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Marilyn Nichols Hoyt, SCC Instructor, CPT, Runner-Up Get Strong Transformation Challenge

Marilyn Hoyt Bodyweight Bridge

Dragon Door: Before our interview, I looked you up online and noticed you are a fitness instructor!

Marilyn Hoyt: Yes, for about the last eleven years.

Dragon Door: Before you became an instructor, did you have a fitness or sports background?

Marilyn Hoyt: Yes, I served in the Army and wanted to excel at my fitness tests. So, I trained myself, got my fitness patch, and started helping soldiers who couldn't pass their fitness tests. I just found it interesting and exciting.

Dragon Door: After the Army, did that experience lead into your fitness career?

Marilyn Hoyt: Actually, it didn't! I went into the dental field. Then, I was pregnant with my first kid. I wanted to stay home, and going to the gym became my way to get out of the house. After a while, people at the gym started asking me fitness questions, and I realized I was passionate about educating others about fitness.

After I went through a divorce, I had to figure out what I was going to do—and fitness literally fell in my lap. The gym actually sponsored me to become a Turbo-Kick certified instructor, and suddenly I was leading classes and loving it. Then I got my personal training certification through NASM. I love helping people and I love seeing their progress. It's so rewarding—I can talk about that for hours!
 
Marilyn Hoyt Hanging L Hold

Dragon Door: How did you become interested in the Get Strong Transformation Challenge?

Marilyn Hoyt: I have been interested in calisthenics for a while—especially pull ups. I started doing them after my arm workouts, basically because women aren't known to do them! So, I wanted to be able to do pull ups. I soon realized there were different grips variations I could also be doing, like chin ups. Then I found Dragon Door and the PCC. Because of the cost, I did the SCC with Beth Andrews and just loved it. It was a fabulous course that taught me the basics of calisthenics.

Since going to the SCC, I get emails and newsletters from Dragon Door. One day, I opened one and saw the challenge. When I realized it was about calisthenics, I thought, why not challenge myself? I’m always challenging everyone else—and I could use a good challenge. Plus, maybe I can win something. I was intrigued and decided to get the book, then joined the Facebook group.

Dragon Door: After you decided to take the Get Strong Transformation Challenge, what was your next step?

Marilyn Hoyt: My next step was getting out there and doing it. I’d skimmed through the book and saw the moves like flags. I would love to learn to do one with total control. I was fascinated. So, I looked at phase one and went outside to work out. I figured I could test out of phase one. My 12 year old son also came outside to see what I was doing, so I asked him if he wanted to do the challenge with me.

So, my son began training with me. I decided to try and test out of phase one the next day. I suggested to my son that he should start on phase one, and he watched me pass the test. His brother and I are really active, and it was hard for him to see Mom breeze through phase one!

So, I showed him the Facebook group and explained that I’d been training for a while which will make it different for me. On the phase one test, he nailed everything but the active hang—and only missed it by about five seconds. So, he continued with phase one, while I went on to pass phase two. He trained with me until it was time to start back with school in the fall. Soon after, I went on to phase three. While phase two was pretty cool, I was excited to get to phase three. I knew it was where I needed to be.
 
Marilyn Hoyt Pistol Squat

But when I injured my wrist while prying open a really tight jar, I had to pull back a little in my training. Because of tweaking my wrist, I stayed in phase three. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I think part of me wanted to stay in phase three, and that helped me learn about myself. It’s really weird, but I think I am scared to test out of phase three! This experience has made me realize that I don’t have as much confidence as I let on. But, I went ahead and posted a video to the Facebook group as I moved on to phase three week three. I hung in there—and I can hold my handstands, but I’m wondering if I can I really do a handstand pushup. Can it really happen?

Marilyn Hoyt HandstandThe Get Strong Facebook group has helped me with accountability. Because as a trainer, I’m always doing my best in front of my clients. When they aren’t watching, it’s not always the same level of effort.

Dragon Door: What’s been biggest lesson you've learned from the challenge?

Marilyn Hoyt: Confidence. Learning that I have more in me than I realized. I think that's the biggest thing—and really, the biggest thing in all aspects of my life. It’s hard to really believe in yourself sometimes.

Dragon Door: What advice do you have for somebody who might be considering trying a Get Strong Transformation Challenge or following the program in the book?

Marilyn Hoyt: I would say to just go for it, and don't let any doubts go to your head. There are always progressions for every stage. Don't get hung up if you miss something on the test by just five seconds. Stay with the program because you will better yourself. You’re going to get stronger and you’re going to feel better.

Dragon Door: What were some of your results after training with Get Strong for sixteen weeks?

Marilyn Hoyt: Strength. I was already so accustomed to doing just pull-ups, but the program made me do chin ups which challenged me in different areas and made me stronger in that respect. I also built more core control. I used to do a lot of yoga which gave me a lot of core control. Even though I’d gotten away from yoga, Get Strong helped me remember that a lot of our control comes from the core.

Dragon Door: Now that the 16-week Get Strong Transformation Contest is over, are you planning to continue the program, or will you change up your training?

Marilyn Hoyt: I am doing a little bit of both. I want to incorporate more of the Get Strong program into my training. My training usually includes a little bit of everything, from cardio to weights to HIIT. I like to change it up a lot. But, I also liked a lot of the workouts from Get Strong because they helped me introduce cool moves like the active hang to my clients. Anyone can do that first phase. And because a lot of my clients don't yet have a full range of motion on their pushups, I can have them do pushups on a table or other raised surface. I am incorporating a lot of the ideas from Get Strong into my clients’ training.
 
Marilyn Hoyt One-Leg Bridge
 
Dragon Door: That’s great that you’ve also been using the concepts from Get Strong with your clients!

Marilyn Hoyt: I think that's what I love about it the most—the fact that I can inspire somebody else with it too. Anytime someone is on the pull-up bar and thinks that they can't do it, I can teach them how to start.

Dragon Door: What’s next for you as a trainer?

Marilyn Hoyt: I am actually going to be opening a small fitness studio the first of the year. It will have calisthenics classes because those are my favorite to teach. While I don’t know much about kettlebells yet, I’d love to learn and have those at the studio, too.

Dragon Door: Wow, congratulations on that and for your win as a runner up in the Get Strong Transformation Challenge!

Marilyn Hoyt: Thank you, I am honored. I thought that if I could win a discount on one of the courses, then why not just try!

Marilyn Nichols Hoyt can be contacted at through her website at www.rockfitnesscamp.com. Follow her on Facebook: rockfitnesstribe and Instagram @rockfitnesscamp
 

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