THE PRESSURE was not on. Not yet.
When I met Desiree Hartsock for a workout, the star of the ninth season of ABC-TV’s reality show “The Bachelorette” had already been in Seattle for a year. She moved from California to the Pacific Northwest in August 2013 for her final choice, Chris Siegfried, a Seattle loan officer/mortgage consultant.
But she was still months away from her winter nuptials, and Desiree confessed her motivation was a little low. Her goal was to stick to two training sessions a week despite a heavy travel schedule. I have a feeling constant television appearances are very good motivation.
Desiree is as pretty in person as she is on TV, and with the exception of her extra large, sparkly engagement ring, she is quite normal. We bonded over a mutual dread of how hard the workout would be.
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Dave Johnson of Elite Fitness Training oversees her training. He mixes up her workouts, focusing on cardio and body-weight endurance, as well as her trainers.
One goal of the session is to get her heart rate up. Move we did. Johnson started us out with some basketball warm-ups. Desiree landed baskets with ease; I apparently can’t shoot hoops and missed all my layups.
Dave had us do partner workouts, trading back and forth on each exercise. After the layups, one of us had to hop up and down off a bench, rolling a basketball underneath the bench, while the other grabbed a heavy rope and did rope slams while shuffling side to side. Desiree started on the rope, and when we switched, she pointed and said it was really hard.
After a round working lunges and side planks, Dave rolled out a tractor tire and showed us how to slam the tire with a heavy hammer. Desiree had done this one before and had the technique down, while I had to work on hitting properly. He also threw in mountain runners, plank holds and push-ups on the tire for good measure. Desiree admired my push-ups. I wondered if we could stop soon.
After a few rounds of intense core work, we went outside to run and do weighted lunges. Desiree confessed she hates running. Me, too. Just call us the dynamic duo.
Johnson ran around the block with me while Desiree lunged with a 25-pound barbell. Once we caught back up to her, we switched. For the second round, Johnson stayed with Desiree for the lunges, then ran with her — “so I don’t cheat” — while I lunged. My legs were trembling.
After that, Dave cheerfully announced we were going to do stairs. I wondered how my jelly legs were going to make it up stairs, switching between singles and doubles. Desiree reassured me that we walk up the stairs. When Dave started jogging up, Desiree protested. Dave modified it to one set. Des, I owe you one.
Before Desiree was on the 17th season of “The Bachelor,” with Sean Lowe, the bridal designer said she did yoga and spin to keep in shape. She still does barre classes. Working with a trainer pushes her to lift heavier weights and to go longer on her workouts, she said.
She was in better shape than she claimed, holding up well through the hourlong workout. And if that’s the workout she’s doing twice weekly, I have a feeling that when she gets closer to the wedding, she won’t need to do much else.
Nicole Tsong teaches yoga at studios around Seattle. Read her blog at papercraneyoga.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Katie G. Cotterill is a Seattle Times staff videographer.