Army veteran Kevin Silverman puts Nicole Tsong through her paces with tests of endurance and strength.

Share story

THE ASSESSMENT FELT more like a special kind of cardio torture, with breaks just long enough for me to catch my breath and go again.

I didn’t think a workout at Human Forge Movement Training in Lynnwood would be easy, considering co-owner Kevin Silverman has an Army background and an outdoor obstacle course at the gym, but I did think I would get longer breaks.

That is not the case when you’re getting the Alpha treatment.

Human Forge Movement Training

When new to Human Forge, your first step is an assessment/workout where a trainer tests your fitness and comes up with a plan. Here, you get personal training in a group setting. Once you have your training plan, you go in during set hours to work out, when a trainer is there. If you want to go straight Army-style, there also are boot-camp classes.

I wanted to know how I would fare. Once I filled out some paperwork on my goals, Silverman took me through movements.

Then the work began. He sent me to an indoor rower to row 500 meters as fast as I could. Once I was done, I did one minute of squats, three times. He told me not to burn out on the first set, and watched my endurance. While the rowing left me breathless, the squats felt fine.

He also checked my core strength by having me hold a plank.

We moved on to training, with pushups to fatigue, followed by 10 box jumps and 15 burpees with a medicine ball. After I did a round, he told me I had two more. I was breathing heavily and wishing for longer rests.

Instead of sprints in the parking lot, which is more typical, we moved to the obstacle course, and he had me do monster crawls with 45 pounds added to a sled. After the box jumps and burpees, my legs were burning. He walked with me, telling me to push harder, then had me turn around and run back. I tried.

During the break, I had to sit down. I was panting heavily. I wondered aloud whether it is always this hard. He told me I was getting the Alpha treatment, or shorter breaks. I wished silently that he could sub in Beta for a moment, or Charlie, for that matter.

He took me to the tire wall. He climbed to the top to make sure I made it up and over, then had me come back up and down one more time. At the bottom, instead of jumping off, I tried to crawl under the wall without falling off. At one point, I was hanging there, inches from the ground, and I let go. I felt done.

But we went back to the gym and did additional core work. I also attempted three reverse pushups upside-down on rings.

The assessment was finally over.

Afterward, I asked Silverman what my workout would look like if I continued. He said he would combine strength and conditioning for me, along with target heart-rate training. He also would kick up my cardio with interval training, including sprints and obstacle work. I have a feeling his workout plan would stay at the Alpha level.

But I liked the assessment. It made me feel confident about where I am, and confirmed what I already know — I could use work on cardio and pullups. Time to get moving.