congratulate each other for completing yet another EPIC session!
There's also a lot of activity on Caroline's Instagram page and people share in their stories the various sessions they've completed as well as what EPIC day they're on. I, myself, have been enjoying connecting with a handful of lovely ladies who have been following Caroline's EPIC program from the beginning as well. We exchange recipes, ideas for active rest days, and talk about other health and fitness-related topics we're passionate about. Such wonderful EPIC friends I've made, thanks to Caroline!
So those are my initial impressions of EPIC II.
What are some of your impressions of EPIC?
Where are you currently at in your EPIC journey?
And what do you think Caroline will do next? I think we're all waiting with bated breath at the anticipation of what she's got in store for her EPIC crew!
Thanks for reading and I'll see you soon!
Ciao for now!
Caroline Girvan's Program Information and Social here:
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