Welcome back AFM! We are spotlighting another local outfit to share with all of you in our quest to showcase Austin’s mecca of fitness and the many outlets for you to get your sweat on.
This month’s tour brought us to Forge Strength, where accomplished owner and coach Christian Soriano invites all to join the Forge Strength community in finding out just how far consistency, determination and camaraderie go in supporting your fitness journey.
Christian cannot imagine his life without fitness, working out and coaching. Fitness is transformative and life-changing for Christian, taking him on his journey from a skinny kid in Mexico doing pushups and pullups in a backyard to a small business owner running with a 30-pound weight vest and 5-pound ankle weights on South Lamar — he gives it all back to fitness. Definitely honk or say hi when you see him cruising down South Lamar, weight vest and all!
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Jason’s Chosen Nonprofit: Central Texas Food Bank
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Whether you thrive in the small group setting or prefer one-on-one coaching, there is a spot for you at Forge Strength. Forge Strength is in the heart of downtown Austin nested just behind the Golden Goose. This ingeniously fabricated shipping container has just the right amount of equipment, space and grit to elevate your mindset for the training to come. Bigger is not always better! At Forge Strength, they stick to their staple of four- to six-people classes for a true semi-private setting where you are guaranteed feedback from your coach — it’s an intimate and immersive environment.
Also, buckle up for your class because in addition to Christian staying in tune with your technique and keeping you safe, your classmates are your accountability and you become theirs. I welcomed the encouragement and banter, and I appreciated that it all resonates from a desire for helping as many as we can to take another step in our fitness journeys. It’s an environment that entices you to just keep going and know that your consistency and determination drive results.
When I arrived, I was enamored by the facility design which is an outfitted shipping container — brilliant! I truly felt I was in a warehouse — that’s how big the space felt to me and, trust me, there are more than enough “tools” at Christian’s disposal to aid your efforts to expand your comfort zone. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of prioritizing strength gains, dressed with a little conditioning to make for a 45-minute smoke show of a training session. Christian dialed in the training, and the class responded by putting on a show of their own!
I arrived at 5:45 p.m., and Christian started me with a brief preview of what I could expect and asked if I had any pre-existing injuries or cardiovascular conditions he needed to know about. I always appreciate when a coach takes the time to ask these things and even more so when they are comfortable providing modifications to execute the movement safely.
What I liked: The workout was a couplet between a caloric pyramid executed on the AssaultBike followed by a barbell reverse lunge or front squat for a specific amount of reps. Nerd alert — programming workout outs is an art, and intentionally programmed workouts often reveal less is better. There is a time and a place for the circus-style workout where you have eight-plus exercises all throughout your training. However, when a coach can take two to three exercises and you never become bored, and the workout rocks your world for 45 minutes — that is an art!
Our caloric pyramid was 15-20-25 calories executed on the AssaultBike, and each ride for calories was followed by a set of eight reverse barbell lunges. There’s more! What goes up must come down, and that’s what we did. We worked back down the pyramid 25-20-15 calories, only this time, between each ride for calories was followed by a barbell front squat. Just lovely, right?!
What I found most challenging: The caloric pyramid executed was humbling because both times when we worked up the pyramid and when we came back down, it was the 20-cal ride where I arrived at my colorful internal script to get me to the stage. Fortunately, I had reinforcements from my classmates who echoed more audience-friendly encouragement.
If you are seeking a welcoming, supportive and uber positive vibe to get your sweat on, try Forge Strength, take a class and see what they are all about. Seriously, just shoot a message to the gym, and Christian will respond the same day. Their classes are unique, shared by a diverse group of members at varying fitness levels who are all willing to help you, teach you and empower you to thrive. Christian has no ego and he is there to help. The only thing he asks is for you to try your best in everything you do at Forge Strength.