coach and client working out

By: Freelance Writer & Tone House Athlete Kaitlin McCabe

Even before your workout begins, you’ve been mentally primed for an intense experience. The mantra “Don’t be a hero,” might be called down the line during sprint drills. The words “Leave your ego at the door” stares straight at you when you enter the studio. 

It’s no gimmick: we execute likely one of the most challenging workout programs out there. Reputation aside, our programs are designed with the premise that everyone and anyone can Train Like an Athlete. 

The goal of the 101 class is to introduce you to our movement training philosophy in a more manageable and slower paced format. You’ll still get an intense workout, but at a speed that allows you to learn proper technique for some of the fast-paced moves that appear in class. According to Shaun Jenkins, Senior Training Manager, “[Our] Day One class was a 101. Every single athlete started out in a 101 program. That’s the only way you can really understand the value as you progress.” 

With summer fitness goals on the mental forefront, now is a great time for athletes to better familiarize themselves with the purpose of the 101 class, and what to expect if you haven’t done it yet.

TH 101 classes are by no means “easy.”

TH 101 classes are not significantly less challenging. On a 1-10 scale of class difficulty, the 101 is easily a nine.  

“So many people just coast through their workouts,” Jenkins comments. “There’s nothing easy about Tone House.”

Every athlete, no matter their level, will experience a whole different style of training in their first Tone House class.

“I struggled through all the exercises, especially the warm-up,” veteran Christiana Bau recalls. “The next day (maybe three days after as well), I could not walk.” 

Head Coach Joe Rodonis says, “The first time I was in here, I was super humbled. I was gasping for air, and I thought I was in great shape. It literally hurts.” 

The 101 class follows a slower pace, but athletes still receive the signature Tone House experience. You’ll just have more chances to breathe and correctly prepare for exercises. 

“The 101 allows athletes to operate in a capacity that’s difficult but also at a pace that’s more comfortable for them,” says Jenkins. “We don’t push anyone to go beyond their threshold.” 

A common hesitation we hear from new athletes is the idea that they are not fit or fast enough to keep up with the class. But fear not: our coaches are trained to pace the class based upon the overall ability of the group, and athletes are often broken up into smaller groups with those of similar ability levels. 

“We’re not trying to move the class faster than necessary for our new athletes,” says Rodonis. “We’re trying to get everyone to feel like they can accomplish the entire workout…We are honing in on technique and form – quality of work over speed of work.”

TH 101 is also the best arena to train with physical limitations. Head Coach Yusuf Jeffers explains, “Your coach will always be ready to give modifications based on injuries and issues. While we like to challenge you, we also know how to empathize and adjust based on your capacity.”

TH 101 classes are not just for new athletes.

Our coaches are often seen participating in 101s – debunking the myth that it’s an “easier” class.  Actually, coaches highly encourage advanced clients to add 101 classes into their schedule to continue their skill development and mastery. Plus, they offer inspiration and positive examples for our rookies. 

“After the warm-up, I was questioning what I had gotten myself into,” athlete Jessica Li recalls. “What helped me get through the first class was knowing that everyone else around me struggled with the same mental and physical exhaustion.”

The participation and struggle of advanced teammates proves that our workout remains challenging for all fitness levels, and first-timers shouldn’t feel discouraged after their first class. 

“The environment at Tone House has everyone cheering for you while you work on your weaknesses and improve on your strengths,’ adds athlete Louis Choi

The workouts are as much mental challenges as they are physical. 

Our workouts are far more than physical trials: they are lessons in mental fortitude and character building. As Jenkins puts it, “It’s all about pushing yourself to that brink. Some people want to. Some people don’t.”

Whether it’s deciding to drop to their knees during runners or to gallop to the white line rather than the bags, athletes are handed a tempting opportunity to give in to exhaustion in every class. 

“You’ll have to break mental barriers,” Rodonis maintains. “There’s going to be points when it hurts. But if you can get to your own threshold and push through it a bit and hang in there, that’s where the growth happens.” 

Recognizing the mental challenge is one thing; transforming it into motivation for your workout or accepted of your limitations is another battle entirely. According to Bau, ‘[In my first class] Coach Alonzo kept repeating ‘Ain’t nobody working harder than you.’ I believed him then and I believe him now.” 

The only way to prepare for Tone House is to train at Tone House. 

It’s true, our athletic based training style is unique. Running, strength training, and cycling are all great forms of exercise, but they won’t necessarily translate to being faster or stronger on the Turf. As Jeffers explains, “You don’t get better at bowling by playing ping pong.” 

To see optimal results from Tone House, we recommend taking 3 classes per week, and adding a Conditioning Day into the mix whenever possible. Follow these tips before every time you walk through the doors, and you’ll get the most out of your sessions on the Turf. 

  • Come in rested, fueled, relaxed, and receptive. 
  • NEVER come to class hungover.
  • Be honest with your coach about injuries or physical limitations.
  • Manage your performance expectations.
  • Know there’s always someone there to help you along. 

For any other questions about scheduling your first class, please email

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