Michael Collins & Julie Steck 

This month’s member spotlight is a little different! Michael Collins & Julie Steck share their story of how regular Silver Plus attendance made them strong-and-able on their trip in France.

Julie and I just wanted to let you know how things are going for us in Bourgogne, France.  Our workouts usually start at 9:00 each morning. We are expected to have all of our prep work done setting up our gear before that time.

Most of our workout is conducted on a device known as an écluse. This is a machine that was first conceived by Leonardo De Vince and has been improved over the years. However most of the equipment we use is from the 1800's although there is more electric assist being added making workouts not only faster but less tiring. 

We start with rope work. While each rep is relatively short, we might do as many as 20 reps in a day, plus each rep must be repeated until completed properly.

Ladders are often combined with the rope work, however ladders here are vertical and involve a bit more strength conditioning than the horizontal ladders we use in class. To keep the balance and agility component in place we must begin our assent of the ladder from a moving platform.

Resistance training is done by moving a large metal door through the water using a lever arm, rather the elastic bands popular in the US. By changing body position this machine can target many different muscle groups.

Once the door has been moved into place we use the VNF equivalent of the TRX apparatus. We lean back as far as we can comfortably while holding onto the rope as the water level changes the rope length changes as well, meaning you have to be continually pulling yourself up the rope, or lowering yourself down the rope. By adjusting the water level you are able have the pull coming from different angles.

After 3 to 5 hours working out at the écluse we usually put in additional workout time either on non-stationary bikes or walking, while carrying weights. These weights are often measured in liters, or more accurately 750cl increments, this is France you know. The reward comes knowing that the weights we are carrying will go down very nice with dinner. 

Thanks to your Silver PLUS class, and all the work we did building strength, while improving balance and agility, the only pain we've had was purchased at a local boulangerie, along with our morning croissants.

- VNF - Voies Navigables de France - Controls the canals of France
- écluse - lock
- boulangerie - bakery
- pain - pronounce pan - bread 
- 750cl - the size of the normal wine bottle