Transformations come in all shapes and sizes. Our last member spotlight showed how Michael changed his body over the course of his first year at Spindle. In this one, we will focus on how people can make lasting changes here at Spindle; in particular, how we build competence and autonomy in our members while they enjoy the motivational benefits in our community.

Anmar started his journey on March 12th, 2015 without much experience with weightlifting. By the end of his first month, some of his baseline exercises were:


  • Goblet Squat with an 8kg KB
  • Deadlifts with a 20kg KB
  • 6 Push Ups
  • 6 TRX Pull Ups


When someone is coming in without experience and/or deconditioned, we meet them where they are at and build them up from there. After building a baseline and learning proper technique, Anmar was ready to roll.

I am going to use Anmar’s squat data to illustrate the progression sequence we have in place to provide structure to our members while they build competence.

We really spent the first month figuring out where Anmar was at and teaching him the proper way to execute a squat. By mid April, Anmar begin building his Goblet Squat. As he became stronger and more competent, we continued to progress in both weight and complexity, getting up to 24kg (over 50lbs) by the end of the year and further in 2016. You will notice that his progression is not linear - that is because life is not linear. Also, this only shows what we were doing with a handful of squat based movements, not other areas of movement where he was building competence. With the new year, came a new goal: The Pistol Squat, a squat balancing all the way down on one leg. We began with TRX SL Squats and Box SL Squats, slowly lowering until he was able to do it with 12kg through his programming by the end of March.

Now here is where the autonomy comes in. We often tell our members if you aren't feeling great, modify and adapt your session. On the flip side, if you are feeling like a badass, let's push it! On August 2nd, Anmar was feeling confident and tried some pistol squats at the end of a workout. He kept going up until achieving a SL Squat on both legs with a 32kg (over 70lbs!!) Kettlebell. A truly amazing feat given where Anmar started in March of 2015!

A handful of other accomplishments From month 1 to month 17:

Deadlift: From 16kg to 195lbs (sets of 8)

Pull Ups: 0 to 10

Learned how to swing, clean, snatch, and do turkish get ups with great form.

Anmar has been a fixture among our evening crowd for most of our existence. He may complain a little (sorry dude - gotta make fun of you a little bit), but he always puts in a great effort. We asked Anmar to give us his thoughts on a few things...

What is the hardest exercise or combination for you?

It's got to be either pull ups or the furnace (note: the furnace is a kb swing and TGU combo.) The furnace particularly stands out since it took me a while to get swings and Turkish get-ups down, and it's an absolute killer on my forearms/grip. Also, the fact that whenever I have to do it now, it gets programmed as my finisher. It's so brutal and soul crushing to see that pop up at the end of a long workout...

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Definitely cracking the gong at Spindle! :) But on a more serious note, probably doing 10 pull ups, doing a pistol squat with 32kg or doing a snatch properly. They're all so hard! The ultimate goal is to get an exercise or exercise combination named after you though, that's how you know you've really made it at Spindle.

What is the most important thing you have learned during your first year and half at Spindle?

Form and consistency are king. Learning to do an exercise properly and working out on a consistent basis will give you the best results (diet too I suppose, but who really wants to give up pizza...or fries...or bacon...or beer...).

Has there been anything that has surprised you about your Spindle experience thus far?

I've actually been motivated to come in consistently 4 times a week (not including holidays/travel) for a whole year and a half! I was always that person that big box gyms made money off of - people who pay for a gym membership but never use it. I never thought I would get to a point where I would adjust my schedule so that I could make sure I got to work out 4 times a week, so that's probably the most surprising thing for me.